Thursday, 25 October 2012

Ash to Ashes?

It looks as if it might be curtains for yet another UK tree species with the discovery of the ash die-back fungus Chalara fraxinea in a Woodland Trust area in East Anglia (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/24/ash-dieback-disease-east-anglia?INTCMP=SRCH). The Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is a common stand alone tree and can be a major component of hedgerows. The fungus can easily spread tens of kilometres as spores on the wind. Although the fungus has been recorded in the UK previously, it has, thus far, been limited to garden centres and imported trees (now banned) and its eradication has been relatively easy. Now it's into wild populations, the spread of the disease will be almost impossible to contain. A substantial proportion of the Ash in Danish forests has already disappeared.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Recent Lack of Actitivity

Apologies for recent dearth of posts, the Sikkim visit was followed by a stay in hospital with gastroenteritis (un-related to India) which has become linked to a new AF heart condition and low blood sodiums. Hope to sort myself out soonest.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Costing the Earth

The UN has warned that climate change is dramatically increasing the costs of basic foods over substantial areas of the globe. Awful summers have disrupted wheat production (in terms of amount and quality) in America, Russia and the UK (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/10/un-rising-food-costs-weather?INTCMP=SRCH). Then, on top of that, some grain is diverted to make biodiesel.

Washed Away!

The plethora of insect life in Sikkim just serves to underline what a truly awful summer 2012 has provided for our invertebrates. Apparently, slugs and snails are thriving (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/16/wildlife-apocalyptic-summer-damp-weather?INTCMP=SRCH) but butterflies and moths are in a spiral of serious decline.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Seeing the Changes 532

The Gower ponies and their offspring have started to block movement on the Bynea cycle path! Hooligan horses!

Friday, 5 October 2012

More Critters from Sikkim

Got a nice shot of a wild Hanuman langur monkey and some close ups of a type of dove , a yellow-fronted bird and a Drongo (birds). Butterflies were also spectacular including this Paris peacock (Papilio paris) and a male Yellow orange-tip (Ixras pyrene). Shot a very weird dragonfly (a female Anisopteran Palponeura seximaculata ) and some interesting relatives of the grasshopper (colour morphs of Mecopoda).

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...