Author: Lyndsey Maiden

Watch out for frogs and toads in your bonfire pile.

Common Female Toad by A Price

It’s that time of year again when we build bonfires, nibble on a toffee apple and make pretty patterns in the air with a sparkler.  We would just like to remind you of the wildlife which could be hiding in your bonfires.

Common Female Toad by A Price

Common Female Toad by Alan Price Gatehouse Studio

In autumn, hedgehogs, frogs, newts and toads search for places to hibernate and piles of wood for bonfires can appear to be ideal hibernating spots. We are asking people to have a quick look out for any creatures which could be snuggling in amongst the logs and sticks.

People tend to check for hedgehogs in the wood they have gathered for their fire,  But it is equally likely that toads, frogs and newts will have found shelter in these piles and might be missed. Toads and frogs play an important role as predators in the garden and should be encouraged.

We advise that fires are be built on the day that they are to be lit. Wood piles can be made before this but the wood should be moved to a clear, debris-free final spot only on the day.

Amphibians can be encouraged away from the main bonfire by creating smaller log piles which frogs, toads and newts love and before lighting the re-built bonfire pile, it’s a good idea to make a final check by torchlight, to make sure nothing has sneaked in. It is also a good idea to create a safe place for your hedgehogs and a a guide to making a hedgehog hibernation box (200KB) can be downloaded.

 

To hibernate or not to hibernate

Dormouse by Bev Lewis (BWT)

As snow lay thickly on the ground this month in south Wales, in the cold and the dark, the warm temperatures, luxuriant growth and abundant resources of the summer months seem far away indeed.

Even without the obvious impediment of snow, winter can be a challenging time for our wildlife. For some of our mammals, their adaptive strategy is to enter hibernation- an extended period of very deep sleep (or ‘torpor’), during which metabolic rate and body temperature drop to such an extent that the animal uses few resources and is thus able to survive harsh winter conditions. Most species that truly hibernate will stock up on resources and put on weight during the autumn in order to last the winter, or they may still wake up at intervals to ‘top up’. It is a complicated phenomenon that is not as well understood as one might imagine, and is much more complex (and perilous) than simply going to sleep.

Almost all mammal species conserve energy during the winter months by one or more specific strategies. Here are a few examples of British mammals that truly hibernate and a couple of myth-busters; species that people commonly think hibernate but which actually do not.

Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

Hedgehog L Maiden

Hedgehog L Maiden

Hedgehogs are true hibernators. Like most mammals their food (mostly terrestrial invertebrates) is much less abundant and accessible during the winter. The commencement of hibernation depends very much on prevailing conditions, but is normally between November and January.

Internal changes cause them to become immobile, and their bodies cool. Their heart rate decreases massively from around 190 to only 20 beats per minute, and their body temperature drops by 25ºC. In this condition they use hardly any resources.
Although they rarely leave their winter nests (typically in hedges and brash piles), they do actually wake up fairly often during the winter months.

Interestingly, hibernation is a response to cold conditions and not inherently necessary. For example, hedgehogs that are kept inside over the winter (e.g. young animals that have been rescued in the autumn because they have not gained enough weight to survive winter hibernation in the wild) will remain active all season. Our wild hedgehogs will certainly be hibernating at present, and probably won’t be seen till March or April.

Bats

Greater horseshoe bats

Greater horseshoe bats

All British bats also hibernate. Like hedgehogs, bats’ metabolic rate drops greatly, enabling them to survive the winter without foraging. This is essential since their food (invertebrates on the wing) is in particularly low abundance during the winter months and flying to hunt is extremely energy demanding.

To hibernate, bats need roosts that are relatively cool and remain at a constant temperature, in order to help them regulate their own body conditions and to avoid being woken in response to environmental fluctuations. For this reason they often chose underground sites, such as caves, or human equivalents such as large cellars, where temperatures are constant. This is essential as being woken from hibernation costs bats a lot of energy and over time can therefore lead to starvation.

