Monday, 30 January 2012

Great Britain and its wildlife


Last weekend was the 33rd Big Garden Birdwatch, which I posted about in 2010 and 2011, and I was wondering how to make it a little different – hence the background to our little group of islands and the modest diversity that we have in our flora and fauna.

Adders: normal and melanistic colour patterns – preferring dryer areas (heaths), where they can find a wide range of prey: rodents, and the eggs of chicks of ground-nesting birds.


All the pictures tell their story of some of the flora and fauna under threat  ... whose annotations I've set out in red.

The British Isles is an archipelago consisting of two main islands – Britain and Ireland – and about 1,000 others, including the Channel Islands.  The name Brittannia was used by the Romans for our islands and those further north including the Faroe Islands (now Danish) and Iceland ... before finally becoming the Roman province of Britannia (one ‘T’) with the northern boundary being Limes Britannicus – Hadrian’s Wall.

Harpella Forficella – Concealer Moth ... the caterpillars feed on dead wood and have been seen on King Alfred’s Cake  


The fact the British Isles is situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Continental Europe gives it an unique climate ... the North Atlantic Current brings warm waters from the Gulf of Mexico giving us our temperate climate with its warmer and wetter weather than might be expected.

A fungi - King Alfred’s Cake – growing in clumps on dead and dying wood, especially the Ash tree.  The shiny black balls are excellent tinder for fire-lighting ... as they crumble when broken as if charred: hence their name after the burnt cakes by the Saxon monarch.


This current allows us to have vineyards at the same latitude as Canada has polar bears, or date palms at 50 deg north, where normally they would grow in the Canary Islands off Africa.  The Gulf Stream is a major factor affecting our islands’ weather ... while the atmospheric waves (winds) recently have been bringing subtropical air northwards warming our shores.

The Stag Beetle – from Fauna Germanica by Edmund Reitter (1845-1920).  Pliny the Elder noted that Nigidius called the stag beetle ‘lucanus’ after the Italian region of Lucania where they were used as amulets.  They lay eggs in rotting deciduous wood, which the larvae feed on for several years (before pupating in 3 stages)


We have a relatively small biodiversity because of our physical separation from continental Europe, the effects of seasonal variability, the shortage of time for habitat evolution to occur since the last Ice Age (+/- 10,000 years ago) and our small land masses.

Heathland at Woodbury Common, Devon.  Purple flowers of heather and the yellow of gorse.  Heather is vital as a food plant for a range of creatures, including emperor moth caterpillars and red grouse.



Topography of the UK
Yet as islanders – we can access all parts of our nation reasonably easily ...  of which, in 1993, 10% was forested, 46% used for pastures and 25% for agricultural use.  Most of the country is lowland terrain, with mountainous regions in Scotland, running down the spine of England, into Wales petering out in the westerly counties of Cornwall and Devon.  There are major estuaries and rivers – with feeder tributary systems criss-crossing the countryside.

Distances as the crow flies are 660 miles north to south;  255 miles Penzance, Cornwall to London; 270 miles from Holyhead, north Wales to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk ... and we’re never more than a couple of hours journey from the seaside.

Red Grouse
This gives us, the British public, unlimited access to all of our wildlife habitats ... our gardens, urban parks, wild-flower meadows, rock-pools at the seaside, bluebell woods, ancient woodlands and forests, fields, meadows and hedgerows, rivers, estuaries, lakes and marshes, mountains, moors and heaths, coasts and islands ....

For the diversity, even with evolutionary change, we still have a huge range of birds – some are going north, some are moving south, some will die out and some will gain strength ...





Goldcrest (female) – Shetland – usually found in coniferous woodland and gardens; Eggs of the chicken, Little Owl and Goldcrest (smallest); Little Owl – introduced to the UK in 1842 and is now a naturalised bird, found in open country and parkland; it can hunt during the day.




Some of our wildlife I have shown here... while the results of the Big Garden Birdwatch last weekend will be published in a couple of months’ time.

The Top Ten garden birds in 1979             The Top Ten garden birds in 2010

Starling                                            House Sparrow
House Sparrow                                Starling
Blackbird                                          Blackbird
Chaffinch                                          Blue Tit
Blue Tit                                            Chaffinch
Robin                                                 Wood Pigeon
Song Thrush                                      Great Tit
Greenfinch                                       Goldfinch
Great Tit                                          Robin
Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow            Collared Dove

Some of the changes or declines are because of diseases, adaption to being able to survive in areas subject to intensive farming, thriving due to increasing sophistication of the modern bird-food market – more specialisation.

