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Monday, January 18, 2016

Britain in Bloom competition.

You may have seen my earlier posts about our new Parish Plan. One idea that came up during the consultations was entering our village in the Britain in Bloom competition. Well its underway and I've just posted on our Community Web site Facebook page this note.


"Britain in Bloom"- the seed was sown at a small gathering last week in the village hall , now it needs a bit of tender care and next Tuesday 26th you can join a discussion forum to help the seed to grow and start the flowering of Curry Rivel. Interested? Contact me  for time and place.

A big part of the competition is aimed at the greening of the village  and wild areas can play a big part in the overall success of our entry.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Talk by Ed Drwett, Urban Peregrines.

Did you notice my deliberate mistake? Yes I left off the date of the meeting which is onTuesday 26th Jan 2016


Ed Drewitt is a professional naturalist, wildlife detective, learning consultant/trainer and broadcaster. He has been studying urban Peregrines for 17 years, specialising in colour ringing their chicks and identifying what they have been eating.


Ed spends a lot of his time showing people wildlife, specialising in teaching birdsong, and helping others to identify, appreciate and get hands on with nature. He also takes people around the world on holiday tours to see a variety of animals including whales, dolphins and a variety of birds.
(Quote from flier of his book Urban Peregrines)
As a local man coming from Bristol, much of his studies centre around Bristol and Bath and he is a member of Chew Valley Ringing Group where he regularly instructs on ringing courses.


 During his talk he will be revealing much more about why they are in our towns, what they are eating, and where young birds go once they leave the nest, with some fascinating surprises. The Parish Rooms, Market Square, Somerton, Somerset TA11 7NB Refreshments available prior to the talk. Suitable for wheelchairs and those with limited mobility. Members £2.50  Non Members £3.00.

There is a lot of information on the internet at RSPB and Wiki.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Forensic use of Pollen. Talk by Dr Michael Keith- Lucas

This evening we listened to one of the most interesting and refreshing illustrated 
talks on a specialised subject.  The speaker brought a potentially boring academic subject to life in  a way of interest to gardeners and bee keepers alike
I hope to get copies of some of his articles and papers written for publications such as the Kew Gardens Journal and the Bee Keepers Association.
Here is a summary of his professional work on the subject taken from  the  Zoominfo web site.


The talk was given to the Sedgemoor Gardening Club in Langport.


"Professor Michael Keith-Lucas has recently retired as Senior Tutor in Plant Sciences at the University of Reading, but has been appointed an Honorary Fellow and Consultant.He has research interests in pollen in vegetation history, archaeology, allergy, and forensic science, and plant ecology, including tropical rainforest ecology. In addition he is Chairman of the local region of the Institute of Biology, the Wildlife Trust and Reading and District Gardeners. He has worked on pollen in vegetation history, archaeology, medicine and in honey, as well as in forensic science.
In his talk on 'The Uses of Pollen in Forensic Science' he gives examples of its use in solving crimes of fraud, theft, fire-arms offences, bombings and murder, and how pollen and spores disperse and arrive at the scenes of crime. He also looks into what needs to be done to avoid detection, or how to commit the perfect murder!"



What this post needs now is a review of his talk and that I hope to add soon. If you get the chance to hear his talks I recommend them to you. I will be recommending our local wildlife group to arrange another talk sometime. It reminds me of a book titled "An Orchard Invisible - A natural history of Seeds." As recommended by Dr Anne Bebbington.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Biodiversity

As you may recall I have been involved in helping to produce a Parish Plan for the Somerset Parish I live in.
A section of the plan is all about the countryside and wildlife in the 6 sq miles around Curry Rivel.
It includes part of the nationally important RSPB reserve called West Sedgemoor and other local nature reserves. For 2016 I hope we can capture some local enthusiasm for protecting / saving / rescuing biodiversity in our Parish.
Somerset Wildlife Trust has a big programme called Living Landscape but that is limited to several specific areas of the county. It would be great if we could add every parish to that programme by local volunteering action. Is that a practical reality or just a dream?

Please watch the video from Natural England


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Special Area of Conservation- SAC

Worth a read.

https://secure.gov.wales/consultations/forms/proposed-new-management-measures-for-the-scallop-fishery-in-cardigan-bay-questions/?lang=en

I've just sent my comments on this consultation document.  SWT is justly proud of its activities to publicise and protect the wildlife in the seas around our coast . I am amazed the Welsh Government seems to be only interested in the destruction of wildlife in its own "Special Areas of Conservation".


You can see George Monbiot's thoughts on the subject here:

http://www.monbiot.com


Here is a brief extract!

"Whatever the reason may be, the government is doing all it can to ensure that these “strictly protected areas” remain worthless paper parks, no more than lines on the map, that offer no protection to the wildlife they are meant to support.
It’s not just scallop dredging that is inherently incompatible with the protection of the life of the sea. It is trawling of all kinds. A special area of conservation should be just that: a place in which wildlife is allowed to proliferate, rather than being smashed and dragged and sieved to destruction.
So please respond to the consultation the Welsh government has launched. It takes only a couple of minutes. And where it asks for extra comments, you might recommend that there should be no scallop dredging at all in protected areas and that other destructive fishing techniques (those involving towed gear in other words) should also be excluded from the SACs.
This is your chance to intervene against the blatant and pointless destruction of what is supposed to be a strict conservation zone. If the response is big enough, the Welsh government will have to back down. If we can’t protect our own threatened megafauna, how can we expect any other nations to do so?"

