Sunday, 29 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 477

In Bynea along the cycle path noted, an impressive yellow fungus (a product of the recent rains). Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) was coming into flower along with Wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) and the first buds of the Silverweed (Potentilla anserina).

Birder's Bonus 117

On the rocks placed along the cycle path at Bynea, noted activity of Wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe).

Birder's Bonus 116

Also noted a Swallow (Hirundo rustica) in flight near the Loughor river yesterday. Today, they would be too water-logged to get off the ground!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 476

In Bynea, noted that White ramping fumitory (Fumaria capreolata) was in bloom. The Lackey moth (Malacosoma neustria) larvae had matured on their Penclacwydd web and an interesting spider lurked amongst the crucifers. .

Birder's Bonus 115

In Bynea, numbers of Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) were feeding on the mudflats around the river Loughor. A pair of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) flew over.

Birder's Bonus 116

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Birder's Bonus 114

In Bynea, a pair of Blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) were checking out the schrub. A dozen Oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) were shucking on the banks of the Loughor river.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 475

Spotted my first male and female Orange-tip butterflies (Anthocharis cardamines) of the year in Bynea. As usual, their appearance was several days after the flowering of the Cuckoo flower (the larval food plant). A male is pictured on the flower.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Birder's Bonus 113

Ranging on the Frome (outskirts of Bristol) were the Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) and the blurred flash of a patrolling Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).

Friday, 20 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 474

Did a 2nd day with the APT module on plant identification. Part of this involved a trip to the sand dunes on Swansea bay. In that location, observed Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), Marsh hawkbeard (Crepis paludosa) and Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) in flower. We also observed lots of ground nesting bees (Colletes succinctus) operating here. Later, there was a trip to the Swansea Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park where exotic flowers such as orchids were examined. At Westcross, Early scurvy-grass (Cochlearia danica) was in bloom. Blackpill, Small-flowered cranesbill (Geranium pusillum) was in flower.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 473

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) flowers had followed the leaves in Penclacwydd.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 472

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) and Moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina) spotted in the grounds of Swansea University whilst on an APT module with Neil Price and Co.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Return of the Frackers?

Somewhat disturbing news that a panel have given a 'clean bill of health' to 'responsible' fracking (the process of extracting gas from shale deposits by forcing water and chemicals into the strata at very high pressure). Extraction ceased after the process was linked to small earthquakes near Blackpool (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-17737991). The panel have ruled that the 'mild' earthquakes were no worse than those caused by coal mining in similar locations in the UK. There is a continuing debate, however, about whether the process is, in any sense 'green'. A lot of energy is required to 'liberate' the gas in the strata and there are concerns about what happens to the water and its associated chemicals (there is the possible contamination of water bodies- a particular issue in this time of drought?). I remain concerned, if a similar process is utilised on Swansea Bay, as doing this underwater seems to be adding to the potential complications.

Parchment?

It seems very likely that the drought that is evident over large sections of the UK as a result of 2 successive dry winters, will continue for some time and might well spread (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17726989). The drought will certainly cause anguish to gardeners (hose-pipe bans) and farmers (many crops are 'thirsty'). One should, however, also be concerned about the effects on the natural world. In a situation, where rivers are completely drying over sections of their 'flow', there are not only a powerful impacts on water creatures and vegetation but also on the organisms (e.g. migrating birds and birds of prey) that depend on them. When the waters return, it is likely to be some time before the ecology is re-established.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Birder's Bonus 112

Noted a predated Blackbird (Turdus merula) egg on the cycle path in Bynea.

Seeing the Changes 470

The Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris) of Loughor and in bud but the Horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) are fully in flower.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Birder's Bonus 111

Got a nice shot of a Dunnock (Prunella modularis) singing in my Loughor garden.

Seeing the Changes 469

In Bynea, Greater celendine (Chelidonium majus) was in flower. In Penclacwydd, I noted tiny Lackey moth (Malacosoma neustrina) larvae on a Blackthorn web. A Holly blue (Celestrina argiolus) fluttered and Speckled woods (Pararge aegeria tircis) patrolled my Loughor garden in the sunshine.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 468

In Bynea, Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) was in flower. Seven spot ladybird (Coccinella 7-punctata) were active on vegetation and a Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) came out of hibernation to bask.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 467

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) and Ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata) were in bloom in Bynea. A small group of Gower ponies (Equus caballus) blocked Loughor Bridge for a short period.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Seeing the Changes 466

Red campion (Silene dioica) was in flower in Penclacwydd. In Bynea, a Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum) bloom was completely unfurled.

Seeing the Changes 1221

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