Surprisingly little is known about British bats during the winter months. For example, pipistrelles may be our most abundant bat species, but it is not fully understood where they go in winter. Too few hibernation roosts have been identified to account for the numbers of animals recorded in Britain during the summer. Fascinatingly, bats mate prior to hibernating, during the autumn and early winter. The females are then able to store the sperm so that they do not actually become pregnant until the spring.

Hazel Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius)

Dormouse by Bev Lewis (BWT)

Dormouse by Bev Lewis (BWT)

The dormouse is the only one of our native small mammals that enters true hibernation during the winter. For dormice this is in a small woven nest at ground level, enabling them to regulate the humidity of their environment.

They normally enter hibernation around the time of the first autumn frosts (October or November) and are not normally recorded as active again until April or May, although this depends on conditions. Timing of hibernation is recorded on WTSWW nature reserves via the monitoring of dormouse activity in nest boxes that we install.

Hibernating dormice let their body temperature drop to that of their surroundings (the optimum being 1-4ºC, at which they consume very little energy). Their metabolism drops by around 90%.

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

Red Squirrel Steve Davis

Red Squirrel Steve Davis

Many people think that squirrels (both red and grey) hibernate. In fact, squirrels continue to forage throughout the winter, although they do cache food stores in preparation for the lean season. This behaviour is most obvious in urban grey squirrels but in fact is observable in our red squirrels also.

From January onwards when the breeding season starts, squirrels can already be observed to be active, often chasing each other round the canopy and up and down trees; this behaviour can be part of the mating process.

Badger (Meles meles)

Also contrary to popular belief, badgers do not hibernate. However, they too have developed strategies for conserving their energy during the winter when their staple diet (especially earthworms- consider the impact of frozen ground) is not available. They gain weight during the autumn to see them through the winter months. They will also spend many days underground conserving their energy during cold periods and will sleep more deeply and for longer periods.

Badger by Jon Bowen

Badger by Jon Bowen

Whilst hibernation sounds like the ultimate answer to winter hardship- how many of us, after all, have joked about wishing we could hibernate ourselves- it is actually a risky strategy in many ways. A hibernating mammal is very vulnerable to disturbance and predation. Dormice, for example, are very vulnerable to predation in their small nests at ground level and are unable to respond quickly to make their escape if found. For all hibernating mammals, remaining undisturbed is also critical to maintaining their essential low metabolism and eking out their scant resources till spring. Despite the risks however, hibernation has to remain one if nature’s most remarkable strategies.

 

The Woods of Ceredigion

Volunteers at Coed Maidie B Goddard

December in Ceredigion…

Another month of mostly woodland work.

We returned to Coed Maidie B Goddard’s woodland and continued the coppicing and thinning we had started previously. Volunteers from Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire joined us for one day of this, really swelling the numbers and allowing us to get lots done but this is a big job with lots left to do! You can hear a podcast and see some photos of  our work here (YouTube video)

Volunteers at Coed Maidie B Goddard

Volunteers at Coed Maidie B Goddard

In Old Warren Hill there has been a lot of work on the sycamores, both by contractors and volunteers. The contractors have been working on the larger trees, generally with decaying trunk bases and the volunteers have been clearing some dense areas of smaller trees.

Trees have also been felled in Pant Da as part of a general thin. This was the first work party of the New Year with a record turn out! The sun also came out and made the day very enjoyable with an overwintering chiffchaff, a robin, a frog and a ladybird all putting in appearances.

As well has woodlands we have worked on a couple of rhos pasture reserves: Rhos Pil Bach and Rhos Glyn yr Helyg, where we cleared scrub from around the field edges. We also got very wet doing some flood damage repair at Coed Penglanowen in the pouring rain just before Christmas
woodland work and scrub clearance continue this month.

