Thursday, 30 December 2010
Sunday, 26 December 2010
Thursday, 23 December 2010
The treatment is at an early, experimental stage but could be developed into an anti-varroa medicine, the BBC reported. Link for more info.
Monday, 20 December 2010
Friday, 17 December 2010
Saturday, 11 December 2010
My planning colleagues are putting together a consultation leaflet relating to Local Development Framework (the successor to the UDP) and the South Pennines SPA/SAC area.
They are looking for a few high quality pics of appropriate upland birds (eg twite, golden plover, seo, curlew) and heathland/blanket bog habitat.
No money in it but photographer will be credited.
Please let me have any photos by Monday 4pm.
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
In August last year a friend of mine found 12 frogs dead near his home in Sowerby Bridge. He sent two specimens off for analysis. Here is the reply:-
Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
Sunday, 5 December 2010
I slipped down the wood with the help of many a sapling to grab on to. I could see we have a few squirrels at the top of the wood by prints in the snow. There are no rabbits (though last winter there were a few prints in All Saints graveyard.) It was not till I got to the valley bottom that I could see plenty of rabbit prints by the Calder. I'd had a tip off from an angler about kingfishers and sure enough, there was one fishing, oblivious to me, flying from branch to branch, though I didn't see it catch anything. Many years ago I found a wintering water rail here, but never since, and not this time, though there was a wren flitting about the spring-fed ditch which never seems to freeze. Tree sparrows hung on into the 90s here. I saw a nest hole in the railway viaduct, after they had quit their colony higher up in rocks in North Dean Wood. (Frank Murgatroyd recorded the ones in North Dean Wood.)
Next point to check was the spring-fed ditch at Heath Rugby Club just after the garden centre on Stainland Road. The water-cress which is established here was still green, but no sign of the water shrew I saw a previously, where it fed manically on the surface of the shallow water, reminiscent of a whirligig beetle.
I tried to follow the banks of the bottom part of the Black Brook to where it joins the Calder, but access is difficult, and no doubt private. There was a dipper here, and a mouse or vole had ventured onto the top of the snow briefly before re-entering the tussocky world below, avoiding the fox which had gone on further down the bank where I would have liked to get.
Coming back to Bankhouse Wood, I saw something move against the snow at the top when I was halfway up. It was a young roe deer, and there was a second. They were gambolling back and forth, unaware of me. I was looking forward to some new prints to see as I neared the top when they nipped across in front of me! I have never before seen any signs of deer on my home patch. Some people tut as if deer are bringers of ecological disaster, but I suggest dogs will discourage them from over-breeding, and their damage to trees is sometimes useful in keeping places open and sunny. The wood here used to be good for warblers in spring, but they are much reduced since the trees closed in. I found four species over the years, but now we are lucky to get a short-staying blackcap or chiff-chaff.
That was Friday's walk, but today I was coming in at the front of the house when I heard what sounded like a dog running down the road, its claws scratching on the tarmac. It was a fox, which curved round and galloped up my neighbour's drive opposite.
Friday, 3 December 2010
What have our furry friends been up to?
First England – then the world; the unstoppable tree bumblebee!
Regular readers will be familiar with the tree bumblebee, a species from mainland Europe which colonized the south of Britain in 2001. BBCT and the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society have been trying to track the northwards progress of this new bumblebee, which in 2010 was approaching the Scottish border. Now it seems the story has taken a new twist; this intrepid bee has turned up in Iceland.
Link to BBCT:- http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/
This was originally sent via email by Linda Kingsnorth on 2/12/2010 . I have taken the liberty of posting again it here.
Please send this to everybody you know who will help us it is really easy to do and will only take a few minutes, but could make a difference.
"The Government's badger cull consultation ends on December 8. If the cull is approved thousands of healthy badgers will be killed
in a futile, unscientific bid to reduce bTB in cattle. As a matter or urgency could you please email everyone you know urging them to oppose the cull and ask them to contact all their friends with a similar request. All they need to do is to email email@example.com with a message along these lines:
"Government's bovine TB consultation on a badger control policy: these are my responses: Question 1: I am opposed to to what I see as an unscientific and futile cull which could make matters worse. Questions 2,3,4,5 and 6: my answer to each is NO.
Q 7: YES. Vaccination of badgers and cattle offers the best long-term answer. Q 8: NO
My name and address is as follows..................." The link to the Questions is:And (thanks to Steve Cummings and Nick Carter) the link to the Consultation Document:- http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/tb-control-measures/index.htm Thank You.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
"A new fungus has been discovered in the States that is killing hundreds of thousands of bats, particulary the little browns ( myotis lucifugus) whos hibernation preferences are also ideal for the fungi known as Geomyces destructans.It has also been found in europe but does not seem to result in the symptoms that are killing the bats populations of america.They are calling it WNS (white nose syndrone) as it results in a white patchy growth on the noses of the bats. This is a massive issue for the bats who appear to be woken by the the irritating infection where they lose fat reserves from a break in thier hibernation cycle, valuable fat needed to survive the winter, that they cant replace."
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Saturday, 27 November 2010
Thursday, 25 November 2010
There is a page on it on the web put up by the Forestry Commission. I found it by searching for "Sudden Oak Death, Phytophthera ramorum." Link to article:- http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pramorum
Interestingly, the scientist who wrote it does not think that our two native oaks will be in great danger from the disease, though Rhododendrons are one of the most important sources of it, and we have as great many of those, both in cultivation and the wild.