Monday, 30 June 2014

Seeing the Changes 903

Lots of alien Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) by the river in Gorseinon. In Bynea, the Marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) was in bloom. I wonder if anyone uses the roots to make the ubiquitous sweety?

No More Happy Feet?

News that the populations of Emperor penguins may be driven to extinction by climate change is timely ( 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.

Waving or Drowning?

A debate is arising about a plan by the Japanese government to construct 48 foot high tsunami walls along 230 miles of coastline in the prefectures of Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate, North of Tokyo ( The cost would be around £5bn and some experts are not convinced that 'The Great Wall of Japan' is the best way of protecting populations from these destructive phenomena. Construction companies are, naturally, enthusiastic. The walls would certainly change the landscape and the relationship of the people to the sea. I am not convinced that simply putting a wall around land is going to save it but it is difficult for local people to evaluate this suggestion.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Seeing the Changes 902

More flowers out. Ladies bedstraw (Galium verum) at Penclacwydd and Marsh hawksbeard (Crepis paludosa) and Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum) in Bynea. In Loughor, visited by a male Yellow tail moth (Euproctis similis).

Saturday, 28 June 2014

They Only (Most of Them) Come Out at Night

Some colourful moths appeared in Loughor. The Buff-tip (Phalera bucephala), Rosy footman (Miltochrista miniata), Common emerald (Hemithea aestivara) and the Heart and club (Agrotis clavis).

Friday, 27 June 2014

Seeing the Changes 901

There was lots of Wild carrot (Daucus carota) in flower by the estuary by Machinys Bay.

Birder's Bonus 145

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

Pesticides or Profits?

The debate about neonicotinoid (and other) pesticides used in farming continues ( 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).

Seeing the Changes 900

In Loughor, visited by a Marbled beauty moth (Cryphia domestica)- small but beautifully formed! The Rosebay willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium) had also bloomed.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Seeing the Changes 899

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

Seeing the Changes 898

Yesterday's mystery flower at Machinys is probably White mullein (Verbascum lychnitis). Help provided by Barry and Beth. At that location today noted Common blue damselflies mating on the cycle track. It was a basking location for Black-tailed skimmers (Orthetrum coerulescens).

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Seeing the Changes 897

In and around Machinys, noted Rock samphire (Crithmum maritinum), Flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus), Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Great willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum) and Woolly thistle (Cirsium eriophorum) all in flower.

Seeing the Changes 896

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.

Seeing the Changes 1470

Traveller's joy ( Clematis vitalba ) in flower in Loughor.