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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Making comments

Just a reminder that it is not necessary to register with Google or anyone else in order to comment on this Blog. Just click on the word " COMMENT " at the bottom of this and every post and you can make an anonymous comment.

These two photographs taken in my garden are not my best work but make the page look more interesting

GM Contamination

Did you know that the EC has already directed that GM crops must be allowed?
Did you know that the UK Government is asking for the public's views on how that should be achieved?
The Friends of the Earth are asking people to use the consultation process which ends on Oct 20th to express their concern about the effective ending of their right to have a choice of non GM food.
More details here:

The FOE are not alone in their campaign which is paralled by the expansion of the Organic food sections in supermarkets and the growing use of farmers markets especially in Somerset. In whose interest is to push this food production change?

On the other hand perhaps you agree and approve the change?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stop the Climate Chaos

The Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB often work together in the interests of wildlife. Many of our members are also members of the RSPB and so it is useful I think to show here an email notice I have just received from the RSPB. Its copied below for your information. Here is a link to the relevant RSPB web site:

Our own local group have an important meeting this Thursday 28th on the subject of Climate Change and so this is very relevant. The Wildlife Trusts are part of the national campaign.

Message from the RSPB:

Get the facts
What is Stop Climate Chaos?
Join our climate rally on 4 November
Why climate matters for British wildlife
What climate change means for you
What climate change means for the planet
About the petition
How our climate is changing already
Can the world meet the challenge?
Frequently asked questions
Calculate your carbon budget
Join our climate rally on 4 November
Join thousands of people on Saturday 4 November in Trafalgar Square for the launch of the 'I Count' campaign - calling for more Government action on climate change.

The rally has been arranged by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition and will create truly large-scale public pressure for climate action.

Exclusive RSPB pre-rally event
We're inviting you, your family and friends to an exclusive event immediately before the Stop Climate Chaos rally.

Learn more about how and why the RSPB is campaigning to limit climate change, listen to presentations from several expert speakers and meet other RSPB supporters. There will be RSPB staff on hand to answer any questions you may have.

This special event is being held at the Emmanuel Centre in central London. Doors will open for registration at 11 am, when tea and coffee will be available, with formal presentations beginning at 11.45 am. A light packed lunch will then be provided before we depart at 1 pm and walk to Trafalgar Square to join the Stop Climate Chaos mass rally.

Places at the RSPB's event are free, but they are limited. To avoid disappointment, book online now. If you have any questions about the event please telephone Anna Hughes on 01767 680551, or e-mail

Join us in Trafalgar Square
The Stop Climate Chaos mass rally will feature a range of top name speakers as well as music, film and messages of solidarity from those around the UK who cannot be there in person. The public pressure generated through the mobilisation of thousands of people on 4 November will combine with the tens of thousands of pledges of support we have gathered so far, and send out a strong call for Government leadership on climate action in advance of the United Nation's climate talks, which begin later that month in Nairobi.

The RSPB, as part of Stop Climate Chaos, is calling for more Government action to limit climate change. Specifically, the UK Government must:

Do all it can to ensure global greenhouse gas emissions are falling by 2015
Set a Carbon Budget to ensure UK greenhouse gas emissions fall by 3% every year from now
Help poor countries cope with disasters caused by climate change and get access to clean energy to help eliminate poverty
Without urgent action, up to one third of land-based plants and animals could be committed to extinction by 2050. If we can limit the average rise in global temperature to less than 2°C, we can prevent the worst damage to wildlife and people.

We hope to see you on Saturday 4 November, for what promises to be a really worthwhile and enjoyable day.

29 August 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

According to the web site shown below as a link, the Al Gore film about global warming and climate change will be shown in a few local cinemas as follows:
Sept 22: Bath , Little Theatre and Bristol at the Vue.
Sept 29th Exeter in the Picture House.
Oct 6th Wells at the Film Centre.
Oct 13th Yeovil and Bristol at Cineworld.

Try this web site to check:

Friday, September 22, 2006

Group news update

After the quiet of the summer holidays the pace of wildlife activities has stepped up a gear.
Here are brief notes on current events and news.

  • I think I'm correct in saying that the film made by Al Gore is now available in the UK or soon will be. Judging by the trailer shown on the web site it should be seen by anyone seriously interested in the effects of global warming. As soon as I can find out more about its showing locally I'll let you know.( Or you can tell me if you find out first) See post 29.08.06

  • The last major reserve on my list of local sites called Thurlbear Wood has been located. (See posts July 21st and 29th.)This afternoon I managed to find my way through some exceptionally narrow lanes on the foot hills of the Blackdown Hills to get to one of the several entrance points to the wood. Its described as ancient woodland which means it has been in existence for many hundreds of years maybe thousands. I must go back and spend some time there next spring. Its particularly interesting because I happen to be reading an excellent book by Richard Maybey called The Common Ground published in 1980. It was written "to widen the public debate on nature conservation". Its surprising to see that at that time the author was using terms such as climate change, loss of species and habitats and recording the way industrialized farming was causing so much damage to wildlife. So not much has changed in the 25 years since then. I recommend the book to anyone interested in understanding why the countryside is the way it is now so that a better way forward can be achieved. More on the book later.

