Showing posts from November, 2015

Into the unknown

A small mammal scurried across a clearing in front of me – a Red Squirrel! If I’d spotted the Beast of Bodmin I’d have been only marginally less surprised (mainly because Bodmin is in Cornwall).

I had been exploring an area of the patch that I normally  turn my nose at – what amounts to a small, unmanaged, wood comprised of Leyland Cypress.  I’d never seen any reason to actually venture in there, after all it’s only Leylandii – more famous  for being the weapon of choice  for ‘Neighbours from Hell’, than for having any wildlife value.

My recent fungus forays, however, have sent me to previously unexplored nooks and crannies of the patch.  Birds can monitored by covering all the ‘habitats’ – to find the fungi, and indeed the flowering plants, bryophytes and lichens, you have to delve deeper.

The number of distinct ‘habitats’ on the patch could be probably  be numbered in the tens – oak wood, willow scrub, lake margin etc. However there must be thousands upon thousands of 'micro-ha…

The colours are all in your head man!

Autumn is a time when, probably more than any other, we’re aware of colour in nature.At the risk sounding like Philomena Cunk….but what is colour?
The greenness of a leaf isn’t something inherent in a leaf - it’s a sense perception in the brain. Sunlight hits the leaf, chrolophyll absorbs certain wavelengths of light to produce sugars byphotosynthesis.The wavelengths which aren’t absorbed are reflected. This light hits our eyes when we look at a leaf, - the brain interprets this with a sensation of “green”.*
Colours are things our brain invents – they help us make sense of, and navigate through the world. Our  brains are therefore measuring lengths - the wavelengths reflected by different objects in the world - this give us useful information about the world.

Our fellow members of the animal kingdom have similarly wired brains (in that they can also perceive colour) which is why we have things like patterns on a moth – camouflage,  and a Robin’s breast - communication.
Colour in bi…

Lights, Camera, Spider