Peter.D.Riley

International bestselling award-winning author Facebook Twitter

Taking science education across the world

Our future depends on exploring all the frontiers of science, on innovative technologies based on these explorations and on the development of scientific literacy in all peoples through science education.

The Natural World Photo Gallery

The Natural World Photo Gallery presents pictures of the natural world taken by myself, or others who have sent in their own pictures. I intend for it to develop over time into a collection of animals and plants from all over the world so that children can learn to identify differences in species, habitats and the seasons.

This activity gently brings the children and students into science. They need only to use their skill of observation of the plants and animals around them then select ones to photograph with their cameras and on their phones. They then use a research skill to find the international scientific names of the plants and animals in their pictures and write a caption for each one.

Help spread information about the natural world around the world! Send in your photographs of the plants and animals where you live and I’ll publish them on my site for the whole world to see. Send pictures from each season so we can build up a data base of planet life through the year.

Send your photographs and captions to: peter@peterdriley.com

When the pictures are sent in they go into the gallery below to help build up a data base of plants and animals around the world. The children and students can then see how, observation, recording and research contribute to building up knowledge of life on Earth.

With each photograph send in a caption of one sentence to describe it. Also send in your first name and age and the name of the country where you live. For example “Pippa, age 6 UK”. For schools you may add something like “in Year 5 Wellfield School UK”, or if you wish a child or student to take some particular credit include their first name. For example “Nicole, Year 5 Wellfield School UK” No other details will be shown on the website.


Ettie the canal barge is sailing again

Ettie has set sail again and is on the River Scarpe in Northern France near Arras, which was one of the cities on the front line in the Great War. The river is teeming with waterfowl.

Great crested grebe

Great crested grebe

Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) with young on its back .

Coot on a nest

Coot on a nest

Coot (Fulica atra) on a nest. Richard, who is sailing Ettie, has never seen as many coot nests on any waterway.

Little grebe

Little grebe

Little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) Richard has been told that there are more little grebe on this river than in the rest of France!



Australian Cockatoo, Mantis and more

My friend in Australia has sent me some more pictures of the flora and fauna to be seen there.

Little Pied Cormorant ( Microcarpo melanoleucos) - Swan River

Little Pied Cormorant ( Microcarpo melanoleucos) – Swan River

A mantis in our back garden

A mantis in our back garden

A mantis in our back garden

A mantis in our back garden

Common Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti) on our deck shades

Common Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti) on our deck shades

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo - male (Calyptorhynchus banksii) aka Bank's or Banksian  Black Cockatoo

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo – male (Calyptorhynchus banksii) aka Bank’s or Banksian Black Cockatoo

New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) our garden

New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) our garden

Large Grasshopper on our garden fence

Large Grasshopper on our garden fence



More nature photos from my friend in Perth, Australia

As we in England hunker down for the winter my friend Peter in Perth is looking forward to the summer. Here are some pictures of the plants and animals around his home at this time of year together with his natural history notes.

Western Australian Christmas Tree. (Nuytsia floribunda). A semi-parasitic native tree, attaching it’s roots to those of host trees. Flowers from middle of November until about New Years Day. Road verge – Maida Vale W.A.

Western Australia Christmas Tree

Western Australia Christmas Tree

White Tailed Black or Carnaby’s Cockatoo. female (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) Native only to Western Australia. Now becoming quite rare, numbers decreasing by 50% in last 40 years. Can live up to 40 or 50 years and are often monogamous; maintaining a strong bond with a partner for this period. (our front garden – Maida Vale W.A.)

White-tailed Black - or Carnaby's Cockatoo

White-tailed Black – or Carnaby’s Cockatoo

Red Tailed Black Cockatoo. female (Calyptorhynchus banksia) Uncommon to rare, although appears to be making a come-back. Five subspecies throughout Australia. this being the Forest Red Tailed. (our front garden – Maida Vale W.A.)

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Paper Wasp (Polistes humilis) and nest, constructed from masticated cellulose mixed with saliva. A friend to gardeners as they are predatory and attack many other insects, however they will also attack humans if nest is approached. Attacking in numbers and stinging repeatedly.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

White Crab Spider.(Thomisus spectabilis) One of few spiders not to construct a web. Sits with large front legs apart awaiting prey, which it grabs. Can vary its colour from white to yellows and creams, dependent on background. Can sit in same location for days or even weeks at a time. Prey in this case appears to be honey bee (apis mellifera) (introduced 1822 from Europe) and the plant is Holly Flame Pea (Chorizema iticifolium).

White Crab Spider

White Crab Spider

Avon River (A pronounced as apple in Australia – hard A). View from Bells Lookout.

Avon river

Avon river

Perth city skyline from the Darling Range escarpment out across the Eastern Suburbs and the Airport (note the Control Tower).

Perth city skyline

Perth city skyline

One-sided Bottlebrush (Calothamnus quadrifidus). A member of the Myrtle family and endemic to South Western corner of WA. First formerly named by Robert Brown in 1812 at Lucky Bay near Esperance on the south coast, during Matthew Flinders’ Investigator Expedition.

One-sided Bottlebrush

One-sided Bottlebrush



Ettie’s Log #2 – Early July

Ettie the canal barge (previous post 1, 2) continues to sail through the canals of France. Here are the latest pictures Richard and Julia have taken and sent me.

A Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) on the bank of the River Garone, in the centre of the City of Toulouse. This is a bird of the wetlands so it is unusual to see it in a city centre.

Little Egret

Little Egret

Oleanders (Nerium oleander) are flowering everywhere at the moment. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Oleanders

Oleanders

Walnuts are growing next to the canal. The nut that is eaten is growing under the green skin.