  • The Reserve Manager at Babcary Meadows has contacted me to offer an organised walk to his site next spring when the Green Winged Orchids will be in evidence and much else I'm sure. This has got to be a must for our spring programme. Having made a brief visit last August just after the hay and flowers were cut it will be good to see it at its best. See post 21st and 29th July.

  • All of this ties in well with the news that our private initiative in Curry Rivel to acquire a four acre grass meadow to be maintained and improved if possible for its wild flowers and butterflies has received the blessing of the Somerset Environmental Records Centre and will now be registered as a County Wildlfe Site. This gives formal approval and a much welcomed new status from the point of view of grants and planning control. This was very good news.

  • Having joined the Private Nature Reserve Network because of our four acre field I am making contact with others in a similar situation so as to compare notes on management. It will now be more meaningful with our new status.

  • This Sunday is the Trusts Open Day at the Bishops Palace in Wells and I intend to be there most of the day and hope to see a few of our local members. The programme includes an interesting selection of the Trust activities in addition to those we organise as local groups.

  • Next Thursday we hold our first open meeting in Somerton on the subject of Climate Change and hope to see many of our local members. Contact us if you want to come along and need more information. See post Aug 20th and Sept 10th.

As you can see there is much to report and I'm sure members will be able to add many other news items to this short list. Dont forget to email us with your wildlife reports.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Meadows created in a Wildlife Garden

These first two photos were taken two days ago in the wildlife garden described in the post

These last two photos were taken in June this year in the four acre meadow referred to in this post
Meadows are a big part of the work of many conservation organisations not least the Wildlife Trust. I've mentioned before my involvement in a local initiative to ensure the conservation of a four acre field which has been lying idle for several years. Luckily the owner did get the grass cut once a year. A flora survey has identified plant species under three headings; woody species ( in the old hedges) total of species 15; Dicotyledons, ( flowers ) total of species 61; Monocotyledons ( grasses, lilies and orchids) total of species 29. A grand total of 105. To get an understanding of how to look after such a site I have been reading information from many sources including the web site shown as a link at the start of the post. The name of this wildlife garden which is "Sticky Wicket" is well known in for its association with campaigns against such developments as GM plants. On a recent visit I was particularly interested in learning how the owners had developed the several areas of wildflower meadow. Even by taking off 8 inches of top soil to give wild flowers a chance against the stronger growing grasses. If you are interested visit the web site given here as a link. ( In future posts I expect to be able to summarise our progress in managing our 4 acres.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Do bats fly in the middle of the day?

I have posted several photos taken by Steve Dyer. He has also had a letter published in the current edition of Natural World issued to all members and which local members should have received by now. ( see p6). With it is a photo taken by Steve It was taken on the 8th of April this year at around 2.00pm in Burtle. As Steve says in his letter it is very odd sighting indeed!It is clearly a pipistrelle bat flying in daylight on a sunny and cold day. It is a rare event.It shows the value of having your camera with you when out of doors!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Memo to members

This is a local photo looking, from a hide on the Ham Wall RSPB reserve near Shapwick, across the moors towards Glastonbury Tor , copyright Steve Dyer.

You will see on this blog a trial run using adverts hopefully selected by Google to relate to the content of the Blog. If any payments arise from this arrangements they will be transferred to the local group funds to support our programme of meetings and events. If it detracts from the blog too much it will be cancelled.

This memo was sent out to some 50 local members of our local Group this week. I'm posting it to show how we try to communicate with members by email.

Dear Members,
As usual I'm sending this message as a blind copy.
The committee met last Wednesday and gave most of its time to the detail arrangements for our autumn meetings. Alongside events we have organised there are some run by the Trust and other groups which may interest you. As a reminder they are, in date order, as follows:

a.. Sept 24th. Members open day at the Bishops Palace in Wells. I intend to be there most of the day to explain our group activities and meet people. The programme is shown in the latest Trust Magazine. Free entry to members with a card or the latest magazine!

