Readers’ wildlife photos

December 31, 2020 • 8:00 am

Please send in your wildlife photos, as the tank is distressingly low.

Today we have two sets of photos from Joe Routon-one of ducks and one of plants. Ducks first, of course. Joe’s captions are indented; click photos to enlarge them.

A few years ago, when we were in India, we were surprised to see these ducks being herded down the river. Our guide explained that they were part of a duck farm.

This link, sent by Joe, tells about duck farming in India, which calls them “reasonably intellectual birds.”

The second batch:

On my daily social-distancing, mask-wearing walk, I always take my camera, in search of something beautiful to photograph. In this world of ugliness and unrest, I need something that makes me feel good.

Dead leaves are not the first things that come to mind when you think about beauty. But, in my search for things to photograph, I started noticing them. Here are a few of my photos of dead leaves as art.

It’s not a leaf—it’s a seedhead, but I’m including it because to me it’s art in its purest sense. It’s Clematis vitalba, also known as Old Man’s Beard.

13 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Young oaks and beeches, and a few other species, that retain their leaves throughout the winter are called marcescent, a condition somewhere between evergreen and deciduous I guess. I don’t think there are any definitive answers as to what advantage a broad-leaved tree may gain by holding dead foliage, but the lower branches tend retain them more often than the top.

    I think it’s also interesting to note that often there will be dead leaves still attached to the broken branches of fully decidious trees. Once the branch breaks the abscission layer between petiole and twig doesn’t function normally and the dead leaves can remain attached all winter.

    At any rate, those are lovely photos and I enjoy the dead leaves all winter, eagerly waiting to see them drop as the new buds break.

  2. The tank may be low, but the contents are still terrific. Duck farming! Who knew? And the dead leaves (etc) are gorgeous. Thanks.

  3. “Oak leaves are among the last to fall, they turn golden slowly, biding their time, toughing out the weather until a shudder runs through them and they let go, surrendering to a gravity they have resisted since the unfolding of spring. It’s their destiny, they drop. In the morning, each leaf wears an edge of rime and the jewelery of almost-frozen rain. A fox, the same colour, nosed through them last night, sniffing their beery tannin, hungry for a trace of voles where worms slip deeper underground…”

    Dr. Paul Evans, The Country Diary

    Nice pictures, Joe.

  4. At our local art fair, there was an artist/sculptor who made imaginative sprinklers out of copper tubing; one looked remarkably like this, albeit a much simpler version. Perhaps the Clematis is where he got his inspiration.

  5. Nice set of photos! I would definitely call Joe’s photos of leaves and seed heads art but not the seed-head (or leaf) itself. The word art is related to ‘artifice’ and ‘artificial’ and surely makes a distinction between natural beauty and beauty created by the artist (i.e. humans)? Art is often inspired by nature but is different to it.

    I have no dispute with the idea that a seed-head is a most beautiful thing; one of countless beautiful wonders that evolution has provided us.

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