Author: Lizzie Wilberforce

Take action to save funding for wildlife from the LCF

Surveying for marsh fritillary butterflies at The Dranges nature reserve

Please help.

You can make a significant contribution to our effort to save this fund for wildlife and conservation by submitting a response to the Welsh Government consultation by 19 May 2015. The more voices speaking in favour of continuing to use these funds to support the voluntary sector and wildlife projects, the stronger our case. Welsh Government regularly receive fewer than 100 responses to their consultations, so your letter really COULD make a difference.

Please write to, or email, Welsh Government (FinancialReformMailbox@wales.gsi.gov.uk) to urge them to continue to use the Landfill Communities Fund to fund wildlife projects. Your own words will always be the most powerful, but if you are short of time you may find it useful to download a template letter here.

If you wish to write your own letter to your local Assembly Member or to Welsh Government, you may wish to include any or all of the following:

  • The Landfill Communities Fund is one of the few funding streams for dedicated wildlife projects.
  • It produces direct environmental benefits for communities living in close proximity to landfill sites
  • Funding wildlife projects through the Landfill Communities Fund will help Wales to meet its key wildlife targets and legal obligations
  • I support the use of Landfill Tax to fund charities such as the Wildlife Trust to undertake amazing projects to protect and enhance important habitats and species. This will help ensure that our woodlands are alive with birdsong, our rivers are bubbling with life and our meadows are bursting with butterflies
  • Funding wildlife projects helps inspires individuals and communities to connect with nature
  • Welsh Government should increase the percentage of Landfill Tax that goes to funding wildlife projects to 10%

Please send letters or emails to:

Landfill Community Fund Consultation
Tax Policy and Legislation Division
2nd Floor East
Welsh Government
Cathays Park
Cardiff
CF10 3NQ

Email: FinancialReformMailbox@wales.gsi.gov.uk (please use ‘Landfill Disposals Tax’ in the subject line)

You can also contact your Assembly Member through www.writetothem.org to tell him/her how important the Landfill Communities Fund is for wildlife in Wales. We would be grateful if you could send us a copy of the letter or email you send to Welsh Government or Assembly Member as this will help us monitor the progress of our campaign. Please send your copies to info@wtwales.org

Thank you very much for your help.

Case Study 01: Carmel, Carms (CWM Environmental & GrantScape)

Carmel hedge laying the Breconshire Style

In 2012, The Grasslands Trust sadly went into liquidation, putting the future of their amazing Carmel National Nature Reserve into jeopardy. However, the then Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) quickly stepped in, and with substantial funding from GrantScape and CWM Environmental Ltd (who had previously funded much conservation work on the site through the Grasslands Trust), was able to purchase the land from the owners, Tarmac.

In 2013, WTSWW took on a long term lease of the site from Natural Resources Wales (previously CCW).

WTSWW also received a Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) grant of £33,454 from CWM Environmental to restore and enhance the important habitats on this large (50 hectares) nature reserve including a number of scarce species such as Lily of the Valley and Herb Paris, and a mixture of habitats including limestone grassland, ancient woodland and marshy grassland. Two kilometres of hedgerow was laid using traditional techniques as part of the project. Weekly volunteer workparties were supported by Wildlife Trust Officer Rebecca Killa, and amongst other skills, volunteers learned new techniques such as scything to help manage the woodland clearings and protect their wildflowers.

The LCF funds at Carmel have saved this site for wildlife and for the local community, securing its future management, allowing us to work with many local volunteers, and ensuring it remains the popular recreational resource for dog walkers and wildlife enthusiasts that it has been for many years.

 

 

Case Study 02: Parc Slip Nature Reserve, Bridgend (SITA Trust)

Lapwing Ian Rose

In 2014, WTSWW received a Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) grant of £26,060 from SITA Trust to manage and create habitats for our breeding Lapwing population at Parc Slip Nature Reserve. The Lapwing is an iconic farmland bird which has undergone drastic declines across the UK as a result of loss of breeding habitat. Today the lapwing is a U.K. and Wales priority species requiring urgent action.

Through the LCF, WTSWW was able to undertake a series of habitat creation and management projects, ranging from pool and scrape creation, scrub clearance, cattle grazing, predator fencing and the installation of cryptic nest sites such as shingle islands.

