Monday, 30 January 2012

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Birder's Bonus 104

Spotted two Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) on Loughor estuary.

Rabbit, Rabbit

I was somewhat surprised to see a European rabbit on my drive in Loughor. In spite of its relatively 'wild' colouration, its chubbiness and relative tameness, suggest it is an escaped domestic.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Seeing the Changes 448

In Loughor, Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) was in bloom. There were some interesting brown fungi in Bynea.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Seeing the Changes 447

Changeable weather again and the catkins were emerging on Goat willow (Salix capra) in Bynea.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Problem of Being Large

It is not only big animals that have survival problems, as a recent study by Professor William Laurence of James Cook University has suggested that big trees are currently more at risk ( ). In the past, substantial trees seemed to be relatively resistant to environmental pressures but forest fragmentation appears to make them more vulnerable than their smaller counterparts.

Friday, 20 January 2012

TT Tested?

Yet more disturbance for the birds of Swansea Bay (part of which is a SSSI)  with a plan to have 2 days (3rd and 4th of March) of motorcycle racing on the beach from the University to the Marriot hotel ( ). The intention might well be " bring this event to Swansea for the benefit of everyone" but it is difficult to predict what effect the disturbance is likely to have on feeding shorebirds. The effects could be relatively long term.


I had hoped that the enthusiasm for converting coal under Swansea Bay in to gas had faded but the process is back in the news ( The proponents are now trying to sell the idea as a 'greenish' form of energy production (along with wind power etc). As far as I understand it, however, the process has some similarities to the 'fracking' of shales to 'liberate' contained oil (with attendant risks of environmental contamination and even the generation of minor earthquakes). Even if potential problems can be mitigated, it does seem ill-advised to drill in an area frequented by porpoises, dolphins and migratory seabirds.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Spring or Winter?

Readers will have noted the frequent recent references in this blog to unusually timed appearances of animals and plants this year. I have also been struck (as have others) by the early morning calls of birds (Blackbirds displaying territorial vocal displays as daylight appears). There have been national attempts to 'collect' such information by using the web (including, the very apposite for this case, 'Twitter'). It has been pointed out ( that organisms could be reacting as if the prevailing conditions are a) an early Spring or b) a Winter that has, thus far, failed to arrive. The first alternative appears more likely (and it may not last) but the latter can't be ruled out. It is even possible that different organisms are 'seeing' conditions differently.  

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Monday, 9 January 2012

Seeing the Changes 444

Another strange combination of sightings in Bynea. Bramble (Rubus fructicosus) and  swarming midges (Chironomus plumosus) were seen together.

Birder's Bonus 102

Got a nice shot of a female Blackbird (Turdus merula) eating berries at Mumbles.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Seeing the Changes 443

Yet more signs of an early Spring in Loughor. Herb Bennet (Geum urbanum) was in flower and a bright green Speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) chrysalis promised flight.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Seeing the Changes 442

The disruptions to the timing of local flowers continue to be evident in Loughor. Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) were in bloom but Hydrangeas were also out in the garden.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Seeing the Changes 441

It was extremely windy in Loughor, resulting in some of the local trees having to be 'helped' to the ground. The aftermath was quite impressive but fallen wood is beneficial to both fungi and a number of beetle species.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Seeing the Changes 440

The very mild and wet weather persists further confusing organisms. Both male catkins and female flowers were evident on Hazel (Corylus avellana) at Penclacwydd and a bedraggled Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) bumbled on the Bynea cycle bridge.

Going Out With a Bang?

Somewhat mixed messages with the expensive firework displays in Auckland, London and Sydney and many other places. There is (apparently) little money for conservation but £100's of thousands can apparently be blown on a few minutes of a form of entertainment that nakedly adds to the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Bah, humbug!

Bee Bereavement?

Bees are very important insect pollinators. Some species are, of course, also commercially-important because they produce honey and bees-wa...