Thursday, 31 May 2012

With the Invasive Plants Module at Penllergaer

The APT group noted the profusion of Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed, Parrot's feather and Rhododendron at the location. They also met with volunteers who were clearing vegetation and burning quite a lot of the material. A large Mayfly (Ephemera danica) was noted on this last day of May. 

Seeing the Changes 495

At the University in Swansea, there was an impressive display of Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).

Buzzard Cull Off

I am somewhat relieved that the UK coalition has called off the proposed cull of the Buzzard (Buteo buteo) and the destruction of its nests, supposedly to help pheasant rearing for shoots ( The whole idea seemed to be based on supposition rather than science, as the poor old Buzzard is not much of a predator (being quite partial to road kill and even Earthworms when needs must).

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 494

In Bynea, Southern marsh orchids (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) were plentiful and Ragged robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) and Thrift (Armeria maritima) were in bloom. In Loughor, Prickly sow-thistle (Sonchus asper) and Long-stalked cranesbill (Geranium columbinum) were flowering.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 493

In Bynea, spotted a first male Common blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus).

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Farm Land Birds in the UK Disappear

A report has suggested that EU agricultural policies have been responsible for decimating the bird populations that traditionally live on farm land in the UK ( The changes in the numbers of Grey partridge, Linnet, Meadow pipit, Starling, Tree sparrow, Turtle dove etc have been extraordinary (seemingly much worse than those seen at the height of the DDT impact). As similar practises are being adopted by newer EU members, this is likely to exaccerbate the problem. Perhaps agricultural policy needs to focus on factors over and above simple cheap food production?

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Planet Earth Live Again?

I am unsurprised but many people seem to have enjoyed the series (now departed), including people who commented on my post. Although some points are well made, I am afraid that I retain reservations about the focus and the approach adopted in the series. Essentially, all organisms (whether cuddly or not) are out for themselves and their offspring. I personally would have liked to have seen more attention directed to the inter-dependence of different species within ecologies, rather than encouraging the viewer to  'take sides'. But, ho hum, I suppose that any attempts to enthuse folk for the natural world are useful. Personally, I am rather more excited that part of my regular running route is now part of the Wales Coast Path (and that its creation forces people into contact with the plants and critters in the environment they share).

Birder's bonus 120

It seems to be a tough time for birds locally as the weather (masses of rain, then cold and then suddenly hot) seems to have messed up the food supplies for many species. There seem to be casualties around all the pavements.

Seeing the Changes 492

Mega hot weather (around 28 degrees Centigrade). In Bynea, noted that Long-headed poppy (Papaver dubium) and Celery-leaved buttercup (Ranunculus sceleratus) were in flower. In Penclacwydd, got a nice shot of a Common blue damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) and in Loughor noted several Beautiful demoiselles (Calopteryx virgo). Was was also provided with a reminder of Charles Darwin by the arrival in Loughor of a Peppered moth (Biston betullaria) without a trace of Industrial Melanism.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 491

Yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus) was in bloom in Penclacwydd. Herb Bennet (Geum urbanum) made an appearance in Loughor along with nymphs of the Common froghopper (Philaenus spumarius).

Seeing the Changes 490

Put the moth trap out last night. In addition to yet another Cockchafer, got a single battered Peach blossom (Thyatira batis).

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 489

Dog rose (Rosa canina), Black medick (Medicago lupulina) and Small-flowered catchfly (Silene gallica) were in flower in Penclacwydd. In Loughor, there was finally an appearance of the May-bug or Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha).

Monday, 21 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 488

In Bynea, noted that Field rose (Rosa arvensis) was in flower. Large white butterflies (Pieris brassicae) were also busy mating.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 487

Elder (Sambucus nigra) and Field forgetmenot (Myosotis arvensis) were in flower in Bynea.

Fat of the Land?

A new Lancet study suggests that more people might benefit by routinuely taking cholesterol-lowering statins throughout their mature years ( The intention is to reduce the risk of stroke, coronary heart attacks etc. I am somewhat concerned given the well-documented side effects of these hormones on feeling of lethargy, effectiveness of memory etc. Although it is difficult to motivate people, I still think that dietary and exercise changes would be a beter fix.

Centenary of Wildlife Trusts

One hundred years ago yesterday, Charles Rothschild (at a time when banking was a respectable activity), purchased a section of Woodwalton Fen in Cambridgeshire, effectively starting the Wildlife Trust ( Being ahead of his time, he recognised that conservation needed to protect habitats where species lived rather than to just focus on the favoured species per se. This also led to the idea that public access to such areas was important if one wanted to encourage continued support for such initiatives. The only addition to his thinking that seems to have been added is the attempt to link together protected areas to enhance their functionality.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 486

At Blackpill, noted Burnet rose (Rosa pimpinella), Wild mignonette (Reseda lutea) and Bramble (Rubus fructicosa) all in bloom.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 485

The Southern marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) is just coming into flower in Penclacwydd.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 484

Noted That Annual nettle (Urtica urens) and Hemlock water dropwort (Oenanthe crocata) were both coming into flower in Bynea. I also noted a dead baby Brown rat (Rattus rattus) in that location. Intermittent sun brought out the basking Viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara) in Penclacwydd.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Seeing the Changes 483

In Loughor, masses of Two-tailed bristletails (Campodea fragilis) had infested a moribund Hollyhock. We were also visited there by a Pine weevil (Hylobius abietis). In Gorseinon, Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) was in bloom and nettles attracted Phyllobius pomaceus and Propylea 14-punctata beetles. A Small white (Artogeia rapae) butterfly and a Helophilus pendulus hoverfly were also noted.

Where's the Beef?

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