Thank you very much to everyone who has helped this month. If you would like to volunteer with us in Ceredigion there are work parties twice a week out on the reserves, year round, contact Em on 07980932332 or to find out more about Ceredigion reserves visit: https://welshwildlife.org/locations/ceredigion/

Gaia Lifestyle Centres

Gaia Logo

The shared vision of all those that work at the Gaia Lifestyle Centres is one of Wellbeing for all.

As a collective of Complementary Practitioners and Yoga teachers we hold dear, that our services and commitment reach out to our community and also to our environment.

We are delighted to support the wonderful work of the Welsh Wildlife Trust through the Business Partnership

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Wildlife Training Courses

male great crested newt swimming Dave Kilbey
Following on from the successful ecological training courses of the last few years, WTSWW has a new programme arranged for 2013, bringing back some of previous years courses but also adding in some that are brand new for 2013. These courses are taught by experts at the top of their field, and are suitable both for those working in the field of conservation and for general wildlife enthusiasts, enabling participants to increase their knowledge and experience in the field.
male great crested newt swimming Dave Kilbey

male great crested newt swimming Dave Kilbey

The courses will be held in the newly refurbished Parc Slip Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre, on the beautiful Parc Slip Nature Reserve, Bridgend. Amongst the new courses are Conservation Law, Introduction to Grasses and Dormouse Ecology and Conservation. Additionally, a special two-day course will be held this year on Amphibian and Reptile Ecology and Survey Skills, which will cover a number of survey methodologies, including bottle trapping for European protected great crested newt.

A small amount is charged for each course, which will go back into the Wildlife Trust Student and Volunteer Fund. Places are limited on these courses, so please book now to avoid disappointment.
A full list of the courses is available. If you have any further questions, or wish to book, please contact Marie Lindley on 01656 724100 or email info@welshwildlife.org

Welsh Wildlife Photography Winner

Afon Conwy by Chris Goodard

Congratulations to Chris Goddard, of Newport, winner of our 2012  Wildlife Photography Competition. Chris works full time as a ranger at Newport Council, but his photography skills are of a superb quality.

Afon Conwy by Chris Goodard

Afon Conwy by Chris Goodard

Chris won after a very tough competition, with increasing numbers of extremely high quality entrants each year.

Chris studied Environmental Science at Bristol University, this led to a day job which allowed him to exercise his skills out on the local reserves and across Wales on weekends away.

The winning photograph is of Afon Conwy, in north Wales. The autumn colours and the movement of the water give this photography life and vibrancy.

Congratulations to Chris and well done to all our other entrants, it was a difficult decision by the judges. We look forward to even more tough decisions in our 2013 competition!

Welcome to our new island wardens

Eddie and Bee

This year is seeing some significant changes to staff on Skomer and Skokholm Islands as Chris and Jerry both leave for pastures new we have not two new wardens starting but four!

Many of you will hopefully seen or heard Giselle Eagle and Richard Brown on a variety of programmes, from BBC Breakfast (link to YouTube recording) and Radio Four’s Saturday Live (link to YouTube recording), they have also appeared in a variety of other press from BBC Wales website to the Northern Echo.

Richard and Giselle

Richard and Giselle

Richard and Giselle have had some great experience of working on Welsh islands, including Bardsey and Skomer, so they should feel very much at home out on Skokholm Island.

Richard said: “We’re very excited about this opportunity and couldn’t be happier just sharing our lives with birds and wildlife.

“The island is very fragile – it’s a site of special scientific interest and contains really important vegetation which we will also be monitoring, as well as keeping an eye on the dolphins, seals, porpoises and even the insects.”

Richard became interested in wildlife after joining the local Wildlife Trust Watch group in Northallerton.

He met Miss Eagle, 27, three years ago in Great Yarmouth while she was trying to track down a lost colony of migrating terns.

The couple have since spent two years living together on Bardsey Island, off the coast of North Wales.

She said: “When we first met I’d never been on an island before – it’d never entered my head that I’d end up living on one. I’ve always loved wildlife.

“But now I’m hooked on both island life and Richard, he’s my boyfriend and I’m glad to share his way of life with him.”

