An Andover Badger Set

David Beeson, 25th January 2023 Several people locally have asked about badger sets and badger watching, so I today explored one I first saw 40 years ago … it is still modestly active.  Grid ref of starting point: SU413 429 – A footpath and start of a part of the Test Way. It is onContinue reading “An Andover Badger Set”

The Climate Book created by Greta Thunberg

David Beeson, January 2023 I continue to be shocked at how little some folks understand about the world around them. You will be the exception, or you’d not be linked to this site. A neighbour recently admitted he had no idea where rivers came from. He thought rain immediately flowed over the surface and madeContinue reading “The Climate Book created by Greta Thunberg”

Some Flowers of South-west South Africa

David Beeson, January 2023 We toured from Cape Town, via Table Mountain and Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens, up the west coast beyond Lambert’s Bay, Cederberg and further east into the Karoo, eventually to Prince Albert and via the Swartberg Mountains back to the south coast at Arniston. Later, we flew to Durban to touch on theContinue reading “Some Flowers of South-west South Africa”

Our Approach to Eco-gardening / Wildlife Gardening

David Beeson, Winter 2022 / 2023 Annette and I believe that wild organisms have a right to exist. As such, they need places to live – a home range, some might say. We have just over an acre of land, so have space to share. In addition, we have big positives – we dwell onContinue reading “Our Approach to Eco-gardening / Wildlife Gardening”

An Eco-garden in Mid-Winter

David Beeson, 28th December 2022 A few hard touches of frost have killed off any tender non-native plants and the pond became a potential ice-skating rink for a while. The wild plants have ignored the weather and will be none the worse. The winter-green orchids, such as pyramidal and bee, have been above ground forContinue reading “An Eco-garden in Mid-Winter”

Harewood Ancient Forest in Winter

David Beeson, December 2022 There is usually a good reason for any current land use. In Harewood’s case, it is the underlying geology. A view of the geology map will indicate the current woodland is an exact copy of the areas of clay and gravel, and the 1810 OS map will show that the currentContinue reading “Harewood Ancient Forest in Winter”

Dormouse nests – now is the time to search – December.

David Beeson, December 2022 WHEN? Finding the nests of dormice is difficult. However, December is the very best month as the leaves will have fallen from the shrubs in which they nest, and the flimsy nests will not yet have been destroyed by the winter weather. WHERE? Here, in Northern Hampshire (UK) the dormice areContinue reading “Dormouse nests – now is the time to search – December.”

The Forgotten Environment that is possibly the most important on Earth. Soil.

David Beeson, December 2022. Resource: https://rilliglab.org/podcast/ A Berlin University podcast that will open your eyes. There is more carbon stored in the soil than in the atmosphere. Probably more carbon there than in all life! Yet, how much do we know about it? Just as the world of gut flora has opened up recently, soContinue reading “The Forgotten Environment that is possibly the most important on Earth. Soil.”

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.”