Wednesday, 30 July 2014

AV-8B Harrier II

Seen here is a McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II of the Spanish Navy at Farnborough Airshow in July 2014. It had just completed a short takeoff manoeuvre. The exhaust nozzles can be seen angled slightly downwards in their transition upwards into the forward flight position.

The AV-8B Harrier II is a second generation variant of the Harrier Jump Jet family. It uses a single Rolls-Royce Pegasus turbofan engine, which has two intakes and four synchronized vectorable nozzles which enables the thrust from the engine to be vectored. This allows it to take off and land vertically, as well as hover.

In a short takeoff manoeuvre the thrust isn't vectored completely downwards, but slightly backwards as well. This gives the aircraft some forward movement allowing the wings to start generating lift, which is more efficient than relying completely on the engine to provide lift in a purely vertical takeoff.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Red Arrows

The Red Arrows finished their display on the Sunday at Farnborough Airshow in July 2014 with the "Vixen Break". The 2014 season is the 50th display season for the team, and their tails are painted with a special design to celebrate.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Zebra Spider

I was testing out my dad's new EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens in the garden of a holiday cottage in Warwickshire where I was staying in July 2014 when I spotted a small shell. I was trying to get a shot of it when it started moving and this zebra spider (Salticus scenicus) crept out, ran to the top and posed for me.

The zebra spider is a common jumping spider. Jumping spiders don't build webs, but pounce on their prey to catch them. They have a distinctive set of eyes, with two large ones in the middle at the front which gives them excellent binocular vision for judging distances, and two smaller eyes either side of these. There are a further two sets of two eyes behind the front four, the last pair of which allow the spider to see upwards. They hunt insects and other small spiders. Before jumping, they attach a silk thread to the surface that they are on so that if they miss they can climb back up the thread.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Bald Eagle

This is another shot of Liberty, the female Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre in Ringwood, Hampshire. It was taken in February 2014.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Great Tit

This shot of a Great Tit (Parus major) was taken from the Woodland Hide at Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve in Ringwood, Hampshire in March 2014.

The Great Tit is found throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia, and parts of North Africa. It is the largest of the resident UK tits. They are generally non-migratory. Their diet consists of insects and spiders in the summer months, and seeds and berries in the autumn and winter months when insect prey is scarcer.