Posted by: Ross Gardner | December 2, 2013

Small Worlds

Fungi and moss - probably Stereum hirsutum and Brachythecium rotabulum.  Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner

Fungi and moss – probably Stereum hirsutum and Brachythecium rutabulum. Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner

A December wood, with its fading autumn flames readying for winter, can seem a stark place to the naturalist’s eye.  Only the small woodland birds have such an eye for the fine detail, as well they must in order find enough food to see the winter through.  But the small life persists within their own small worlds.

A fallen oak, with the forks of its trunk prone on the ground, offers a surface for a miniature lawn of moss; the sculpted brackets of yellow fungi;  an exfoliating plateaux of green lichen.  A deep fissure in the bark, filled with brown leaves conceals, is shelter valley where little beasts live.  The tiny beetles that scurry among the boulders of accumulated soil and springtails that leap to safety and away from the menace that swept away their canopy of leaves.

Do these small worlds ever really cease in their doing?

Springtail, probably Tomocerus sp.

Springtail, probably Tomocerus sp.

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