Saturday, 28 April 2012

Immersed in the subject

And so it rains.

Ever since the recent implementation of the hosepipe ban in several areas of the UK, due to several years of below-average precipitation, there's been plenty of the wet stuff falling from the sky. I would like to think that the press release in March, which announced the impending ban, was the 21st Century equivalent of a rain dance and now we're reaping the rewards.

Despite the grey skies, it is most welcome. In the landscape, wet flushes, ponds, streams, rivers and lakes have all suffered from the lack of rain. Underground aquifers, and surface reservoirs too, have been hit by increased abstraction to maintain our lifestyles and industry. So a damp April has been a bit of a relief, unless you wanted to mow your lawn.

Driving home from work yesterday, it was apparent that the fields by the road were finally becoming water-logged, with puddles being visible for the first time in ages. In the bottom of the valley, the upper River Tove was appearing above its banks. This volume of water will continue to move downstream, to a confluence with the River Great Ouse near Cosgrove. From there, it's but a brief otter swim down the Ouse Valley to the flood plain where Hanson Environmental Study Centre is located. So we may yet see the water level raised to cover the bund, whether we like it or not. Presumably, any potential nesting waders would say "Knot". Ho ho ho, I wish.

Anyone else thinking "Hmmm, wasn't it a late 70s hit for Eruption?"
All this means that today I'm indoors, half-heartedly attending to administrative tasks and wondering where we are going to find several days of sunshine to kick off the dragonfly season. The sighting of a Large Red Damselfly in Wales on 3rd April, whilst we were on holiday, seems a long time ago.

The sky remains a steadfast, solid ceiling in various shades of undercoat grey. Occasionally, light levels rise for a few moments, bringing hope for serotonin lovers, before plunging again, like our vitamin D levels, into the dark brooding mire of liquified gloom.

Do you think that we Brits are, perhaps, too connected to our weather?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

April in Little Linford Wood

What with all the shenanigans in Wales, the Little Linford Wood blogpost for the month of April is somewhat later than planned. The following account describes a visit over the course of the weekend of 14/15 April.


At last, there were signs of new green shoots and blossom at the customary picnic bench shot by the car park. A wander up to the far end of the dry pond even produced evidence of some water (since taking this photo, there has been a week of rain, with a further week of rain to come, hurrah!).


It wouldn't be Spring in an English woodland without the obligatory picture of some Bluebells. The carpet wasn't fully in bloom, but chances are that by the time I return in May, the show will be over.


Not quite as fragrant, but definitely as obligatory, wherever there's Bluebells, there's Badger poo! And you were thinking that only humans would take the time to create toilet air freshener?


The damper parts of the wood had a wonderful spread of Cuckooflower (Lady's Smock). And it was damp, as that moss was on the south side of the tree trunks.


Throughout the site, Dog's Mercury is rising. Whilst there was no sign of Bruce Willis, I did find a 14-spot Ladybird, hunkered down amongst the new growth of leaves.


The hedgerows on the western side of the wood were nicely demonstrating the difference between Hawthorn and Blackthorn...


On the right, blossom before leaves = Blackthorn, whilst on the left, leaves before blossom = Hawthorn.


This is the view looking south from the western edge of the wood. The crop on the right is now too tall to easily spot crouching Hares, but anything stepping through the hedge would be visible for a brief instant. Unfortunately, I was out of luck in that department.


Over on the eastern side of the wood, this is the view from the car park. Beyond the oilseed crop, the line of the M1 motorway is just visible, whilst in the background, on the horizon, can be seen the wind farm at Petsoe End.

Tune in next month for an exciting episode with the working title of 'May...'.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Gwyr - Diwrnod Chwech

Our last day on Gower was a reprise of the first, a trip to Rhossili. The main reason for this was the hope of seeing a Chough, though I admit that a return to the Bay Bistro was also a high priority. Walking to Worm's Head, we saw very little bird life. Even skirting the strip fields, there wasn't much of anything, but whilst watching some Linnets on a gorse bush on the climb out of Falls Bay, we heard the distinctive call of the object of our desires.

"Chi-ah! Chi-ah!"

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
On the path below us, a Chough was probing into the short turf with its red bill, searching for invertebrates. This bird is a 'good news' conservation story, as a browse through the links on the RSPB webpage for the species will show.

