Bird watchers and hillwalkers are being asked to keep an eye out for hen harriers in an attempt to conserve their numbers.
A new species of plant, which has overcome infertility to evolve, has been found on the bank of a stream in Scotland.
He said it was a rare example of a species being found to have originated in the wild within the last 150 years. Only a handful of examples exists in recent history.
Dr Vallejo-Marin, a plant evolutionary biologist, said:
“Our discovery will help enable scientists to understand how new species form.
“Finding examples of the process in action is rare, so this is an exciting opportunity to study evolution as it happens.”
The new yellow flower is derived from the union of two American species, originally brought to the UK in the 1800s. Soon after their arrival, the parent plants escaped garden confines and began to grow in the wild along the banks of rivers and streams. Reproduction between these parents then produced hybrids which are now widespread in Britain.
Normally, genetic differences between two species render hybrid offspring infertile and unable to go beyond the first generation but, surprisingly,
Dr Vallejo-Marin said he found wild hybrid plants that have overcome these genetic barriers to possess fully restored fertility.
The fertile hybrid therefore represents a completely new species, native to Scotland.
His research is published in the journal, PhytoKeys.
Meanwhile, a highly invasive plant called piri piri burr, originally from New Zealand, has been found on the sand dunes near the Forvie national nature reserve in Aberdeenshire.
Mike Smedley, Scottish Natural Heritage‘s operations officer, discovered several patches of piri piri burr growing near a path a few hundred metres from the Forvie reserve.
It has already been found around the River Tweed in the Borders and around the coast in East Lothian, but Forvie is the furthest north it has been seen yet.
Yesterday’s trip to the Swan Pond was a washout, torrential rain put a halt to my filming and after taking cover under some trees I headed home for a warm coffee and a seat in front of the TV to watch Stage 1 of this years Tour de France.
So it was with a sense of hope that I headed down to the pond this morning for ‘Take 2′ of Swan Diaries, Week 6.
The cygnets are about a third the size of mum and dad now and there front is showing a bit of white feathering coming through.
On my bike ride home I spotted a field which was a sea of buttercups with a few ponies in it.
Also the wheat fields are growing quickly, and it’s so nice to see the waves that the wind creates brushing through field.