Saturday, 23 May 2020


It's very windy here in Halifax (West Yorkshire). Trees battered. Blossom and leaves flying and falling . . . and this twig landed outside my front door. I brought it in to show you it. It's eight and three quarter inches long and 4mm wide. There are at least two kinds of lichen and several tiny threads on it. It's very dry and once you start looking you find differences in colours and texture, the amount of dust stuck to its various parts, and even what I think are tiny scale insect (too tiny to photograph indoors without extra light so you'll have to imagine them). (I'll come back to scale insect another day.)

The smaller something is, the more there is to see.

Twig with two kinds of lichen. Eight and three quarter inches long and 4mm wide.
To see better, click on the picture to enlarge it.
The twig. It's eight and three quarter inches long and 4mm wide. It may have come from a sycamore. It may have come from an apple tree. It might have come from further away from another tree entirely. Tree people . . . can you tell?

Twig and shadow with heightened brightness and contrast.

The twig and its shadow as an abstract.

The end of the twig where it has broken from another twig or branch.

Where the twig has broken free from a slightly bigger twig, or maybe from a branch. (If you peer or enlarge, you'll see one of the threads.)

Where a twiglet has broken from the twig.

Where the twig itself once had a twiglet - and another thread

Lichen on the twig.

One kind of lichen. (The little round satellite / cup-like structures are its 'fruiting bodies'.)

Another kind of lichen on the twig.

Another kind of lichen.

If I can find out for sure what these lichens are, I'll add that in later.

The other end of the twig - bark, wrinkles, colours, textures.

The other end of the twig.

I found this end particularly interesting. So many shapes, colours and textures in less than two inches.  I think the wrinkles may give a hint about years of growth . . . or is it where the twig has broken while still on the tree then continued to grow? If anyone can expound about this I would be grateful!


1. New to the 'Identifying Things' tab, DUNG BEETLES UK MAPPING PROJECT - See the side column on the home page for 'Find, Identify and Record Dung Beetles'.

2. An interesting thread by Harriet Lambert on Twitter: by damaging leaves, bumblebees are making plants flower earlier than they would otherwise.


1. 30 Days Wild (with the Wildlife Trusts). Can you think of something nature-related to do for every day in June? Everyone knows that everyone is more limited than usual when it come to looking around this year so it's an extra challenge - how much 'wild' can you explore from home? I'll be seeing what I can do / find and posting the results on twitter - @LucyCorrander. (I've tried in other years and have never managed 30 days yet but here's for another go!)

2. National Insect Week: 22nd - 28th June - an event organised jointly between The Royal Entomological Society and others. This year on-line. The site is gradually gearing up. For example, you can see a little cartoon video explaining what an insect is. (See if you can define an insect before watching it. er . . . um . . . ) Explore!

Linking to 'My Corner of the World'.
'My Corner of the World'
International Photographic 


Jo said...

It's so windy today and I think it's forecast to carry on into tomorrow. It's a wonder trees aren't down, never mind twigs.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Jo. You are right. There's a very small tree, below the big sycamores (I don't know what it is except that it had white blossom a few weeks ago) and two of its branches are touching the ground. Hopefully they are just bent rather than broken.

Lisbeths Haveblog said...

Such a nice post about little things with great adventures - when you use your eyes.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It is quite wonderful that you can create such an interesting and highly readable post about a twig. Bravo! And for some reason it amuses me to no end that you use both metric and imperial measurements in the same description. I hope that the time is drawing closer for you to step outside a little. Even a walk to the end of the block would be highly therapeutic I am sure. Stay well, Lucy.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Lisbeths. I like that idea - of little things with great adventures.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello David. I'm glad the mixed measurements amused you. I rather enjoyed recording them that way! And yes . . . even a walk to the end of the block would be great. While I was potting on some plants in the tiny little space in front of my front door this morning I saw that one of my neighbours along the terrace was sweeping away the leaves and blossom from beside her house. It was too early to call out to say 'hello' without disturbing people and I felt really bad that I couldn't quietly walk along to wish her well. Everyone along here knows how vulnerable I am and will not come close but there's nothing to stop someone who happens to be walking by from stopping too close to talk. (It's not just the coronovirus - I have no immunity to anything (except hopefully to the flu for which I had two injections).

