Walking on Water

  The champion pond skaters of the natural world, the water measurers (Hydrometridae), pond skaters (Gerridae) and water crickets (Veliidae), are no less accomplished than the Reverend Walker. Their legs are equally long and elegant, although they have six rather than two, their skill is a combination of natural selection and physics. Gerris thoracicus. Photograph […]

A Profusion of Pipits

The elegant, soaring song flights of larks embellishing a summer morning are celebrated in the the glorious collective term an “elevation of larks”. Alas there is no such epipthet for the Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis). The sound of a male pipit ascending to declare his territory is unlikely to send a poet into raptures, but […]

Bladderworts, Butterworts and Sundews

I like to think as insectivorous plants as a perverse, natural revenge by plants on the animal kingdom. The prey has become the predator as they have evolved the ability to lure, trap and digest insects. This facility to acquire additional nutrients enables them to grow in habitats with poor soils such as wetland heaths […]