In close-up, this paved area at the end of Barbara’s brother’s South Ossett garden is a miniature landscape; a sun-baked plateau dissected by a network of canyons. Brown ants patrol the edges of a dense forest of mosses.
Moss is still green in the crevices but on the surface of the concrete paving slabs, it’s dried up. White whiskers give the clump a little protection from the direct glare of the sun.
Spots, Stains and Splatters: Crustose Lichens
There are a few spots of a dirty yellow crustose lichen on the concrete. It’s dotted with orange sporangia, each with a narrow yellow rim.
This black crustose lichen looks like little more than a tar stain on the concrete but my macro photograph reveals a surface cracked like dried mud.
A white lichen looks like splatters of paint. In close-up almost every individual scale in the colony is dotted with a small depression, perhaps the lichen’s spore-producing body.
I’m guessing that the single orange sporangium is a different species of lichen – probably the yellowish species – that has become engulfed by the white one.
Bluebottles and Bumblebees
When I drew these a month ago on 11 June the temperature was climbing to 34°C, 92°F, in this sunny corner, so insects were active. A half-size version of a bluebottle touched down while a small marmalade-coloured bumblebee visited the white clover at the edge of the lawn.
I was soon adopted as an extension of the habitat by a small brown spider which climbed over me.