Category Archives: Pick and mix

Pick & Mix 63 – haikus, red leaves, insect opera, insect declines (again), nature friendly cities, dung beetles, bird names and pollinators

Ever wondered why some young leaves are red?  Ray Cannon explains

Winners of the 2021 Hexapod haiku contest – I did enter but……..  ☹

Really interesting article (lots of graphics) about how eating habits have changed in the USA since 1970

Like Opera, interested in nature then you might want to catch this – Locust: The Opera

Providing regular water supplies for humans may be causing insect declines in the tropics

There are over 7,000 English names for birds – here’s what they teach us about our changing relationship with nature

Introducing new dung beetles to Australia: battling the cane toad’s legacy

What would a truly Nature-friendly city look like?

Ecomimicry: the nature-inspired approach to design that could be the antidote to urban ‘blandscapes’

Disentangling the facts from the myths about pollinators – Einstein’s bees, sound bites and vitamins

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Pick & Mix 62 – bees, orchards, bugs, pollinators, blowflies, birds, beetles and spuds

Another great piece of natural history writing from Philip Strange – Sunday in the orchard with butterflies

Carrion flowers and their pollinators – Don’t stop and smell the flowers

One of the biggest challenges facing emerging pollinators each spring is finding food. What we plant in our gardens, parks and around our workplaces can be a huge help for foraging insects. So take a bow Dance Connect in Kinross who have skilfully transformed the area around their dance and fitness studio into a pollinator-friendly hot spot.

Great review of bee emojis – very amusing

Is your local council verge friendly?  Very interesting and useful article revealing which councils are taking biodiversity issues seriously 

Nice article from one of my former MSc students about the usefulness of blowflies and also has a nice graphic showing the pollinator league of fame

Six reasons why potatoes are good for you – I have always been a great fan of the not so humble spud as my carbohydrate source – so much more tasty and versatile than rice

Is our kindness to garden birds harming other bird species?  Garden bird feeders are boosting blue tit numbers – but leaving other species hungry

Bug splatter – please take part

What’s that beetle? Ask the algorithm.  Machine learning and beetle identification 

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Pick & Mix 61 – Terry Pratchett, chickens, trees, species conservation, wasps, bees, eating weeds and much more

Google’s new timelapse shows 37 years of climate change anywhere on earth, including your neighbourhood

Bay bees love carbs – By considering the nuances of bees’ dietary needs, we can design nutritionally balanced seed mixes that help pollinators shore up our ecosystems and food supplies.

Seirian Sumner writes about her love of wasps and why you and I should too

Why I only buy organic or truly free-range chicken and eggs – Revealed: true cost of Britain’s addiction to factory-farmed chicken – it comes at a price though. If you buy from a supermarket, a small mass reared chicken costs approximately £3, free-range’ same size, £9, and the same size organic, £18.

Jeremy Fox on which Terry Pratchett books to read and in which order – I don’t necessarily agree with him but always happy to spread the word about the late great Terry Pratchett. Fun fact, I once had his email address and used to correspond with him, Then one day, having just read the Carpet People and the Bromeliad trilogy and really enjoyed them I emailed him and said so, giving as my reason that it was like an updated and funny version of the Borrowers. Unfortunately he thought I was accusing him of plagiarism and that was the end of our relationship L

There aren’t enough trees in the world to offset society’s carbon emissions – and there never will be, but that doesn’t mean we should stop planting them

Mountain Avens – the Scottish sunflowers?

Sobering read from Charley Krebs – “There are times when we either act or give up, so if you think that the Covid epidemic, the conservation of endangered species, and the protection of old growth forests are irrelevant problems to your way of life, stop reading here. These three major problems are here and now and have come to a head as a crunch: do something or quit.”

Got a problem with Japanese Knotweed?  Try eating it 🙂

Terry McGlynn asks “Should reviewers of journal papers be paid?” 

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Pick & Mix 60 – beetles, horses, cherries, butterflies, Scrabble, Monarchs and more

Reconnecting with my land – the impact of the Enclosure Acts on the English landscape

Japan’s cherry blossom viewing parties – the history of chasing the fleeting beauty of sakura and if you want an amusing travel book based around this, then I thoroughly recommend reading Hokkaido Highway Blues by Will Ferguson

James Harbeck (Sesquiotica) on life lessons learnt from Scrabble

Extinction and hope –  On the difficulties of reintroducing extinct butterfly species

There are still some farms in the UK using horses instead of tractors – it is good for soil health  but can it be profitable?

Poo, what is that smell? Some male butterflies make their mates stink to keep away potential rivals

Take care when buying wildflower mixes – some aren’t what they seem

Richard EdenThe alchemist, who became a cosmographer

Beetles in amber – a story of early interactions between insects and flowers

Migrating Monarch butterflies travel about 30-40 km a day so if you want you can keep up with them on your bike – Biking 10,000 miles with Monarchs

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Pick & Mix 59 – countryside and colonialism, climate change, urban greening, native trees, natural history and public rights of way

Corinne Fowler on colonialism’s imprint on the British countryside.

