I’m increasingly obsessed with reading comments on articles and replies to Twitter threads. I should stop, it’s becoming my new post-Facebook addiction, I’ve basically swapped reading about the crap that people I care about think and do for reading about the crap that strangers think and do.
My spirit animal is a barmaid, I just know it.
It’s unhealthy but I can’t stop. It’s the passive can’t-go-out-today equivalent of people watching and I LOVE IT. Even if the trolls leave me a little ugghh, there’s SUCH funny people out there. Frankly MUCH funnier than any of my friends.
Take this morning. I’m trying to blog differently, lightly: less of the onerous ranty “long posts” and more spontaneous “head vomit”; I want this endeavour to leave me refreshed not wrung out.
So today’s WordPress blog prompt word is “Bumble”. Ooh, I think. I will share a little observation from the other day when I went out to put the bunnies to bed and had a peep at/in my little wildlife pond…
Mother-Nature-of-what-the-fuck my eyes.
There is a huge cluster of pond skaters. Mesmerising in its symmetry, a perfect circle of the little things but with another circle on top face down into the middle, then another and another…
I should’ve taken a photo but the child in me won out and so I poked them with a stick. They scattered and underneath was a poor dead bumble bee floating around.
It was a bumble bee buffet.
I briefly felt like I was back in Vegas, and someone had set off the fire alarm at an all-you-can-eat… the pond skaters were dashing about, livid that I’d interrupted the bumble-binge-fest… it was one of those gross-interesting moments that crystallises our family’s love/hate view of nature.
So I just went onto Google to find an image of what I’d seen, not that I can find quite such a highly attended orgy-tastic dinner party but here’s an idea:
…but better than that, in my search I came across a question about exactly the same thing on the New Scientist Last Word blog from back in 2009.
I eagerly scrolled to read the comments… you may presume that most people reading a science blog would know that this phenomenon is simply because pond skaters are greedy carnivorous little buggers but, fabulously, no.
There were some perfect specimens of the varying species of internet commenter.
I often see flowers or other floating objects get caught up in a similar fashion when currents swirl them around. Perhaps that is what happened, they didn’t fight the currents and the symmetry is a co-incidence?
Whenever considering a question pertaining to nature first consider the role of energy in nature and in the specific instance if you can.
We are short upon observations here and so have few parameters by which to judge this instance.
However, the predictability of nature may suggest this has something to do with energy, either as the need to feed, or as the need to avoid predation.
If the bookies would accept my wager I would place my stake upon the probability that these skaters are feeding upon the same food source.
Before the game of icehockey begins, skaters always huddle around the goaltender for a brief pep-talk. In this case the goaltender’s gone, making the bemused skaters to wait long enough for the photographer to fetch the camera.
I think they are practicing for a olimpic [sic] gold medal in syncronized swimming.
…and my favourite, the not-a-clue-but-telling-you-like-a-boss braggarts:
In the winter it’s cold and therefore certain insects huddle up. One such example is the Labybird (/Ladybug). In the winter, should you find a ladybird then it is likely that it will be huddled in a sort of nest with a great mass of others to provide a greater chance of survival.
Penguins also do this in colder climates, but since ladybirds are not warm-blooded animals they tend to do this at milder temperatures – an autumn day for instance – and only come out on the hot summer days.
It seems likely to me that the pond skaters are doing something relatively similar to the ladybirds in the cold.
Mother Nature’s greatest achievement was human nature.