Saturday, 30 June 2012

Seeing the Changes 509

Large-flowered evening primrose (Oenothera erythrosepaia) was in bloom in Bynea. Hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) was coming into flower in Penclacwydd. I also spotted a Red admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) being blasted by the winds.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Seeing the Changes 508

In Swansea, Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepium) was in bloom. At Blackpill, Dwarf mallow (Malva neglecta) and Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) up in an appearance.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Last Post for George

News that the last Pinta island sub-species of Giant Galapagos tortoise, dubbed 'Lonesome George', has passed away at the age of 100 or more or less -people are not sure how old he was (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jun/25/lonesome-george?INTCMP=SRCH). George, as the last of his kind, was regarded as the rarest of animals but, in essence, the fate of his sub-species was determined long before George's going into his shell for the last time. The miniscule amount of genetic diversity evident, even if he had elected to breed, would have condemned his line and breeding would have involved hybridisation with a related sub-species.

Seeing the Changes 507

In Bynea, noted that White melilot (Melilotus alba) was in bloom. Great mullein (Verbascum thapsis) flowers appeared and were immediately chomped by the, now chunky, Mullein moth larvae.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Seeing the Changes 506

Between Swansea University and Blackpill, noted lots of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor), Lady's bedstraw (Galium verum) and Crow garlic (Allium veneale).

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Rio Not So Grand?

The current Environment Conference in Rio, some 20 years after the initial discussions on sustainable development, appear to be a much depleted version of the initial lofty ambition for restricting climate change etc (http://www.uncsd2012.org/). Most of the 'big player' politicians have gone to concurrent meetings on the current economic crisis. This is understandable, as politicians in democracies crave to be elected and one is unlikely to be re-elected if promising declining living standards and an end to 'economic growth'. The sad fact is that one cannot get improvements in material wealth for all in a world where the total population continues to escalate. People with a meaningful vote are not likely to vote for pauperisation of themselves and their families even if this benefits the countries' finances or makes the banking sector more stable (it's simply not Darwinian).

Seeing the Changes 505

In Bynea, observed Woolly thistle (Cirsium eriophorum) in bloom. The sun brought out the Common froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) and the Cinnebar moth (Tyria jacobaeae). The pollen count was high in Gorseinon, so there a 3 pictures of the responsible grasses. In that location, Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) and Fly honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum) were in flower with Rosebay willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) coming into bud.  Lavish supplies of Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) berries were starting the ripen. The alien Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) was also in flower. Flea beetle (Phyllotrecta sp) larvae were chewing up the leaves and flies (Chloromyia formosa) were sunning themsleves. A green orb spider (Araniella cucurbitina) waited.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Seeing the Changes 504

In Loughor, visited by a Pale oak beauty moth (Hypomecis punctinalis). Male Oedemera nobilis beetles frisked on the Ox-eye daisies in Bynea.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Seeing the Changes 503

In Gorseinon, Spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare) and a Yellow garden escapee were in flower. The relenting of the rain resulted in appearances, in Loughor, of the Large skipper butterfly (Ochlodes venatus), an Ichneumon fly with red legs, a Sawfly (Rhogogaster viridis) and the nymph of a cricket.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Not only Ducks!

The unseasonal wet and cold weather doesn't just appeal to our feathered friends. All around the Loughor estuary, colonies of the cyanobacteria Nostoc are thriving as never before! An appropriately-named Drinker moth (Philudoria potatoria) larva seemed to be doing well in the wet at Penclacwydd.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Dingo Star

The final ruling by the coroner, in Australia, that the baby of Lindy Chamberlain was taken and killed by a Dingo, in 1980, when the family were camping near Uluru has led to the writing of  a timely article reminding  people in that country to recognise that some wild life can be dangerous (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/13/dingoes-azaria-chamberlain-autstralia-judgment?INTCMP=SRCH). Rather than attempting to eradicate 'dangerous' animals (only too late, was it recognised that Dingoes are powerful and intelligent predators introduced from South-East Asia around 4000 years ago), viable ecology requires people to act intelligently around Dingoes, Great white sharks and Saltwater crocodiles etc. This applies also to some of the small critters such as the Black widow spider.

Seeing the Changes 502

The Orange hawkweed (Pilosella aurantica) was coming into bloom in Bynea. Small Mullein moth (Cucullia verbasci) larvae were munching away at the silica-haired leaves of the Great mullein.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Seeing the Changes 501

Lots of flowers suddenly out along Swansea Bay. At Blackpill, Biting stonecrop (Sedum acre), Common restharrow (Ononis repens), Horseshoe vetch (Hippocrepis comosa), Red valerian (Centranthus ruber) and Sea bindweed (Calystegia soldanella) were in flower. At Westcross, Buck's horn plantain (Plantago coronopus), Common broomrape (Orobanche minor), Golden samphire (Inula crithmoides) and Ribbed melilot (Melilotus officinalis) were blooming. In Mumbles, there was even a stand of Rock sea lavender (Limonium binervosum).

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...