Morning, noon and night

Three random things I learned, or remembered, today

Archive for Wildlife

Climate change in the arctic

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NOON

“She told me how her mother had taught her to sew skins and make clothing. She told me stories of hunting and fishing, of a happy time when wolves and caribou could be seen from the hamlet.

“You could tell the weather by the smell of the wind. The fragrance of leaves and flowers meant rain from the south; the smell of sea meant rain from the north.”

She looked out of her window at the quad bikes whining down the dusty roads. “The only smell now is petrol”.

BBC – ARCTIC VOICE DROWNING IN CLIMATIC SHIFT

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The Harlequin ladybird

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MORNING

The Harlequin Ladybird has landed!

A new ladybird has arrived in Britain. But not just any ladybird: this is the harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis, the most invasive ladybird on Earth.

And furthermore, it might bite you!

THE HARLEQUIN SURVEY

Disappearing bees

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MORNING

Honey bees are vanishing across USA and no-one really knows the reason. The phenomenon is known COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER

Here is the mission statement of the website above which is dedicated to this condition.

“Across the United States and around the world, the honey bee populations are mysteriously vanishing. Honey bee colony losses are not uncommon, however, this sort of disappearence is unprecedented. This honey bee colony loss is due to uncharacteristic bee behavior: bees are failing to return to the hive.

Is it an unparalleled natural rythmic ebb in the honey bee population or a portentous prophetic warning of a failing ecosystem? Solving this mystery could have far-reaching effects.

Their decline should draw focus to the critical role the honey bee plays in our food chain and the impact their loss will have on our ecology and economy. As of now, there are several theories posed to explain what has been termed “Colony Collapse Disorder” (CCD).

This site’s aim is to keep up with the latest news findings on the rapid honey bee population decline; will provide a knowledge environment for honey bee basics, and will serve as an online community for beekeepers and hobbyists alike to network and hopefully increase the honey bee population through best beekeeping practices.

Heed the buzz! Beware the silence of the honey bee: HoneyBeeQuiet.”

What’s wrong with wild flowers?

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NOON

I love orchids at my kitchen window. I love wild harebells by the roadside or in my garden.

But the two don’t mix well.

Sometimes I get so, so mad at people!

The Scottish countryside is beautiful. Some of the less invasive native wild flowers are now becoming well established at the side of the country roads again as farming becomes gentler.

But there is a new kind of herbicide. The wealthy townsfolk, the “incomers” who buy up the country cottages and farms and turn them into manicured mansions, take over the roadside also.

I saw this happening this morning. The wild verges up and down the road outside the new ostentatious gate of the cottage-come-mansion had been claimed by the incomer. Not owned by the incomer. Just claimed. “I am a wealthy man, therfore I have a right to claim the roadside too!” The bluebells, the wild roses, the meadowsweet, the thistles were all hacked out. Kerbs were being put in place, grass was being sown, garish plants all in full bloom were being put in by a posse of workmen. No expense was spared.

Many of these plants will not survive the frosts.

No taste, no sensitivity, no knowledge of nature.

The arrogance of the the incomer.

I think I might gather dandelion clocks and thistledown and willow herb seeds and sprinkle them all around this travesty of a roadside in the middle of the night.

Squirrels

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NIGHT

Just a brief comment really.

This is they grey squirrel now so common in Scotland. They are found even in most suburban gardens that have any degree of wildlife habitat at all.

We also have red squirrels but they are rarer.

We don’t have black (dark brown) squirrels. I had been unaware that black squirrels existed until I visited Toronto in 1984. They were everywhere.

Prior to that, I had many friends who visited or stayed in Canada for a while. Not one of them told me about the black squirrels.

I wondered why. Were they not considered important enough to mention?

Did they not notice them?

Did they not think I’d be interested?

Where have all the sparrows gone?

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Sparrows were everywhere in the UK when I was a child and now they have almost completely vanished in some areas.

There have been various theories I know, but I wondered what the RSPB were saying about it.

Here’s a bit from their website but there’s lots more. This is a great site if you’re a bird lover.

“House sparrows are declining seriously across parts of the UK as a result of changes in the wider countryside, especially the farming systems. Around 60% of sparrows have been lost since mid-1970s. The declines have been particularly acute in centres of large cities including London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

This is of particular concern since the house sparrow is one of very few species that actually thrives with close proximity to people, even in city centres. The RSPB is conducting a programme of research to look into sparrow decline.

The early indications are that, yet again, the cause is food availability at some parts of the year and availability of nesting sites. Since house sparrows are extremely sedentary birds, it can take a long time for them to return to an area from where they have disappeared.”

THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF BIRDS