Watch one of nature's most awe-inspiring spectacles — the hen harrier's skydance — and learn more about their breeding behaviour in this short video. Keep your eyes peeled when visiting the British uplands in the spring and you could be lucky enough to see this for yourself! (Please visit the site to view this video)
On paths and lawns you might notice something that looks like a green jelly fungus. It loves warm wet weather, paths and poorly drained compacted lawns. I think my photograph is of Nostoc commune, a type of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria have been around for 3.5 billion years and helped to create the atmosphere we have today by releasing oxygen into the atmosphere and fixing nitrogen from the air. In medieval times it was called star jelly as it was thought to be the remains of shooting stars fallen to earth. Nostoc species are of interest to food, biofuel and pharmaceutical companies. Traditional medicine has used them as anti inflammatories and today they are of interest for their antibacterial action and possible use against certain cancers. So instead of going urgh, I think a small round of applause is called for.
Even though I'm too wussy to ever eat any fungi I find, I still love going out in autumn looking for them. I think it's their weird shapes and strange habits that I like, seeing something growing straight out of a decaying tree or a bright spot amongst the leaf litter or yellowing grass, just makes a drizzly autumn day a bit less dreary. I have no idea what this white one is - puts me in mind of a sea slug though.