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Nature in Art

I've come across the work of Carry Akroyd for some time now and I am on the distribution list for her newsletter  which has just arrived. You might find it interesting too. Here is an extract. You'll need to see the art work itself to fully appreciate it of course.The illustrations in the news letter don't copy as I had hoped into the Blog so you will need to visit her web site shown below:

Carry Akroyd
www.carryakroyd.co.uk
click follow to receive my intermittent news:  
http://www.carryakroyd.co.uk/News/news.html

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The autumn trees are lovely this year. 
Another lovely thing is my NEW CALENDAR for 2016 and the surprising news that i now have an online sales facility on the website!



I have a solo show coming up at the Robert Fogell Gallery in Stamford. it runs from October 24th - November 14th.
 Rob is a wonderful sculptor and has created a beautiful gallery.


i have a group of works in The Natural Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. This exhibition opens on Wednesday 28th October and closes at 1pm on Sunday 8th November. I will be giving an illustrated talk at the Mall Galleries on Friday 6th November at 2.30pm, about my interest in the poet John Clare and how his writing has influenced a strong seam of my work.


if you would like an invitation to either of the above let me know.

meanwhile my John Clare series ‘Found in the Fields’ continues to tour Hampshire, currently it is at Andover until November 14th. After that it will go on to the Allen Gallery in Alton.


and upt’north, i will have a solo print show at the Leeds Craft and Design Centre which will run from 7th 
with good wishes
Carry

if you would like to be removed from my mailing list, just email ‘remove’ and it shall be done.
Carry Akroyd
www.carryakroyd.co.uk
click follow to receive my intermittent news:  
http://www.carryakroyd.co.uk/News/news.html


Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Plantlife and our local meadow

I get the Plantlife news letter every month and this is an extract from the latest copy.I recommend it. Here is their web site:     http://www.plantlife.org.uk

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Plantlife logo

Welcome to our September e-news

Road verge campaign
Great news! Over 15,000 people have now signed to support better verge management for nature!

If you haven't already, please sign our road verge petition today.
Also in the newsletter they highlight wildflower gardens .
Wildflower gardens can be unkempt and a bit scruffy, right? Well, they don’t have to be. There’s a place for wild flowers in modern contemporary gardens, too.
If you prefer a clean-cut, well-designed and contemporary garden, native plants can be used to great effect in providing both the structure and the ever-changing palette of colour. In fact, many are already tried-and-tested stalwarts of the designer's repertoire, while others can be put to great effect if you’re willing to be a bit more adventurous...

Click here to read this full feature by Plantlife's botanical specialist,  Dr Trevor Dines.
In another item they highlight a flower we have in our local meadow  and here is my photo taken earlier in June in 2014 and just starting to flower


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Out and about
Watch out for...
Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria)
This spiky, yellow plant grows in single stems to 60cm in size. The small yellow petals reveal themselves in stages from the bottom upwards and the leaves have jagged edges with whitish undersides. 

Agrimony is widespread except for in Scotland where it can only be found in some southern parts. It can also be found on hedge banks, road verges and in other grassy places. 

Some people use agrimony to represent thankfulness.



Friday, July 10, 2015

Batty Piece, Ladies Bedstraw and Humming-bird Hawk Moth

Since my last blog we have been away on holiday to Italy and seen some interesting wildflowers and butterflies , now back home I can add the latest news from our local meadow.

In my absence a friend visited our field and sent me these three photographs. His email comment was
 "I found three Humming-bird Hawk-moth larvae on the Lady's Bedstraw in Batty
Piece this morning. There was also a Scorched Carpet moth by the gate. "   Not being a trained observer myself I find it hard to see such detail.
John Bebbington is the photographer and has publish a book you might find interesting and useful. Its title is  "Insect Photography -  Art and Techniques "   ISBN 978 1 84979 378 8.  Published in 2012 by The Crowood Press Ltd. 

I was very pleased to see today, in our garden around 200 m from the field, a very busy Hummingbird Hawk Moth feeding on some flowers. I've photographed them before but not virtually at the same time as seeing the larvae ( or caterpillars as I would say! )
The field itself I visited today and it is still full of pyramidal orchid in flower , knapweed, ladies bedstraw, field scabious and numerous butterflies including the marbled white.. I did however find again the seed capsule of the Bee orchid which finished flowering in June. Back in july I found several locations with Bee orchids including one small area with around 20 plants which I hadn't seen before. It was a delight to see the meadow looking so good in the bright sunshine.




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Common Broomrape or Orobanche minor

Part 2 ( see my previous post for part 1)

At the other end of our garden is a small wild patch  where I try to encourage native plants and control strong growing grasses. Teasels are growing well there and whilst trying to help by removing some grasses at the base of a teasel plant I unfortunately found myself holding the flowering stem of a broomrape which I believe is the common species. Trying to identify it I cut in half one of the flowers and found the two purple stigmas joined on a single style and with 4 stamen which I think show up quite well in the photos. So I am fairly confident with the identification and will look to see if other specimens have survived my "weeding" ! These plants can be seen out in the fields nearby if the management allows! There is an obvious message in this post and the previous about the conflict between humans and plant life










Pyramidal Orchid and Common Broomrape OR Anacamptis pyramidalis and Orobanche minor

This is a tale about these two plants which have appeared in our garden this year. The orchid appeared last year also but not in the same spot in our front lawn. At times it's not so much a lawn as a nursery for plants that happen to choose to appear!
Earlier this year I cut the grass probably in March or April and kept my eyes open for anything that looked like an interesting plant. Then it was left to grow on until I gave it another cut and this time suddenly spotted a Pyramidal orchid plant just inches in front of the mower! I went round it and left a small path of grass and the orchid to grow on. A bit later as the orchid plant began to send up a flower spike I took a photo and took another just now. The first was on 28th May when the plant was about 19 cm high. You can see that the tips of the leaf has been clipped which I believe was made during the first mowing

The next two were taken today 24th June and the flower is nearly fully open and has grown to 32 cm.
The photos of the Broomrape I'll put in another post!