Wildlife Blog

Pine Marten by Karl Franz

Pine Martins an ally for our mid Wales Red Squirrels?

The Vincent Wildlife Trust is hoping to boost mid-Wales’ struggling pine marten population by bringing a small but significant number of martens from Scotland. Pine Marten by Karl Franz Charismatic, elusive and running out of time; this native Welsh mammal, bele’r coed, has all but disappeared from the Welsh landscape. Once widespread throughout Britain, the pine marten’s historical decline began with forest clearance, but was exacerbated by the rise in game shooting and associated predator control in the 19th century. By 1900, the marten was effectively extinct over much of Britain, confined to the more remote upland areas that included Snowdonia and the Cambrian Mountains.…
deer truffle (Elaphomyces granulatus)

Oak mooching

There I was mooching under an Oak (as you do) when out of the corner of my eye I noticed what I thought was another Hazel nut (at Taf Fechan we are not short of Hazel nuts even under Oaks). Then I noticed the pattern on its surface so not a Hazel nut thinks I but as I was under an Oak it must be a fallen Oak marble gall which seemed reasonable until I picked it up and discovered it wasn’t (you can’t break a marble gall with your finger nail).…
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).…