 Ruddy Turnstone – one of the world’s great travellers ... flying from their breeding grounds in the Arctic, via Britain, to winter in Africa.  They rest on rocky shores above the high tide mark.  The lift stones and seaweed to find food.


So we must count ourselves lucky in these islands that we are able to travel to see all this flora and fauna in their different habitats, while being able to access information points to gain further knowledge – as well as participate in what is thought to be the biggest “citizen science” exercise anywhere in the world ....

Pair of Bullfinches – they love to feed on the fruit tree  buds found in orchards



.... last year 600,000 people took the survey – that is more than the population of Luxembourg .....  I wonder how many this year – as the weather was far more benign – in 2011 it was icy, snowy and positively freezing.

We are lucky here ... and on top of that we speak English – which helps!  Feedback re the British Garden birds anon .... after the April A - Z Challenge, which I've signed up for - all the details are here ... do join us - it is fun.


The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds 2012 Big Garden Birdwatch website with information.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

49 comments:

walk2write said...

Very interesting information, Ms. Hilary. How wonderful that our Gulf waters help to keep your climate moderately warm. You really should come to visit someday and dip your toes in the source itself.

I don't know why but I've always been more of a passive birdwatcher. I do enjoy observing them but never really felt the need to catalogue their appearances or disappearances. I am glad, though, for the fine folks who do find it worthwhile, and I appreciate their efforts.

Inger said...

Did you know that I lived in London from 1959 to 1962, on and off? I fell in love with England then and that has never stopped. So I was thrilled to read this now that I'm interested in these thing, which I really wasn't that much when I was young. Where would we be without the Gulf Stream, I wonder. It keeps Sweden reasonably warm and livable also. I see you have the A to Z button. I will sign up too. My theme will be Sweden or something about growing up in Sweden. Not 100% sure yet. But Swedish it will be.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

This is right up my street Hilary,
I love wildlife and love to watch the birds and squirrels frequent the garden, also when the weather is good love to go for walks in the countryside.
Thanks for this outstanding blog.
Yvonne.

Joanne said...

Interesting that I logged on to my computer and found this bird post. I just now prepared dinner, and through the kitchen window I watched a red-tail hawk sitting in the low branch of a large pine tree in my back yard. It looked as though he was watching me peel zucchini and potatoes, as he sat there the whole time I prepped the food. Cheers to our feathered friends :)

Old Kitty said...

You're making me want to wear my sturdiest gore-tex gear and go stomping out into the great big British wilderness!

My favourite bug/beetle is the devil's coach horse beetle!! I'll never forget seeing my first one whilst rambling away! It really told me when it stuck its backend up at me! Wonderful!

I hope hope hope this survey will show that birds populations are as healthy as ever!

Take care
x

Susan Scheid said...

"This gives us, the British public, unlimited access to all of our wildlife habitats ... our gardens, urban parks, wild-flower meadows, rock-pools at the seaside, bluebell woods, ancient woodlands and forests, fields, meadows and hedgerows, rivers, estuaries, lakes and marshes, mountains, moors and heaths, coasts and islands ...." There really isn't anywhere else I know of like England in that respect--and it's not only the shortish distances, but the rights of way, like nowhere else I know.

Southpaw said...

Cool stuff. I almost passed on the post 'cause of the scary snakes photo... :) but I braved through it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I visited the British Isles many years ago and yes, its smaller size is a big plus. We got to see so much in just one month.

Clarissa Draper said...

When you said the Concealer Moth has been seen on King Alfred’s Cake. I thought I had missed a funny tale regarding the kings and queens. I didn't realise you were discussing a fungus. Another enlightening post.

Rubye Jack said...

No crows or hawks?
It seems all we ever have here is the crows, the hawks, and an occasional eagle. I miss watching all the other birds.

Betsy said...

Your goldcrest is very similar to our goldfinch!

and wow...that one beetle certainly has some big pinchers! Yikes! ha.

A Lady's Life said...

I love the pretty birds and of course, meadows full of heather.I love English gardens.but as for the little beetles well they make great amulets.lol

Slamdunk said...

