Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Seeing the Changes 521

In Bynea, Common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica) and Dark red helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens) were in flower.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Seeing the Changes 520

At Llangennith, spotted my first Painted lady (Cynthia cardui) and Grayling (Hipparchia semele) butterflies of 2012.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Seeing the Changes 519

The recent hot weather has brought Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) and Pale toadflax (Linaria repens) into bloom in Bynea. In Loughor, Comma butterflies (Polygonia c-album) were punctuating.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Seeing the Changes 518

The nuptual flight of the Yellow meadow ants (Lasius flavus) was stimulated by the hot weather in Bynea.

Seeing the Changes 517

Again in Oxwich, saw Bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum), Wild sage (Salvia nemerosa), Slender St John's wort (Hypericum pulchrum) and Lady's bedstraw (Galium verum) in bloom. Lots of Jellyfish were washed up and a primitive Grey chiton (Lepidochitona cinerea) was spotted. On land, a day-flying Silver 'Y' moth (Autographa gamma) and a male Common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) were spotted.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Seeing the Changes 516

At Oxwich on the Gower, Orpine (Sedum telephinum), Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis), Small-flowered cranesbill (Geranium pusillum) and Wild thyme (Thymus polytrichus) were all in flower. There were also Small skipper (Thymelicus flavus) and Small heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) butterflies, green bugs and mating Rhagonycha fulva beetles.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Honey, the Bees Got Patriotic!

A weird sight at Oxwich beach when a swarm of Honey bees (Apis mellifera) settled on a folding Union Jack chair of a visitor. The bees (not the visitor) stayed for about 3 hours before flying off (before a bee keeper was due to collect them).

Seeing the Changes 515

In Loughor, the combination of rain and heat has stimulated the Sulphur tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare) fungus. Visited by a slightly damaged Swallowtailed moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria).

Friday, 20 July 2012

Seeing the Changes 514

In Swansea, Traveller's joy (Clematis vitalba) was in flower. A Common emerald moth (Hemithea aestivaria) visited in Loughor.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Insect Armageddon?

The displacement of the jet-stream with the consequent loss of the British summer with heavy rains and strong winds has been reported to have lasting and extensive detrimental effects on butterfly (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/12/david-attenborough-butterfly-count) and bee populations (although declines in the latter have also been linked to parasites and pesticides). All this is bad news for crops requiring insect pollination. Although why Attenborough has to illustrate his plea by being pictured with exotic butterflies in a Butterfly House is beyond me!

Seeing the Changes 513

In Bynea, Marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), Hairy tare (Vicia hirsuta) and Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) were all in flower. A Rhagonycha fulva beetle cavorted on the mallow.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Birder's Bonus 121

Nice to see Swallow (Hirundo rustica) chicks thriving in a garage in Escalles near Calais.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Can't Get South Enough

Currently on holiday in mid France (La Tranche sur Mer) but the jet stream has followed us South. Plenty of strong winds and unseasonably heavy rain. What do the climate change deniers make of that? I have, however, seen a washed up Portuguese man o' war  (Physalia physalia) and spotted my first ever Hoopoe bird (Upupa epeps) but I was unable to photograph it. Asked by email for my comments on an Australian surfer being bitten in two by a Great white shark and whether these sharks should consequently forfeit their conserved status. I think that a) sharks have been much more damaged (shark's fin soup) by humans than vice versa, b) the shark is only doing what it is designed to do to survive in its habitat, c)  removal of all animals have could conceivably damage humans would be wholly inappropriate (noting that horses kill more people than do sharks), d) removal of a top predator could greatly disrupt the ecology of the southern ocean and e) politicians are not good at long-term issues.

Friday, 6 July 2012

A Giant Step Backwards!

Disturbing news that the signage of the National Trust at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland includes an 'alternative' creationist account of its origins (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/06/creationism-giants-causeway-national-trust). Although it is suggested that this is merElsy a cunning way of attracting the 'crank pound' , this is a distinctly dodgy thing to do. The causeway's geological origins are hardly much in doubt and its presence has no relevance to arguments about the validity of the theory of evolution.

Seeing the Changes 512

In spite of more rain, Timothy grass was producing lots of pollen in Penclacwydd. The Common sea lavender (Limonium vulgare), Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) and Marsh bedstraw (Galium palustre) were in bloom in that location.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Seeing the Changes 511

Spotted a wax cap fungus (Hygrocybe sp) and a Common figwort (Scropularia nodosa) in Penclacwydd. In Bynea, Hairy St John's wort (Hypericum hirsutum) and Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) were in flower. Vervain (Verbena officinalis) and Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) were blooming in Loughor whilst a Silver 'Y' moth (Autographa gamma) vibrated its wings.

Bear-faced Robbery?

Yet another example of the tension between people and conservation is seen in the recent responses of people in rural Romania to a hunti...