Blogroll , Mistletoe , Orchard

Wotta Lotta Mistletoe

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Car included to give scale.  That really is a lot of mistletoe!  Some as big as the car. On poplars in Church Lane, Bentham, between Brockworth and Shurdingon on the A46 in Gloucestershire. It’s a location I’ve been to many times before, but this year those mistletoe growths really do look massive.  And unsustainable – at least some will probably break off in winter storms. I was in the area today to look at the […]

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 , 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 , Biodiversity , Gardening , Media , Mistletoe , Other parasites , Science

Growing your own, for the common good, in NZ

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My recent post about the new mistletoe-eating bird in Borneo reminded me of several other exotic (to us in Britain) mistletoe stories. One particular story from last year came to mind – a project in New Zealand where local residents were being given mistletoe seeds in an effort to re-establish local mistletoe species. The project, based in Christchurch, involved the collection of seeds by local ecologists and then the doling out of 20 seeds each […]

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 […]