In the News; General from May 2023

If it were a chunk of the ancient wall that were damaged then it could be repaired in a matter of weeks but that is not possible with a tree.

Appalled by this, the more so because I can see no reason for it.
Landowners have frequently taken matters into their own hands where wildlife is hampering (or is perceived to be doing so) their intentions. But this seems to serve no useful purpose. Maybe a sight-seer visiting it parked inconsiderately, and impeded someone’s progress?

“My heart was ripped out.”
“an important and iconic feature in the landscape for nearly 200 years”.
“everyone he had spoken with was “utterly stunned” and “devastated” at the damage.”
“I’m weeping. This isn’t just vandalism, it’s an attack on nature,” she said.
“It’s a terrible, terrible day for the North East. I’m devastated.”
“One of the most iconic trees in Britain, and probably the world, was found felled.”

Yes, its a shame, but lets keep things in perspective. It is a sycamore - an invasive non-native species. It hasn’t been killed - sycamores coppice very well. It was double-trunked so has probably been coppiced before. Indeed, if the tree is really two centuries old, it has to have been coppiced before. 200-year old standard trees don’t look as healthy as that one - no heart rot. I wonder if all these people are equally devastated when someone drains a peat bog or shoots a hen harrier.


Apposite, John.

A candlelit vigil is being organised by local people and expected to take place at the weekend.
Iwont be there…I’ll be reading the

2023 State of Nature Report which is on the iSpot front page.

I agree that the responses reported were ridiculously excessive. But it was a visually attractive, apparently healthy tree that was in no-one’s way - nor an obvious source of financial gain. It’s simply a human (or humans) damaging another species for no good reason.
Compared to other issues highlighted in the State of Nature report, it’s a drop in the ocean; but that’s why I found the news so depressing.

Reports of water temperarures rising to 39 Celsius….

I loved this today, especially as I found what I think was a beautiful slug recently:

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“Whoever felled the world-famous tree at Sycamore Gap has ‘ironically’ prolonged its life, a National Trust boss said today, as a crane removed the final pieces of the historic landmark from Handrian’s Wall.” (sic) …Andrew Poad, the general manager of the Roman heritage site for the National Trust, said: ‘Effectively, what the perpetrator has done is coppice the tree. So ironically they have prolonged the life of the tree.’
The above is on Yahoo, apparently originating in the Daily Mail.

The Gurniad is generally noted for it’s idiosyncratic speeling, but it managed the name of the emperor correctly.

Are we surprised?

The Regulator « for 8 years has issued enforcement notices but no fines.«

The video is, in my experience (and maybe for the dog too) a first.

Not looked at the video (as could not get to the accept button on the newspaper page from my browser) but from description this is not that unusual particularly in certain types of conifer forest on thin wet soils especially in mountain areas. It is just that people are wisely not often out in such conditions. Have seen this kind of thing several times in such areas.

Yes, in my younger days I often saw conifers lying flat, with the root plate vertical.

I read a story about a tree in Kew gardens that got blown over in the great hurricane. The root plate was big enough that they were able to stand it up again.
It recovered and grew better because all the visitors had been walking over the root plate until the soil had become compacted.

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I knew about the lichens and UV, but not the rest of the natural world.

Very interesting, the coral sea large tank at London Zoo is also illuminated with UV so all the creatures look brightly coloured.

However the question is whether this is just a trick of no relevance or are these colours of significance. Presumably at night they are of no significance as there is no UV light so what about during the day. Again these colours shown in the article are of no significance as they are swamped by the ‘normal’ colour? For example the yellow snail in the photo would not be seen as yellow at night and we can see what colour it has during the day, the yellow is mixed with all the other colours so is not significant.

What is significant is what is NOT shown here i.e. the actual UV reflected by flowers etc and seen by creatures that can see UV, to show that in photos properly you need expensive equipment and very expensive specialist lenses, perhaps beyond the Guardian and the person showing the UV. This UV does have ecological significance for pollinators and similar.

So it is nice to see the colours in this article as wonders of the natural world but would also like to know if they are simply byproducts of something else or have any ecological significance themselves.

I’ve become fascinated by these insects since I saw my first one about 18 months ago. See, for example, Glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca) | Observation | UK and Ireland | iSpot Nature

One of the links in the glow worm article is Rewilding transforms bare hillside:
“Over three years more than 300,000 trees have been planted at Broughton Sanctuary, near Skipton, as part of a rewilding project. It aims to restore 400 hectares which was once home only to grazing sheep. … Prof Driver said … he would never advise landowners to take productive land out of use.”

Rewilding now means anything vaguely wildlife related. And since when was sheep farming not a productive land use?

There are many contradictions in rewilding especially in a land with as many people as UK.

Indeed. I recently read in BSBI News Plants in urban and rural areas, Easter Ross: Very few sites were managed with conservation as a priority, although sometimes neglect appeared to result in more species."
So Neglect as the Management Plan; I like it and that’s working for the road gutters in Bristol, where there is an increase in diversity as others have mentioned.