Sunday, 27 February 2011

Friday, 25 February 2011

Rats!

There is a report that conservationists will attempt to eradicate the wild Brown rats on the Atlantic island of South Georgia (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7052509.ece ). As in many other cases, the rats arrived on whaling boats and have decimated the island populations of ground nesting birds (they eat the eggs and the chicks). The South Georgia pipit, the most southerly song bird is one threatened species. Getting rid of all the rats in such a large area (80,000 hectares) is frought with problems as the terrain is difficult and the rats burrow effectively. The fact that greeny-blue poison pellets will be used as 'they are least attractive to birds' does not fill me with confidence.

Seeing the Changes 350

In Loughor, the little Wild daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) were out. In Bynea, lots of Willow catkins were evident and, at Penclacwydd, the wet had resulted in a profusion of lichens and mosses.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Seeing the Changes 349

Loads of interesting fungi in Mumbles. Probably Lactarius rufus. Visited, in Loughor, by a male Dotted border moth (Agriopis marginaria) and the Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) was in flower.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Seeing the Changes 348

In Loughor, there was the first flowering of the Common dog violet (Viola riviniana). There were impressive mosses in Bynea and an early Goat willow (Salix caprea) catkin was evident in Penclacwydd.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Yew Turn

The UK Government has withdrawn its proposed privatisation of the English woodlands (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/feb/17/forestry-sell-off-policy-u-turn?INTCMP=SRCH ). It seems that the considerable public pressure from media friendly groups and political opposition has caused this change. I guess that the majority of these people didn't believe that the proposed access and management 'safe-guards' that were to be 'built in' could be relied upon. Perhaps there is hope for the badgers?

Seeing the Changes 347

The Biting stonecrop (Sedum acre) is coming into flower in Bynea.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Seeing the Changes 346

A spring-like day. In Penclacwydd, Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) was in flower. It was joined, in Loughor, by Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria). A Common damsel bug (Nabis rugosus) came to the light in Loughor whilst a Drone fly (Eristalis tenax) fed on the Garden crocus. In Penclacwydd, a Seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella 7-punctata) sunned itself on a fence.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Wood bind

The debate about the Government's plan to sell off woodland (largely from the Forestry Commission?) in England continues to rumble on with the Woodland Trust posting an online petition against the move (http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/Pages/default.aspx ). I suppose much depends on who would do the buying. People interested in trees (largely pines) as a 'cash crop', are hardly likely to have public access and biodiversity high on their agendas. One could, however, make the case that some Forestry Commission plantations could be managed in more interesting ways with a greater emphasis on oaks and beeches etc. I am still not convinced that commerce and public enjoyment of the countryside is a happy mix.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Seeing the Changes 345

Common chickweed (Stellaria media) was in flower in Loughor and Common field speedwell (Veronica persica) in bud in Bynea.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

His Lordship

One might argue that the Swansea University campus is getting 'greener' as Dan Forman recorded a Mink (Neovison vison) dining on an eel in the water feature in front of the Vivian Tower. Of course, the Mink is a North American species and its presence is bad news for any nesting birds on the campus or in Singleton Park. The sighting does suggest that human disturbance is not much of an issue on parts of the site. This interesting carnivore's ancestors presumably escaped from or was 'liberated' from a mink farm (they are a source of regal ermine). The 'greener' epithet is, however, challenged somewhat by the cutting down of some of our more substantial trees.

A Song Unheard?

There is a somewhat odd finding that highly toxic Pumpkin toadlets from Brazil apparently cannot hear their own mating calls ( https://w...