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!”

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”

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”

Riverfly 2

David Beeson, January 2022 “The Riverfly Partnership is a network of organisations, representing anglers, conservationists, entomologists, scientists, water course managers and relevant authorities, working together to: – protect the water quality of our rivers; – further the understanding of riverfly populations; – and actively conserve riverfly habitats. The Riverfly Partnership is hosted by the FreshwaterContinue reading “Riverfly 2”

Riverfly Sampling

David Beeson, December 2021 In Hampshire, we have some unique river systems. With chunks of the county dominated by chalky geology the rainwater is held in huge aquifers and only slowly released. It emerges comparatively warm in winter ( and remains cool in summer) and is enriched with dissolved calcium. The waters are usually crystalContinue reading “Riverfly Sampling”

Naked Ladies in Everleigh Ashes

Dr John Moon (main words) and David Beeson (images and introduction). 1st September 2021 Photographing the Naked Ladies … now do not get too excited, this may not the article you thought it might be! As you will all know, Naked Ladies is a common name of the Autumn Crocus, Meadow Saffron, scientific name: ColchicumContinue reading “Naked Ladies in Everleigh Ashes”

Wildlife Garden in Late August

David Beeson It has been an indifferent summer in Hampshire. Yet we are hugely appreciative of having no fires or floods or plagues of locusts. I guess dampness is preferable to desertification. The cool rainfall enhanced grass growth by removing growth-limiting factors, so with some of the meadows now cut the compost bins are fullContinue reading “Wildlife Garden in Late August”

Conservation? What conservation? Britain is a land of shooting – pheasants in the south and grouse in the north.

Article stolen from the Guardian newspaper. Britain’s national parks dominated by driven grouse moors, says study Exclusive: Area twice the size of London devoted to grouse shooting in UK’s parks, threatening efforts to tackle climate crisis Patrick Barkham@patrick_barkhamThu 5 Aug 2021 06.01 BST National parks supposedly at the heart of efforts to tackle the climateContinue reading “Conservation? What conservation? Britain is a land of shooting – pheasants in the south and grouse in the north.”

Small mammals on the night camera

David Beeson, late July 2021 My Apeman Wildlife camera has again been pointed at a peanut feeder just alongside our garage. This is adjacent to where I found two (rare) UK dormouse nests in November last year, and then recorded a pair on this feeder. Since that time brown rats found the feeder and startedContinue reading “Small mammals on the night camera”

Southern Damselflies

John Solomon, 10th July 2021 On 23 June a friend of mine, Brain Cartwright, a local birder who haunts Anton Lake, sent me a series of photographs he’d taken that day. There was no special reason for this, he’s keen on local wildlife and a very keen photographer, so he regularly emails the latest cropContinue reading “Southern Damselflies”

The Eco-garden in Early July and the Problem with Clay Soils.

David Beeson Note: a garden meadow is a garden feature. It is designed as part of a garden and not as a wildlife reserve. The wildlife that comes with the garden meadow is a bonus. Our Summer Meadow is ideally only cut from early autumn and is part garden feature and part wildlife reserve. WithContinue reading “The Eco-garden in Early July and the Problem with Clay Soils.”

The Barberry Carpet Moth

Graeme Davis is a guest contributor. 28th June 2021 The Barberry Carpet is a medium size British moth, now reduced to 12 colonies, though this is a recent increase in numbers, thanks to a project by Back from the Brink. The moth is a red data book species, and on the UK Biodiversity Action PlanContinue reading “The Barberry Carpet Moth”

Secret Pond Late Spring 2021

John Solomon, 21/06/2021 And it has most certainly been late spring, but, finally, it is here and everything is bursting to make up for lost time. Reeds that seemed forever stuck at ankle-nibbling height are now shooting up over my waist, nettles are over my shoulders and various Cow Parlsey-like plants are threatening to towerContinue reading “Secret Pond Late Spring 2021”

Butterflies on Salisbury Plain

John Solomon, 08/06/2021           I’m not too familiar with Salisbury Plain but David visited there last year and, so he told me, saw huge numbers of Marsh Fritillaries. A plan was hatched. He knew where they were and I had the toy, a small, two-seater sports car with rather too much engine, endearingly known asContinue reading “Butterflies on Salisbury Plain”

Ox Drove Meadows

It is a small meadow ‘given’ to the local population to compensate for the urbanisation of other local habitat. The meadow will end up as a dog-running area but the thick hedges will supply additional dormouse habitat, nesting sites and food for many other creatures. Good to see the additional planting around the site. MyContinue reading “Ox Drove Meadows”

Some early summer orchids and other floral delights

David Beeson 07/06/2021 I have been looking in three spots for plants, on one occasion as John wielded his camera in pursuit of butterflies. Spot one was in my own garden: spotted, southern marsh, twayblade and lesser butterfly orchids are currently in flower. Location two was alongside the A303 road, the route from London toContinue reading “Some early summer orchids and other floral delights”

A Win for UK Conservation

Wild Justice statement on gamebird licensing 30th October 2020 12:23 pm Wild Justice secures an historic environmental legal victory Just days away from facing a barrage of legal arguments in court (on 3 and 4 November) DEFRA has agreed to license the release of Pheasants and Red-legged Partridges to control ecological damage to wildlife sites.   WildContinue reading “A Win for UK Conservation”

Dorset heaths

The Dorset Heathlands David Beeson My part of Southern England is dominated by a chalk geology. That results in thin, calcium-rich soils and a characteristic ecology. Much of south-east Dorset has sand and gravels beneath the surface, and these generate very different conditions. I was based a few kilometres north of the walled, Saxon townContinue reading “Dorset heaths”