Life is great & there's lots of it!

This a lot of life - where did it come from?
I sometimes find it instructive to look at an area and think what it would like without the living things. In short it would look similar to the dead, rocky surface of the moon.

Life has bestowed upon this, would be, barren surface a green cloak of living organisms. The breathing, growing, reproducing, eating, feeding, singing, scurrying, flying, flowering, beautiful exuberance – that is nature...

…and it all originates in space. Green plants trap the sun’s energy by photosynthesis allowing living things to rearrange atoms on the earth into living structures. These atoms ultimately originated in “The Belly of a Star” - almost every element on Earth was formed at the heart of a star.

I put a video explaining this process in a previous post Wren Song an Echo of the big bang

How were these numbers arrived at?

I know the numbers of birds on the patch more accurately than any other group as I’ve counted them! So I can say with a reasonable…

Why do things look like other things?

While attempting to organise my unwieldy, burgeoning collection of photographs from the patch I kept noticing something. My brain was continually making connections – "that lichen looks like cracked mud, that flock of birds resembles smoke, there's a face on that tree".

Why do things in nature often look like other, completely unrelated, things in nature? The answer to this points to a regularity, order and unity in nature...and to patterns.

Patterns in nature are visible regularities of form - similar patterns appear again and again in  different contexts - in both living and non living things. Why is this?
I think there are three overlapping kinds of explanation.

1) Laws of nature - nature has no choice – it has to obey the physical laws of the universe. So a bubble is the shape it is because surface tension pulls water molecules of water into the tightest possible grouping…that happens to be a sphere.

2) Adaption - nature ‘wants’ (or perhaps it’s better to say ‘is adap…

Buds Ahoy!

I was asked if could produce the bud gallery below as a high resolution poster - it can be
downloaded here  It's an A2  PDF (which is 4 times A4, but the will resize to A3 or A4).

Dutch version (Tranlastion Joost Geraets)
Danish version
Norwegian version (Translation Anders Often)

Lichens on Trees - common, easily identifiable species
high resolution poster - it can be
downloaded here

A Hawthorn bud, bursting over the course of two weeks

If buds are an arboreal version of a bird’s egg, then the miniature shoots are the chicks encased in eggshells.  All over patch these embryonic shoots are breaking out.

It’s one big beautiful budburst!

The explosion of fresh green foliage is a such a notable feature of springtime that it’s easy to forget that the buds were products of the previous year’s growing season.

Trees have come up with a clever strategy. As soon as the days start of lengthen, and temperatures rise, conditions for photosynthesising to return  - so  ‘hit the photosynthetic ground …