Like a Rolling Stone
Laura Marling and Eddie Berman

nappin lil woodland buddies. photos by (click pic) miroslav hlavko, dan galemaurizio libretti, mark loper, simon phillpotts and denis carl robidoux

taipei glows under a blanket fog in these photos by wang wei zheng. (see also: dubai)

richard shilling makes art using only that which he finds in nature - broken twigs, fallen leaves, mud, tree sap, torn bark - and returns it in creations he ‘leaves’ for others to find.

the last week of september is sea otter awareness weekwhere most marine mammals rely on a layer of insulating blubber to keep warm in the water, sea otters make use of their dense fur coat.

in fact, their fur is so thick and soft that for centuries humans have hunted the animal. by 1929, sea otters had been virtually eradicated from alaska to california. and while populations of the animal are currently making a remarkable comeback in british columbia, they nevertheless remain an endangered species.  

sea otters play a vital role in their aquatic ecosystem. in the absence of the animal, sea urchin populations explode, leading to the eradication of kelp forests, which in turn affects fish, sea birds and even eagle populations.

photos by tom and pat leeson (peekaboo otter), veronica craft (vogue otter), hal beral (sleepy otter), brian maxwell (cuddling albino otter), jeff foot (super excited screaming otter), matt maran (shouting otter), joe robertson (holding hands otters) and suzi eszterhas (happy otter)

photos by staffan widstrand (2,4,5,6) and stefano unterthiner (1,3,7,8) of the european brown bear in kuhmo, finland. once on the brink of extinction, the brown bear population of europe has doubled since 1970 thanks to conservation efforts. 

autumn reflections by david clapp in england’s lake district national park; maurizio biancarelli of proscansko lake in croatia’s plitvice national park; and agustin rafael reyes of onuma pond in japan’s towada hachimantai national park

photos by matt smith from the Illawarra coast in new south wales of bluebottles, violet snails and blue dragons. 

despite its resemblance to the jellyfish, the bluebottle is more closely related to coral. known as a zooid, the bluebottle (or portugese man of war) is a colonial animal composed of many highly specialized and physiologically integrated individual organisms incapable of independent survival. 

the blue dragon — a type of nudibranch, here no larger than a thumbnail, with its own potent sting — is able to eat the nematocysts (stinging cells) of the bluebottle without discharging them and internally relocate them to the tips of each one of the fingers you can see in the pictures.

for their part, the violet snails also feed on the bluebottles.

notes matt, “despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle is an amazingly beautiful creature. with strong winds, hundreds of these cnidaria are blown into the bays around my home town and trapped overnight.”

this allows him to capture the above shots, which he creates with use of a fluorescent tube in his strobe light and a homemade waterproof lens dome.

flower hmong women collect and thresh rice on a terrace rice field in northern vietnam’s mountainous mu cang chai district. the rice fields, caved into the landscape hundreds of years ago, yield only one crop a year, which these women — known for their communal self reliance, and colourful, ornate clothing — harvest in early autumn. 

photos by hoang dinh nam(see also: the rice terraces of china and the philippines)

photos by richard austin of some of the hedgehogs at the secret world wildlife rescue in somerset, england. (see also: more precious lil woodland buddies)