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Friday, 12 May 2017

In flower: Rebutia fabrisii


Among the easiest cacti to grow and flower here in the UK are the various species of Rebutia. This group of small, mostly globular cacti originates from the Andes of Bolivia and Argentina along with many other species. The exact number of species in the genus is rather debateable as they are quite variable and there are numerous local forms.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

In Flower: Pelargonium aridum

Pelargonium aridum
One of the most familiar of garden and house plants in much of the world are the various forms of what are often called Geraniums or storksbills, when they are not referred to as their proper generic name of Pelargonium.

Friday, 14 April 2017

On the Wing: the Holly Blue


Holly Blue Male
Of the ten resident species of “Blue” butterflies to be found in Britain only one is likely to be seen in suburban gardens, the Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus. The spring brood is just now emerging, and will be on the wing until early June. A second brood begins to appear in late July and will be seen until September.

Monday, 10 April 2017

On the wing: The Orange-tip Butterfly

A.cardamines male
The warm spring here in Bristol has resulted in the emergence of a wide range of butterflies. Overwintering adults that have now left hibernation and are busy looking for mates and egg laying sites that I have seen so far are Peacock, Comma, and Brimstone, and those that overwintered as pupae and are now hatching include Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, and the subject of this post, the Orange-tip Anthocaris cardamines.

Friday, 31 March 2017

British Birds: Eurasian Nuthatch

Eurasian Nuthatch, Sitta europaea caesia
After Blue Tits and Great Tits, one of the British Birds most likely to be seen at a feeder in a garden, especially near woodland, is the Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea. This species is currently doing well in the British Isles, and is currently spreading northward in Scotland, although it is currently absent from Ireland. There are at least 20 subspecies, with a range from western Europe across to China and South Korea, and southwards into the Caucasus. The form in the UK is caesia, which is also found in much of western Europe, and is typical of a group of subspecies with buff underparts and a white throat. Further east from Scandinavia across Siberia the europaea group has white underparts, and finally in China the sinensis forms have the throat and underparts pale buff.