Monday, 28 July 2014

Licensed to Drill



I must admit to being more than a little unhappy (even with the so-called 'safe-guards' for National Parks) about the giving of the green light to companies to apply licences to frack over many areas of the UK, whether the residents like it or not (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/28/fracking-expansion-uk-drilling-national-parks-safeguards). I suspect that this move was always on the cards, especially given the current arguments with Russia and our dependence on 'their' gas.  The apparent boom in energy provision by fracking in a much larger as less populous USA must also have played a role. My objections broadly remain the same:-
1. I am not convinced that the process doesn't at least carry a risk of contaminating water courses.
2. If the hydrocarbons are removed, that certainly changes the nature of the underlying rocks and possibly their stability.
3. The product, when burned, exacerbates global warming and I would prefer a greater emphasis on solar energy and improved insulation.
4. I am certainly not convinced that the licences mean more jobs (always a selling point to politicians).

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Balmy or Barmy Summer?



There has been much comment about the 'recovery' of Britain's wildlife as a consequence of the prolonged, hot summer (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/26/nature-recovers-in-traditional-summer). People seem to have had differing experiences with butterflies. Until yesterday, I had seen very little activity of these insects on Butterfly bush blossom and other insect-attracting flowers. Even yesterday, numbers were low and the Butterfly bush way past their best. The only butterfly that appears to have done well here is the Speckled wood (Pararge aegeria tercis) much in evidence in many locations. I have not seen a single Painted lady (Cynthia cardui) and relatively few Red admirals (Vanessa atalanta).

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Seeing the Changes 912




In spite of the hot weather, it has been a disappointing time for butterflies on the Butterfly bushes. In Gorseinon today, there was a bit of activity with Gatekeepers, Peacocks and Red admirals all activity.



Monday, 21 July 2014

Seeing the Changes 911




Visited in Loughor, by what looked like a Mullein wave (Scopula marginepunctata). By Machinys lake, noted Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) in flower and got a nice shot of a basking Black-tailed skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).



Saturday, 19 July 2014

Seeing the Changes 910




Near Machinys, Common fleabane (Pulicaria dysentaria) and  Hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) were in flower. Visited in Loughor by a lacewing (Chysoperla carnea).



Zooligans?


An interesting debate has started concerning London Zoo's decision to open in some evenings to attract in an older client base with teenagers and 20+ year olds (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/18/london-zoo-party-night-animal-welfare). Animals in zoos can certainly be stressed by visitors. Enlightened zoos actually incorporate a number of design features to enclosures that minimise this but they can't apparently cope with some of the 'wilder' behaviour of the late night visitors (including pouring beer over tigers and trying to get into locations with the animals). This is a difficult one as stress certainly impairs the health and breeding efficiency of the animals but many animal-orientated attractions have great difficulty attracting visitors from the 13-30 age groups. We tend to visit zoos as children or with children/grandchildren of our own. This is not simply a question of improving the finance of the establishments but a reasonable desire to interest the cohort (and possibly get them to support) in conservation. I do think the zoos ought to continue with such attempts but need to watch carefully the behaviour of their visitors. Perhaps people who are clearly drunk, should be refused entry to this type of place.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Seeing the Changes 909




In Loughor, Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum) was in fruit. I was covered in the burrs of the Common cleavers (Galium aperine). I also spotted a Spotted cranefly (Nephrotoma quadrifaria).