Flighty said...

Interesting post and pictures. It was windy at times here the past couple of days. Your mixed measurements reminded of my working life much of which was spent using both imperial and metric, decimals and fractions.
Take care. xx

Sue Garrett said...

It really has been windy - I wonder how much of our fruit will have been blown off?

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Flighty. That's interesting that you used both in your work. There are some measurements which work well in metric and others which seem right in imperial. I sat with the twig and decided to use both because that, to me, gave the best indication of dimensions. I think, also that there are some measurements which stick with one historically. When I used to sew clothes, patterns would give the line along which to sew a seam as at 3/8ths of an inch from the edge of the material. One ends up simply knowing what 3/8ths of an inch look like - a bizarre skill in other circumstances!

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Sue. I hope not too much fruit will have been blown off or damaged. I imagine it will depend somewhat on wind direction. I've been a bit worried about the latest-to-be-planted out runner beans but they seem to be ok. The big wonder on my allotment will be how well the apple tree does this year. Last year there was loads of blossom but something wrong with some leaves and the fruit was small and cracked and inedible. Puzzling was that the leaves of a nearby hydrangea were blackened too. I'm hoping it might have been a chemical drift (I'm not aware that apples and hydrangeas have diseases in common) and that this year's fruit will be ok. Fingers crossed that the winds won't step in with their own version of damage.

Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

The more you look the more you see. Nature never fails to amaze me.

Diana Studer said...

The grey lichen is foliose?

Remember you introduced me to iSpot years ago? South African observations have moved to iNaturalist, where there is a lovely lady who IDs lichens. She says worldwide the species are similar, so if the picture shows what she needs, we get an ID.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I thought it was wonderful that you saw and shared such wonderful thoughts about something most of us would merely glance at, if even that. I used to take part in a blog for macro photography that suggested such efforts as a way to remind ourselves to stop and look and see the beauty in small details. You did those things with this post and it inspired me. ....... I’m new here and after I read the post I looked at your sidebars and am even more inspired. Stay well!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Excellent post, I love looking closely at small things that might normally be overlooed. The more yellow lichen might be a Xanthoria, but it's usually even more yellow and I'm nowhere near knowing anything much about lichens, much though they fascinate me, they're incredibly difficult to reliably identify

betty-NZ said...

I never thought about blown-off twigs and branches before! Thanks for the insight :)

Feel free to share at My Corner of the World

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Linda. Yes. You are right. You can take something that looks like nothing and . . . 'the more you look, the more you see'!

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Diana. I know so little about lichens and find them bewildering as well as fascinating. Someone from the British Lichen society on twitter says the grey one is of the Physcia species. I've been trying to see if I can find out whether all Physcia are foliose. Some are but . . .

That's interesting about worldwide lichen species being similar. I would have anticipated quite the opposite!

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Sallie at FullTime-Life. I'm glad you were inspired by the twig post. Is the macro site you mention still going?

As I mention, I am planning to take part in the 30 Days Wild challenge - doing something nature-related every day in June. I expect some of this for me will mean looking at more small and mundane things in detail.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Crafty Green Poet. I had wondered about Xanthoria parietina but had been uncertain because it is so very small on this twig. However someone from the British Lichen Society has suggested that on Twitter and they should know! It was very common where I lived in Dorset and the colour would change a lot depending on how damp the weather was. The wetter it got the greener it was. Hot and dry and the same patch would be yellow. The lichen person commented on how green it is given the risen light levels - but I'm assuming if it came from a lower branch in a tree the now dense foliage could have kept it in shade.

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Betty in New Zealand. Perhaps you too will notice fallen twigs and things from now on. Thank you for your invitation to join 'My Corner of the World'. I have done so - and have added a badge and a link here to this post too.

Veronica Lee said...

Nature is amazing, isn't she! And how true - oftentimes, we look without seeing!

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Hello Veronica. It's one of the good things about having a camera and a blog - it encourages me to look closer and just about everything!