Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Rats!


News that the New Zealand government intends to develop a programme to eliminate all alien predators seems a tad optimistic ( https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jul/25/no-more-rats-new-zealand-to-exterminate-all-introduced-predators). The focus is on rats along with stoats and possums as these appear to be responsible for losses of ground-nesting indigenous birds including the kiwi. Such anthropogenic (caused by we humans) effects of accidentally/deliberately introduced alien species are a major challenge to fragile ecologies in many parts of the globe but many experiences suggest that eradications (even on tiny islands without substantial human constructions) are not at all easy, cheap or fast. New Zealand is diverse, reasonably substantial and would, I feel, be a difficult nut to crack. It's a good aspiration but I'm not sure whether it's achievable. Rats, for a start, are pretty adaptable (they can climb and operate in burrow systems as exhibit bait shyness). One might also ask whether companion predators such as domestic cats and dogs- they can become feral and would be just as much a problem- have been considered?

Monday, 25 July 2016

Seeing the Changes 1103





Sudden activity in Bynea with the flowering of Common fleabane (Pulicaria dysenterica). There was also the first decent-sized dragonfly, a Southern hawker (Aeshna cyanea) and an actual living Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta).

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Seeing the Changes 1102


Visited, in Loughor, by a Ribaned wave (Idaea aversata) last night.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Seeing the Changes 1101




The fungus seen in 1099 was revealed to be a handsome bracket. Saw my first Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) of the summer but it was a RTA on Loughor bridge!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

D Day Everyday?


News that medics are recommending that all people in the UK should consider taking vitamin D supplements, especially over the period October to April (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36846894). Vitamin D is basically a hormone produced under the skin when exposed to UV light. It is important in terms of regulating the health of bones, teeth and muscle (a severe, chronic deficiency causes Rickets) by its effects on the uptake and retention of calcium ion. The trouble is, that if you live in northerly locations, the sun does not provide enough UV in the winter months to stimulate production of the hormone (this is especially true if you rarely go outside or routinely cover up). The alternative is to get your vitamin D in the diet (from oily fish, eggs and 'added-to' cereals). It is argued that people may not always achieve a sufficient intake of vitamine D by this route and should consider popping the pills. An alternative, for some, might be to put in place special lamps in houses and work places that produce UV (this is done for captive reptiles in some zoos). It does seem to be rather a large change to advocate.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Seeing the Changes 1100



Suddenly, like a different planet as it the heat was turned up! Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) berries in Bynea did their traffic-light thing. In Loughor, there was much activity by flying versions of Yellow meadow ants (Lasius flavus). As usual, not everyone made it!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Seeing the Changes 1099




More rain so fungi have fun in Loughor. In Bynea, the Marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis) is coming into bloom by the estuary.