We then wandered over towards Mewslade Bay, on the off chance that the Spring Squill was in flower. It wasn't. Nearly, but not quite.

Scilla verna
Whilst sat next to this small plant, we heard a sharp, high-pitched call, reminiscent of a bird of prey. Casting our eyes skywards, nothing could be seen. But then we looked back along the clifftops and spotted a Peregrine falcon perched on the rocks some distance away.

Falco peregrinus
Making our last pilgrimage of the holiday to the Bay Bistro, we settled down on a bench on the terrace with our coffee and biscuits to reflect on a wonderful week in Wales. As if to reinforce the fact that the wildlife had been the stars of the show, a Robin put in an appearance and shared some of our crumbs.

Erithacus rubecula
Returning to the cottage, we explored a little of the wood across the field from the back door. Carpeting a boundary bank, was a small colony of Moschatel, the unknown plant of the previous evening's discussion. Mystery solved!

Our thanks must go to our hosts, Philippa and David, for a thoroughly relaxing week in a most comfortable cottage.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Gwyr - Diwrnod Pump

So, Welsh for 'five' is 'pump'. It must be one of those quirky twists of Fate, just in case I was trying to forget about the tanker drivers' threatened strike action.

This particular Day 5 was a very cold Wednesday. We decided to forego the option of staying indoors and, instead, visited the re-discovered gardens at Aberglasney. Driving northwards from the Gower, we reached the valley of the River Tywi and were soon stood in the freezing cold listening to the spiel from the lady in the ticket office (who must have had neat anti-freeze coursing through her veins, poor lamb). It was a very nice introduction, but as I'd immediately been handed a map of the gardens, I wasn't listening. I was frantically searching the legend for the numbered circle that coincided with the word 'Cafe'. Priorities!

Bypassing the house, art exhibition and gardens, we settled down with a pot of tea and a slice of cake, and took the opportunity to read the guide book. Having been neglected for many years, by the mid 1990s the house was in a state of collapse and the garden was overgrown. A charitable trust was set up and, with the help of donations, restoration has been possible. The central section of the house was too far gone to save, but an imaginatively-designed atrium was built to house warm temperate and sub-tropical plants in a Ninfarium. It's funny how some words leap from the page... warm... sub-tropical.

Suitably refreshed, we explored the garden, despite a bitter wind and the occasional shower of rain. In the Stream Garden, there were the most extraordinary daffodils I have ever seen. As it turns out they were a species of Narcissus, (bulbocodium obesus) or Hoop-petticoat daffodil (sadly, I failed to take a photo, but try this link to a picture on the Alpine Garden Society's webpage). They were spread over a grassy bank in the company of some fritillaries and looked amazing.

View of the house from the Upper Walled Garden
Following a lap of the various garden 'rooms', we opted to thaw out by going sub-tropical in the Ninfarium. Whilst there were some colourful flowers in bloom, I was particularly impressed by the leaves of this fern thing (possibly?) which seemed to be having a team huddle before getting on with the whole business of growing and photosynthesising and other planty stuff.

See that bloke with the camera? He knows jack about horticulture.
I was also intrigued by the aviary. Well, actually, I was worried at first, on account of not being comfortable with caged things of any description. But if you consider that the basic principle of an aviary is to build a mesh structure to contain the birds but allow the spectator to see said birds, then turn that thought on its head, you get...

A great place to grow fruit where birds can't get in. Genius!
Obviously, weatherwise, we didn't pick a great day to visit, but I'm sure we'll return at another time of year.

That evening, we made our one and only trip of the week to the city of Swansea and enjoyed a meal at a Turkish restaurant in Mumbles, where we met up with an acquaintance from the University. The talk was mainly natural history, heavy on dragons, with a side order of botany. A flower was mentioned that I'd not heard of before. In fact, I even thought I'd mis-heard the colloquial name, Town Hall Clock, though later, after failing to find it in my ID book, I had to resort to the internet to solve the mystery. Live and learn.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Gwyr - Diwrnod Pedwar

Our fourth day on the Gower and, coincidentally, the birthday of one of Our Lass's sisters. I was informed that when they were younger, there was much expectancy amongst the sisters as to whether it would snow on April 3rd. Perhaps it was a healthier option than icing for the birthday cake? Anyway, as she now lives in Scotland and the weather had turned very cold across the whole of the UK, the answer this year was a resounding "Yes, it did snow."