In order to complete the work that was required to improve the habitat for Lapwing, WTSWW worked in partnership with local farmers and volunteers who helped with scrub clearance and scrape creation that was taking place on site. These volunteers have come from all sorts of backgrounds, including students, retirees and those who just want to help out in their spare time.

In total, 40 volunteers have donated their time and effort to the project, amounting to over 220 volunteer hours, which has been an invaluable contribution to the project. Without the help of the volunteers, WTSWW would have been unable to complete as much of the fantastic habitat management works that have taken place this winter for Lapwing.

Case Study 03: Cwm Colhuw, Llantwit Major (Biffa Award)

Cwm Colhuw by Vaughn Matthews

In 2012, WTSWW received a Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) grant to help restore the Cwm Colhuw Nature Reserve for people and wildlife. The project has enabled WTSWW to create a long-term management plan for the nature reserve and implement the management to improve the condition of the calcareous grassland, coastal scrub and woodland habitats. The grassland has been brought into favourable management by the installation of grazing animals and also by mowing and the regular removal of ragwort. Scrub has been cleared back from the meadows, exposing the Scheduled Ancient Monument for the first time in a number of years and invasive species have been removed from the woodland. Amphibian hibernacula have been created on the reserve and a series of new bird boxes and bat roosts put up to benefit some of the species present.

As well as restoring important wildlife habitat, the local community has also benefitted. Paths have been improved and new stiles and gates installed with regular litter-picks carried out on site. Local volunteers have been crucial to the project’s success and will help WTSWW manage the reserve sustainably into the future.

A regular series of bird surveys and community bat walks and moth trap events along with numerous talks and interactions with local groups has greatly increased people’s awareness of the reserve and the wildlife that is present. A local councillor was selected to be a Volunteer Warden for the reserve and he has been an excellent link between the Wildlife Trust and the local community.

M4 Relief Road- make your voice heard

Magor Marsh, Gwent Levels (Gwent Wildlife Trust)

On 16th July 2014, the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart, announced that the Welsh Government has adopted a plan for a new three lane motorway between Magor and Castleton. The route will broadly follow the ‘black route’ proposed in the November 2013 consultation, passing through the Gwent Levels Living Landscape.

This commits the Welsh Government to planning and building the new road, and also to spending over a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money. This is likely to come from a combination of the Welsh budget and money borrowed from the UK government.

The announcement came immediately prior to publication of a report produced by the Environment and Sustainability Committee, which states that there are serious unanswered questions’ regarding the M4 consultation process to date. The report raises concerns over:

  • The selection of options considered
  • The consideration of alternatives
  • The fact that serious issues put forward by Natural Resources Wales were not taken into account
  • The validity of the traffic forecasting
  • The total cost, and where the funding would come from

The Wildlife Trusts believe that the minister has also inadequately considered the alternative ‘Blue Route’ put forward by Transport Professor Stuart Cole, which upgrades existing infrastructure. The blue route would be less environmentally damaging, nearly a quarter of the cost, cause less disruption during construction and could be operational within a few years. The new motorway would not be completed until 2021 at the earliest.

 

Magor Marsh, Gwent Levels (Gwent Wildlife Trust)

Magor Marsh, Gwent Levels (Gwent Wildlife Trust)

Why do the Wildlife Trusts object to the proposed ‘black route’?

1. The Gwent Levels is a network of drainage ditches, meadows and marshes that supports species such as water vole, otter and lapwing

2. The 15 mile motorway would pass through 5 miles of SSSI, and close to two Gwent Wildlife Trust nature reserves, destroying irreplaceable habitats

3. Pollution from the road could enter the drainage ditches, which support over 100 rare invertebrates.

4. The motorway will restrict species moving from place to place, hampering their ability to find food, breed, and respond to climate change

For more information

Preferred Route and M4 Corridor around Newport Plan

Environment and Sustainability Committee Inquiry into Welsh Government Proposals for the M4 around Newport

What can you do?

