Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1192


In Bynea, spotted a Mullein moth (Cucullia verbasci) larva atypically feeding on a Butterfly bush. As the name suggests, it is much more likely to munch Great mullein (Verbascum thapsus).

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1191



Also more flowers about on Swansea University's Singleton Campus including Moon carrot (Seseli libanotis) and Common figwort (Scrophularia nodosa).

Seeing the Changes 1190



More flowers in Bynea with the Wayfaring tree (Viburnum lantana) and Large-flowered evening primrose (Oenothera erythrosepala) both making appearances.

Seeing the Changes 1189



The combination of weather conditions activated the fungi of Loughor.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1188





More flowers out in Bynea including Black knapweed (Centaurea nigra); Goatsbeard (Tragopogon pratensis) and Red dead-nettle (Lamnium purpureum). In Loughor, it was the night of the Willow beauties (Peribatodes rhomboidaria).

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1187




More insect activity in Bynea. What might be a Small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) larva on the cycle track whilst a Common blue (Polyommatus icarus) flitted. In Loughor, there was an outbreak of Click beetles (Athous haemorrhoidalis).

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1186





More stirrings! Pale toadflax (Linaria repens) was in flower in Bynea. The alien, Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus) bloomed in Loughor, where Phylobius pomaceus beetles also got frisky.

Seeing the Changes 1185



After unseasonally hot weather, rain and thunder storms, Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) was in flower in Gorseinon and we were visited, in Loughor, by an Orange swift (Hepialus sylvina).

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1184




More material around in Loughor will Yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus) in bloom and a visitation from a Bee moth male (Aphomia sociella).

Seeing the Changes 1183






Lots of stuff out in Bynea, including Thrift (Armeria maritima); Bithynian vetch (Vicia bithynica); Hemlock water dropwort (Oenanthe crocata); Southern marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) and Greater stitchwort (Stellaria holostea).

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1182



More flowering in Loughor with the appearances of Common cleavers (Gallium aparine) and Yellow oxalis (Oxalis corniculata).

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1181



Visited by a Small phoenix (Elictopera silaceata) in Loughor, along with a Common green shield bug (Palomina prasina).

Gone to Seed Bank?


It was mean't to provide long-term insurance against man-made disasters resulting in the loss of important crop plants, when it was opened, in 2008, deep in the permafrost of Svalberg on the island of Spitzbergen in Norway, but the Global Seed Vault has already been threatened by yer humans (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/19/arctic-stronghold-of-worlds-seeds-flooded-after-permafrost-melts). Rising temperatures have already flooded the entrance to the bank which contains almost a million packets of seeds from around the world. Fortunately, none of the seeds have been lost thus far but it is an illustration that we are pretty good at our man-made disasters.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1180



More critters around in Loughor. They included the beetle Cantharis rustica and the Brimstone butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni).

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1179




More items emerge from the damp in Loughor. Fly honeysuckle (Lonicera xylosteum) was in flower. What appeared to be a bedraggled Ghost swift (Hepiatus humuli) struggled in the grass. Nymphs of the Common froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) frothed at the mouth.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

To No Porpoise


The world's smallest porpoise, the Vaquita marina (Phocoena sinus) of Mexico, in spite of protections by the US navy and other organisations is reportedly on the verge of extinction (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/16/chinese-appetite-totoaba-fish-bladder-threatens-rare-vaquita). This is, apparently, due to an insatiable appetite in Chinese medicine (aren't so many things?) for the swim bladder of the, also endangered, Totoaba macdonaldi fish that swims in the same seas. The swim bladders, regarded as a cure-all, can retail for around $20,000 per kilogram (and can be simply posted to China).  Fishermen in Mexico apparently use illegal gillnets to catch the fish. Unfortunately, these devices frequently drown the porpoises who cannot return to the surface in order to breathe

Plastic Shores!


The suggestion that we are essentially in a 'new' Geological era, dominated by humans and their waste has been given enormous support by a study looking at washed up plastics on Henderson island in the Pitcairns of the South Pacific (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/15/38-million-pieces-of-plastic-waste-found-on-uninhabited-south-pacific-island). It has been estimated that this tiny, uninhabited atoll  has circa 38 million pieces of plastic on its shores and buried in its sands (remarkably, making it one of the most polluted places on the planet). This means that almost 18 tonnes of this human-generated waste has arrived by wave action, endangering habitats and species. As it takes hundreds of years for the plastics to biodegrade, only waste removal exercises will reduce it (and this is pointless if more material simply washes up to replace it). Those humans are messy animals!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1178



A few additional flowers noted in Bynea. They include the Cut-leaved cranesbill (Geranium dissectum) and Black medick (Medicago lupina).

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Hacked to Death?


The widespread Ransomwear attack to computer records, including some of UK hospital trusts and GP services (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/13/cyber-attack-on-nhs-sparks-bitter-election-battle) using soft-wear apparently stolen from the USA government spy teams might, at a distance, seem like a fairly victimless crime. Besides, however, delaying some hospital procedures, such tactics could seriously compromise the health of people whose information is held in the encrypted records. It would not be impossible that a few individuals might die (all for a few hundred Bitcoins). Murder by hack?

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1177




A change in the weather with White clover (Trifolium repens) flowering at Swansea University's  Bay campus and Pencilled cranesbill (Geranium versicolor) at the Singleton version. In Bynea, Long-headed poppy (Papaver dubium) was blooming.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Jelly-wobbler!


A study carried out at Galway University has revealed that vinegar is the best treatment for the sting of the Portughese Man O'War (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/09/vinegar-best-antidote-jellyfish-stings-urine-lemon-juice-make-worse-study). Traditional urinating on the sting or applying lemon juice simply exacerbated the condition. It may be the case, that stings from different jellyfish species respond differently but it would be easy to take a small vial of vinegar to the beach. I used to be told that steak tenderiser was best for some stings but might take this with a pinch of salt.

Dairy Isn't So Scary?


A meta-analysis (where a collection of related studies are combined to greatly increase the statistical power) of investigations looking at the effects of dairy products on human health has seemingly torpedoed the simple claim that consumption can be linked to heart attacks and strokes (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/08/consuming-dairy-does-not-raise-risk-of-heart-attack-or-stroke-study). This might be somewhat embarrassing to nutritionists and other health professionals who generally recommend people to switch, where possible, to 'low fat' alternatives for milk, yoghourt and cheese. It might not protect them from heart attacks but doing so would at least tend to reduce calorie intake (fats are high calorie) and counter tendencies to become obese. There is a substantial industry generating ranges of low fat food products. Personally, I like a bit of  regular cheese along with my butter!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1176


Larvae of Lackey moths (Malacosoma neustria) are active around Penclacwydd.

Cow Catcher?


Seems to be a question of priorities? News that an Indian state is to develop a fleet of ambulances to deal with injured cows (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/08/cow-ambulances-indias-latest-scheme-to-protect-revered-animal) in a country where ill people often have to have their families transport them to hospital sounds, at first read, a bit odd to Western sensibilities. The cow, however, is a sacred animal to Hindus (people, especially of other religions, have reportedly been lynched for killing these animals in parts of India). Having said that, Europe does have ambulances and hospitals for injured companion and some wild animals. It would be nice if humans could also be priorities in India.

Seeing the Changes 1175


The Cockchafer or May bug (Melolontha melolontha) made its appearance in Loughor.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Seeing the Changes 1174

 




More flowers and critters. Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) was in flower in Bynea. In Loughor, Shining cranesbill (Geranium lucidum) and Herb Bennet (Geum urbanum) were blooming as Pyrochroa serranticornis roamed the flower beds.

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...