b.. Sept 28th. Our meeting on Climate Change in the United Reform Church hall in Somerton at 7.30pm. Bill Butcher Director of the Somerset Environment Records Centre will explain this subject which has many implications for wildlife and ourselves. £1.50

c.. Oct 12th. We have invited Dr Pat Hill Cottingham to share her enthusiasm and knowledge of Ferns with us. A chance also to meet members over a cup of tea or coffee. In the All Saints Church Hall, Langport at 7.30 pm. Parking by the library. £1.50

d.. Oct 14th. The Trust is holding its annual general meeting which is always much more than just a business meeting and is a chance to find out what is going on in the world of wildlife in Somerset. In Oake Village Hall 3 miles west of Taunton. Car sharing recommended! There is a web site for the Hall at for more information which is also in your magazine.

e.. Oct 22nd. A Fungus Foray is organised in Beer and Aller Woods. Run by the Woods Management Committee, which we are very pleased to be associated with, and the North Somerset and Bristol Fungus Group. More info in the events diary.

f.. Nov 9th. Our meeting on The lives of Dragonflies. They seem very numerous this year so come and find out more about them. In the Curry Rivel CE Primary School Hall, Church St. At 7.30 pm. Dr Mike Parr will talk, show slides and answer questions about these fascinating creatures. £1.50 A chance for us to meet local members.

Not satisfied with all that we have started to think about 2007 and welcome your ideas.

As its Adult Education enrolment time again I notice that there are three courses that might interest you:

a.. Discovering Wildlife. A general review of wildlife around our special County of Somerset. Held in Langport and Chard.

b.. Landscape and Heritage of Somerset. This course covers the Levels, Cheddar and The Quantocks. Held in Langport, Wells and Frome.

c.. Organic Gardening. A timely subject. You have the option of sitting a City and Guilds Test if you wish. Held in Chard only.

All run by the Somerset County Council. Info in local libraries. I hope to do the Landscape course myself and I know the Wildlife one is very good.

I hope you will have noticed that I have been running a diary on the internet since last July. It aims to show some insights into the groups development and some of the wildlife topics which have arisen since we started. I see it as a very useful way to exchange views, ideas, questions and suggestions about our group and our experiences of wildlife. Its not academic or intended to be formal and if you can share with us all your interest in wildlife you will be most welcome. To comment on any of the entries on the diary just find and click on the word comment at the end of the item. Simply write in the box provide as if you were writing an email message and click on Publish. Your notes will be sent by the blog system to me by email and I will then be able to add them to the diary page. Please give it a try or simply send your comments to me direct in an e-mail and you can include your wildlife photos.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Comments on July 29th post

As you may have gathered I'm learning as I go with this blog. Uploading photos and getting the layout OK has taken a bit of time to sort out but is not too bad now I think! Comments I havent got organised yet mainly because the settings for comments are a bit difficult to follow for me at any rate.
So I am now resorting to pasting comments from Atholl which appear under my blog of 29th July, now in the archive section, and to which the comments apply. They give usefull local knowledge which is hard to acquire unless you spend some time walking the countryside. As an objective of posting messages about the reserves was to make it easier for members to visit the reserves the comments are most welcome.
PS Who is Atholl? My dictionary says Atholl is a district of central Scotland and "Atholl brose" is a mixture of whiskey and honey left to ferment before consumption!! Very useful on long walks no doubt. Intriguing.

Atholl said...
Perry Mead is a small reserve best visited in late spring or early summer. At this time of year the there are a mass of wild-flowers as can be seen from the photograph later on in David’s Blog. These are either harvested during Hay Making or eaten by the cattle that graze the reserve. On the north side of the reserve is the River Carey which though in the last few years has looked pretty much like a large ditch, floods the access road to Foddington when there are heavy rains. One result of this is that Perry Meade is sometimes quite waterlogged and there is even a mini rhyne in the middle. The public access footpath that is sign-posted in David’s photograph not only goes more or less along the river side to Lovington. It also joins up with another, which passes over the river onto the golf course, up to Wheathill and across both the railway-line and numerous fields to East Lydford. It’s quite a good varied, circular walk if you come back across the B3153 and down the lane towards Foddington. The other feature of note is the large Dew Pond to the east of the reserve. This has had in wet years, magnificent Bull rushes.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Here are some photos of fungi taken in Somerset.

All these photos are copyright to Steve Dyer and were taken locally.

Top left: Red Cup
Top right: Wax Agaric Scarlet Hood
Middle left: unknown
Middle right: Hygricybe Ceracea
Bottom: Coprinus Domesticus

All photographs copyright Steve Dyer.

Now that we are into September and the summer is drawing to a close it will soon be time to join one of the organised walks to go looking for fungi. The woods in our area are often chosen for such fungi forays with experts on hand to help with identification. If you think I've got these names wrong please let me know by email!
A Fungus Foray is shown in the Somerset Wildlife Trust events diary on Sunday October 22 between 11AM and 3PM in the Beer and Aller Woods.