That’s nothing! I grew up on a lamp post!

Older readers may remember the hilarious sketch by Monty Python where they play four Yorkshiremen trying to outdo each other in terms of how poor and deprived they were whilst growing up! If not, here are a couple of versions of the sketches: For some reason, I was reminded of this sketch whilst photographing this…

Why do ducks have blue wing flashes?

Originally posted on Ray Cannon's travel blog:
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 6 June 2021 Beds, UK. Photo by Raymond JC Cannon Many types of dabbling ducks have iridescent wing patches called specula (singular: speculum). These flashes are usually blue or green, although the colour can vary somewhat according to the angle and the lighting conditions.…

Tiny moths in a buttercup

There’s a lot going on inside buttercups if you look closely. Well maybe not all buttercups! But if you keep an eye open, all sorts of things turn up, as I have blogged about before: Buttercup bedfellows. Today I came across a new bedfellow to add to the list: Orange spot percier (Pammene aurana). This…

Why are some young leaves red?

Mark Cocker’s Country diary piece in the Guardian this week, 1 June 2021 (‘the most seductive shade of green‘) got me thinking about leaves, trees and colours. As Mark reminded us, leaves look green because chlorophyll molecules absorb the red end of the visible light spectrum in photosynthesis, and the unused green light is reflected. Counterintuitively perhaps, they are green…

A tale of beauty: what peahens want!

Darwin’s other big idea (in addition to the theory of evolution by natural selection) was sexual selection. “We are, however, here concerned only with that kind of selection, which I have called sexual selection. This depends on the advantage which certain individuals have over other individuals of the same sex and species, in exclusive relation…

Sparrow-friendly hedges

We all need a place to call home. Somewhere where we feel safe and protected. Where we can chatter away in peace and security. Sparrows are no exception! House sparrows have declined markedly since the 1970s, although numbers have increased slightly in the past decade. There are a number of possible reasons (See Link 1),…

Frisky butterflies in the Spring sunshine!

The fine weather earlier this week – at the end of March 2021 – saw the emergence of some butterflies, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells, from their winter hibernation. Although they are hunkered down somewhere over the cold months, you would probably never find them (unless they are inside the trunk of an old tree), as…

Happy Easter! Daffodils say it best.

The colour yellow seems almost synonymous with Easter, perhaps associated with the coming of sunny days? Or egg yolks and chicks? Daffodils seem to express this time of year better than any other flower I think.😊 In Narcissus flowers like daffodils, the yellow-to-orange range of colours are produced by carotenoid and flavonoid pigments. Different types…