Interesting Hilary, and thanks for sharing what you see there. We have a snake and reptile zoo here so we see lots of adders from behind glass.

I think if I lived in England though I'd spend too much time walking around with a metal detector and shovel. It seems like folks find buried treasure there weekly.

Enjoy your day.

Mason Canyon said...

Hilary, another interesting and informative post. It was fun learning about the vineyards in your area and the Canadian polar bears at the same latitude. Birdwatching is relaxing.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

juliet said...

What a pleasure to see so many creatures that I have met in English literature but never seen. I must say, the ruddy turnstone is my favourite. It reminds me a bit of the banded dotterels that come here, with their russet and black markings. I have a great affection for England - the home of my grandparents and ancestors going further back - and also the home of my first husband.

Patricia said...

More fascinating information Hilary and I enjoyed the pictures and reading. It is nice to have gotten power back and computer running again, though still lots of trees down - We truly had a huge storm.
Now the USA is having a balmy/spring like week all over, with Winter returning everywhere for next week.

I think the birds here are very confused...I know I am
:)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ W2W - lovely to see you - and what a lovely suggestion to pay your shores a visit .. I'd love to see more of the Americas.

I'm pleased to have these mini guides that are put out each year on wild-life ... the Big Garden Birdwatch gives children the opportunity to be with their family/friends looking more closely at wildlife.

@ Inger - I remember you lived here for a while .. so delighted this post meets your approval! I'm sure Sweden is kept warmer too ..

re the A - Z .. last year I did Aspects of the British Countryside .. so it will be fascinating to learn more about Sweden - looking forward to it!

@ Yvonne - so pleased you enjoyed this - and you live in the perfect place for wildlife .. the sea, the parks, the heathland of the New Forest - ancient forest .. am so chuffed at your comment - thank you.

@ Joanne - glad you can multi-task cooking, blogging et al .. and bird watching! How wonderful to see the red-tail hawk out of your window .. a wonderful sight when he takes flight. Hope your supper was as delicious as it sounds!

Thanks so much W2W, Inger, Yvonne and Joanne - and as you say Joanne .. cheers to our feathered friends! - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Old Kitty - that sounds like an excellent idea - a good walk .. the Bluebells will be out shortly.

I had to look up the Devil's Coach Horse Beetle - wonderful name .. and I see what you mean with your comment - the Wiki picture shows him! doing pilates or equivalent - bum up in the air.

I think there will be many changes shown from the survey - but we just need to protect so much of our wildlife .. the flora and fauna I show here are sadly threatened species.

@ Susan - we do have a wonderful little country here .. especially as all those areas have sub-habitats ---- as long as the great British public can look after them, and not destroy them.

And as you point out .. our "Rights of Way" are just brilliant - we can see so much of the countryside - wandering, hiking or walking along these ancient routes. Again they need protection too.

@ Holly - oh yes the snakes first .. sorry! Glad you read through and seemingly enjoyed it!

@ Alex - so pleased to read you've been over to our tiny shores .. and obviously you managed to see lots of things.

Thanks Old Kitty, Susan, Holly and Alex .. have good weeks .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Clarissa - I realised I'd better put both pictures in sequence .. and I almost forgot the fungi description! Glad you enjoyed it.

@ Rubye - well they're common, so these are threatened species .. and that's sort of my theme here! We do have our fair share of thugs .. crows, rooks, jays, magpies .. but lots of other little birds too.

Sorry you aren't able to birdwatch any more - it's a lovely occupation see their darting about and flying around.

@ Betsy - yes .. your goldfinch has a red cap ... and the Goldcrest lays 10 - 12 of those tiny eggs, while your Goldfinch lays 4 - 6 eggs.

He's amazing - the stag beetle ..

@ A Lady's Life - when we look around the country is full of beauty and incredible life .. I loved that amulet story ..

Thanks Clarissa, Rubye, Betsy and A Lady's Life .. lovely comments .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Slamdunk - zoos are certainly good to see animals in .. snakes, reptiles are quite extraordinary ...

Oh oh .. I think if you took up metal detecting .. you'd be trudging those very gloopy thick muddied fields for many a year - probably without finding anything.

The Shropshire haul - wasn't going to happen as the farmer wasn't interested ... but it was only the fact that the area was going to be dug up for another bit of the motorway ... he relented!! It appears it was a 'swagbag' ... as it has some amazing pieces in it.

