Friday, 15 September 2017
Some of the plants and critters from my recent visit to Sardinia in the area around San Teodoro and the coast near Alghero. The first item is a relative of the daffodil Pancratinum maritimum and then a weird flower I can't identify. The dragonfly is probably a Common darter (Sympetrum striolatum). A grasshopper and a bush cricket were also seen. A cicada final nymph stage case was found on vegetation below pines. Lepidoptera included a Hummingbird hawk moth (Macroglossum stellatarum); a probable Brown argus (Aricia agestis); a Long-tailed blue (Lampides boeticus); a Geranium bronze (Cacyreus marshalli) and a possible Geranium argus (Eumedonia eumedon). Hymenoptera included Andrena flavipes; Xylocopa violacea; possible Melecta albifrons and definite Colletes halophilus. Temperature appeared to kill lots of riverine fish resembling Thick-lipped grey mullet (Chelon labrosus). There were also lots of Common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis). Birds included Little egret (Egretta garzetta); Hooded crow (Corvus corone cornix) and fishing Cormorant (Phalocrocorax carbo).
Apologies for the hiatus in posting but have been driving to a wedding on Sardinia with a side trip back via Rotterdam. These are some of the natural history high-lights on the trip down to Livorno (for ferry crossing). In Langres (France) there were masses of roadside flowers including Meadow thistle (Cirsium dissectum); Field scabious (Knautia arvensis) and Slender knapweed (Centaurea debeauxii). At a service station near Bourg-en-Bresse, there was an invasion of an unidentified moth (top and underside views shown). In Chiavari (Italy), home town of Christopher Columbus, spotted this neat Moorish gecko (Tarentola mauritanica).
Thursday, 17 August 2017
I have just noted the obituary of Sir Patrick Bateson 1938-2017 (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/14/sir-patrick-bateson-obituary). I met him at a conference in Sitges (Spain) in 1982. He was an excellent scientist, a natural communicator and an all-round good guy.
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Sunday, 13 August 2017
There's rustling and there's rustling! A mass abduction of Honey bees has been reported (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/11/rustler-steals-40000-bees-britains-biggest-hive-heist-anglesey) along with a note that the value of a Honey bee brood with a queen has recently quadrupled to about £200 (bee keeping is getting more popular but bees are not thriving). The event occurred in Rhydwyn on Anglesey and presumably involved someone knowledgeable and equipped for the 'sting'. I would be surprised, however, if this event genuinely qualifies (as reported) as Britain's biggest hive heist. Occasionally (as in the above picture) broods become available for free.
Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Interesting news that a 'bullshit detector' is being developed to enable journalists to rapidly check for actual fake news, including fake, fakes (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/aug/08/fake-news-full-fact-software-immune-system-journalism-soros-omidyar). The trouble is that there are masses of bullshit generators (including some journalists). In addition, it appears that people are often only too willing to believe fake news if it fits with their preconceptions, even in the face of masses of evidence suggesting their beliefs are erroneous (remember the anti-expert dialogue of recent times). I suspect that the identities of the 2 benefactors financing development of the detector software, will generate more fake news in certain circles.
In Het Park there were Little Japanese umbrella fungi ( Coprinus plicatilis ). In the centre of Rotterdam, well away from water...
A combination of night rain and day-time sun has resulted in more Bynea blooms. The Southern marsh orchid ( Dactylorhiza praetermissa...
A study ( https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/feb/01/special-spit-is-the-secret-of-uniquely-sticky-frog-tongues-study-reveals ) has...
It is always sad to hear of problems occurring at places you have used for teaching and the outbreak of h5n8 avian influenza at Abbot...