Ash dieback is a disease that is especially deadly to Britain’s native ash trees, Fraxinus excelsior.Continue reading “Ash dieback”
This has been a year of astonishing growth: more grass than we have ever seen, nettles at head height, trees and shrubs sagging under the weight of blossom. Our common hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium) is standing seven feet tall in places with flower-heads the size of dinner plates.Continue reading “Hogweed”
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Asian hornet warning: Hundreds of killer insects set to plague the UK this summerDaily Express
Collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) bred in Britain for the first time in 1955, in Norfolk. Within 20 years they had colonised every county in the British Isles, and had even reached Shetland and the Outer Hebrides.Continue reading “Eurasian collared dove”
Giant swarms of cannibalistic Harlequin ladybirds riddled with an STI are invading British homes: this is a headline in the Mail Online this week. No wonder our relationship with our environment is deteriorating when the country’s most-read news outlet uses such inflammatory language to describe a natural phenomenon. Swarm, cannibalistic, riddled, sexually transmitted infection, invade: could they have squeezed any more knee-jerk melodrama into a single sentence?
The park’s grey squirrels are invasive aliens, brought here during the 19th Century, when the possession of rare and exotic species of plants and animals was the height of fashion. Grey squirrels, native to eastern North America, were first released into the wild in Britain, at Henbury Park, in Cheshire, in 1876.
We received this, by email, from Simon Handley:
My good lady is convinced that she saw a red squirrel in the park the other day. I saw it too (a fleeting glimpse) and at first I thought it was a chipmunk (??!!) and then thought it seemed a lot redder than grey. Is this possible? It was along the path along the stream between Lambrok Meadow and the large pond. Be grateful for your thoughts.
Simon & Sarah Handley
Our native species of bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is threatened by the spread of Spanish squill (Hyacinthoides hispanica), a similar species imported into our gardens from southern Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries.
The lesser celandine (Ficaria verna) is the floral equivalent of the swallow, it appears around the same time and marks the coming of spring. In fact the word celandine comes from the Greek name for swallow: chelidon. One of its local names is spring messenger; others are brighteye, butter and cheese, frog’s foot, golden guineas and, less romantically, pilewort because it was once used to treat haemorrhoids.
Harlequin ladybirds are hibernating in substantial numbers inside the notice board at the park’s main entrance.