Thursday, 27 September 2012

Schrödinger’s warbler

In recent days I have many times peered at bushes in search of warblers. Equally as many times the warblers have remained unseen.

If a warbler lurks in a bush unseen for days on end one may assume, as Schrödinger might have done, that it is equally likely that the warbler remains alive in the bush or that it has died there. In this Schrödingerian vagrant warbler scenario, the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that, at such a moment of equal probability, the warbler is simultaneously alive and dead. Conversely, when the bush is chopped down, observers (in this case DTH, Gav and a marsh tit) will see that the warbler is either alive or dead and not both alive and dead.

The warbler was alive. We saw it. We didn't even have to chop down a bush. All we had to do was wade through an interminable flock of blue tits and long-tailed tits. We also admired a fine redstart and set a horde of meadow grasshoppers pinging from the long grass in the last of the year's warmth.

Schrödinger, I am reliably informed, is dead.

Yellow-browed warbler by DTH 

Redstart by DTH 

Same redstart, different bush, by DTH

Worth two in a bush (dead or alive)


yellow-browed warbler
Phylloscopus inornatus

2012 Totals
Mammals: 82
Birds: 855
Reptiles: 20
Amphibians: 8
Fish: 11

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