Before all the chilly stuff reached South Wales, however, we thought we'd have a trip to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve at Llanelli. There were a few showers about, but these were interspersed with spells of warm sunshine. Warm, that is, if you could find a spot out of the cold wind.

Those of you near the front of the class and more likely to be paying attention may remember this post from a few years ago recalling a previous visit to WWT Llanelli. But that trip was a whole month later in the year than this one, so we weren't anywhere near as hopeful for the outcome. Undaunted, one of our first ports of call was the Pond Walk, because you just never know!

Whilst there was much birdsong from Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, sightings of Orange Tip butterflies and also Lady's Smock/Cuckooflower, it did feel just too raw in the chilly wind for there to be an ode on the wing. Trudging back to the main path, we were a little down-hearted, as the forecast for the afternoon was gradually deteriorating weather which would last for a few days.

Then, as the path curved around between banks and hedges, we both stopped in our tracks, pointed ahead at flying insect that we'd disturbed and shouted "Damselfly!" Having left the camera in the car, it was left to my phone to record our first Odonata sighting of the year, a Large Red Damselfly, a whole two weeks earlier than we could expect back in Buckinghamshire.


Within 10 minutes, the sun had disappeared and, by mid afternoon, it was absolutely chucking it down. None of which mattered too much, as I didn't stop smiling for the rest of the day. It was a scant 128 days since my last ode sighting of 2011, the Common Darter at HESC, so a whopping 61 days better than the equivalent period in 2010/2011. And that's a saving of 2 whole odo-less months. Oh, happy day!

After lunch, we beat the rain to a hide overlooking the Loughor estuary and had a splendid time watching a flock of Redshank, a few Greenshank, bazillions of Shelduck and half a dozen Pintail, all sheltering from the weather. When the clouds eventually stopped for a bit of a breather, we nipped back to the cafe for tea and cake.

Towards evening it faired up a bit, so we ventured out to Rhossili on the off chance that there might be a sunset. The wind had swung around to the west and it felt like it had taken the whole journey across the Atlantic Ocean to build up speed. The bay looked fantastic in the low sunlight,  but it was tricky holding the camera still.

Rhossili Bay
As we neared  the tip of the promontory, it became obvious that we wouldn't be fortunate on this occasion, the clouds building up and obscuring the horizon. However, the contrast between the bright pink and the glowering grey of the scene was photogenic enough.

Sunset? Nuh-uh.
Upon reaching Worm's Head, it looked for all the world like a ship sailing into the maelstrom, which as it turned out, wasn't too bad a description for what happened next.

Oh look, there's a cute storm coming!
A storm rushed in from the west and the 10 minute walk back to the car was a bit like swimming the Channel, only wetter. But hey, following the Big Red sighting earlier in the day, I was still glowing on the inside.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Gwyr - Diwrnod tair *

* Yep, Day 3 in Gower.

The second day of April dawned as warm and glorious as the first, so we drove to Oxwich Bay and parked by the beach. The tide was out, so we took the opportunity to wander along the littoral zone, but the only waders we saw were a group of seven Oystercatchers.

Turning back inland, we crossed into the dune system of Oxwich Burrows, part of which has been designated a National Nature Reserve. Bizarrely, we saw very little, a Chiffchaff, three Coal Tits and lots of hover flies. Which explains why this is the only photo I have of the morning...

Er, it's a fly, it's hovering... could be a hover fly?
Our insect ID book mentions an early-flying hairy hoverer called a Narcissus Fly, but there wasn't a mirror in sight, so who knows?

Following this disappointment, there was only one way to cheer ourselves up, drive to Broad Pool to look for dragonflies so we decamped to the restaurant of the Oxwich Bay Hotel for lunch.

In the afternoon, we walked through the fields and woods adjacent to Oxwich Marsh, became thoroughly lost, fairly muddy, impaled on various fences and ended up sat by an unmarked pond staring idly at the vegetation. Stuff Specsavers, we should've gone to Broad Pool, to look for dragonflies.