Eddie and Bee

Eddie and Bee

On Skomer we also have a  new pair of wardens, Birgitta Bueche and Eddie Stubbings are keen to start their new lives out on this stunning island. They both currently live out on Norfolk’s very remote Blakeney Point, almost harder to get to than Skomer.

Their passion for wildlife is long lived, Bee (as Birgitta likes to be known) grew up near the Swiss Alps and has a long held love for wildlife as a consequence. Richard works as a warden out on Blakeney Point which should be good training for living and working out on Skomer.

Eddie said: “My present job is almost a lot more isolated even though it is not quite an island.

“It’s a spit, a finger of land that comes off the main land and we are right on the end.”

“In a way I might have to get used to the buzz of the people on the island.

“So it won’t be quite as lonely as you’d think.

“People will probably find it amusing that you can get more isolated than an island.”

The trip to their new home might not be so much fun as they head over the sometimes choppy Jack Sound.

“I get sea sick when I go on boats,” Bee said.

“These things you have to live with.”

Eddie and Bee will be starting with the Trust in February and heading out on their new adventure in March.

Skokholm and Skomer bookings

Skokholm Island
You can’t have missed the new wardens of Skokholm, Richard Brown and Giselle Eagles, as they seem to have been everywhere on television and radio recently.
Skokholm accommodation by S Sutcliffe

Skokholm accommodation by S Sutcliffe

There is still space to stay on Skokholm Island for three nights from Friday or four nights from Monday – or as long as you want if you wish!

The cost is £130 per three or four night stay, and £240 for a week. The accommodation is self-catering and there is a small shop on the island selling basic foodstuffs.
From 29 July for a week there is the option of staying and be fully catered and the cost is £375 per person. Also from 5 August we are running a course on lichens for a week – the cost is £475 per person and it is also fully catered.
Skomer 
There is still space on Skomer for shorter stays in April and July. May, June and the first part of July are almost booked with the only remaining space being in the mixed dorm room Shearwater.
Please ring Wendy (Island Bookings) on 01239 621600/621212 if you want to make a booking. Further information about Skokholm and Skomer is available.

Charcoal Kilns and Coppicing

The Big Burn

The last volunteer day before christmas was a charcoal making training day with staff and volunteers from The Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales, The Gower Ranger Huw Lloyd, Matt Carroll and Andrew Price Dryad Bushcraft.

The Big Burn

The Big Burn

This was the 1st time we lit the big kiln. Initally we had to dig it in and make sure it was all sitting level, before we could fill the kiln with wood.

It was important to lay the wood in a way so that it burnt as evenly as possible and no wood got hung up as it burnt. All in all it was a semi success. Producing some charcoal of saleable value.

Unfortunately we timed it slightly wrong and were late closing the kiln down, losing some. We put it down to learning experience amd hope to be better with our timings next time.

Since Christmas we have chiefly been coppicing at a new site. We are bringing an area of neglected coppice back into rotation for the National Trust at Bishopston Valley. The area is 1.3 acres and opening up the understorey has already made a big difference.

Coppicing

Coppicing

We have also started a contract job for Plantlife on a site where the rare plant Bastard Balm is known to grow. The survival of this plant relies on woodlands being managed, the ground needs light and disturbance and to be kept free from brash, scrub and bramble.We are working on privately owned land in West Wales. This job has been carried out with Wildlife trust staff, contractors and Wildlife Trust volunteers from Pembrokeshire.

FROM OUR ARCHIVE

2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the work of WTSWW in the west of its patch; 75 years since a group of 70 enthusiasts met in Haverfordwest to form the Pembrokeshire Bird Protection Society, later and via several incarnations becoming the Wildlife Trust West Wales, before merging with Glamorgan Wildlife Trust in 2002 to become the Trust we are today.
From our archive image Jan 2013To celebrate 75 years of active conservation in west Wales, each month in this e-newsletter we are going to bring you an item from the archive of the west Wales magazines and bulletins. This month we look back to the 1980s to celebrate the work of the East Carmarthenshire group.

