Looduskalender in Vikerraadio: A bur war

Submitted by Looduskalender on Thu, 13.09.2018 - 10:10

The author, Kristel Vilbaste, also posts texts in Vikerraadio

Photo: Arne Ader

Translation into English by Maret

Estonian text posted 23.08.2018

Villtakjas

Woolly burdock

The stalks of burdocks have grown chest-high and the plants themselves are full on burs, some of them still carrying a ring of purple bloom.

But most of them are totally ready to catch onto a passerby’s sleeve or hair. And to travel away.

Despite being such a catching nuisance, the burs are still liked by everyone. In the middle ages it was customary to present burdocks to your beloved, when you wanted to let her/him know, that you were ready to get fully attached to your sweetheart.

Looduskalender in Vikerraadio: Raccoon dogs on the road

Submitted by Looduskalender on Thu, 13.09.2018 - 08:08

The author, Kristel Vilbaste, also posts texts in Vikerraadio

Photos: Arne Ader

Translation into English by Maret

Estonian text posted 22.08.2018

Kährik

Raccoon dog

Driving around these days you will notice lots of raccoon dog corpses on the roads. Most likely even you yourself have had to do some zig-zag driving in order to save the life of a little animal.

The mention of raccoon dogs usually does not raise any positive emotions in us, probably because of the song, where they as a foreign species crowded out the badgers. Still, they were brought in decades ago for reasons of vanity, as a hat made of raccoon dog skins was a sign of prosperity. Many people were dreaming of such a nice hat or a fur collar, although once that skin got wet, it smelled something awful.

Just because of that smell, the animals killed on the roads are left there  -  the other predators will not touch them.

Looduskalender in Vikerraadio: Hop shoots

Submitted by Looduskalender on Tue, 11.09.2018 - 21:11

The author, Kristel Vilbaste, also posts texts in Vikerraadio

Photo: Arne Ader

Translation into English by Maret

Estonian text posted 15.08.2018

Humal. Emastaim käbidega

Female plant with cones

This year, the climbing plants have a hard time in Estonia  -  both the hedge bindweed and the field bindweed try to twist and wiggle as close to the ground as possible. The only ones to hang themselves up in the hot air are the hops.

The hops twisting in my alder jumble have already developed lovely green cones.

Naturally we know hops predominantly for producing the bitter taste in beers, but they are also valuable medicinal herbs and it would be worth picking them in the alder groves by the river right now.

It is interesting that the hop stems wind themselves around any handy prop and that they usually grow clockwise. In order to observe this for yourself, you just have to create a hop garden by your home.

Looduskalender in Vikerraadio: Arrowhead

Submitted by Looduskalender on Mon, 10.09.2018 - 21:11

The author, Kristel Vilbaste, also posts texts in Vikerraadio

Photos: Arne Ader

Translation into English by Maret

Estonian text posted 16.08.2018

Jõgi-kõõlusleht

British Native Arrowhead

I see in my child’s biology textbook a peculiar plant that I don’t remember from my childhood. British Native Arrowhead is a plant, that is used to teach heterophylly. That means that the plant has different-shaped leaves under the water than above the water.

On British Native Arrowhead, the above-water leaves do look like arrowheads, but arrowheads as big as the palm of a hand. The leaves above the water are oval and the ones under the water are long, ribbon-like. The plant grows in knee-deep water and pushes up a bit above the surface.

Jõgi-kõõlusleht

Looduskalender in Vikerraadio: Eurasian jay with an acorn

Submitted by Looduskalender on Mon, 10.09.2018 - 21:11

The author, Kristel Vilbaste, also posts texts in Vikerraadio

Photo: Arne Ader

Translation into English by Maret

Estonian text posted 15.08.2018

Pasknäär

Eurasian jay

Have you noticed, how many acorns we have this year? A good year for acorns was supposed to mean a winter with lots of snow.

Because of the dry weather the acorns started falling down as early as at the end of July. But you cannot carry such an acorn around in your pocket for long, as its shell has not yet hardened and will turn black very quickly, and the acorn itself will wither. It’s still too early to collect them; the same goes for hazelnuts  —  they still taste like hay right now.

Nevertheless, we have many searchers for acorns. First of all the Eurasian jays, who carry them off shouting with joy. And although the Estonian name for those jays (pasknäär) does not have a nice sound, the bird itself is very pretty.

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