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”

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 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)”

Gallery 2 – 2021

John Solomon John & David have a number of articles on INVERTEBRATES. Riverfly Sampling and Riverfly 2 Odonata Roundup Perhaps Butterflies are not as nice as you think Small red-eyed Damselfly Emerald Dragonflies of Bentley Wood Simply Hoverflies Southern damselflies The Barberry Carpet Moth Secret Pond in Late June Butterflies of Salisbury Plain Or HowContinue reading “Gallery 2 – 2021”

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”

Peat and pollen analysis

David Beeson, January 2022 For us, northern hemisphere people, the year is edging towards longer days and shorter nights … and about time too! And there are signs that life is at least starting to think about spring. We have snowdrops just coming into flower, the Tulipa sylvestris have popped up above soil level andContinue reading “Peat and pollen analysis”

Wildlife and its environment

David Beeson December 2021 We all do it. We explore the world around us and look for that special insect / plant / view. I do. If an orchid is in around my eyes zoom in … perhaps too rapidly. Perhaps it is not that one special plant that should be taking my notice butContinue reading “Wildlife and its environment”

Odonata Roundup

Highlights of Andover’s Odonata 2021 We entered into 2021 with an all-out attack on Covid that, as the spring got underway and summer approached, seemed to be putting the disease on the back foot. Perhaps a more normal season was to be cautiously anticipated. The weather, however, had other ideas. February, and the first twoContinue reading “Odonata Roundup”

The Blob – slime moulds / molds

David Beeson, December 2021 Some friends alerted me to a programme (The Blob) on BBC IPlayer about a most unlikely topic – slime moulds. If you have any curiosity about the oddities of this planet, this is the one to watch. You will be amazed. I have grown these organisms in the past, but theContinue reading “The Blob – slime moulds / molds”

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”

Life in the attic

David Beeson, November 2021 We live in the country with wild creatures all around, so it is inevitable that some will select to live with us. Some are benign, but ticks and fleas are certainly unwelcome. So, what has moved in? Let’s start with the attic – the space between the roof and the ceiling.Continue reading “Life in the attic”

Autumn has finally arrived

David Beeson, mid-November 2021 With three frosts throwing their silvery whiteness over our garden many of the plants have closed down for the winter. Probably these types are more southerly in their origins, yet many blooms are still attracting the honey and bumblebees, as well as the remaining wasps. While the light-absorbing pigments in chlorophyllContinue reading “Autumn has finally arrived”

The Magpie Fungus and its friends

David Beeson, Late October 2021 Harewood Forest, an ancient woodland in North Hampshire, is mainly populated by pedunculate oak trees. Most of these trees are one hundred to one hundred and fifty years old as many were previously culled during the First World War for the production of gunpowder. In a few surface chalky locationsContinue reading “The Magpie Fungus and its friends”