Following this disappointment etc... Oxwich Bay Hotel... coffee and cake... felt much better.

Oh, and then we went to Broad Pool to look for dragonflies. There was a chilly breeze blowing across the heath and all self-respecting larval odonates were safely tucked up below the water surface, but we did find loads of Otter poo. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to bring along a receptacle for collecting said scat, so that was my evening entertainment out of the window.

To be serious for a moment, the Otters of the Gower are known to feed on the larvae of the Golden-ringed Dragonfly, so dissecting their poo would have possibly revealed various structures of the larval exoskeleton. My thanks for this information goes to Dr Wendy Harris of Swansea University and her paper published in the Journal of the British Dragonfly Society, Volume 23, Number 1, April 2007.

Oh well, there's always tomorrow...

A tidy lawn helps the first date

Gardening, this is about gardening. No relationship counselling euphemisms here.

Yesterday morning I decided to mow the lawns at Tense Towers, as a sop to our long-suffering neighbours in an effort to make up for all those wild, unkempt places we've left alone created, that Nature loves.

With the job completed, I parked the mower on the path beside the back door and went for some refreshment. The grass on the rear lawn had been quite long, so the resident ground-feeding birds were now rather pleased to be able to find invertebrates in the shorter sward.

I returned with a mug of tea to discover a Robin sat on the handle of the mower.


I was totally unprepared for what happened next, which is my paltry excuse for not being able to fit the scene into a full frame without the conservatory door creeping into the shot.

If you're thinking, "Did the Robin lower the blades another 10mm and go round again?" No.

If you're thinking, "Did the Robin fall awkwardly, inadvertently switching on the engine and distributing said Robin over half the garden?" No and shame on you.

If you're thinking, "Was there a spot of courtship feeding between two consenting adult Robins?" Yes there was, clever clogs, have a gold star.



As first dates go, whatever happened to just swapping mobile phone numbers?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Gwyr - Diwrnod dau *

Dawn as seen from the cottage
* Day two on the Gower Peninsula was decreed a 'no car' day. We planned to walk to the north coast, have a spot of lunch in Llanmadoc and then explore Whiteford Burrows before retracing our steps. For me, being able to walk from your door, straight into open countryside and not have to worry about vehicular transport at all, is a pleasure of immense worth. This factor is high on the agenda when booking accommodation!

We set off mid-morning in bright sunshine and climbed the ridge behind the cottage. Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Linnets were singing to proclaim their territories as we made our way along the side of Ryer's Down. Slowly descending into the next valley, it was apparent that the warm temperatures were encouraging many invertebrates out into the open. In quick succession we spotted...

Green Tiger Beetle, Cicindela campestris
and...

Oil beetle, Meloe proscarabaeus**
We made our way off the common and dropped down through woodland to cross a small river, Burry Pill, by means of an old pack horse bridge. Walking through the fields along the banks of the river, our musical accompaniment was now from Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Wrens and various species of tit. Entering another wood, we were surrounded by more Gower flower power in the form of Bluebells, Lesser Celandine, Dog Violet and Wood Anemone, whilst in the dappled shade, there were several Speckled Wood butterflies.

After passing through Cheriton, a short section of road brought us to the village of Llanmadoc, where we enjoyed a long Sunday lunch at the Britannia Inn.

It's fair to say that we were in something of a postprandial stupor, as we began the afternoon's stroll. I hadn't even unpacked my camera from its rucksack, which, as it turned out, was a shame. Walking down a track towards Cwm Ivy Marsh, we saw a Buzzard just across the other side of the valley. It glided effortlessly along the edge of the hill and landed on a fence post. The cry of another bird made us look up and a second Buzzard dived towards the first out of the clear blue sky. Before we could even wonder whether this was a territorial dispute, it became immediately apparent that it wasn't, as they mated on the fence post and then soared up into the air again. I looked from the birds to my empty hands and then back to the birds again. It wouldn't have been a great photo, they were at least 200m away, but as pornithology goes, Buzzards would've been quite special.

With camera now unpacked, we made our way across the marsh to the sand dunes of Whiteford Burrows National Nature Reserve (our route differed from the attached map - from the Public House bottom centre, we made our way north to Point 6 and then Point 5 before returning the same way).

