Wildlife Blog

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.…
The normalcy of emptiness

The normalcy of emptiness

The capacity of the human race to generate a sense of sublime normalcy is unlimited and rather frightening. As another 30+ British insects are added to the red list of endangered species threatened with extinction the countryside takes another step to becoming nothing more than a painted backdrop lacking the diversity of colour, sound and movement that it should have, a mere landscape photograph which will still be beautiful, but only in the purest coldest aesthetic sense when turning a corner just presents the same flat panorama at a slightly different angle.…
A Flat-backed millipede (Polydesmus sp.)

Go look under stuff!

Flat-backed Millipede.  Flat-backed Millipede.   It’s just a nice thing to say isn’t it? Flat-backed Millipede. I wasn’t expecting to find said invertebrate but having decided to take a slightly different route through the Taf Fechan reserve (which is always worth doing by the way) I happened across some large pieces of tree bark lying at my feet and I just cannot resist or ignore the opportunity to look under stuff so over they went. Yay a flat-backed Millipede! This delightful discovery was soon followed, by the facility of turning over more bark, by many many Common Shiny Woodlice (woodlice are cool, they do an important job and should not be overlooked AND you then get to say, no joyously pronounce, the word isopod) and a very pretty Centipede (later identified as probably a Banded Centipede which like all Centipedes is a killing machine with poisonous front legs used for ruthlessly hunting down its prey) and an even prettier (for a more or less featureless blob, but as featureless blobs go it was gorgeous) Hoverfly larva sitting out the winter (It’s not only butterflies that do the whole metamorphosis thing Hoverflies do it as well).…
Pussy willow Margam March 09 Lizzie Wilberforce

The arrival of spring

At time of writing, it is dark outside, and the day has so far brought us snow, sleet, hail, rain, and thunder. Undeniably, it still feels like winter. It’s the kind of evening where you want to sit close to your heater, or burner, with a cup of tea, and think Indoor Thoughts. Yet once the Christmas celebrations have passed and the new year has begun, it’s hard not to start looking forward and thinking about spring, especially when mornings start to bring that clear, crisp light you only seem to get at this time of year.…
Lichen and moss - Allelopathy by Graham Watkeys

Allelopathy

The New Year brings not only a new word that I didn’t know before but also an interesting phenomenon (Ha spelt right first time!). Lichen and moss – Allelopathy by Graham Watkeys Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon by which an organism produces one or more bio-chemicals that influence the growth, survival, and reproduction of other organisms. So basically this Lichen is using chemical warfare against the Moss.  Yes Lichen. That boring grey, thin, seemingly inactive, crust produces chemicals that directly affect its competition ensuring its survival against the much quicker growing and more invasive Moss which has colonised the whole of the rest of the boulder.…
Interesting brown fungi  later IDed as a Goblet

A Morning In The Life Of

A morning in the life of a volunteer warden (winter edition): 10 mins mentally debating whether to bring gloves, 15 mins watching Goldfinch feeding on thistle seeds, 5 min aimless bimbling, 2 mins listening to a soap opera of kronking Ravens, 5 mins photographing interesting brown fungi, 30 secs deciding ”yes I should have brought gloves”, 1 and a half mins warming my fingers, 20 mins aimless bimbling, 2 mins trying to watch a Goldcrest as it zips through a Hawthorn, 30 secs being followed by horses, 3 mins contemplating the experience of hail bouncing off my ears, 10 mins aimless bimbling, 30 mins stalking interesting fungi (this is way more difficult than it seems), 4 mins cursing slugs for eating all the interesting fungi, 30secs wondering what the heck they put in slug pellets if all these poisonous fungi seemingly have no effect whatsoever on slugs, 10 secs wondering whether Taf Fechan has indestructible slugs, 5 secs thinking “yes gloves would have been a good idea”, 20 mins directed bimbling in the direction of home.…