berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistle Thrush , MistleGO , Mistletoe , Orchard , Science , social history , surveying mistletoe

MistleGO! A new mistletoe survey launched!

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A brand new mistletoe survey has just been launched by the Tree Council and Oxford University, as an app-based citizen science project to assess the state of mistletoe in Britain. Not just where is it, but what quantities exist. This is new, and exciting, as it will help determine what is happening with mistletoe here -it seems to be spreading more and faster, but we need a new study to assess this, and to create […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science

Mistletoe seed and seedling monitoring

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A morning of mistletoe seed and seedling spotting around our garden – which already has (not surprisingly) multiple mistletoe plants, established over the last 20+ years.  There’s a mixture now of deliberate (man-made) and natural (bird-sown) plantings.  Many many more of the latter than you would normally expect as this garden has, when we used to trade mistletoe, been the storage space for much mistletoe cut from elsewhere, so has spawned many more new plants […]

berries , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science , social history

Wintertime is show time for mistletoe 

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Mid November: Mistletoe berries are whitening up nicely now – and with every host tree’s leaves now nearly all fallen any mistletoe is becoming very obvious , if you’re lucky enough* to have some! This late autumn phenomenon, of mistletoe suddenly ‘appearing’ within the host (even though it’s been there all year long, obscured by host leaves) is a key part of the magic of mistletoe. It is indeed a very wintery plant, only conspicuous […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , Science , social history

Mistletoe in Britain – a review paper

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Almost the end of January, so it will soon be mistletoe flowering season and, of course, mistletoe seed germination season. That’s one of the many odd things about mistletoe – it flowers and germinates in late winter, the season when most plants are merely beginning to plan such energetic activities. If you’re interested in reading more about this and other odd mistletoe stuff there’s a new review, published just a month ago, in the journal […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Mistletoe , Orchard , social history

Mistletoe at Longney, plus a wannabe Road Runner pheasant

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A quick wander round the orchards at Longney, south of Gloucester, today. These are the orchards managed by the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust – two old surviving orchards, called Long Tyning and Bollow and two newly planted orchards called, less excitingly, Middle and Lower. All adjoining the upper reaches of the tidal Severn. Today was primarily to see how the mistletoe there is faring – and what management might be needed this winter. Beautiful weather, unseasonably […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science

Can mistletoe save the honeyeater?

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The Regent Honeyeater, Anthochaera phrygia, an Australian bird, was once so common that its call was heard everywhere. Today, following much habitat loss over several decades, plus recent bushfires, it is endangered, with just a few hundred left. Indeed it is so rare that young males can no longer learn their mating calls, there being insufficient older males for them to learn from.  No mating call = no mating. Which makes a bad situation even […]

berries , birds , Current Affairs , Gardening , maths , Mistletoe , Science

Mistletoe in May, and Maths (and pandemics)

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May Day! Summer will be here soon.  And mistletoe is doing fine, just keeping on growing.  My first picture here is, literally, mistletoe in May – a small mistletoe growth growing low on a May (Hawthorn) tree in full blossom.  Taken in late April actually – on the banks of the Severn near Framilode earlier this week.  Hawthorn/May is one of mistletoe’s favourite hosts, though the growths are often rather small and mis-formed compared to […]

berries , Biodiversity , birds , Blogroll , Current Affairs , Gardening , Mistletoe , Science , tropical mistletoe

The Spectacled Flowerpecker – a new bird that likes mistletoe

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Ten years ago, deep in the Borneo rainforest, a new species of bird was spotted feeding on berries from one of the local mistletoe species.  Small, grey but quite pretty it was given the name Spectacled Flowerpecker – but not, at the time, a formal scientific name because that needs formal examination and description – which means a bird in the hand, not in the bush. The preliminary announcements about it in 2010 hailed it […]