Some Biology of Insects

David Beeson, October 2022 On land, they are everywhere – the teeming hordes of life. So, their biology and lifestyles must be a big evolutionary success. In the UK we have over 22 000 species of insects in all manner of shapes and sizes. They range from the inquisitive dragonflies, through the singing grasshoppers withContinue reading “Some Biology of Insects”

Willow Emerald (Chalcolestes viridis)

John Solomon, October 2022. The Emerald Damselflies are often called the ‘Spreadwings’, as they habitually perch with their wings open in a delta position. There are five European species, including the Common Emerald (Lestes spoons), Willow Emerald (Chalcolestes viridis), Scarce Emerald (Lestes dryas), Southern Emerald (Lestes barbarus) and Winter Damselfly (Sympecma fascia). The Common EmeraldContinue reading “Willow Emerald (Chalcolestes viridis)”

The Biology of Freshwater (flowering) Plants

David Beeson, September 2022 Evolution is powerful. If you fail to fit in, something else will take your place, and freshwater is today only filled with the fittest of plants. Yet, those plants originated as marine organisms that migrated onto the then uncolonized land. Here the conditions were very different, and evolution forced them toContinue reading “The Biology of Freshwater (flowering) Plants”

Our Wildlife Garden in late September

David Beeson We set out to make our 1.25-acre garden wildlife friendly. It was one of the first in the UK to ‘hit the media’ – and that was 30 years ago, and it is 20 years since being on the BBC, The Garden magazine and other major outlets. We feel we were part ofContinue reading “Our Wildlife Garden in late September”

An Ecology Fieldtrip

David Beeson, September 2022 For those of us living in northwest Hampshire we are used to a chalky landscape cut through by clear rivers and streams. The river valleys are lush, alkaline and covered in the remains of C17, C18 and C19 water meadows (see article). So, my ecology group opted to visit South DorsetContinue reading “An Ecology Fieldtrip”

I Hit the Headlines!

David Beeson, 19th August 2022 Southern England, and much of Western Europe are having a hotter and drier summer than average. Rainfall for the year is well down and, with river levels dropping, local hosepipe and sprinkler bans are in place. Our water is pumped out of our underlying chalk bedrock and, when extraction exceedsContinue reading “I Hit the Headlines!”

Longstock Water Garden in July

David Beeson The name John Lewis is synonymous with quality department stores in the UK. It has a subsidiary, Waitrose, that is its supermarket chain. However, unlike many similar companies, JL has other sides. It owns arable, dairy, mushroom and apple farms in Hampshire and its vineyards produce quality wines. Yet, there is more: itContinue reading “Longstock Water Garden in July”

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”