I wrote about it here when it was found over 2 years ago - if you'd like to look:
http://positiveletters.blogspot.com/2009/09/garnets-tolkein-silver-and-gold.html

@ Mason - we've had vineyards down here for 20 or 30 years now .. which the Romans first cultivated on our shores. Watching birds is as you say so relaxing ...

@ Juliet - many peoples of the world's ancestors came from these shores .. and I can quite understand how your mind draws you in.

Thanks - I rather liked the Ruddy Turnstone .. but their habitat is threatened - hence I included them. How right you are .. your Dotterel does look remarkably similar, and I know your love of sea shore.

@ Patricia - it does sound as though the weather has hit you rather hard .. but glad the brief read of the post gave you something else to think about.

Certainly we're very confused over here - I saw a young gull at the weekend .. already fledged as it was on the lawn .. and lots and lots of tits around. The tree buds are almost ready to burst, the daffodils are up and ready to flower ... the snowdrops are out in their drifts ... it's colder now - but ... as you say we're all 'confussed' at this weather.

Thanks so much Slamdunks, Mason, Juliet and Patricia .. delighted to see you with your comments .. Hilary

MorningAJ said...

Living slap bang in the middle of the country like I do, I know it IS possible to get to the coast, but it isn't easy. It's almost exactly three hours from here to Skegness, Weston Super Mare, Scarborough or Blackpool.

I miss it desperately!

quilthexle said...

That's something I REALLY love about the UK - the sea is never far away! it takes us a whole day of driving to reach the sea ... (but we'll do it this year in June - YEAH !!)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anne - yes moving to Market Harborough (not far from you I guess) .. where the sea was far away - I can empathise totally. I love the sea - though our sea is Cornwall .. and that beautiful county - which was always miles of driving to get there!

I do remember going to the Norfolk area .. and it did take a long time to get across country - before the A14 ...

Oh - I can well understand you missing the sea .. I have it here, but I miss the stunty craggy shores of Cornwall.

@ Frauke - as you know our Beachy Head .. and other coastal areas .. excellent to read you're going to the seaside in June - whereabouts .. here or on the continent?

Thanks Anne and Frauke - even living here we miss the sandy beaches, or rocky shores .. let alone all the other habitats .. cheers Hilary

Birdie said...

I love the snakes.

I am a backyard/armchair birder. I live close to a provincial part so I see a lot of different birds. Still, my favourite bird is the crow. :-)

MTeacress said...

Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I imagine the wildlife and scenery may seem ordinary to those who live there, but it's unique to me in the US. :)

Have a lovely week, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Birdie .. do you love snakes - I'm not so sure!! You need to read Liesl's blog post re a snake ..
http://alittleafricanmagic.blogspot.com/2011/12/dear-lordplease-can-we.html - it's a wonderful read!

I have to say I'm not that keen on crows .. I've described them as my thugs ... but love the tits that are dancing around ... Your park must be a lovely place to have a walk in .. enjoy the Spring a-coming.

@ Michelle - glad you enjoyed it .. it's not ordinary to us - if only we look!! - but delighted to show you our sites ..

You too - Michelle have a good week .. and you Birdie - cheers for now .. Hilary

Sara said...

Hilary -- Wow. We both wrote about birds this time. I liked your post because it talked about more than just birds.

Having a child living in England has taught to appreciate the country. It is amazing how different the driving distances are...then again the roads aren't quite the same as they are in the States.

In England, it's very easy to find yourself on a narrow two-lane road with giant hedges on each side. I always found that very challenging:~)

I didn't think England had snakes! Or is just not dangerous snakes?

Thanks for teaching me more about England. I'll be visiting my daughter soon. We may take a trip to Ireland or Scotland.

I hope your mom is doing okay?

Susanne Drazic said...

Interesting post. I look forward to stopping by to visit during the A - Z blog challenge.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sara - I'll be over to check out your birds .. I just wanted to make it a little different.

You know this little island - and as you say it's very easy to get off the beaten track and onto the local lanes - which are fun to drive along, but quite challenging at times. The beautiful old hedges or stone walls are gorgeous to look - artistically as well as their flora and fauna ..

Yes we have three snakes and three lizards .. these are Adders - our only poisonous one ...