1. Join CALM.  Wildlife Trusts Wales and Gwent Wildlife Trust are members of a group of NGOs, Community Councils and individuals called Campaign Against the Levels Motorway (CALM). This group is opposed to road building on the Gwent Levels and will continue to campaign in various ways against the motorway. The Wildlife Trusts members can join CALM to receive newsletters on the latest developments. CALM newsletters also provide information and advice on responding to consultations and writing to Assembly members. Join CALM via info@gwentwildlife.org or savethelevels@gmail.com

2. Write to your local Assembly Member (AM)– but remember that your message will depend upon their stance to the proposals. You can find contact details for your local AM here, or you can write directly to Edwina Hart AM, the minister responsible for the decision. Here is a guide to the AMs’ stance on the issue that will help you to frame your correspondence:

 Labour – selected AMs Backbenchers Mick Antoniw (Pontypridd), Julie Morgan (Cardiff north), Jenny Rathbone (Cardiff Central) and Julie James(Swansea West) all spoke out against the proposals and should be encouraged in this stance.
 Labour – all other AMs  All other AMs we believe at present to be in favour, so write to explain your objections.
 Plaid Cymru AMs  Have withdrawn from discussions about the road and have publically stated their opposition, so should be encouraged in this stance.
 Conservative AMs  No clear position: write to your AM to encourage them to read the Environment and Sustainability Committee report on the proposals, promote the blue route, reject the black route.
 Liberal Democrat AMs  No clear position: write to your AM to encourage them to read the Environment and Sustainability Committee report on the proposals, promote the blue route, reject the black route.

WTSWW Publications and Reports 2014

Skomer Guillemot by Dave Boyle

Conservation Team

Conservation Report 2013-2014 (4.6 Mb) A report summarising the work of the conservation staff during the financial year

WTSWW Research Report 2014 (0.5 Mb) A report summarising all research and original survey work undertaken by WTSWW and its partners or hosted by WTSWW on its nature reserves during 2014.

Islands

Skokholm Seabird Report 2014 (5.25 Mb)

Skokholm Annual Report 2014 (15 Mb)

Skomer Seabird Report 2014 Draft (1.64 Mb)

Skomer Annual Report 2014 (0.5 Mb)

Skomer Bird Report 2014 (3.39 Mb)

Skomer Seal Report 2014 (3.5 Mb)

Appendix I: Skomer Seabird Report 2014 Draft (1.64 Mb)

Appendix II: Skomer Bird Report 2014 (3.39 Mb)

Appendix III: Wick Puffin Breeding Success Report 2014 (28 Kb)

Appendix IV: Skomer Seal Report 2014 (3.5 Mb)

Appendix V: Skomer report on research on voles 2001-2013 M Loughran (900 Kb)

Appendix VI: BSG Pembrokeshire Islands Bat Report 2014 (1.4 Mb)

Appendix VII: LTV Report Catherine Blower 2014 (157 Kb)

Appendix VIII: LTV Report Holly Dillon August 2014 (78 Kb)

Appendix IX: LTV Report Megan Jones August 2014 (157 Kb)

Appendix X: LTV Report Sophia Jackson 2014 (162 Kb)

Appendix XI: Research report (see Conservation Team section above)

Projects

Clear Streams Swansea

Reconnecting our South Wales Water Voles

Castle Woods Badger Vaccination Report 2014

The Ecology Of The Marsh Pea

Academic Papers relating to WTSWW’s work or nature reserves

Birkhead, T.R. (2014) Stormy outlook for long-term ecological studies. Nature volume 514 pp. 405 available here

Kipling, R.P. (2014) An investigation of temporal flowering segregation in species-rich grasslands. Ecological Research 29 (2) pp. 213-224 available here

McCollin, D. (2014) Reconstructing long-term ecological data from annual census returns: A test for observer bias in counts of bird populations on Skokholm 1928–2002. Ecological Indicators 46, pp. 336-339 available here

Perrins, C.M. 2014. Factors affecting survival of fledgling Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus.  Seabird 27: 62-71 available here

Rhind, P.M. (2014) Conservation and management of coastal slope woodlands with particular reference to Wales. Journal of Coastal Conservation, September 2014 available here

Ross-Smith, V.H., Grantham, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Clark, J.A. (2014) Analysis of Lesser Black-backed Gull data to inform meta-population studies. BTO Research Report No. 654 available here

