It’s that time of year again, when the media warms up for a summer of ‘False Widow’ scare stories. Not for nothing is Steatoda nobilis known as the Daily Mail Spider. For although it’s more-or-less harmless to most people, it gets rolled out every single year with the same old lame tales of impossible injuries and reactions to a supposed spider bite.
If you’re interested in non-native species and their impact on the environment, and you’d like to learn more, this is the thing for you.
One of the very few parts of environmental work that the government has not cut back on recently is the focus on non-native invasive species. In fact, the establishment of the GB Non-native Species Secretariat has given considerable momentum to ongoing work to understand and control the species of animal and plant that cause problems when they spread invasively in the wild. Typical species that hit the headlines include Japanese knotweed, American mink and Himalayan balsam. But there are many others and lots to learn about them – like floating pennywort (shown above). Continue reading GB Non-native Species Secretariat offering free online courses
Naturenet visitors are almost like George W. Bush. We know that the human being and the fish can co-exist peacefully.
But we also know that the way we live now – the way we manage our land, especially the way we grow our food, and the way we generate our energy – is more like a civil war. We humans are destroying the homes and the food of our fellow-lifeforms. And that means we are destroying our own homes and our own food supply.
Sadly these basics of biology appear to be unknown to the people who control most of the money.
All across the country there are people with expert knowledge of how people and wildlife can get along together. But just when we most need that knowledge, government cuts mean that these people are losing their livelihoods.
Of little interest to The Ranger, safe on his Island fastness with no grey squirrels (and plenty of red ones), this American invention will no doubt be much in demand when it is introduced in the UK.
The manufacturer’s website claims:
Hilariously funny! Amazingly effective! Squirrel’s weight on feeder activates a motor which gently twirls him off!
Needless to say, the weight of the little birdies does not have the same effect. And it is rather funny. The video illustrates it very well – with the added “attraction” of some cod Beach Boys harmonies. And if you want to buy one, don’t ask The Ranger. He doesn’t have any. Ask the makers.
(First published 2007, updated 2014 with corrected links)
Regular readers will know how the Ranger has an uneasyrespect for waspkind. At this time of the year there aren’t many around yet and it’s easy to forget our yellowjacketed friends, but don’t be fooled: they are busy getting ready for the summer.
The Asian Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia
I was entertained to find, whilst reading Imgur’s ‘Best pictures of 2010’ one wasp-related graphic which I decided not to use earlier this year as, well, it’s a bit profane. In fact, very profane. But I enjoyed it so much I thought that you could probably make the decision for yourself. So if you don’t like rude words, don’t click through.
Is the Isle of Wight bigger than Rutland at low tide? This question has been having a bit of a battle on the Isle of Wight page at Wikipedia. The Ranger is interested in this question, for, although like much of Wikipedian debate it involves dancing on the head of a pin, it also raises some interesting questions and sheds light on current proposals.
“For many years I have lobbied the UK’s bird charities to campaign to raise awareness about the slaughter of migrant birds on Malta. I have equally tried to stimulate television programme makers to cover the issue – both without success – a sad reflection of our complacent and risk adverse times.
“Well, I’ve finally run out of patience and together with three colleagues and the support of Birdlife Malta this spring I will be making a nightly video diary of the days events on the island which will be posted on . . .
YouTube at 9.00 PM (UK time)
21st and 26th of April 2014
Our mission is to generate a wider awareness of this heinous practice with frank and factual reports from the frontline where our much loved migrant birds are being shot in huge numbers. It will not be pretty, the species killed include many UK favourites and rarities and the hunters are infamous for being confrontational and violent. I don’t care, this is not a holiday, it’s an attempt to bring this forgotten issue to a wider public attention and then to offer a couple of ways the viewers can actually do something to effect positive change.
Please try to watch our broadcasts and please publicise them as widely as possible. I believe that people will be truly horrified when they see what happens on Malta to ‘our birds’, I believe they care and they will do something to change it.