Last night I observed the annual Earth Hour by WWF. For the past seven years I have joined in this world wide movement by turning off my lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm. Did you take part in the initiative?
Earth Hour 2019
Winter – Ali Smith
Book I’m reading:
I’ve picked up Winter by Ali Smith. Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?
Inspired by the lovely Sharon from Sunshine and Celandines, who shared pictures of wild flowers she had seen on a recent dog walk. I decided to do the same and take some snaps of the flowers I see on my walk to work.
forget me not
This Sunday’s family walk with Riley was a 2.5 mile walk around a spring resplendent Sefton Park.
Riley and daffodils
Riley and daffodils
My miles this week has been 39. Bringing my annual total to 550 miles.
On Tuesday David surprised me with two more friends for the aviary. Helen a female owl finch and Rize a female Lady Gouldian finch. How beautiful are they?
Helen the Owl Finch
Rize the Lady Gouldian Finch
That was my week, how was yours?
Thanks for reading,
Thanks to Louise from Ramblings of a Roachling, for giving me the heads up on this weekends #photoanhour on Instagram. It’s been a while since I participated so without further ado, here’s what I got up to during my 12 hours of day!
Photo an Hour – 24th March 2018
8am to 9am:
My Saturday began like many other Saturdays, at 8am. I fed Artie before making breakfast and coffee to ease myself into the morning.
9am to 10am:
We took a weekly trip to the local Asda to do the big shop.
10am to 11am:
Once returned from the supermarket, David and I headed back out towards Speke Retail Park and Dobbies.
11am to 12pm:
It was mum’s birthday on Sunday and as a gift she requested an orchid. There were many to chose from in the shop!
12pm to 1pm:
Back home, we had lunch and I enjoyed a cup of Costa coffee before the hard work of spring cleaning the house beckoned.
1pm to 2pm:
There was no getting away from the spring clean this week. I like to clean the windows in March before the clocks go forwards, which happened to be the Sunday. So I tied my hair up and gritted my teeth. Three hours+ work was ahead!
2pm to 3pm:
As expected, David and I were still working hard at cleaning. I took to cleaning the windows, while David tackled the mold on the walls. The washing machine worked splendidly and cleaned the voiles, curtains and even the settee covers!
3pm to 4pm:
By 3.30pm the bedroom window had freshly washed voiles and the spring/summer curtains were up.
4pm to 5pm:
David, took a breather from cleaning and fed the pigeons. Hoppy, who has visited for the past two years and comes to David when called, enjoyed the food offered.
Feeding Hoppy the pigeon
5pm to 6pm:
While David was cleaning the settees, I turned my hand at making a salad to go with the evenings meal.
6pm to 7pm:
It was nice to finally sit down and enjoy a warm meal. We had pizza. I am sure I had the same dinner last #photoanhour. However this time, dinner was in daylight. The longer days of summer are on their way! Yippie! 🙂
Cleaning finches’ cage
7pm to 8pm:
There wasn’t much time to digest dinner as I remembered that it was the day to clean the finches. *sigh* So I cleaned the Blue-faced Parrot-finches’ cage while David cleaned the aviary.
The rest of the evening:
From 8.30 to 9.30 (local time) David and I observed #earthhour. I turned off all the lights, lit a candle and we snuggled together to watch All the Money in the World. We left the candle burning ’til 11pm
Thanks to Janey and Louisa for setting up the challenge.
Wow! These week’s come round quick! It’s that time again! Time for some more Sunday Sevens, devised by Natalie.
Walk 1000 miles: The beginning of the week saw my #walk1000miles badge arrive in the post! I am excited to take it on my future walks.
My Walk 1000 Miles badge
My total for this week has been 26 miles bringing my overall tally to 277 miles. A culmination of getting off the bus earlier to enjoy the warm sunshine and to look for signs of spring.
Wild Swimming: With the help of David, we put up my Lake District map. We used string as pointers to pictures of the lakes I’ve swam in. Thanks to Sharon from Sunshine and Celandines for the inspiration. Her dog Hugo has a map featuring all his dips, I thought ‘what a great idea, perfect for my wild swims!’ 😀
Earth Hour: Once again David and I participated in WWF’s Earth Hour. For an hour between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on 25th March 2017 we turned off all the lights and used the time to reflect. It made for a very calm hour.
Did you participate in this years Earth Hour?
Afternoon Tea: This weekend it was Mothering Sunday here in the UK and the day before was my Mum’s birthday. To celebrate both, I surprised my Mum with an afternoon tea at Jam.
Afternoon Tea at Jam, Liverpool
The restaurant was busier than last time I visited with David, you can read my review here. The afternoon tea had some changes. Mum had beef bread rolls and thankfully there was no egg to be seen. The cake selection was a little different too. There were slices of red velvet cake, bakewell tarts and small doughnuts. The scones went down very nicely with cups of Assam tea!
Reading: The book I have begun reading this week is Birdcage Walkby Kate Riordan. It is set at the turn of the 20th century and is based on a true crime. However I think the adapted story is a little far fetched but I am over half way through so will persevere to the end.
Have you read any good books lately?
In the kitchen: While I was out with Mum, David was busy in the kitchen baking another cake. This time he made a classic Victoria Sponge, with yummy fresh cream and strawberry jam.
