Friday, 30 April 2010

Seeing the Changes 272

In Bynea, the Common mouse-ear (Cerastium fontanum); Hedgerow cranesbill (Geranium pyrenaicum); Marsh cranesbill (Geranium palustre) and Meadow buttercup (Ranunculus acris) were all in flower. There was also lots of activity from large (Bombus terrestris) and small (Bombus pratorum) bumble-bees. In Penclacwydd, the Bluebell (Endymion non-scriptus); Silverweed (Potentilla anserina) and Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) were in bloom. There were lots of mating St Mark's flies (Bibio marci) buzzing around a little late for their name day. In Loughor, Wild turnip (Brassica rapa); Sweet allison (Lobularia maritima); Rock cinquefoil (Potentilla rupestris) and Ramsons (Allium ursinum) were out and about.

Animal Rights (to Privacy)?

Brett Mills a lecturer in film studies at East Anglia University has suggested that natural history film makers are infringing the right to privacy in some of their subjects by coming up with more and more sophisticated ways of obtaining their images ( It seems to me that this is further anthropomorphism of animals ('rights' to anything are basically a human invention). I am not wholly convinced by the 'shy' Narwhal that retreated under the ice so as not to be filmed. Do predators infringe the rights of their prey by watching them? It would seem to me rather sad if natural history films were banned as I tend to agree with the viewpoint that we need to understand the natural world in order to value it (but then a Biologist would say that wouldn't he?). Does it also mean that people who simply watch animals (like the above mating snails) are voyeurs? Sounds like a bag of worms to me.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Seeing the Changes 271

In addition to the usual suspects along the cycle path from Swansea to Mumbles, spotted Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris); Common cleavers (Galium aparine); Grape hyacinth (Muscari neglectum); Cultivated apple (Malus domestica); Lilac (Syringa vulgaris); Common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea); Sun spurge (Euphorbis helioscopia); Bitter vetch (Lathyrus linifolius); Common scurvy grass (Cochlearia officinalis) and Garlic mustard(Alliaria petiolata).

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

More Sikkim Birds

Having sorted out (with help) the pictures, I can now reveal that other birds seen, in addition to the Oriental white eye, on the Sikkim trip included the Blue-winged minla (Minla cyanouroptera); Brahminy starling (Sturnia pagodarum); Cattle egret (Bulbus ibis); Common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus); Common mynah (Acridotheres tristis); Dusky warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus); Green-backed tit (Parus monticolus); House crow (Corvus splendens); Oriental magpie robin (Copsychus saularis); Red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus); Red-billed leiothrix (Leiothrix lutea); Red-vented bulbul (Pcynonotus cafer); Verditer flycatcher (Eumyias thalassina); Whiskered yuhina (Yuhina flavicollis) and the White-rumped munia (Lonchura striata).

Grieving Chimpanzees?

The recent spate of news accounts of Common chimpanzees 'grieving' over dead or dying members of their species ( is not exactly 'cut and dried'. It is by no means unusual for animals to show an interest in dead or dying conspecifics but this does not prove that the emotion felt is directly comparable to human grief. One has to be a bit wary about 'suggestive' photographs that appear a little 'staged'. Having said that they are our closest relatives.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Seeing the Changes 270

In Bynea, Greater celendine (Chelidonium majus), Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), Thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana), Charlock (Sinapsis arvensis), Rough chervil (Chaerophyllum temulentum), Prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper), Changing forgetmenot (Myosotis discolor) and Bur forgetmenot (Lappula squarrosa) were all in flower. In Loughor, Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) and Shining cranesbill (Geranium lucidum) were out.

Where's the Beef?

  Industry 'experts' are claiming that the 'use-by dates' on red meat should be extended (