October 2018

BTO: Garden watchers help to lift the lid on leg disease found in British birds

Chaffinch at feeder (Luke Delve)

Observations collected by citizen scientists have helped vets at the international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) investigate the occurrence of a condition that affects British finches. The latest study published in Scientific Reports shows that reports of leg lesions peak in winter, from March to November, which may be linked to the annual influx of migratory Chaffinches from mainland Europe.

The Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird form spectabilis (Ben Deed)

The story of the Harlequin is one of good intentions but poor delivery. Brought to the UK as a voracious hunter of 'pest species' in greenhouses the Harlequin was introduced as a means of effective #biological control to minimise the use of pesticides. Great! However, apparently poor forethought or containment meant it didn't take long before this species escaped into the wild.

Dr Phil Smith: Wildlife Notes September 2018

Yucca (Dr Phil Smith)

September was another relatively dry month. Although measurable rain fell on 12 days, there were significant amounts on only three dates. As a result, the sand-dune water-table at my Devil’s Hole measuring point continued to fall when it would usually be starting to re-charge. I had a letter published in the Radio Times pointing out that TV weather presenters are supposed to be educated people and should be aware that this country is only habitable because of regular reliable rainfall. Perhaps, therefore, they should stop perpetuating the myth that rain is bad. Evidently, they didn’t read it!