For this Saturday’s dinner I made a Brown Lentil Chiliand served it with oven baked tortillas. I adapted the quantities for two people. It makes for a gorgeous, healthy, filling chili. I have made this recipe several times this year.
Brown Lentil Chili
These have been just a few highlights from my week. How has yours been?
‘Panda’ from the Nepalese, nigalya ponya meaning bamboo footed.
The red panda was the first ‘panda’ to be know to the West as early as the 1800’s! In 1825 Frenchman Frederic Cuvier published an account describing the red panda and named the species, Ailurus fulgens fulgens, or shining cat.
By the 1840’s English naturalist Brian Houghton Hodgson had written a detailed study on the red panda or ‘Wah’. Focusing on habitat and diet.
It was not until 1869 that the giant panda was identified. However to distinguish the species, the first panda was renamed the lesser panda.
It’s been eight years since I saw my first red panda, having been oblivious to their existence until then. For me it was love-at-first-sight! They seem to be a number of animals all rolled into one, which has caused countless debates as to what family or classification of animal the red panda truly is.
Are they bear-cats? They are cat sized (always a plus in my book) and rather bear-like, though they are not part of the ursidae family.
They bark like a dog: There is little published evidence but the red panda is highly susceptible to diseases like canine distemper.
Their vocalisations sound similar to birds:
A living fossil: Recent DNA studies have concluded that the red panda is in its own family of the Ailuridae, being part of the super-family the Musteloidea, (weasels, skunks and raccoons).
The only similarity with giant pandas is their diet (bamboo) and the false thumb, an elongated wrist bone that acts like a sixth digit. It helps with holding food and climbing, especially head first!
Red pandas are found largely in temperate, deciduous forests, from Nepal to China and Myanmar. There are two subspecies, Ailurus fulgens fulgens and Ailurus fulgens styani. Their red fur, one of the densest of all mammals (for insulation), is perfect camouflage during autumn.
Due to living in Himalayan regions, red pandas prefer cooler days. Winter is the best time to find them active.
Although they have a penchant for bamboo, eating up to 45% of their body weight a day, red pandas are classed as carnivores. They eat fruit, insects, eggs and small birds.
Feeding Red Pandas at Paradise Wildlife Park
Red pandas have a slow metabolism due to being unable to digest bamboo properly, hence being rather sedentary. I’ve noticed many zoo guests just walk past red panda enclosures because they have been asleep up a tree. In most cases you need to visit several times in the hope of catching one awake. Being a crepuscular animal doesn’t help either as they are more active at dawn and dusk.
They are solitary animals, only coming together for mating. The female is only receptive one day a year. The breeding season is usually January to April with birth around June/July. The litter usually consists of one to four cubs, but usually two.
Photo by David Evans
In 2010 I was honoured to witness Chester Zoo’s female red panda, Lushui move her cub, Lily from nest to nest. They do this to avoid predators. Cubs come out of the nest from around three months, and stay with their mothers for about a year before finding their own territory. Their lifespan in captivity can reach 15 years.
However beautiful red pandas are, they are classified as endangered by the IUCN. The main threats to them are deforestation, hunting, poaching and illegal trade. In China there is a traditional custom dating back to around the 13th century where red panda pelts are given to newlyweds as a sign of ‘good luck’. Red pandas are also predated upon by snow leopards and martens.
Yellow Necked Marten
Traditional Red Panda hat
Conservation: Exact numbers of red pandas in Asia are relatively unknown, estimates say up to 10,000 adults. There is a worldwide effort to protect the red panda and its habitat. In many of the countries where the red panda is found, their habitat has been designated areas of protection, though these areas are hard to police. The Red Panda Network liaise with ‘forest guardians’ to educate and highlight the need to conserve red panda habitat. They are also working directly with the creators of the Panchthar-Ilam-Singhalila(PIS corridor), which will be the first Red Panda Protected Forest.
In captivity there are two long term initiatives for breeding, the Red Panda Species Survival Programme (SSP) and the European Endangered Species Programme (EES) which offers a ‘stud book’ of potential mates.
Popular culture: There have been a number of depictions of red pandas on many platforms over the years. Another name for the red panda is the Fire Fox. Mozilla use this name for their web browser, though their logo is ambiguous.
Cinema: In 2008 DreamWorks released Kung Fu Panda with Shifu, being a lose representation of a red panda! A year earlier an animated Barbie film, the Island Princess had a red panda as a friendly aide.
In 2013 Pocket Gems released a game called Animal Adventure with a red panda as one of the main characters.
The future…is still uncertain.
At the time of writing, the WWF have announced that the giant panda’s status has improved from endangered to vulnerable. Hopefully the red panda being under the ‘umbrella’ of conservational efforts for the giant panda, will start to feel the effects of these protection methods soon?
And finally: Sadly, earlier this year, the Red Panda Network announced that poaching of the red panda had increased in 2016! Their annual International Red Panda Day (17th September 2016) will focus on anti-poaching initiatives.
The road ahead may still be long but there is hope for the future of the red panda. Conservation efforts are starting to produce results for not only the giant panda but tigers also, why not for the red panda? They have so much going for them. To me they are sweet, endearing animals, they are all superstars, none other than Ming Ming!