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”

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.”

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”

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!”

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”

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 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”

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”