So here is a badger foraging in my garden
It digs holes and scrapes in its search for food
And then …. a Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva) excavates her nest in one of the badger scrapes – the entrance looks like a little volcano.
And this is the female Tawny Mining Bee who excavated this nest
And here she is emerging from her nest
Lurking nearby is the Dark Bordered Bee-fly (Bombylious major) which is a parasitoid i.e. it lays it egg in the burrow of the Tawny Mining Bee (and other species) – its larvae then eat the larvae of the bee
Also lurking in the nearby flower bed is Gooden’s Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana) – another parasitoid species, but this a bee not a fly and fortunately for the Tawny Mining Bee it lays its eggs in the nests of other Mining Bee species
And all of this happening in my back garden in Exeter over the past couple of weeks …..
I saw Martin Staniforth’s sculpture which is named ‘Hope and Renewal’ outside Exeter Cathedral on Monday.
It is made for the scorched timbers retrieved from the ruins of the Clarence Hotel which burnt down last year.
Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Hotel which is situated next to Cathedral Green
Exeter Chiefs are the champions of English rugby
Let that sink in
They were in the second division 7 years ago
Here are my photos of the victory parade yesterday in Exeter High Street
15,000 people – quite a thing
Tony Rowe, Rob Baxter, Gareth Steemson, Thomas Waldron, Henry Slade, Jack Nowell et al – I salute you all
The times though are a changing – armed police on the streets – most fortunately not required
Well done Chiefs
(the arm bit in some of the photos is the Tomahawk Chop)
You’ve put Exeter on the national map
Although I’m not entirely certain I think that this lovely flowering shrub is a Knobthorn Acacia (Acacia nigricans). It is currently flowering near to Lazenby House behind Hope Hall at the University of Exeter.
It seems very mild and calm in Exeter this morning. Has encouraged a few animals to venture into my garden.
A male Bullfinch on the pati0
A Grey Squirrel eating peanuts
People talking about snow on Dartmoor next Thursday – Arctic currently abnormally warm, Eastern Europe abnormally cold …..
I live at the top of the hill on the western side of the Exe Valley
Looking down the hill all you can see is fog – normally you can see Exeter Cathedral from here (I could hear the bells ringing though)
At the end of my garden however is blue sky behind and above my oak trees
Storm Angus and yesterday’s ‘Amber’ rain have taken their toll, flooding is widespread and disruption is extensive.
This graphic from the website FloodAlerts from yesterday afternoon sums up the problems in Devon and Somerset
This is the gauging station data from the Exe in Exwick where I live – the first peak (20/11) shows the water levels caused by Storm Angus, the second peak (yesterday) is as a result of the ‘amber’ rain – note this is a new record high.
As a result this has just been issued by the BBC – no trains in and out of Exeter for 48 hours – we’ve been here before ……. (see here)
We have undoubtedly had a lot of rain but many of us think the problems have been exacerbated by certain land management practices – I have written extensively about this in the past with particular reference to maize cultivation (see here for all my writing on that topic) and today my Twitter feed is full of other people saying pretty much the same thing.
Here is a tweet from an Environment Agency Manager in Herefordshire – look familiar?
And here is the Chief Executive of the West Country River’s Trust making the same point by commenting on flood management expert Phil Brewin’s tweet and photos from Somerset
Understanding management practices on land are essential in the fight against flooding and maize in inappropriate places really makes things worse. Many of us have also been arguing for ‘natural flood management’ solutions such as those implemented at Holnicote (see here)
Here is a tweet (yesterday evening at 5pm) from Nigel Hester of the National Trust who project managed the Holnicote Natural Flood Management Project
Ironically yesterday the Guardian published a piece which featured Holnicote and stated that the Government is not funding any Natural Flood Management Schemes at present – see here.
Lets hope some of these things change soon.
I went to a talk the other day which was held in the Exeter University’s Business School ‘Building:One’. When I was an undergraduate there wasn’t a Business School at Exeter! The Business School was opened in 1998 and it is an impressive suite of buildings and even today 18 years after it opened it still looks new and fresh.
I really like the ‘World in our Hands’ sculpture on the piazza in front of Building: One
The sculpture neatly ties in with the School’s top MBA (Masters in Business Administration) which is entitled the ‘One Planet MBA‘ about which the University says ‘The One Planet MBA equips you to harness innovative business thinking and new business models that can deliver organisational growth whilst addressing global economic, social, environmental and technological challenges.’
I did my MBA at the Open University (whilst I was working for the National Trust) at about the same time the Exeter University Business School was getting going and whilst that was a very good experience and course it wasn’t so strong environmental and social issues.
A silver globe by the entrance of Building: One which is constantly fed with a stream of water – life on our planet is inextricably linked with water
I had 5 minutes to spare before I went to a lecture yesterday so I had a walk around the grounds of Exeter University near to the Queen’s Building. I really like the arboretum at the University and in the autumn / winter you can often get some spectacular colours.
I’m not entirely sure what species this is but it looks like a oriental maple?
I wasn’t the only one to have been attracted to the arboretum – someone had spent a long time putting together this rather impressive leaf / cone art installation – very Andy Goldsworthy!
Yesterday I spent a little time exploring the campus at Exeter University – I have a meeting today at Reed Hall and wanted to make sure I knew where it was! I have been there before but …
Reed Hall is the oldest building at the University and contains the magical arboretum. Here is a bit of history.
Reed Hall was formerly known as Streatham Hall and was built for Richard Thornton West in 1867. The impressive Italian style terrace gardens lead to the extensive collection of specimen trees and shrubs planted by the famous plant importer Robert Veitch who had nurseries in Exeter in the mid to late 1800s (I’ve written about the tree collection at Exeter University before – see here). The 1903 sales prospectus suggested that ‘the mansion is surrounded by most beautiful pleasure grounds arranged in terraces and including an exquisite Italian garden, with lake and superb conservatory and palm house. There are extensive fruit and vegetable gardens and complete range of glass . . . The Builder and Gardener have manifestly worked hand-in-hand and, under the mellowing effects of time, nature has perfected in her generous way the original design.’ Surviving garden features also include the pinetum and ornamental pond with fountains. The Palm House was removed to the Imperial Wetherspoon’s pub on St David’s Hill and is now one of the bars.
Just up from the formal gardens is a fallen pine which has been conserved and curated to tell its history. I like things like this!
Perhaps in due course a few more events could be added which are a little bit more outward looking.
The whole area (i.e. the grounds around Reed Hall) is open to the public and if you haven’t been it is well worth a visit.