Delighted you enjoyed the post .. and perhaps we might meet when you're over .. Mum is quiet and peaceful - thankfully ..

@ Susanne - glad you enjoyed the post - and I am looking forward to seeing old friends and new ones during the A - Z Challenge ..

Cheers Sara and Susanne - have good weeks - Hilary

Short poems said...

Just beautiful,I love the pretty birds. Amazing post, thanks for sharing with us :)

warmly
Marinela

Friko said...

two questions: where are the date palms?
and how much access do we have to large tracts of land which are in private hands?

Richard said...

You have an encyclopedic memory. And you write well, too. What a combination.

Stephen Tremp said...

I always thought the British Isles were far more forested. Maybe this is because the childhood stories I read that were set there had woods and forests in them.

Thanks for the geography lesson. Lots of great history the English have to offer.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marinela .. glad you enjoyed it - the photos do show us what things look like - so glad you enjoyed seeing the birds.

@ Friko .. the date palms are in Tresco Abbey Gardens on the Isles of Scilly.

2ndly - I can't answer that - and you're right .. still there's a fair amount we can walk around. I think many landowners are good stewards of their land .. better than the public appears to be.

@ Richard .. many thanks indeed - thankfully Wikipedia is around to tempt me in other directions and I enjoy the weaving wrapped up into posting.

@ Stephen .. I'm sure it's exactly as you say - and the forests over the centuries have been cleared for building 1,000 years ago, ship building after that, pit props and industrialisation 18th C on up to the 20th century .. now we're starting to look after them - there are still ancient woodlands and forests - even those urbanisation/ or civilisation is encroaching upon.

Glad you enjoyed the geography lesson .. together with our history - we're lucky to live in this era.

Great to see you Marinela, Friko, Richard and Stephen .. have good rest of the weeks ..Hilary

Linda said...

Most interesting facts about your island home. It seems you are blessed to have such access to the sea and all the lovely birds that inhabit the area. I particularly love the picture of the owl. I've only seen owls in zoos and wild bird rehab places.

Miranda Hardy said...

Hi Hilary!

I'm an avid outdoor person, often visiting our local wildlife refuge. Of course, the wildlife here in South Florida differs greatly from your area. I love reading about the wildlife every where.

Glad we connected through the A-Z blog. I look forward to your posts.

klahanie said...

Hello Hilary,
When I first glanced upon your title, I thought it had something to do with the wildlife you see in any city, town or village in Britain on a Friday or Saturday night. You know, a combination of a bit too much beer and the remnants of a kebab lying forlornly on the pavement.
Yet, oh how wrong I was! Note the exclamation mark for dramatic impact! Just like those gosh darn lovable folks who set up the 'A to Z Blogging Challenge!' Something I would not partake in. Although, I may write the occasional cynical, satirical posting about it.
Anyway, you have given a lot of facts about this 'green and pleasant land'. I, for one, am truly grateful for your ongoing informative postings.
I'm looking forward to 'Hedgehog Day', the British film version of 'Groundhog Day'. I'm looking forward to 'Hedgehog Day', the British film version of 'Groundhog Day'.....
Now then, before I go. It is only fair that I inform you that Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, has bestowed an award upon your good self. She has also told me that you do not need to acknowledge said award and do with it as you so wish.
Cheers Hilary and take very good care.
Kind wishes and a flying crow, your way, Gary :)

Ann Best said...

I think this is one of my most favorite posts of all your wonderful posts, Hilary! "Forests, fields, meadows and hedgerows, rivers, estuaries, lakes and marshes, mountains, moors and heaths, coasts and islands." Oh how I would love to live near all of this and not just experience it through great literature and movies. I would LOVE to visit England, and YOU!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

I would love to be involved with something like this. Birds fascinate me. We have starlings around our house. Of course they're not native to this area -- someone introduced them here and now they've taken over and are a plague to farmers -- but they are so beautiful flying in their formations. We also had a flicker pecking at our house the other day. THAT was interesting! He had the most beautiful orange underside.

Thanks for the lovely post. I so enjoy reading your work.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Linda .. too often we forget that our life is blessed wherever we are. So pleased I put the owl in .. I love owls too but try and include different flora and fauna, so I don't duplicate information.

@ Miranda .. lovely to see you here - and you'll enjoy my A - Z posts then as you're an outdoor person - Florida has much to offer too and I love visiting others' blogs which tell me about their part of the world.

