Friday 23 March 2012: Cat's eye...
Summer seems to have arrived early in Peterborough. After some early morning mist, the sun broke through and temperatures rocketed to a balmy 19C!
Pete and I made an early visit to the nearest DIY shop to purchase flooring for the kitchen. When we took up the old carpet we found that significant areas of the concrete had the texture of sand and disappeared when hoovered, so it's taken quite a while to get it in a fit state to put down a new floor covering.
I then spent a little time in the greenhouse sowing tomatoes, basil and squash, before Alex, Ben and I headed off for a long dog walk round Ferry Meadows. The fine weather, and a promise of chips at the cafe, were sufficient incentive to get the boys out. I was surprised at how busy it was - clearly lots of other people had had just the same idea!
Although it was warm, there wasn't much that captured my photographic interest, so when I came back I hunted round the garden for inspiration. Poppy was lying on one of the garden tables and Ben suggested that I should take a macro of her eye. She was remarkably unperturbed at a camera thrust in her face, so I was able to get quite a detailed image.
Compared to other animals, cats' eyes have special distinct features that set them apart. Large, intense and simply beautiful, a cat's eyes have evolved to help capture the slightest movements, aiding them to stalk and chase prey in the wild. A cat's eyes are significantly large when compared to the size of their head which is typical of nocturnal animals. Large eyes allow nocturnal animals to take in much more light when in dark habitats.
The typical fluorescent shine a cat's eyes emit when caught in a beam of light is due to a particular structure called the "tapetum lucidum" located exactly right behind the retina. The cat's tapetum works like a mirror allowing lights to bounce out of it, increasing the light available to the photoreceptors. This improves vision in low-light conditions, but can cause the perceived image to be blurry from the interference of the reflected light
A cat's eye has an elliptical pupil in bright light (as here) and a round large pupil almost filling the whole iris area, when in the dark.
PS Thanks for all the comments, stars and hearts for yesterday's reed-fringed river - this is one of the classic views on my stretch of the Nene and one I never tire of seeing.