Sunday, 2 August 2015

Copper-bottomed schemes?


News that Zambian villagers are taking a copper-mining company to court over pollution that they claim is damaging their health (http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/aug/01/vedanta-zambia-copper-mining-toxic-leaks). It does appear that extractors of minerals have to be more careful about their activities in a world where perceived problems quickly get out into the world's media. This is, in general, no bad thing as it should keep organisations 'on their toes'.

Creepy-Crawley Celebs?


The Royal Society of Biology is apparently going to ask Britons to vote for their 'favourite bug' as a means of drawing attention to the effects of pesticides, habitat loss and climate change on such organisms (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/02/insect-poll-highlights-uk-threatened-species). This is all very timely but I can't help but feel that the vote will not be as meaningful as the recent vote for the favourite bird (the European robin, a species that all the people voting in that poll will have seen). The trouble with invertebrates is that there are many, many more candidates and most people will not have even noticed more than a few of them. Ladybirds might get a lot of votes from the children's book series or the nursery rhyme but, I suspect, spiders (in spite of also having a nursery rhyme) have less positive PR. Wasps are also generally misunderstood. Many of the candidates listed in the article seem to be the bigger and brighter species. How many votes is the Beautiful demoiselle (Calopterix virgo) likely to glean?

Seeing the Changes 996


In Loughor, conditions seem perfect for Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium)!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Ebola back in the bottle?


Some very impressive results from trials of a Canadian vaccine trialled in Guinea where the material seemed to offer 100% protection (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-33733711). It has been suggested by the WHO that this might be a 'game changer', preventing further catastrophic outbreaks of the disease in Africa. It shows what can be done when modern technology is applied to conditions more important than male hair loss.

No Flies on Rob


Some flies are quite interesting. There is a report that one such beast, Rhaphium pectinatum, last recorded in Richmond, Surrey in 1868 and thought to be extinct, has been found by a fly enthusiast called Rob Wolton in the Devon Wildlife Trust's Old Sludge Beds Nature Reserve (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/31/first-sighting-for-150-years-of-fly-thought-to-be-extinct). Congratulations to the fly for staying under the radar for such a long period and congratulations to Rob for being able to recognise it!

Seeing the Changes 995


Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) was heavily in berry in Bynea.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Seeing the Changes 994


In Bynea, spotted my first Painted lady (Cynthia cardui) of the year. This is some way from the promised, earlier in the season, hordes, flooding in from the continent!