Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Look up - This is what you could win

The 24th solar cycle recorded its most intense storm reaching 8.66kp during the day of 17th March. This provided a large amount of media attention and social networking as a lot of people waited in hope for clear skies and a chance of a display in lower latitude locations. 

The forecast was solid cloud all evening/night in north Cumbria but thankfully Michael Fish had a stinker as there was not a cloud in all night! Most of the aurora display with the naked eye was a pale glow on the horizon reaching about 35 degrees up but a two minute burst provided a great show with rippling columns reaching 60 degrees almost overhead! Here my two best captures with Jockey Shield house and gardens in the frame. I counted twelve cars come up to Geltsdale to see the aurora with the last people arriving at 1am.

Jockey Shield under the rippling lights...
Every natural spectacle is always extra special when local...
Eclipse from the garden, Tawny owl started calling!
Another astronomical spectacle later on in the week with a 95% solar eclipse from Geltsdale on the 20th. The forecast was true for this day as low stratus cloud covered much of the sky but small gaps and weak cloud provided the opportunity to observe the display with the cloud acting as a very handy filter. The light turned into a moody atmosphere as a tawny owl started calling and song thrushes providing a strong melody.

A delay in posting but myself and my dad enjoyed the starling roost in Portland Sq Carlisle earlier in the month with 30,000 birds shaping beautifully around the urbanian setting.

Portland Sq Starling roost!
A nice urbanian setting
John enjoyed the display and so did my car! Shit happens, accept it and get on with your day...
A nice bird record on the 23rd March with a green woodpecker calling very near by, not recorded in the valley for a number of years. Later that day a black grouse was displaying again just over the garden boundary. 

Not too many wildlife records to report recently as I have been busy planning for my return to Mull at the end of the month so will keep you updated with my encounters and discoveries when back in the Hebrides.     

Thanks for looking

Friday, 13 March 2015

10 environmental petitions to sign in March...

Stop Tories selling/destroying our National Parks... 
https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-mp-stop-the-sale-of-the-national-parks-lake-district

Custodial sentence for criminals who kill birds of prey...
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/The_British_Government_Give_custodial_sentences_to_people_who_kill_birds_of_prey/?fSzkfjb

Last chance to sign e-petition to ban all driven grouse shooting...
http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65627

Save our forests in UK, Won in 2011 but still on-going...
http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/save-our-forests#petition

Stop the massacre in Lebanon!
https://www.causes.com/posts/933051?conversion_request_id=163854943&recruiter_id=157050302&utm_campaign=share&utm_content=post__photo&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb

Ban wild animals in circuses
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/235/021/877/mps-stop-blocking-a-new-law-to-ban-wild-animals-in-uk-circuses/?cid=fb_LG_AdsUKcircusban2&z00m=22627603

Ban Microplastics in cosmetics!
http://www.mcsuk.org/what_we_do.php/Clean%20seas%20and%20beaches/Campaigns%20and%20policy/Microplastics%20-%20scrub%20it%20out

Save our national parks!
http://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/42 

More protection for wildlife and environment...
http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/dont-scrap-environment-laws#petition

 Ban duck shoots in Aus...
https://www.change.org/p/daniel-andrews-protect-our-native-waterbirds-ban-duck-shooting

Finally...create your own petition, share your passion and make a difference...
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/create-a-petition.html?src=1720&campaign=enough

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Lunchtime Lichen Challange

I set myself a lunchtime challenge to learn more about my gardens lichen species. View the results below along with twelve amazing facts about them! 




Evernia Prunastri (Oak Moss)
Common Green Shield
Cladonia Coniocraea
New Oak Moss Growth?
Golden Shield Lichen (Xanthoria parietina)
Hammered Shield Lichen
Twelve amazing Lichen facts...
  • Lichen covers 8% of the landmass on planet earth
  • They inhabit nearly every environment, from polar regions to shallow oceanic areas
  • They have an essential relationship with trees by providing nitrogen 
  • A concentrated area in Russia was managed for timber and lichens and a discovery was made that once a large percentage of lichen were removed, the health of the trees declined rapidly.
  • Lichen was introduced to outer space for 14 days and taken back to earth where the organisms continued to live and flourish. 
  • Some of the oldest lichens are 4500 years old and are still living since the retreat of the last ice age. 
  • Lichens inspired xmas tinsel!
  • Reindeer lichen is 60-70% of their food source!
  • They play a vital role in rock weathering by breaking them down to produce integral minerals for all life on earth!
  • The longest lichen strands recorded are 10 feet.
  • One tree in Papua New Guinea had 173 lichen species on it.