I’m a climate scientist – here’s three key things I have learned over a year of COVID

Ancient leaves preserved under a mile of Greenland’s ice – and lost in a freezer for years – hold lessons about climate change

Why entomologists kill – understanding the need for collections

In case of emergency — break glass – Richard Jones on the trials and tribulations of trying to copy a bank note 🙂

Torino – showing the world how to make a green city

Perfectly explains why I prefer real books to e-books – The Multisensory Experience of Handling and Reading Books

Plant native, save insects – also in the UK it will benefit birds as well (if you want a copy email me)

Time to make nature studies a compulsory school subject – before it’s too late – and here is a blog post by me about the same subject from last year

Britain’s ancient footpaths could soon be lost forever, and here is a blog post by me about the same subject written a few weeks earlier – ahead of the curve that’s me 🙂

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Pick & Mix 58 – rewards, trophy hunting, allotments, ecosystem health, moths, grizzly bears and parakeets

Risk it for the Biscuit – The Landscape of fear – how the promise of a better meal can make some animals take an extra risk.  Link to the original paper here

Nice article by one of my former students, Tom Oliver Nature: how do you put a price on something that has infinite worth?

Wow, this is a blistering review to say the least – Review of a book I have not read and have absolutely no intention of wasting money on!

A very balanced account of trophy hunting and the misinformation that surrounds it

Nottingham’s allotments – a valuable resource

Ecofusion is the new normal – Should we embrace our non-native species

Ecologist Yvonne Buckley asks “Can you tell the health of an ecosystem by looking inside its flowers?”

Why urban gardens are crucial for conserving bees and butterflies – and how you can help them

Grizzly bears and moths

Polly want a city? Population boom sparks call for cull of London’s invasive parakeets

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Pick & Mix 57 – insect decline, rewilding death, blister beetles, chicken nuggets, fraudulent honey and much more

How we can help reverse insect decline

Nature emerging from the industrial wastelands

Why keeping one mature street tree is far better for humans and nature than planting lots of new ones

Blister and oil beetles

Chicken nuggets grown in a lab have just been approved for sale for the first time in the world! So what is lab-grown meat and is it even worth it?  Watch the video here

Biodiversity: why foods grown in warm climates could be doing the most damage to wildlife

Honey fraud – a bigger problem than you might think

Royal Jelly Isn’t What Makes a Queen Bee a Queen Bee -Everything we thought we knew about royal jelly is backward.

Charley Krebs – On an Experimental Design Mafia for Ecology

Rewilding death – not as macabre as you might think

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Pick & Mix 56 – gardens, forests, bogons, rewilding, ovicidal plants, David Attenborough, bucatini and faeces using bees

How to nurture Nature in your garden this winter

Conference in the time of corona: a beginner’s guide to hybrid conferencing

Liam Heneghan asks Can we restore Nature?

Why not visit and old growth forest in North America with Anurag Agrawal?

Where have all the bogons gone?

Some plants kill insect herbivores before they hatch

Why David Attenborough cannot be replaced

Was Thomas Cromwell the first rewilder?

Did you know that there us a species of bee that uses animal faeces to defend their colonies?

Are you a fan of bucatini? The great USA bucatini shortage of 2020

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Pick & Mix 55 – carbon footprints, magic mushrooms, ecological fiction, royal rewilding, fluffy pterosaurs, invasive toads and much more

Offsetting your carbon footprint is not as simple as some think

The mystery of feather origins: how fluffy pterosaurs have reignited debate

Science isn’t broken –  It’s just a hell of a lot harder than we give it credit for.

The diet of invasive toads in Mauritius has some rare species on the menu

Liberty cap: the surprising tale of how Europe’s magic mushroom got its name

Did you know that horseshoe crabs are used to test vaccines?

Some great ecological fiction, from Barbara Kingsolver to the Moomins

Should the Queen rewild Balmoral?

Wonderful moths

The more species of bird you see the happier you feel – link to actual paper here

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Pick & Mix 54 – lots do with food, invasive species, horror films, urban biodiversity, museum collections, corona virus spread and much more

The last post – been fun but nothing lasts forever

Why eating an invasive species won’t solve the problem

Freshwater horror films, but where are the ecosystems? 🙂

The state of Nature in the UK is not as good as it should be

Museum collections are really useful research tools

Encouraging urban insect life – great article by a former student

A soundscape of what Somerset might have sounded like 2000 years ago

What does organic food really mean?

Is liquorice safe for all of us? This sweet treat could kill some of us

The witches’ brew of frogs, snails and newts – perhaps not quite as advertised?

A really effective explanation of how corona virus is spread and the importance of masks and ventilation

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