Monday, 21 December 2009

Colour in black-and-white

Quite impossible to get into work today (and anyway I have some holidays to take) so I had a tramp around the countryside instead. The sky was leaden and the snow was melting quickly; it was a challenge to find some colour. There are few berries left after what had seemed a good autumnal harvest. Cotoneaster (naturalised on the chalk around here) seemed to have been shunned. This seems surprising, as its seeds are widely spread by birds.
Spindle is, however, poisonous, so it's no wonder that these remain - but where in the world of evolution do the bright berries fit in? Why are they colourful, if not to attract attention?

Not many birds were seen, but those that were made up a good range of species; there were more blackbirds and song thrushes than usual, while the pick of the bunch included a sparrowhawk, two mistle thrushes, three bullfinches, a goldcrest with a party of long-tails, and this friendly but fast-moving firecrest.


Mary said...

What a beauty that little Firecrest is! Those fast moving ones keep us photographers on our toes :-) The snow is lovely and tramping outside is MUCH better than working!

Warren Baker said...

So envious of you with that Firecrest, I love 'em!

Greenie said...

Steve ,
Well done with the Firecrest shots .
Re. Cotoneaster berries , my theory is that they contain high levels of tanin , and the birds wait till the level goes down before starting to eat them , unlike the Holly , which they have already stripped .