Sunday, 30 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 596

In Loughor, Scorpion senna (Coronilla emerus) and Enchanter's nightshade (Circaea lutetiana) were in flower. Spotted Large-flowered evening primrose (Oenothera erythrosepala) blooming in Bynea.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Mini Drama

In Loughor, a Zebra spider (Salticus scenicus) captured a micromoth!

Seeing the Changes 595

Lots happening around the Bynea cycle path with the flowering of White melilot (Melilotus alba). I also noted a Common green shield bug (Palomina prasina) and active Black garden ants (Lasius niger). A cyanide-impregnated Six-spot burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae) refueled at a Creeping thistle. Poison-incorporating larvae were also active with Depressaria daucella feasting in its hammock on Hemlock and Cinnabar moth munching Ragwort.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 594

Rain arrived in Bynea but Woolly thistle (Cirsium eriophorum), Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) and Nipplewort (Lapsana communis) bloomed.

Cactus Surprise

The little cactus off-shoots that I presented to the grandchildren both decided to flower at the same time. The arrangement of pistil and the anthers is also extra-ordinary.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 593

In Penclacwydd, a Drinker moth (Philudoria potatoria) larva sunned itself on the cycle path.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 592

In Loughor, noted Fly honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum) and Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) coming into bloom. There was also an ornate beetle (ladybird?) larva on display.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 590

Very windy and wet but, in Bynea, noted that the Prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper) had finally followed its Smooth relative. A Snipe fly (Rhagio scolopaceus) lurked.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 589

In Bynea, the first Hedge bindweed (Calystegia sepum) flowered and Meadow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis) abounded. A Mullein moth (Cucullia verbasci) seemed to get confused climbing an alien Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) but, then, Great mullein were not in evidence.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Bypass Conservation

Whilst jogging back along the bypass between Llanelli and Loughor, I was forcibly reminded of just how much of the UK's nature inhabits the verges of the roads. I have never seen such a density of orchids [mainly Southern marsh orchids (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) but including some nice Bee orchids (Ophyys apifera)]. There was also the white variant of the Slender thistle (Carduus tenuifloris) and lots of Tufted vetch (Vicia cracca). Cars do protect some interesting stuff (so long as motorway 'gardening' is done sensitively).

Monday, 17 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 588

A burst of sunshine in the afternoon, resulting the the now mature Lackey moth (Malacosoma neustrina) dispersing in Penclacwydd. There were also masses of Common blue damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) and hoverflies (Helophilus pendulus).

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 587

In Bynea, Ragged robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) and Hedge woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) were in bloom. In Loughor, the alien Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) peeped out. Sawfly larvae chomped in Penclacwydd and 3 Slow worms (Anguis fragilis) 'shivered' beneath a tile in Bynea.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Patently Absurd!

I am somewhat relieved that a US court has ruled that 'naturally-occurring human DNA' cannot be patented, over-turning earlier rulings (http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2013/jun/13/supreme-court-genes-patent-dna). The companies that seek such patents argue that they are needed to cover the high costs of undertaking the associated research but new technology is actually making such studies much quicker and cheaper. The downside of such patents is that they block attempts to develop alternative tests and create a monopoly situation with respect to the charging of patients (putting some tests out of the reach of the poor). I also feel that elements that have naturally evolved (as opposed to artificially created DNA) should not be claimed by any one group. It does, however, raise the issue of whether drugs extracted from animals and plants should be patented?

Moggie Evolution?

The BBC programme on 'the private life of the domestic cat' (Felis catus) was certainly an interesting first stab  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2013/secret-life-of-the-cat.html) although I think this limited tracking study of cats in a single English village was hardly an 'experiment'. In my eyes, a better description would be a 'limited, largely descriptive, study'. Although it is true that new technology can help us interpret the behaviour of organisms more effectively (there are devices that would have given more detailed descriptions of what the cats actually do as they roam the environs). My biggest reservation, however, is the highly speculative claim that cats my be 'evolving', moving away from their natural wild tendencies of hunting and territorial activity and emphasising their 'kittenish' characteristics that are more suitable to becoming a valued 'pet'. 'Evolution' implies natural selection meaning that cats with the favoured characteristics would tend to leave more copies of their genes in the next generation than 'wilder' counterparts. Humans, however, might well select lines of cats that make good pets (which would be artificial selection). They also often neuter their feline friends (hardly conducive to subsequent evolving). It could also be the case that different groups of humans would favour different characteristics in their cats (e.g. many farm cats were prized for their abilities to kill rats and mice that infested grain stores- people also tended to pass on the kittens of such cats to friends- again, a form of artificial selection). Cats certainly exploit their human hosts in a multitude of ways.  

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 586

Very windy but noted Strapwort (Corrigiola litoralis) at Bynea by the estuary. In loughor, Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) was in bloom.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 585

It's always nice to see the Orange hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) in flower in Bynea.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Bass Base

Lots of people by Loughor Bridge catching the Grey mullet that were coming in to spawn.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Seeing the Changes 584

The continued hot weather has sent plants into overdrive. In Penclacwydd, Dog rose (Rosa canina), Slender thistle (Carduus tenuifloris) and Common figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) were all in bloom. In Bynea, there were the first sightings of Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris), Ribbed melilot (Melilotus officinalis) and Biting stonecrop (Sedum acre).

Rotterdam Natural History

In Het Park there were Little Japanese umbrella fungi ( Coprinus plicatilis ). In the centre of Rotterdam, well away from water...