Monday, 30 June 2014
News that the populations of Emperor penguins may be driven to extinction by climate change is timely (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28089988). It does seem that loss of the ice sheet is likely to have a considerable detrimental effects on these giant, flightless fish-eating birds. Strange that a popular animal featured in cartoons and acclaimed feature films (e.g. 'March of the penguins') is crunched by human activity.
Sunday, 29 June 2014
Saturday, 28 June 2014
Friday, 27 June 2014
Got some bird pics around Machinys lake. Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) sang in surrounding trees. On the lake itself, what appeared to be a pair of Canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria) dived in the water. More traditionally, a female Mallard (Anas platyrhychos) took her young out to feed on the waters.
Wednesday, 25 June 2014
The debate about neonicotinoid (and other) pesticides used in farming continues (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/24/insecticides-world-food-supplies-risk) with a return to some of the issues raised by Rachel Carson in her book 'The Silent Spring' decades ago. The claim is that pesticide use in farming across the globe may have seriously imperilled the pollinating insects on which food production depends (as well as even the viability of Earthworms and their actions on soil). It does seem to have become a very polarised debate with one of the criticisms of some of the research being that it was carried out under laboratory rather than field (get it!) conditions. This may be an issue (that apparently doesn't phase the same people when claiming other benefits of technology) but, at the very least, suggests there might be a problem. There used to be a principle (the precautionary principle) where people were urged to err on the side of caution rather than demanding absolute proof (this is really an abstract concept in such complex areas). The precautionary principle doesn't seem very popular in a number of environmental areas (climate change, fracking etc).
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
In Llanelli, Square-stalked St John's wort (Hypericum tetrapterium) was visited by a Bumble-bee. In Bynea, Common figwort (Scrophularia nodosa) was coming into flower. At Machinys Lake got a better image of Common blue damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum) mating. A larva of the Emperor moth (Saturnia pavonia) crossed the cyclepath at Llanelli Foreshore. Also got an image of the fish (Rudd) in Machinys Lake.
Monday, 23 June 2014
Sunday, 22 June 2014
An interesting time in the dunes of Oxwich yesterday. Kidney vetch (Anthyllis vulneraria) was almost finished. Yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) was past its best but still blooming. There was masses of Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum), Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis), Rest harrow (Ononis repens), Northern marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella), Biting stonecrop (Sedum acre), Bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum), Stone bramble (Rubus saxatilis), Marsh hawksbeard (Crepis paludosa) and Wood sage (Teucrium scorodonia). Marsh ragwort (Senecio aquaticus) and Large-flowered evening primrose (Oenothera erythrosepaia) were less advanced. Critters included butterflies with Small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), Small heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Silver-studded blue (Plebejus argus) and Holly blue (Celestrina argiolus) all making appearances. Moths including Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaea) larvae, Six spot burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae) and Satin wave (Idaea subsericeata) being spotted. Robberflies (Pamponerus germanicus) were mating in these dunes. There were also digger wasps (Podalonia hirsuta) in the sand and sawflies (unidentified) on umbellifers. There were also many active tunnel spiders.
Visited, in Loughor, by a Blood-vein moth ( Timandra griseata ).
A combination of night rain and day-time sun has resulted in more Bynea blooms. The Southern marsh orchid ( Dactylorhiza praetermissa...
A study ( https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/feb/01/special-spit-is-the-secret-of-uniquely-sticky-frog-tongues-study-reveals ) has...
It is always sad to hear of problems occurring at places you have used for teaching and the outbreak of h5n8 avian influenza at Abbot...