Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Yellow-necked mice raid bird feeder (video)

21 February, 2012

White Thistle | Moorland, the Heart of Exmoor

2 July, 2011

White Thistle | Moorland, the Heart of Exmoor.

Heath Fritillary survey | Moorland, the Heart of Exmoor

20 June, 2011

Heath Fritillary survey | Moorland, the Heart of Exmoor.

(Micro) Bears in Space

21 May, 2011

Animal -what is an animal to you? Tardigrades will probably change your concept. BBC Nature has a bloody brilliant article on water bears (Tardigrades) in space. Be amazed!

The nature of food poisoning

8 May, 2011

Food poisoning is an excellent topic because it leads you to discover the nature of the microbes behind it. Food poisoning is not a single type of occurence. The multi-faceted phenomenon entails a wide variety of microbes, each with their own ecological qurks.

Bacillus cereus is a species of bacteria that defies some of the commonest advice that you hear about how to avoid food poisoning. If enough of these Bacillus cereus bacteria grow on your food successfully, then even proper cooking won’t save you from harm. You can kill the bacteria with heat, but it might be too late – if they have already laced your food with potent toxins.

Re-heated food is often where B cereus will cause harm, but it’s the storage conditions which are crucial.

“The spores of some species (especially Bacillus cereus and the ‘Bacillus subtilis ‘ group) survive cooking and can subsequently germinate and grow under favourable conditions, particularly those in warm kitchens.” (from HPA website)

Nursing Schools blog article:

UK NHS… intro: Intro: and causes:

Exmoor among best of British skies

1 February, 2011
Best British stargazing spots…

Patrick Kingsley named Winsford Hill in his ‘top ten‘ darkest places to go stargazing in mainland Britain. The lack of light pollution means less haze and more… gaze.  Sorry.

Check out the place in daylight before you wander off to this nice piece of moorland. There are various places you could get wet and a magnificent drop called devil’s punchbowl.

Sark gets ‘dark sky’ status

1 February, 2011

BBC news

Sark, a tiny one of the Channel Isles, has been awarded ‘dark skies’ status by the International Dark-sky Association to help promote astronomy and energy efficiency.

Lynton Cliffs, Exmoor

14 January, 2011

Kids publish bee science

23 December, 2010

Children from Blackawton school in Devon have had their project published in a science journal, Biology Letters. They devised an experiment to test whether or not bumblebees could recognise pattterns of colour.

Beau Lotto, a neuroscientist, coordinated the childrens’ work with their teacher, but he credits them with the experimental design and results. Lotto said the published paper
“…is a novel study (scientifically and conceptually) in ‘kids speak’ without references to past literature…”

Blackbird links Lambourn, England and Backebo, Sweden

14 December, 2010

John Swallow is a volunteer who comes to survey birds at at Sheepdrove Organic Farm near Lambourn each winter. John is a qualified ringer (and trainer) and the little metal leg-rings can be a brilliant way of monitoring birds.

John, along with fellow ringers Andy and Mike, have banded hundreds of birds at the farm. Of course lots of birds don’t live very long in the wild, but occasionally they recapture one, which provides clues about bird ages and numbers.

To have a bird found by somebody else is rare too. When it happens, it’s usually because the bird has died, and somebody has reported the find, using the leg ring number. (Contact the BTO if you find a ringed bird.)

A female blackbird ringed HERE at Sheepdrove Organic Farm exactly 2 years ago, on 14 December 2008, was found in SWEDEN in August 2010. I knew that winter birds here might often be migrants from Skandinavia, but this is still really interesting to know – especially because John kindly provided a link to the exact location at Backebo, Alsterbro, Kalmar, Sweden!

Jason Ball