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nicodemus_b nicodemus_b

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Nicolas James  Penman / videographer / photographer. Occasional visual artist. Generalist @ASHxFILMS & @ASHxAUDIO. Environmentally focused.


Peeling back birch bark / reveals a jumping spider. / We share a moment.

Male moose shed their antlers at the end of every mating season (also known as rutting season), which takes place throughout September and October. I found this one near the summit of Pollett’s Cove Mountain in the Cape Breton Highlands, at the north-western tip of Nova Scotia. It’s quite perfect, isn’t it? Moose antlers grow to full size in the spring and summer as testosterone levels rise in anticipation of mating season. The calcium necessary for this growth is derived from both their diet and their bones, most notably the rib cage. (Their diet consists mainly of pondweed, water lily and twigs, leaves, buds and bark from various boreal forest trees.) Testosterone levels drop when the rut ends, which causes the bone at the base of the antlers to dissolve. They usually fall off between November and January, the shedded weight allowing the moose to conserve energy during wintertime. / The original Cape Breton moose population (eastern moose / Alces alces americana) was completely wiped out in the early 20th century due to overhunting and habitat destruction. The current population stems from the introduction of 18 western moose (Alces andersonii) from Alberta’s Elk Island National Park in 1947 / ‘48. There is now a healthy population of approximately 5000 roaming the more remote areas of the island, and they have no noteworthy predators. Although some are affected by a brain worm transmitted by white-tailed deer and infants are occasionally killed by bears, this is not enough to threaten the population. On a more sober note, the moose have prevented much of the boreal forest in the Cape Breton Highlands from regenerating. This forest is an important habitat for the rare American marten, Canadian lynx and the threatened Bicknell's thrush. In 2007, @Parks.Canada installed several moose exclosures in an effort to encourage regeneration. A 2012 @STFXUniversity study showed a sevenfold increase in biomass inside these exclosures, indicating a possible recovery of the forest if the moose population is reduced.


This is the end of Cape Split (#NovaScotia, #Canada), harshly jutting out into the Bay of Fundy. Anyone aspiring to hike to this point should be very aware of the tides - there’s often a 16-metre difference between high and low tide, it comes up quick, and you could get trapped on the beach if you don’t time it right. Forecasts are available here: tide-forecast.com/locations/scots-bay-nova-scotia/tides/latest (For scale, that’s a human being lounging on a rock slab near the bottom / middle of the frame - the cliffs behind him are approximately 200 feet high.)

Gazing at this driftwood tree brought me a deep sense of peace.

What a beaut.

A yellow-spotted salamander (AKA Ambystoma maculatum) makes a rare daytime appearance on the scene. These guys typically sleep under rocks, logs or in burrows during the day, venturing out at night to hunt for food on the forest floor. By far Nova Scotia's biggest salamander, adults range from 10-20 centimetres in length and are quite chubby. Apparently males do an elaborate courtship dance to attract females as well, which I'd love to see. Ambystoma maculatums is a member of the mole salamander family, part of the advanced salamander group (salamandroidea), whose collective lineage can be traced back to the late Jurassic period, approximately 155 million years ago. #WorldAnimalDay

Though considered a pest by some due to their lawn-compromising larvae (known as leatherjackets), common European crane flies (AKA Tipula paludosa / daddy longlegs) are undeniably elegant creatures. Apparently adults only live for a few days, just long enough to reproduce, which makes prioritization key and each moment precious for these insects. Human beings could take a cue from this haiku of a life cycle.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled naturalist programming to bring you something arrestingly unnatural from the minds of the Bernart collective, helmed by European artisans Bernd and Nicole Krebes. This metal spider sculpture, roughly the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, sits atop a garden labyrinth / gallery they're currently building in Maitland, Nova Scotia, Canada, scheduled to open to the public next summer. Louise Bourgeois was no doubt an inspiration here. For more information, hit up be-amazed.bernart.ca. #Spider #SpiderGuard #SpiderArt #Arachnid #ArachnidsOfInstagram #Arthropod #ArthropodsAnonymous #Sculpture #Installation #Art #Artwork #MetalArt #MetalWork #MetalWorks #MetalCraft #LouiseBourgeois #Bernart #NovaScotiaArt #CanadianArt

'Portrait of a Pregnant Eastern American Toad, AKA Bufo Americanus Americanus Holbrook' #Amphibian #EasternAmericanToad #iNaturalist #Naturalism #MeanMug #Pregnancy #Portrait #Pregnant #Toad #Mother #CloseUp #American #Herpetology #ToadsOfInstagram

Coming face-to-face with this grasshopper was one of the most surreal encounters I've experienced in the natural world to date. Its camouflage was both beautifully psychedelic and supremely effective - if it hadn't alighted on the logging trail directly in front of me, I'd've never noticed it. It didn't flinch as I crouched down to photograph it, only flying away after I stood up. Impressive, considering how most humans would react if a giant being crouched down from the sky to examine them. I believe this is a slender blue-winged grasshopper (AKA Sphingonotus caerulans) with highly specialized Nova Scotia camouflage, but I can't be sure. If there are any entomologists in the audience, please speak up now. #Grasshopper #Camouflage #Camo #Insect #Bug #CloseUp #iNaturalist #Naturalism #Psychedelic #Entomology #Locust #ExploreNovaScotia #ExploreCanada

I prefer infinity pools shaped by the natural world and free of charge. #InfinityPool #Pool #Ocean #Horizon #Beach #Shore #Stones

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