With the irksome exam period now a fading memory, and lectures yet to recommence into full swing, it has been pleasant to get out and about a bit more around the superb Cornish countryside. Whilst birding has been the focus of many a trip to my local reservoir patch or nearby estuary, I have also been endeavouring to cast my eyes closer afoot and focus on the smaller and often overlooked details that catch my eye.
From mosses to moths, elfcups to umbellifers – I have been trying to expand my general knowledge of the species’ groups I have often neglected in my enthusiasm over birding. It has been fun to try out a bit of plant ID and learn more about fungi and even chiropteran cave-dwellers too…bats! In addition to the satisfaction gained from identifying the species I come across, focussing down to the macro scale often leads to the uncovering of patterns, textures, details and colours that are both remarkable and beautiful. Having a macro lens at hand often helps to capture these miniature masterpieces too. I thought I’d post a few images from my exploits over the last week, although expect to see some dedicated moss- and macro-focussed blogs soon!
Whilst this bracket fungus might looked a little bland an uninteresting from above, peering beneath the ‘lid’ reveals an intricate pattern of gills that creates a maze of patterns and textures
For a month or more now, I have been dabbling in a bit of bryology – spurred on by the efforts of my Mum and fellow naturalist Calum Urquhart. “What on earth is bryology?” you may ask, and it’s a valid point! Bryophytes include mosses and liverworts, and are essentially non-vascular plants without the xylem and phloem transport systems.
Last Saturday, Calum and I joined some Cornish members of the British Bryological Society in a survey of some woodland habitat in east Cornwall. We recorded a bewildering total of 67 bryophyte species, which comprises more latin than you can stomach in a week, but it was great fun. You can read a more complete record of our trip on Calum’s blog here (hover the images above for specie’s names)
So, next time you’re out for a walk or simply pottering in the garden, why not take a closer look at the unassuming green shrubs and smaller inhabitants that you’d otherwise overlook – it can be surprising what surprises await when you start venturing into the macro world