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 […]