After a bit of a snooze in the sand dunes, we discovered that we were laid next to several orchid rosettes. It'll be a while before they put up shoots and reveal their identity, but it was good to know that they were there. At the edges of the sandy track, I noticed more inverts. They were black and orange in colour, but, due to their constant movement, they were difficult to photograph.

I think this is a spider-hunting wasp, possibly Anoplius viaticus
On the return trip, we spotted some strange patterns in the sand, and it didn't take long to track down their owner.

At least we can agree it's a spider. Perhaps Dysdera crocota?
We returned to the pub in Llanmadoc for a well-earned ginger beer, before retracing our steps along Burry Pill and over Ryer's Down. Despite her dodgy knee, Our Lass had happily covered nine miles during the day, though I suspect the boozy lunch was a big help.

** PS 12/05/12 Thanks to Katie from Nature ID for the correct identification of the oil beetle (and not Devil's Coach Horse as I presumed). Note to self - always check!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Third bloggiversary

It's time for my annual appraisal of Tenseness which, this year, sees the anniversary fall on Friday the thirteenth. I acknowledge that anyone not appreciating my style of writing may consider the whole blog to be a horror story, but I'll let that pass and say that the supposed unlucky day does not hold any particular significance for me.

Other than that I was born on a Friday the thirteenth. Explains a lot, eh?

According to the interweb, the fear of this day is known as either paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia, which, if nothing else, has freaked the heck out of my spell checker. I find this most comforting.

Returning to the inconsequential posting statistic, I will have to admit that, at times during the past year, it has been a bit of a slog blog. But I did set myself the challenge to clock up one hundred posts during 2011. That's 'clock up', if you haven't got your reading specs on. Yes, it's another meaningless milestone, but for someone who's not a daily blogger, I thought it a reasonable target to aim for, something that was "do-able" but not a pushover.

For a wildlife blogger, the need to be outdoors to gather source material is a given, so any interruption to the flow of input will be a problem. Inevitably, Life sometimes gets in the way of such things, so it's important to seize the opportunities when they come along. I've managed to fit in a few more rants than usual during the last twelve months, as well as committing to uncomfortable subjects that brought forth... er, views. But I am heartened by the fact that whenever the Muse has taken her leave, there has always been someone around, or in the blogosphere, who can provide inspiration. Sometimes with a single word.

Thanks for being there, folks.

(But why do I put two Gs in 'bloggiversary', but only one G in 'blogosphere'? Consistent in my inconsistency, eh?)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Gwyr - Diwrnod Un *

More pigeon Welsh, I'm afraid. I hope that I'm somewhere near the correct translation, as I wouldn't want to cause an international incident.

For our first full day on the peninsula, we drove the few miles to Rhossili (Welsh: Rhosilli) to explore the coast between Worm's Head and Mewslade Bay. This is one of our favourite places in the UK, helped by an amazing patchwork of field strips and a rather nice cafe, the Bay Bistro.

As we walked along the cliff tops at the southern edge of Rhossili Bay, countless Jackdaws and gulls were riding on the gusting wind, simply enjoying the freedom to muck about in the air. In fact, birds were whipping past so quickly, it was difficult to take advantage of being at eye level with them whilst they were in flight. Like this Kestrel...

Falco tinnunculus
Down out of the wind, near the shoreline, we spotted a Rock Pipit making short territorial display flights, so we sat down to watch him for a while. Fortunately, at one point, he landed quite close to us.

Anthus petrosus
Back up on the cliff top, we wandered into the patchwork of field strips, which are separated by a mixture of fences, hedgerows, banks and tracks. There were many species of flower in bloom, much earlier than I had expected, as the Gower has a mild micro climate. I was especially delighted to see a carpet of Fumitory, though I am unsure of the exact species.


After eating lunch on the terracing in the sunshine at the Bay Bistro (it was still March for crying out loud!), we walked down to Mewslade Bay. The tide was out and several rock pools had been left high and dry wet in the eroded limestone formations. Amongst these we found several of what I'm guessing are Winkles, which were adorned with strange pink protuberances. I haven't a clue what these are, anyone got any ideas, please?


