A Journey to the Jade Sea

(Now called lake Turkana) Aspects of Africa 1 – The El Molo of Kenya David Beeson July 2022 In 1998 our family spent some time exploring Kenya for the first time. Perhaps one of the most interesting journeys was to the far north-east of the country, to Lake Turkana, beyond the lands of the SamburuContinue reading “A Journey to the Jade Sea”

Some wildlife in South Wales

David Beeson June 2022 Annette and I embarked on a two-week exploration of the coastline at the start of June. Our first stop was just west of Newport at the Tredegar House caravan site. This allowed easy access to The Newport Wetlands which are partly managed by the RSPB and dominated by present and pastContinue reading “Some wildlife in South Wales”

How well do you know your birds? A Bird Anatomy and Physiology Quiz, 1.

David Beeson, June 2022 ANSWERS WILL BE IN A SEPARATE POST … so, you cannot cheat here! QUESTION ONE Name the three types of feathers on a typical bird, such as a sparrow. QUESTION TWO In mammals, skin hair cells have muscles attached to change their orientations. For example, when they are cold. Does thisContinue reading “How well do you know your birds? A Bird Anatomy and Physiology Quiz, 1.”

The Physiology of Birds, 1. (How birds work)

Remember: you can access any of over 150 articles from ARTICLES above, Free knowledge. David Beeson, May 2022 While nearly everyone you meet on a nature exploration can identify most of the birds they encounter, few know much about how they work. This article is an introduction to some aspects of their physiology. For thoseContinue reading “The Physiology of Birds, 1. (How birds work)”

Plant Families

David Beeson, May 2022 If you are a subscriber and receive all the articles, do look at the NEW HOMEPAGE at http://www.nwhwildlife.org as all the posts have been reorganised to make searching easier. The placing of organisms into groups some people think is a rather boring topic. I agree; yet understanding some aspects of classificationContinue reading “Plant Families”

The New Forest National Park in April

David Beeson I grew up not far from The Forest, as we called it. It was only later, when I had travelled the World, did I understand just how special it is. Lowland heath, its ecological label, is rare … really rare, so its plants and animals are treasures. It was first a royal huntingContinue reading “The New Forest National Park in April”

YOU SHOULD READ THIS ————-SOIL – an article from the UK GUARDIAN newspaper.

From David: Worth reading. The author is a well-known environmentalist. The newspaper is straight and factual (unlike some others). Don’t dismiss soil: its unknowable wonders could ensure the survival of our species by George Monbiot Sat 7 May 2022 09.00 BST Beneath our feet is an ecosystem so astonishing that it tests the limits of ourContinue reading “YOU SHOULD READ THIS ————-SOIL – an article from the UK GUARDIAN newspaper.”

The Ecology of the UK’s Snakes

David Beeson, April 2022 I’ve always been a fan of the underdog. If some creature is being ‘got at’ then I’m prepared to put in some effort to attempt to right-the-wrong. That was how it was when I started working with the Mammal Society and then the Otter Trust to stop the hunting of theContinue reading “The Ecology of the UK’s Snakes”

Newts on Patrol

David Beeson, April 2022 We have Palmate Newts, Lissotriton helveticus, in and around our pond. These are amphibians and are rather like lizards in appearance, but with moist, unscally skins. They are often missed by gardeners as they keep a low profile, especially in weedy ponds. They are not organisms I associate with rivers, althoughContinue reading “Newts on Patrol”

The Wild Orchids of Crete in Early April

David Beeson, April 2022 Spring in the mid-uplands of Crete is the main time for seeing the flowers on wild orchids. The mild winters, hot summers with winds often coming from the Sahara and the calcareous soils all add to making this a favourable environment. This last winter the rain and snow exceeded expectations, soContinue reading “The Wild Orchids of Crete in Early April”

The Coastal Communities of Crete

David Beeson, April 2022 Earlier this month we embarked on a botanical visit to the Greek island of Crete. We have been there twice, previously both walking and seeking plants, but this time headed for the centre of the island, to Rethymno. We had not been to this part of Crete. Crete is a mountainousContinue reading “The Coastal Communities of Crete”

Algal Microscopy

David Beeson, April 2022 A bit of a specialist topic, I agree, but stay with me and perhaps I will change your mind about algae … they can be quite interesting. And, as for a microscope, well, mine cost only £105 and it is first-year university standard, but cheap as an unwanted present bought fromContinue reading “Algal Microscopy”

Stock dove courtship

David Beeson, April 2022 Wood pigeons are common here, with our resident pairs that court and mate on our garage roof and nest in our trees and thick hedges. Those birds are joined, overwinter, by flocks of perhaps sixty migratory wood pigeons that roost in our walnuts and graze the meadows. The two types ignoreContinue reading “Stock dove courtship”

The Deer of Southern England

David Beeson, March 2022 UK deer have antlers that are shed yearly, while sheep & goats have horns that grow and are not shed. Although you are unlikely to need that fact in the field! Deer are Ungulates, having hooves instead of claws and they are in the Cervidae family, being ruminant browsers and soContinue reading “The Deer of Southern England”

Small Mammal Carnivores of the UK – Martens, polecats, stoats and weasels.

David Beeson, March 2022 This article will look at the pine marten, polecat, stoat and weasel. The former pair are very unequally dispersed, while the latter two are mostly found across the British mainland. I have only seen one live, wild marten, and that was in France as it hurtled across a road. Many areContinue reading “Small Mammal Carnivores of the UK – Martens, polecats, stoats and weasels.”

I had forgotten just how magical a drop of pond water can be.

David Beeson, March 2022 I’m about to sell my microscope, as a new one is on its way to me. So, I thought I would give the old one an outing – a sample of pond water. Oh, what wonders! If you have access to a microscope and have never looked at pond water doContinue reading “I had forgotten just how magical a drop of pond water can be.”

The Home Lives of Fungi

David Beeson, March 2022 The fungi are the organisms that form the Kingdom MYCETEAE, and are neither plants nor animals, and bear very little resemblance to bacteria or algae. So, they are fascinating when you get to know them. And, that is my task today – to enable you to see life from a fungal’sContinue reading “The Home Lives of Fungi”

The Invasion of Land, and the first land plants … The Bryophytes (Mosses and Liverworts)

David Beeson, 28th February 2022 About 450 million years ago, in the Silurian era, plants invaded the land. With water and land / air being such different habitats evolution had to throw up some divergent life forms to survive there. It would take millions of years for the complete colonisation of land. The first trueContinue reading “The Invasion of Land, and the first land plants … The Bryophytes (Mosses and Liverworts)”