Walnuts at écluse d'Herminis

Walnuts at écluse d’Herminis

Grass snake (Natrix natrix) swimming across the canal. [Peter’s note – I once picked up a grass snake resting on some water weed and it emitted a really strong smell of garlic!]

Grass Snake seen below Trébes

Grass Snake seen below Trébes

An Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca). These birds live naturally in Africa but have been introduced into France.

Egyptian Goose  (Alopochen aegytiacus) below 7 écluses de Fonserannes

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegytiacus) below 7 écluses de Fonserannes

A grasshopper hitches a ride on Julia’s hat.

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

Yellow legged gulls (Larus michahellis) on canal du Rhône à Sète, la Maguelonne. These birds are also seen in Southern Britain.

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans) on canal du Rhône à Sète, la Maguelonne

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans) on canal du Rhône à Sète, la Maguelonne

A Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) on étang de Pierre Blanche, la Maguelonne. These birds are found in the warmer regions of the world across the globe.

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) on étang de Pierre Blanche, la Maguelonne

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus) on étang de Pierre Blanche, la Maguelonne

Another Little Egret this time on étang de Pierre Blanche, la Maguelonne.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) on étang de Pierre Blanche, la Maguelonne

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) on étang de Pierre Blanche, la Maguelonne

An Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) swooping through the étangs to Aigues-Mortes. These birds can be found around almost all the coasts of Britain and Ireland and inland in Northern England and Scotland in the breeding season.

Little Egret

Little Egret

European Bee Eater (Merops apiaster) near Aigues-Mortes. These birds breed in Europe in summer but migrate to topical climates in India, Sri lanka and Africa for the winter.

European Bee Eater

European Bee Eater



More animals from Kruger National Park in South Africa

Sarah has sent me some more pictures from her visit to Kruger National Park in South Africa. Here they are.

Cape Glossy starlings at a bird bath. These birds breed between October and February but they may not be the only bird that lays eggs in their nest. The starlings are the target of a bird called the honey guide which like the cuckoo in the UK adds its own egg to the clutch with dire consequences for the rest of the clutch.

Cape Glossy Starling

Cape Glossy Starling

The steenbok or steinbuck is a small antelope. Its maximum shoulder height is 60cm. Steenboks are found in habitats where the umbrella thorn acacia grows and provides shade.

Steenbok

Steenbok

This impala is being visited by oxpeckers. They are looking for a meal of ticks on the antelopes skin!

Impala

Impala

This greater kudu is defending itself by standing very still. The mixture of colours and stripes make its body blend into its surroundings so that it is difficult for predators to see.

Kudu

Kudu

Can you see the sleeping leopard?

Leopard

Leopard

The lilac-breasted roller takes a tree top perch to look on the ground for food such as scorpions and lizards.

Lilac-breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller



Ettie’s Travel Log #1

This is a record of the plants and animals that have been seen as Ettie sails on the waterways of France. The first are from past years and the latest are from her journey this year. You can see the route she is taking by looking at the map on my previous post: Introducing Ettie.

Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris) near Irancy, Burgundy, in early April 2013.

Pasque flowers

Pasque flowers

Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea) on the Canal du Nivernais, Burgundy, in May 2013.

Lady orchid

Lady orchid

This could be Anacamptis pyramidalis, the Pyramidal Orchid but it does not have a well-formed pyramid top perhaps due to weather conditions. It was by the Canal de Montech, May 2014.

Pyramidal Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

A Lizard Orchid – Himantoglossum hircinum –at the Canal de Montech – May 2014.

Lizard Orchid

Lizard Orchid

Flamingos on the Salin de Ste-Lucie, which is on the coast near Narbonne. It was taken at the end of September 2014.

Flamingos on the Salin de Ste-Lucie

Flamingos on the Salin de Ste-Lucie

Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina). These plants do not make chlorophyll the green pigment that plants use in photosynthesis to make food. Instead they obtain their food parasitically by growing on the roots of willow, alder and poplar trees. 20th April 2015

Purple Toothwort

Purple Toothwort

Coypu on the River Baïse. 20th April 2015

Coypu on the River Baïse

Coypu on the River Baïse

Red squirrel 29th April 2015

Red Squirrel

Red Squirrel



The science and beauty of caddisfly larvae

Terence from the Ribble Valley has sent in a picture he took while out for a walk; it’s of some interesting-looking objects attached to the underside of a rock in a brook. Do you know what they are?

Caddisfly Larvae

Caddisfly Larvae

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A Fossil Hunt on the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is England’s first World Heritage Site.

Liesl had to write a diary entry as part of her homework for school and chose to write about her fossil hunting trip there:

“On Monday 6th April 2015, my family and I went to Charmouth on the Jurassic Coast for a fossiling adventure!

Charmouth on the Jurassic Coast

Charmouth on the Jurassic Coast

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Stalagmites and Stalactites in The Postojna Cave in Slovenia

Tez has sent in some pictures of his trip into the Postojna Cave in Slovenia. The cave has formed in limestone rocks as the rainwater has seeped through them.

Postojna Cave

Postojna Cave, Slovenia

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More Nature Pictures From Perth, Australia

Following on from my previous post about the flora and fauna of Australia, a friend of mine in Australia has sent me some more pictures of the species to be seen there…

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My Books

Follow the links below to find out more about my books and book series, as well as downloadable resources for teachers and parents using my books.

Books for Primary Schools
Books for Secondary Schools

Books and Resources for Teachers

Contact Me

I can be contacted in the following ways. If you have a picture for the Natural World Photo Gallery or the Science Exhibition Gallery, please send it by email.