West Wales Trust for Nature Conservation Bulletin No, 42: December 1986

Focus: East Carmarthenshire Section

Membership is about 200, centre of gravity of the section is the Llandeilo area with membership extending east to include Llandovery, west to Carmarthen, south to Llanelli and north to Lampeter.

Members range from those who are just happy to support nature conservation financially, through those who attend some of our functions but haven’t the time to take on direct responsibilities, to enthusiasts like Bob and Molly Jennings (Chairman 79-81) who work ceaselessly fundraising and Ian Watt (current Chairman) who labours without respite on behalf of the Castle Woods Reserve and the wider objective of preserving the whole of the old Dinefwr Estate.

The Castle Woods Reserve situated in Llandeilo is the premier Trust Reserve in the Section’s area. It consists of 62 acres of woodland and 319 acres of shooting and was purchased by the Trust in 1979 with funds raised by the Dyfed Wildlife Appeal whose Financial Director was Ricky Richardson, a long standing member of the Section’s committee. Most of the Reserve is on the steep south and west facing slopes which rise from the Afon Tywi water meadows.

The woods formed part of the Dinefwr Estate Site of Special Scientific Interest and have a wide range of natural history significance. In addition, the wooded escarpment overlooking the flood plain meadows and the meandering Tywi is of extremely high landscape value. The oxbow lakes are a favourite watering sanctuary for many species of wildfowl.

Within the reserve and as a part of the purchase came the historic Dinefwr Castle, a classic example of a Welsh Castle and also one of the finest examples of its type and it stands on the highest point of the reserve which has commanding views of the Tywi valley to Dryslwyn Castle, Grongor Hill and Gelli Aur to the west. This Castle was the stronghold of the kings and princes of Deheubarth from about the ninth century.

Within months of the legal purchase a Manpower Services team started work in the reserve and over the next six years carried out major management and rehabilitation programmes. The whole areas was fenced (about six miles), stiles and gates were erected on newly created footpaths which gave good access.

From our archive image Jan 2013 03Some old footpaths dating back to Capability Brown (around 1780) had deteriorated to such an extent that they were lost in the undergrowth and another was unsafe and unuseable, some of these have been restored. The Dutch Elm Disease in 1979 has decimated the population of elm trees; many have been felled and sold to timber merchants bringing valuable income to the Trust. The clearance left open spaces but these have been replanted with oak, ash, elm, hazel, beech and maple. To provide the young trees for planting the Trust cleared the old garden attached to Llandyfeisant House and made it into a forest nursery.

A year after the purchase of the reserve the Trust was asked if they would undertake the rehabilitation and restoration of the old Llandyfeisant Church which had been badly vandalised and was gradually disappearing under encroaching forest and ivy. It was a daunting task but the Trust agreed, with the intention of turning it into a Visitors’ Centre. With the aid of the Manpower Services teams and grants from the Prince of Wales Committee, the Welsh Office (Cadw), Dyfed County Council, private individuals’ donations, the conversion was nearly completed by the spring of 1986. In spite of the work not being completed the Centre was opened to the public in Spring 1986. A committee was formed to organise a roster of volunteers to man the centre and to be salespeople in the shop. The Secretary, Mrs Edith Brockington, has been the driving force and the organising genius in the most successful venture- more than fifty people have given their services.

Since 1983 the Trust has employed a summer warden on the Reserve and part of his duties has been to provide assistance, advice and guidance to the increasing number of visitors to the reserve. He also led six guided walks and open days to the reserve for the public. In 1984 there were over 400 visitors to the church. Many more visited when the warden was not present when he was engaged on the surveys of birds, mammals, butterflies and populations of other species. After the clearance of dead elms it was felt that there were fewer holes and shelters for bats. Bird boxes have already been erected. Now in the year of the BAT 1986 bat boxes have been put up in the woods.

