Wildlife Blog

One of the willing hay gatherers by Graham Watkeys

Pwll Waun Cynon C.1820

You don’t need a flux capacitor to time travel you just need a hay rake and a large field like this one at Pwll Waun Cynon. Hay gathering at Pwll Waun Cynon by Graham Watkeys So a quick recap on meadow management: most meadow species need low nutrients and relatively poor soils to thrive and when these nutrients start to build up they quickly get outcompeted by the more vigorous grasses reducing biodiversity so removing cuttings (which rot down increasing soil nutrients) from the site after mowing is essential.…
Delicate burn at  Y Gweira by G Watkeys

Fighting fire with fire

This week we teamed up with the South Wales Fire Service to carry out a controlled burn at Y Gweira Nature Reserve.  The reserve is part of the Llantrisant Common & Pastures Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a fantastic mosaic of marshy grassland, wet heath and raised bogs, which has been grazed by the Freemen of Llantrisant for centuries. Y Gweira Nature Reserve sits just outside the Common, and for this reason has probably received less grazing over the years than the rest of the SSSI, resulting in a dense thatch of rush and moorgrass developing. …
Sedge Warbler Teifi Marsh

A year of monitoring birds at Teifi Marshes

As the days get longer and migrant birds start to head back from warmer places, the Teifi Ringing Group have been looking back over the 2014 highlights of bird ringing on the Teifi Marshes. This reserve is a haven for wildlife on the edge of Cardigan. This work is important because long-term monitoring of bird populations is needed in order to conserve them effectively. Ringing birds helps to find out if numbers are stable, decreasing or increasing. If there is a change in numbers, particularly a decrease, we need to know why.…
Marmalade on a stick by Graham Watkey

Marmalade on a Stick

So first things first – begin clearing the old fence line of Willow. This was not a fair fight as Willow has the habit of rooting wherever it touches the ground, this is a spectacular evolutionary advantage to a pioneer fast growing tree but it’s rather annoying when the tree not only flattens the fence in the first place but then also effectively pins it down in a vice like grip refusing to let go. The Willows supposedly highly evolved, intelligent adversary (namely us) had to rapidly and brilliantly improvise using a conveniently discovered shovel, the principle of leverage and the calculated positioning and rapid redistribution of mass aka jumping up and down (I think this method of tree management was invented by the ancient Greeks).…
Brimstone by Jim Higham

The Butterfly

I encountered a Butterfly yesterday. In fact I encountered The Butterfly. Well I say encountered but what I mean is involuntarily ducked out of the way of a determinedly meandering missile with one thing on his mind. Brimstone by Jim Higham The bright yellow Brimstone is how Butterflies got their name, it is the original Butterfly and it can be found diligently patrolling its territory at this time of year looking for females. My particular Brimstone had a lap time of around 15 minutes and since it had chosen to follow the path through the wood I could sit and wait for this athletic insect to pass me again and again, always at around head height, always around 15 minutes, always coming from left to right, never stopping, seemingly forever searching.…
Mycelea under upturned log by TheAlphaWolf

The Wood Wide Web

If you have ever walked into a deep dark wood and had the feeling that everything is connected, that the trees are communicating with each other you will be relieved to know that its not just your imagination! Research has shown that plants use fungi as we use the internet, to communicate and share resources. 90% of plants have a mutually beneficial relationship with fungi, something known as a ‘Mycorrhizal’ relationship. Mycelea under upturned log by TheAlphaWolf To get your head around this you need to forget the mushrooms on the forest floor, they are just the fruiting body of the fungus.…
Common dolphins by Eleanor Stone

An unexpected visitor

Since early January the marine team at the Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) have been monitoring an unusual occurrence in New Quay Bay. The unusual occurrence being the presence of a dolphin! Yes a dolphin, what’s so unusual about a dolphin in New Quay you might ask – well this animal is not a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the species of dolphin that we would normally expect to see in New Quay, but an entirely different species, a short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) that we have affectionately named “Daily”, due to its apparently daily occurrence in the waters here.…