Sunday, 26 February 2012

Seeing the Changes 454

All over Worm's Head, creatures were digging their way out of the red soil. Nothing was identified but the critter must have been the size of a large bumblebee.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Seeing the Changes 453

In Bynea, Common field speedwell (Veronica persica) and Broom (Cytisus scoparius) were in bloom. In Loughor, a Drone-fly (Eristalis tenax) enjoyed the sunshine.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Seeing the Changes 452

The sun encouraged a wolf spider to start foraging on the wall of our Loughor house.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Birder's Bonus 110

Jackdaws (Corvus monedula) with white markings seem to be increasing in number in the Bynea region.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Seeing the Changes 451

In Bynea, Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) were in bud. In Penclacwydd, the first Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) flowers had emerged and Bulbous buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus) was blooming.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

How to Grow a Planet- Growing Confusion?

The 'How to Grow a Planet' series on BBC TV is visually impressive and entertaining but it does not deal especially well with the concept of co-evolution (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01c8b5t/How_to_Grow_a_Planet_The_Power_of_Flowers/). The second episode suggested that flowers had driven the development of colour vision in primates, by using colour to signify ripe fruit. One should note, additionally, that some uses of red mean poisonous rather than ready to eat. Even so, it is extremely unlikely that cones in the retina came about solely as a result of manipulation by flowers. Colour vision is important in other sets of circumstances (finding a mate and locating animal prey) and it is much more likely that the plant's signals and the primate detector systems drove each other in evolutionary terms.

Deer Oh Deer!

News from Washington DC that the authorities are going to use snipers to produce a mass cull of White-tailed deer in a major recreational park area (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/14/washington-deer-cull?INTCMP=SRCH). The Bambis stand accused of causing major damage to forested areas, including completely preventing regeneration by eating seedlings. Accommodating deer within such systems (a relatively small, confined space with no real predators) is difficult as the carrying capacity is likely to be very limited.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Birder's Bonus 109

Now there is a Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) active at Loughor Bridge.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Seeing the Changes 450

At Blackpill, Early scurvey grass (Cochlearia danica) was in bloom. Beetle larvae nibbled at the dead wood in my Loughor garden.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Birder's Bonus 108

Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) found flounder fishing off the Loughor Bridge sandbanks productive.

Birder's Bonus 107

I got a better picture of the peanut-eating Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) that visits our Loughor garden.

Same Old Song?

Scientists, led by a Montealegre Zapata, have reportedly re-created the song of a large bush cricket that lived in NW China 165 million years ago, in the Jurassic era (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/feb/06/mating-call-extinct-bush-cricket?INTCMP=SRCH). This large insect, it has been deduced from fossil evidence, would have produced a 6.4 KHz mating call, which would have been clearly in the human hearing range (many current bush crickets, like the one illustrated, produce calls nearer 20 KHz).

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Birder's Bonus 106

More activity on Loughor estuary. There were 3 Mute swans (Cygnus olor) in an armada. There was also a Curlew (Numenius arquata) active on the margins.

Seeing the Changes 1218

In Loughor, masses of black flies were emerging from a hedge. In conditions also attracted green lacewings ( Chrysoperla carnea ) to ...