Squares.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Squares. I had a few ideas for the challenge but this ended up an obvious choice with squares of wire mesh holding peanuts for the birds.

This is a male Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus) feeding on peanuts in a garden in Cheshire, England. Although a year round resident in the U.K. it is more commonly seen in the winter when it comes to bird feeders.

This is the way most people see Siskins which probably explains why a magazine editor used this photo over others shots of the species in natural settings that I had submitted.

Eurasian Siskin on peanuts.

Autumn leaves in the mist.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire, England sometime in the 1970s. This shot sat in my slide files overlooked until I started copying some of the slides a couple of winters ago. Since making a digital copy the shot has grown on me.

Probably taken when I was a photography student in the late 1970s. I recognise the location as close to my parents house at the time. If I was taken when I was studying photography it would have been taken with an Olympus OM1, which I still have. If it was taken before I was at art school it could have been taken with a Zenit E, my first serious camera.

Autumn colour in mist.

Napping male Common Pochard.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire in the 1990s. This male Common Pochard was napping in front of a wooden hide (blind) on a reservoir in south Cheshire. The ripples and peeking eye add to the image for me.

Large numbers of Common Pochard winter in the U.K. and this bird was in a small flock that visited the reservoir.

Common Pochard napping.

Amanita muscaria.

A second Fly Agaric post, Amanita muscaria is the scientific name for the mushroom.

Although classified as poisonous it hasn’t stopped slugs or snails eating part of the cap of the one on the right. You can just see the edge of eaten section slightly right of centre of the top of the cap.

At the same time, the reason it is called Fly Agaric in English is because in the past the mushroom was powdered into milk to kill flies in parts of Europe. Bug Agaric is an old alternative name for the mushroom for the same reason.

Amanita muscaria.

Fly Agaric.

One from the archives taken in Cheshire in the 1990s. Fly Agaric are the classic Toadstool beloved by illustrators of children’s stories.

But they’re far more interesting than that. With the red cap and white spots some people assume it’s highly poisonous. It is poisonous but human deaths from ingestion are extremely rare.

It contains psychoactive substances and some cultures have used it for its hallucinogenic properties. The mushroom was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the indigenous peoples of Siberia.

I picked this shot because I like the way the Bracken fronds have wiped the white spots off a section of the cap. The white spots are the remains of a white veil that enclose the mushrooms when they emerge from the soil.

Fly Agaric and Bracken.

Audlem Church in silhouette.

The Cosmic Photo Challenge this week is Shadows, Shapes and Silhouettes.

I had lots of ideas for this challenge. Then I thought about this photo. It’s shot of St James’ Church, Audlem, Cheshire, England silhouetted by the setting sun.

It was taken in the mid 1980s and sat ignored in my slide files until I started copying them with a digital camera. It’s strange, since copying and editing the slide the shot has grown on me.

St James' Church, Audlem at sunset.

European Goldfinch feeding on Teasel.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire, England in the late 1980s.

This is a European Goldfinch feeding on seeds in a Teasel head. The seeds are a popular food source for the birds and the plant is grown to attract them by some people.

Teasel heads were used as a natural comb for the nap on wool in the past.

Goldfinch feeding on Teasel.