Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
well not quite because tomorrow is the shortest day, but the sunset tonight was a fitting marker for mid winter and the promise of the return of the light. The weather was very similar last year, it seems that these calm dry cold days are common around Christmas time.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Remember, things could be worse (we could be posting daily)!!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The long dry early autumn period has produced a fantastic display of colour in the local woods though it looks as if it will be short lived. It remains a very barren time for mushrooms although just recently a few have started to appear.
I have noticed that often I see things in photographs that I failed to notice at the time. For example the spot of ‘milk’ on the underside of a milk-cap mushroom. This illustrates the difference between looking and seeing. Konrad Lorenz, the father of animal ethology, encouraged his students to learn simply by looking, for example at a bowl of goldfish, for months on end, so that they would learn to ‘see’ behaviour. It took me a long time to realise that there are two species of butterfly orchid in Greenscoombe woods that look very similar, but now I have learnt to see them and the many subtle differences between the two. Seeing is the prelude to knowledge.
Animals must have brain states without thoughts (cognitions in the jargon), a state of perpetual looking. We have thoughts that allow us to ‘see’ into the world although our thinking can sometimes interfere with experiencing. Perhaps the best mental state that a naturalist can achieve is to experience the world with knowledge but without thought, the aim of meditation. And thus I can recommend the former in the pursuit of the latter.
And so as our summer visitors depart, and our winter visitors arrive, and the newts look for safe hideaways, the last red admirals bathe in the sun and the myriad leaves carpet the ground, there is much to see and experience. Try it.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
DVD (for TV) now available. Eight audio visual shows, combining photographs and music on the themes of wild flowers, wildlife, the rivers and landscapes of Cornwall in the Tamar Valley in the area of Stoke Climsland (plus pictures not available on this blog).
blue (7.13 mins) all things blue
water (8.48 minutes) all things watery
yellow (5.08 minutes) all things yellow
spring (3.46 minutes)
summer (9.01 minutes)
autumn (12.49 minutes)
spiritus (3.11 minutes) the church in the land
rubbish (2.36 minutes) bad behaviour views
more than 50 minutes of scenes, flora and fauna, combining the tranquil beauty of the Tamar Valley with pleasant music. Only £10, on request (use Spot's email address at firstname.lastname@example.org). Ideal Christmas presents.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
the starlings are back in great numbers. It is strange how they seem to disappear in the summer, and then return for autumn. The absence of posts recently is due to computer problems and no walks, but with any luck we will be fully functional again after tomorrow.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
for the first time this year there are some fungi appearing in the woods. The top picture is of a coral fungus growing on a pine stump; it looks exactly like a piece of white coral, but smells unpleasant. The next picture is my idea of what a mushroom should look like, minus the caterpillar on the top smoking a hookah. The bottom picture is of staghorn fungi.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
a small newt of some sort that was caught out by last night's cold and was stunned into immobility outside the front door. As soon as it had warmed up a bit in my hand it was off. It was probably migrating from a garden pond somewhere nearby. All newts are protected (see link).