Almanac: June 2022

As spring transforms into summer, many birds slow down their breeding activities and the youngsters hide in the thicket to stay away from predators. But as the birds recede, a new buzz hums in the natural world as butterfly species – including the Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Orange Tip, Wall Brown, Meadow Brown and Holly Blue – flutter over their favourite nectar-bearing plants. If you have a keen eye for butterfly wings you might also glimpse a migrant Painted Lady or Red Admiral in your garden, and maybe even a Humming Bird Hawkmoth.

If you are near the Norfolk Broads, look out for the breathtaking Swallowtail butterfly. The British Swallowtail differs from the continental one in that it has a slightly larger wingspan. It only flutters in the Norfolk fens because their favourite food nectar, the wild carrot, grows there.

Also out at sea this month, the fin whale is making a comeback and sightings are becoming more frequent in southern English waters. The fin whale reaches up to 26m long and is the second largest whale in the world.

And why not invite friends over for the summer solstice, since farms across the UK this month provide all we need for a perfect midsummer gathering: asparagus, artichokes, strawberries, new potatoes and fresh leafy salads. Happy Solstice!

Positive ecological restoration news

Groundbreaking research into storing solar energy
There has been a new “radical” scientific breakthrough. Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenberg have created an energy system that can store solar energy for up to eighteen years. “This is a radically new way of generating electricity from solar energy. It means that we can use solar energy to produce electricity regardless of weather, time of day, season, or geographical location,” says research leader Kasper Moth-Poulsen, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers. “I’m very excited about this work,” he adds. “We hope with future development this will be an important part in the future energy system.”

Zurich shuts down natural gas
Zurich’s city-owned utility company is shutting down gas supply networks. “Networks that make use of renewable or climate-neutral energy have priority over the gas network that is mainly fed with fossil natural gas,” explains Rainer Schöne, a spokesperson for the utility company, Energie 360॰. Forty-seven percent of the natural gas is imported from Russia, but consumers have demanded a time for drastic change. “After the invasion of Russia in Ukraine we received many questions from customers about how to get rid of Russian gas. Our response is to switch from heating using natural gas to solutions using renewable energy as soon as possible,” Schöne says.

Reintroduction of large carnivores to the Scottish Highlands
The Scottish Highlands have enough habitat to support and maintain around 400 wild lynx. The hindrance to introduction is not ecological science but public opinion. Campaigners pushing for the reintroduction of the Eurasian lynx to Scotland are now celebrating that there is enough public appetite to explore the benefits of bringing the big cats back to where they roamed more than 500 years ago. The biggest concern from the farming community is the potential harm to sheep but any possible reintroduction will look at ways to mitigate this risk. A point in favour of reintroduction is that lynx have great positive effects on local ecosystems. “Supporters of lynx reintroduction anticipate that in predating woodland deer, lynx will contribute to nutrient cycling, vegetation and tree regeneration, and carcass provision for other species,” states the report Lynx to Scotland.

Tides

Spring: 1st-2nd and 15th-17th
Neap: 8th-9th and 22nd-23rd

Andreas Kornevall is a Swedish storyteller, writer and ecologist. He is the Director of Operations for the Earth Restoration Service Charity based in the UK

Life

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