Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 400

In Bynea,  noted Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), Great mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and Slender St John's wort (Hypericum pulchrum) either in or coming into flower.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 399

The wetness continues but visited, in Loughor, by a large, interestingly-marked carpet moth and a Shaded fanfoot (Herminia tarsicrinalis).

Sunday, 29 May 2011

An Old Sea Dog

At Oxwich, catches of Golden grey mullet (Liza aurata) and Sea bass (Dicentrachus labrax) by my son, Daniel Brain (Homo sapiens and part-time Louis Theroux doppelganger) attracted the attention of someone's pet.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 398

Blustery and wet in Gorseinon but the Woolly thistle (Cirsium eriophorum) was in bloom.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 397

In spite of the strong winds, Greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) and Pale toadflax (Linaria repens) came into bloom in Bynea.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 396

A Westcross, noted the blooming of the parasitic Common broomrape (Orobanche minor).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 395

In Bynea, lots of Red dead nettle (Lamium purpureum), Pineapple mayweed (Chamomilla suaveolens), Wall speedwell (Veronica arvensis) and Marsh willowherb (Epilobium palustre) were in flower. A Yellow tail moth (Euproctis similis) caterpillar chomped on Sweet chestnut.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Catching Fishies (Not)Alive

There were 6 large (30-40 cm) fish washed up on the Swansea side of Loughor Bridge. All were minus their uppermost eye (a delicacy for birds).

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 394

Noted the Blue fleabane (Erigeron acer) in Bynea along with Redshank (Polygonum persicaria).

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Butterfly Cuts

Targeted conservation efforts are said to have arrested the declines in some of the UK's most endangered species  but proposed cuts in the budget for organisations such as Natural England are said to potentially reverse such gains (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/16/butterfly-revival-threatened-by-cuts?INTCMP=SRCH). This is to some extent an attempt to minimise the cuts or to at least ensure that some of the surviving funds are directed to this activity. I have much sympathy with the aims (butterflies are important bioindicator species) but it seems to me that the problem is much wider with changes in agricultural practises, building houses on every little bit of available land and even heavy-handed clearance of vegetation on public land play roles. It would be sad if species became restricted only to tiny areas of conservation activity (and that doesn't work for all species).

The Pilot Light Goes Out?

The story of the mass stranding of around 100 of 'Scotland's' (they are not, of course, Scottish as these cetaceans respect no national boundaries) Pilot whales in Loch Carnan on South Uist gathers momentum (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/20/humans-to-blame-whale-strandings?INTCMP=SRCH). The discussion now turns to the 'theories' (actually hypotheses) of why such strandings occur and whether human agencies are involved. The claims that the pod follows a single confused leader, have been parasitised in a way that disrupts their sonar communication or are influenced by 'secret' electromagnetic radiation from submarines have all been wheeled out. The short answer is that nobody really knows the answer and the reasons (more likely combinations of reasons) may well change from one stranding event to another.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 393

In Penclacwydd, Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) was in flower and covered in tiny beetles (Flea beetles?). In that location, Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium) and Creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense) were also in bloom. In Loughor, visited by a white and black Treble bar moth (Aplocera plagiata plagiata). In Bynea, got a nice shot of a 7-spot ladybird (Coccinella 7-punctata) larva.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Seeing the Changes 392

In Bynea, Yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus), Common fumitory (Fumaria officinalis), Cut-leaved cranesbill (Geranium dissectum) and Prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper). There was also a Common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum). The Lackey moth (Malacosoma neustria) larvae were now large and the caterpillar of a micromoth (Depressaria daucella) was active on Hemlock flower heads.

Monday, 16 May 2011

By the Banks of the Medway

In Rochester (Kent) by the river, noted lots of Viper's bugloss (Echnium vulgare) including a white varient, Wild mignonette (Reseda lutea), Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus), Heath bedstraw (Galium saxatile), Majoram (Origanum vulgare), Lucerne (Medicago sativa), Yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor), Musk mallow (Malva moschata), White campion (Silene alba), Hoary cress (Cardaria draba), Field scabious (Knautia arvensis), Pink oxalis (Oxalis articulata), Rough poppy (Papaver hybridum) and Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis).

Friday, 13 May 2011

Recycling Conifers at Afan Argoed

This day looked at plantations of conifers (Japanese larch, Scot's pine and Sika spruce) as crops and as a public amenity. In addition to the trees, notable plants in flower included Welsh poppy (Meconopsis cambrica), Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) and a violet (probably Viola mirabilis). Wild strawberry (Frageria vesca) was in fruit and Ivy-leaved crowsfoot (Ranunculus hederaceus) was blooming on the small roadside pondlets. We also noted the problematic aliens Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) and Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum). In terms of insects, there were many red and black froghoppers (Cercopis vulnerata), the probable brood of a Parent bug (Elasmucha grisea) and Forest bug nymphs (Pentatoma rufipes). There was also a wasp mimicking hoverfly (Chrysotoxum cautum) and an actual wasp (Tenthredo celtica). A male Oedemera nobilis beetle was also spotted. The pondlets also contained Palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus).

Seeing the Changes 1221

Visited, in Loughor, by a Blood-vein moth ( Timandra griseata ).