Common as muck!

26th February 2012:  I don’t think I should let my first spring day pass without posting a few marsh landscape images to mark the occasion.

It’s not only landscape colours that change from drab to bright with the start of a new mating or growing season; animals also exhibit a new vibrancy that shows in behavioural changes and in the colours of plumage. The colour of a breeding heron’s beak, for instance, will change from yellow to orange, and its legs to pink; the shag’s plumage will change to a dark green; a drake mallard’s head plumage will have a purple hue during courting and mating, and then it changes to black after the female has laid her eggs. These exciting facts are worth knowing if you have more than a passing interest in nature. These subtle behavioural and colour changes pass on important information using a non-verbal language that we, and animals are capable of understanding – we have to spend time learning the language, though. It does help, when trying to see and understand these changes in nature, if you spend as much time as possible studying nature, preferably outside in the countryside – not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s a fact.

People tell me that mallards are as common as muck; pigeons and squirrels are vermin; herons, and cormorants steal our fish. I don’t care! I’m interested in all animals, including the pests, the vermin, and the chicken and the fish stealers. I don’t see that one animal has any merit over another, unless we are eating them. I do see the necessity of managing the animals and their environment, and even the need to cull, to ensure their survival, but whatever we do now or in the future, Mother Nature will win in the end. However important and superior we human beings think we are, Mother Nature will win in the end, unless we find a means of vaporising ourselves and our planet.

I will put the landscapes in a separate post, perhaps later today.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

22 Comments on “Common as muck!

  1. I think nature will win in the end, as you say, but will it be the nature it could have, should have been? Somehow, I doubt it.

    • No, Robert, it won’t be the same nature. Just as well, too, or we might now be spending our days running away from dinosaurs. 🙂

  2. Amazing photography in the slideshow! I love seeing the different changes announcing spring’s arrival. Last week I noticed the House Finches around here started singing a different song and then thought how lucky am I that I get to be out enough to noticed the change.
    Great post!

  3. I find it interesting that what is obnoxious to one person can be exciting and interesting to another. I am always thrilled to see herons because I don’t see many of them unless I go to the nearby lake. I was not aware that they are seen negatively because they steal fish. Perhaps if I lived in a fishing environment that would be more apparent.

    Nature will always find a way to adapt. I have a healthy respect for it and great confidence that in spite of humankind it will rebound to its wild state. I’ve watched trees grow around chain linked fences. It really makes you pause and think.

    • Thanks for your comment, Dezra.

      “One person’s meat is another person’s poison,” or so it is said.

      Herons don’t know that they are stealing fish; they do what comes naturally. Herons don’t have fishing licences, like quite a few fishermen. 🙂

  4. Good words, Mike.

    A small tale: I clicked through the UK and Erie Natural History Bloggers link button. Then I clicked the maps. Then the northern most tab they showed on the map. The blog was for sale. First shot from the gun. Bummer. I’ll follow through on other visits, but I’ll wonder what happened to the writer for a while.

  5. Thanks, Ten.

    Strangely enough, I did exactly the same as you and also found that the blog was for sale – spooky. 🙂

  6. Wonderful images of species that are sometimes taken for granted as ‘always being there’ and not given the attention they deserve.
    I enjoyed reading your post and have gained some extra knowledge as I did not know that a breeding heron’s legs turn pink, I do now though!
    Mother Nature…now that is one Mother who does know best I would say!

  7. Great shots … I really like the closeups. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, we are part of nature too. It depends on all of us to make the best of our little corner of the world be it either by blogging to get info out there or actively participating in the recovery of what our fore-fathers harmed.

  8. Thanks, Sheriff. I agree, absolutely! There was an iron works at the southern end of Wilden Marsh until the 1960s, and the marsh has been surrounded by heavy industry for many years; now it is a ‘flagship’ nature reserve. However, it is the failure of heavy industry that has allowed the transformation.

  9. How silly we humans (most anyway) are to disdain beauty just because it is common. That’s a failure in our thinking, not the fault of nature.

    • You speak the truth. However, things are changing for the better. What is needed is more people who are prepared to promote the benefits of nature to a world in which stress negatively affects lives.

    • I agree that all nature is beautiful, but disagree that where a an animal is in the food chain is irrelevant: I like a bit of meat with my potatoes and carrots. 😉

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: