Shy Birds, Counting Bees and Beautiful Flies?

More sunshine! I was out early with S (who woke up just after 5). He was in the pushchair, eventually asleep, so we stuck to the lanes and went through the village and then round Bottom’s Lane. I was busy thinking, preoccupied with a maths problem, when this Meadow Brown caught my attention…

Walking is a great way to see the flora and fauna on your local patch, but stopping is often even better. Now that I had my camera in hand, and had stopped, at least for while, trying to calculate the difference between the cubes of thirteen and eleven, I realised that the the trees and shrubs alongside the road were bouncing with families of young birds, particularly Blue Tits and Long-Tailed Tits.

One of the latter led me on a merry dance as I tried to catch it on camera. It hopped and fluttered from branch to branch. I took several photos of twigs which it had only just vacated. In the end I did get some pictures…

…but only incognito shots. It would never quite show its face…

Meanwhile, on the verge the brambles are flowering. Not spectacular to look at, but obviously very attractive to nectar seekers. The plants on the verge were also heavily populated by…

..these splendid fellows.

When they are buzzing around my face, keeping me awake on a hot summer evening (not that we’ve had any of those recently), or in my kitchen, frankly they drive me mad. But I have to admit that the colours and the wings are very impressive.

On the opposite verge there were tall spikes of Limestone Woundwort:

Your ordinary, bog-standard Woundwort is very common in this area, its flowers are smaller and darker and it’s not half as showy as this close relative.

Although I had an early start I can’t compete with these guys:

Having cut the hay yesterday, today the fields and roads in the area were busy with tractors turning and then collecting it before more forecast wet weather arrives off the Atlantic tomorrow. When I started writing this post they were still out there working with floodlights.

For me the rest of the day held a puppet show and a charity garden party with the family and my Mum and Dad, so a pretty lazy day:


But Farmers and Bees are always busy:

Apparently, Bees can count to 3, but perhaps that’s a story for another time.

Now: 13 cubed minus 11 cubed……

Shy Birds, Counting Bees and Beautiful Flies?

Spira Mirabilis

After the snail shells I photographed on Tuesday night started me thinking about spirals and the geometry of nature, I noticed, on the shelves of Lancaster Library, a book called ‘Patterns of the Earth’.

It is a collection of (mostly) aerial photograph categorised into Bands, Stripes, Ripples, Circles, Spots, Grains, Forks, Branches, Webs, Curves, Ribbons, Swirls, Spikes, Grids and Cracks.

It shows how the same patterns emerge in widely disparate locales and hugely different terrains.

Because the photos are mainly aerial, the patterns seen are on a geological scale.

To me a more interesting book would seek out those same patterns from microscopic  to galactic scales.


Just along the shelf I spotted ‘What Shape is a Snowflake?’ by Ian Stewart.

This explains the mathematics behind how the same basic patterns and shapes recur frequently in nature.

Then Ron from Walking Fort Bragg left a link in a comment to photographs on Astronomy Photo of the Day of a typhoon and a nebula, both of which are logarithmic spirals.


These equiangular spirals crop up in all sorts of places. They can be generated in a most elegant way using the Fibonacci sequence.

(The squares have sides 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and 34)

So with all this running around my head, imagine how thrilled I was today when Amy picked an Oxeye daisy and presented it to me:

And I discovered that it too had logarithmic spirals to display.

Spira Mirabilis