*Gwyr - Diwrnod Un, hopefully this is 'Gower - Day One'.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Amherffaith ac dirdynnol *

Our Lass and I have just spent a pleasant week on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. After brief visits to the area during Second Born's spell at nearby Swansea University, we thought we ought to see the place properly and explore it at our leisure. As Britain's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Gower has a myriad of habitats, rugged coasts, sandy beaches and some jolly decent tea shops.

We were fortunate enough to discover Swallows Nesta gem of a self-catering cottage, just outside the village of Burry Green and were made to feel very welcome by the owners, Philippa and David. Whilst it was a little early for the Swallows to put in an appearance, we were hoping for plenty of other early Spring wildlife.

The let was Friday to Friday, so I booked an extra day's holiday and rose early to pack. By 10 o'clock, we had breakfasted, completed our preparations and the car was loaded. Things were going well. Too well, as it turned out. The roads were reasonably quiet, as the holiday getaway hadn't really kicked in, so we detoured to Snowshill Lavender in the Cotswolds for a spot of lunch. Unfortunately, it wasn't open for the season yet, but undaunted we nipped down the valley to Snowshill Manor to visit the National Trust restaurant instead. It too was shut, until the following day. Hmmm, there's a bit of a trend here.

Pushing on, we discovered that the B4077, our intended route, was also closed due to resurfacing work and we had to follow a lengthy diversion. Just before reaching the M5, we regained our original route and looked forward to a well-earned rest at the Little Chef in Ashchurch.

Nope, it was closed, as part of the restaurant chain's reorganisation. Oh well, there was nothing for it but to push on down the M50 passed Ross-on-Wye, the A40 through Monmouth and onto the A449 towards Newport. On the B4235, near Usk, we knew of a cracking pub and restaurant, the Rat Trap Inn, and felt sure that our long-awaited pitstop was just around the corner. It was shut. On a Friday lunchtime? We were starting to become a little fractious by this point, believing that we had somehow upset the food gods, as all our favourite watering holes were closed.

We frantically retraced our steps and drove into Usk, missed the signs for the car park, turned into the last side street at the end of the town, parked hurriedly and fell into the first eatery we found on Bridge Street.

It was called La Cantina and the sound system was gently broadcasting a track by Enya. The friendly staff and soothing d├ęcor helped to lower our stress levels further. Time to relax! After an excellent meal of local ham, eggs, hand cut chips and salad, we felt in the holiday mood once more. Before continuing our journey, we wandered a little way along the banks of the River Usk. The afternoon sun was pleasantly warm, Chiffchaffs were calling from the woods on the opposite bank and, on a stony island in the river, four Goosander were quite unconcerned at our presence.

The remainder of the trip was thankfully uneventful, as we careened westwards along the M4 to the strains of Within Temptation's 'The Unforgiving'. Who says there's no place in a wildlife blog for symphonic goth metal? Though I had to be careful not to drive '...faster and faster and faster.'

Arriving on Gower, we popped into a supermarket for some provender to see us through the weekend, but we needn't have worried. When we pulled up at the cottage, Philippa and David had provided an unexpected welcome pack of local produce plus two bottles of wine. We unpacked and settled into our new surroundings, before wandering up the hill behind the cottage to take in the view from the common land on Ryer's Down.

To the north was the estuary of the River Loughor, to the west the hills of Rhossili Down, to the east the ridge of Cefn Bryn and to the south was a view of the cottage set amidst rolling farmland.


The low evening sun lit up the feathers of Ravens as they glided along the ridge beside us, their glossy black plumage at odds with their sombre "r-a-w-k" calls. This is a wild place, with a wilder peace than we're used to, but we welcomed the change and the rest.

* Amherffaith ac dirdynnol is approximately 'Imperfect and tense' in Welsh.

Friends

Not that 'Friends', though there's bound to be mention of a duck at some point. However, it won't be called Dick and an appearance by Yasmine the chicken is extremely unlikely.

Regular readers will be aware of my connections with Hanson Environmental Study Centre and the occasional contributions that its wildlife brings to these pages. There's a very brief description of the site on my HESC page and also dozens of linked posts accessible through the HESC label in the Topical Island section.

I am now happy to announce that the Friends of Hanson Environmental Study Centre, or FoHESC for short, have set up a blogsite for news and information regarding the reserve and their events held there. It can be found here, though I must warn you that Yours Truly is one of the contributors.

You have been warned!