Shoji, A., Owen, E., Bolton, M., Dean, B., Kirk, H., Fayet, A., Boyle, D., Freeman, R., Perrins, C., Aris-Brosou, S., and Guilford, T. (2014) Flexible foraging strategies in a diving seabird with high flight cost. Marine Biology available here

Simpson, V. Everest, D. and Westcott, D. (2014) RHDV variant 2 and Capillaria hepatica infection in rabbits. Veterinary Record 174 May 2014 available here

Vafidis, J.O., Vaughan, I.P., Jones, T.H., Facey, R.J., Parry, R.J., and Thomas, R.J. (2014) Habitat Use and Body Mass Regulation among Warblers in the Sahel Region during the Non-Breeding Season. November 2014. Available here

Westcott, D.G. & Choudhury, B (2014) Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2-like variant in Great Britain. Veterinary Record, January 2015 available here

 

WTSWW Publications and Reports 2013

Red Squirrel by Lizzie Wilberforce

Conservation Team

WTSWW research report 2013 (0.5 Mb) Report on all research projects undertaken by or in partnership with WTSWW during 2013

Islands

Skokholm Annual Report 2013 (13.2 Mb)

Skokholm Seabird Report 2013 (3.2 Mb)

Skomer Annual Report 2013 (1.21 Mb)

Skomer Seal Report 2013 (4.1 Mb)

Skomer Breeding Bird Survey 2013 (0.8 Mb)

Skomer Seabird Report 2013 Draft (1 Mb)

Project Reports

Mid Wales Red Squirrel Project ERD fund report 2013 (2.6 Mb)

Gwendraeth Grasslands Project Report 2013 (1.3 Mb)

Academic Papers relating to WTSWW’s work or nature reserves

Barker, L., Davis, O., Driver, T. and Johnston, R. 2013. Skomer Island, Marloes & St Brides, Pembrokeshire [geophysics], Archaeology in Wales 52, pp. 158-9

Kipling, R.P (2013) Measuring seabird productivity: inter-plot differences in the effect of site openness on the breeding success of the Common Guillemot Uria aalge. Journal of Ornithology 154 (4) pp. 1079-1085 available here

Meade, J., Hatchwell, B.J., Blanchard, J.L., and Birkhead, T.R. (2013) The population increase of common guillemots Uria aalge on Skomer Island is explained by intrinsic demographic properties. Journal of Avian Biology 44 (1) pp. 55-61

 

WTSWW Publications and Reports 2012

Manx Shearwater by Nigel McCall

Islands

Skomer Annual Report 2012 (0.7 Mb)

Skomer Systematic Bird List 2012 (0.6 Mb)

Skomer Breeding Bird Survey 2012 (0.06 Mb)

Skomer Seal Report 2012 (1.8 Mb)

Skomer Seabird Report 2012 Draft (1..2 Mb)

Skokholm Annual Report 2012 (1.5 Mb)

Projects

Mid Wales Red Squirrel Project Report 2012 (1.2 Mb)

Academic Papers relating to WTSWW’s work or nature reserves

Barker, L., Davis, O., Driver, T. and Johnston, R. (2012) Puffins amidst prehistory: reinterpreting the complex landscape of Skomer Island, in: Britnell, W. J. and Silvester, R. J. Reflections on the Past, Essays in Honour of Frances Lynch. Cambrian Archaeological Association. Welshpool. pp. 280-302.

Perrins, C.M., Wood, M.J., Garroway. C.J., Boyle, D., Oakes, N., Revera, R., Collins, P., and Taylor, C. (2012) A whole-island census of the Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus breeding on Skomer Island in 2011. Seabird (25) pp. 1-13 pdf available here

Riou, S., Chastel, O., and Hamer, K. (2012) Parent–offspring conflict during the transition to independence in a pelagic seabird. Behavioural Ecology 23 (5) pp. 1102-1107. pdf available here

Soames, L.M., Thomas, R.J and Bolton, M. (2012) Evaluation of field and analytical methods for estimating the population size of burrow-nesting seabirds from playback surveys. Bird Study 59 (3) pp. 353-357 pdf available here

 

 

