Thursday, 27 May 2010

Light and shade

Here are two cousins, or possibly even brother and sister, both of them Scalloped Hazels in spite of their very different colouring. The dark one is the form Nigra which occurs in small numbers in an interesting range of places, not just those associated with pollution, past and present. Does this mean that it is melanistic, as in the famous example of the Peppered Moth whose dark version has declined with pollution (and in inverse ratio to the national improvement in health as evidenced by the number of people getting 100th birthday telegrams from Buckingham Palace - see previous posts)? Or is it just a different colour pattern which has arisen for other reasons? Observations welcome, and I shall enquire more widely too. this particular one looks to have had a brush with a bird or bramble, judging by the streaks along its wings.I had an exactly similar visit from two different Scalloped Hazels two years ago, so there is a small contribution to the recording system.

Also visiting, the first of this year's Flame Shoulders, an instantly-recognisable arrival and therefore warmly welcomed by all of us who cannot tell our Pugs and Carpets apart.

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