Schrödinger’s Pipit

The patch is very colourful at the moment, with swathes
of Rosebay 
Willow Herb and Ragwort....
.... an echo of the springtime
 Yellow and Purple colour-sheme, here, of Creeping 
Buttercups and Northern Marsh Orchids 
A Tree Pipit, flying over this morning, got me musing on quantum physics.

As poor old Schrödinger’s cat found out…quantum mechanics tells us that Measurement determines reality.

Until last year the highest number migrant Tree Pipit, at sites in Lancashire, was in the tens. Peter Alker, who rings birds at the nearby Billing Hill made a special effort to record and ring Tree Pipits – playing back calls to entice birds down. He noted 133 and 'blew the previous record out of the water'  There are far more Tree Pipits flying over than get recorded.

I've, personally, seen the same thing. During my Cheshire Garden days I regularly sat out in the garden to document the overhead  migration of Meadow Pipits. As my 'season' started in mid September I saw very few Tree Pipits.  Then one year I started in August, specifically to see if there were any 'Tripits' - there were...I started to record Tree Pipits.

There is a vast world of nature ‘out there.’  Then there is the relatively limited part of nature that we humans record.  When we look for something we find it, when we don’t it remains hidden.

I saw another example of this yesterday on the patch with the vast number of money spider webs that were revealed by dew. I started looking for them – I found them. I also saw it with the number of breeding Goldcrests – I made a special effort to look for them and found a lot more that I’d expected.

Ok, this is a bit of stretch. There is, in fact, only a fanciful parallel here with the quantum world  – I am verging on a willful misunderstanding of the physics. It's the kind of thing I would decry if a journalist did it to give him 'an angle’.

However, it’s easy to think of examples of act of observing something actually changing the reality of that thing (as opposed to, simply what we know about that thing).

As a  young boy I remember  my excitement at having a Robin nesting in a box my dad had made. I couldn’t resist regular peeks to see the progress of the nest. Unfortunately this made the Robins desert the nest. My observations changed the real world.

‘Mindfulness’ is all the rage at the moment  - and who am I to stay off that bandwagon. I try to adopt mindfulness - to be ‘in the now’ - when on my patch walks..  However these musings keep on coming at me like a shark with knees (apologies to the Mighty Boosh). Get this