Looking forward to reading more of your posts and the A - Z ones ..

@ Gary - oh yes .. I can easily see your eyes glazing towards all the pigeons around! Late nights sound a little challenging around your place! I'll stay safely here - with my award which Penny has so kindly given me.

I'll enjoy your acerbic commenting on my A-Z posts .. there's going to be a lot of us .. and I'll get across to read and comment on your cynical, satirical posts too.

Glad to read you enjoyed the post - I aim to please! but I learn too.

Groundhog Day - I did that as a post for the last 2 years - I just remembered it's today - so no I'm not posting about them! They'll be very confused this year ... the weather is all over the place. And hedgehogs have got a look in too ..

Penny - you're a star giver - delighted to have an award from the internet star .. I shall quietly acknowledge it on your site later on .. and be very chuffed - I'll have to whisper it in Hardwick's ear .. so he can tell my mother!

Wonderful to see you here Gary - the flying crow with the award is welcomed to my little patch .. and I hope the other birds and critters behave and accept him.

Cheers Linda, Miranda and Gary - good to see you all .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ann - I'm just glad you so enjoyed the posting .. the simple ways of life, if we take time to look.

I'd love to have you here and take you on a tour .. perhaps one day, let's hope. If you can have a 'wee' break by reading these posts ... that gives me great pleasure to know.

@ Amy - well you certainly would love it .. families, groupings and schools get involved and submit a survey.

I think there've been a lot of changes - there are lots of little tits around and young seagulls already .. I hope they survive our period of Siberian weather that's arrived.

We've got introduced birds too - and I know a few centuries ago ships travelled with livestock and birds ... which have caused challenges as they've increased their numbers. I agree the whirls and synchronicity of the flocks of birds are wonderful to see ..

I had to look up Flicker - a woodpecker .. as you say he is very pretty ..

I so appreciate your comments Ann and Amy - always lovely to see you here .. cheers Hilary

Marja said...

There is just a documentary on TV here about the british islands with Martin Clunes. I just loved it. Beautiful islands, beautiful country. I wish I had discovered more of it when I lived closeby. I only went to London and Oxford for a couple of days. Most people living here are descendents from brittain.
The birdies in your post are beautiful

Ella said...

As always Hilary you are filled with fascinating info. I loved seeing things I have read about. I would so love to visit your area!
YOU are a natural teacher! I love nature~ Thank you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Marja .. that's great to read - and that you're enjoying the documentary. At least you've seen a little of the country - perhaps one day you'll come back ..

The Dutch too - we seemed to follow each other round the world, colonising places .. and thankfully live harmoniously together.

@ Ella - thank you - it would be wonderful to have you here .. it's fun writing about Britain and learning more as I post.

Delighted to see you both - Marja and Ella .. thanks so much for visiting and your comments .. cheers Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Wow! Interesting, as always, Hilary. I'd love to learn more about the birds here in the UK, particularly the ones that are different from North America. Thank you for all the links.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli .. Blogger has just eaten my long reply! On my own blog = irritation!!

I hope you enjoy the links .. the newspapers over the years have had some useful guides and I refer to them all the time. I picked up a few plasticated fold-up guides at the local Seven Sisters/Beachy Head environment shop .. for the kids (and me!) ...

Now let me try and post my own comment ...

Hope Mr TRs homeland comes right - enjoy the Siberian weather at the weekend .. cheers Hilary

The Blonde Duck said...

I would have never known there was so much eco-diversity!

Steven Schwartzman said...

The threat from invasives goes in both directions. I've read that squirrels from America have greatly reduced the numbers of the native British species. At the same time, when I look at the wildflowers that are proliferating at this early time of year in Texas, I find dandelions, yellow sour clover, white sweet clover, pin clover, shepherd's purse, bastard cabbage, and sow thistle—all are invasives carried here inadvertently from Europe.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Blonde Duck .. it's surprising how much when we look - glad you enjoyed seeing some of wildlife.

@ Steve - good to meet you here - and I'll be interested to see your postings and photography ...

Thanks - yes the invasives now are in all directions - I know the grey squirrels are eliminating our native red squirrel -

I love the names of the wildflowers you list here .. and as you say carried here, or transported as Americans opened up their huge land.

Thanks BD and Steve - good to see you both - have good weekends .. Hilary