WTSWW Publications and Reports 2011

Atlantic grey seals hauled out on North Haven beach, Skomer

Islands

Skomer Annual Report 2011 (0.7 Mb)

Skomer Seal Report 2011 (3.9 Mb)

Skomer Seabird Report 2011 Draft (0.3 Mb)

Skomer Breeding Bird Survey 2011 (0.2Mb)

Skomer Systematic List 2011 (2.2 Mb)

Academic Papers relating to WTSWW’s work or nature reserves

Riou, S., Gray, C.M., Brooke, M. de L., Quillfeldt, P., Masello, J.F., Perrins, C.M., and Hamer, K.C. (2011) Recent impacts of anthropogenic climate change on a higher marine predator in western Britain. Marine Ecology Progress Series 422 pp. 105-112

WTSWW Publications and Reports 2010

Brown hare in a form V Matthews

Islands

Skomer Bird Report 2010 (0.8 Mb)

Skomer Annual Report 2010 (0.3 Mb)

Skomer Seabird Report 2010 Draft (0.4 Mb)

Skomer Seal Report 2010 (1.9 Mb)

Skomer Systematic List 2010 (4.6 Mb)

Skokholm Annual Report 2010 (0.5 Mb)

Academic Papers relating to WTSWW’s work or nature reserves

Caplan, C. (2010) Death on the farm: Culling badgers in North Pembrokeshire. Anthropology Today 26 (2) pp. 14-18 available here

Morris, A. J.; Macdonald, M. A.; Smart, J.; Haysom, K. A.; Rasey, A.; Williams, C.; Hobson, R.; Dines, T.; Parry, R. J.; Wilberforce, E. M. (2010) The role of desk review in assessing the potential for biodiversity delivery by the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme in Wales. Aspects of Applied Biology 100 pp. 89-99 available here

Riou, S., Chastel, O., Lacroix, A. and Hamer. K.C (2010) Stress and parental care: Prolactin responses to acute stress throughout the breeding cycle in a long-lived bird. General and Comparative Endocrine Ecology 168 (1) pp. 8-13 available here

Riou, S., and Hamer, K.C. (2010) Lipid metabolism, begging behaviour and nestling obesity in a pelagic seabird. Functional Ecology 24 (2) pp. 340-346 available here

 

 

 

Skomer breeding season reaching a climax for the auks

The photography workshops on Skomer Island recently have been very productive with many participants capturing inflight shots of puffins, guillemots and razorbill with one to two even coming away with puffins with sandeels in their beaks in mid-air!

The breeding season is really hotting up with non-stop puffin feeding action at the Wick and great opportunities near the landing of guillemots and razorbills carrying fish. At least two guillemot chicks are being fed on the ledges below the steps. Guillemot chicks have been observed launching themselves from their breeding ledges, encouraged by their fathers who then take them out to sea for their first fishing lesson.

There are still places left for this Saturday, 5th July and on Thursday 10th July. Further details here http://www.andydavies.info/pages/workshops/skomer.html

Guillemot Guillemot _DSA2131 Puffin in flight with sandeels Guillemot

 

Skomer Photography Workshop 8th June 2014

The UK forecast for last weekend was for supercell thunderstorms, lightning and hailstones as big as tennis balls and a yellow rain alert for Wales! This is the kind of prediction that shreds my nerves as I have to give participants enough warning if the workshop cannot run so I decided to postpone to Sunday which had a much more favourable forecast but there was a doubt in the back of my mind that it might all change by Saturday. Sure enough, Gary at Lockley Lodge said you should have been there today when I rang him on Saturday afternoon as it was a gloriously sunny day with a stiff breeze. Sunday’s forecast was now 30mph gusts and 7.5 foot swell. I spent a sleepless night worrying that the ferry might not run!

All turned out well and a puffin was finally spotted bringing sandeels back in to feed a chick at the Wick. The ledges at the landing were packed with razorbills and guillemots providing opportunities to get in-flight shots. The group departed after having a great experience on Skomer with hopefully some cracking images as memories of a great day.

Puffin posing at the Wick.

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My first sighting of a puffin with sandeels in 2014

 

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A ledge at the landing packed with razorbills and guillemots

 

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Razorbill taking off in moth-flight pose

 

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