I had an intriguing five minutes this morning. Like every morning, I was washing the dishes after breakfast when I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a movement on the kitchen wall above the sink. Expecting the usual ant or small moth or fly, I had a closer look, but couldn’t find anything. All I could see was a slightly darker spot on the wall, which looked like it was part of the kitchen tile.
But then that spot moved! There wasn’t anything there, but the dark patch on the wall glided along for a few centimetres and stopped again. I realised that this patch was a shadow and started looking for what might be casting that shadow.
When I leant my head against the wall to get a sideways look, I finally saw it: I was facing a tiny Praying Mantis nymph. It was virtually transparent – hence invisible except for its shadow – and so tiny that I suspect it had hatched that very morning. But it was a Praying Mantis, one of the more charismatic stars of many nature documentaries. Right there in our kitchen. You don’t have to go to the jungle to experience nature – provided you notice it when it comes to you.