The Welsh Office (Cadw) under a Treaty of Guardianship soon to be signed with the Trust will be responsible for making the old Castle safe for opening to the public. This has been said to be possible in 1988. After that the most exciting archaeological work will commence. In time we may see where the old Burgh of Dinefwr was sited adjoining the Castle. On more time excavation work near the new Castle with the cooperation of the National Trust may reveal where the town Dre Newydd, established by Edward I was sited.

Carrie Brill of Llansawel School

Carrie Brill of Llansawel School

Other members are taking increasing interest in contact with the schools of the area; witness the painting competition in Wild Flower Week referred to in the last issue of the Bulletin and more recently, the Sunflower Competition organised by Thirza and Hilda Swindells and Jean Hemmings motivated by David Davies Glanranell.

We have specialist walkers, of whom John Starke is probably the doyen. John has put his attitude on walks in print as follows:-

“There was an American trapper, Horage Kephart, whose book, Camping and Woodcraft was for my generation of walkers the equivalent of Isaac Walton’s Compleat Angler. Kephart’s book contains a recipe which, though I’ve never tried it, I remember for its punchline: “I asked old Bob Flowers, ‘Did you ever eat groundhog?’ “Oh la, dozens of times…cut the leetle red kernels from under their forelegs, then bile ‘em fust… then pepper ‘em and sage ‘em and bake ‘em to a nice rich brown… and then I don’t want nobody there but me”. And normally when I’m out I don’t want nobody there but me either. But walks with fellow Trust members are different. The reason is that however aesthetically satisfying solitude may be, there are things one sees- trees, plants, animals- about which one would like to know more and there’s always someone in the group who can satisfy one’s curiosity and thus make one’s next solitary walk the more satisfying for the extra knowledge. As Maeterlinck said of the bee, “…the closer our acquaintance with them the nearer is our ignorance brought to us of the depths of their existence. But such ignorance is better than the other, which is unconscious and satisfied.” Making these acquaintances as we go along, whether it be of bees, birds, rocks or flowers, means that to ask one of our walks, “How far is it?” is an irrelevance. The relevant question is, “How long will it take?” For example take a recent walk. We went along a river-side track and almost immediately found a couple of beetles- each of a different species. We had a good look at them, turning them over to see if there were fleas on their irridescent bellies. It was a bit late for ivy leaved bellflower but there were plenty of harebells and later in the boggy sections, sundew and butterwort. We looked in vain into the deep pool where once the salmon were running; we examined rotting logs for the fungi that grow there; we refreshed ourselves with bilberries, crowberries and wild raspberries. Lunch was leisurely because already we had seen so much to talk about over our meal. Thus it was that a walk that measured three and a half in miles took from 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. Thus it was that we finished that much richer in knowledge and that much more aware of the “depths of the existence” of the things around us.”

No account of the Section would be complete without mention of the ladies who work away behind the scenes selling tickets, scrounging things to sell and above all providing refreshments for our walks, our winter meetings and our various fund raising events. Not already mentioned are Betty Hugo, Secretary, Gwenfil Matthew, Enid Watt and Gwen Heal.

Finally mention must be made of Tim and Betty Davies, Betty our photogenic, well organised and resourceful programme secretary for some 10 years and Tim, genial Chairman 83-85, the butterfly, moth and beetle expert. Between them they have contributed greatly to making the Section the thriving organisation it is today.

 

Couple prepare for life on tiny Skomer Island with puffins for company

Eddie and Bee

As appeared in Wales Online 21/01/2013

Living on a tiny rock surrounded by treacherous seas might sound like volunteering to be locked up on Alcatraz.

But nature lovers Birgitta Bueche and Eddie Stubbings jumped at the chance to move to the puffin-covered rock that is West Wale tiny Skomer island.

Eddie and Bee

Eddie and Bee

The couple are getting ready to move to the two mile wide site of special scientific interest next month where they will be the new wardens for Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.There, their only company will be the guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and puffins who inhabit the island as well as the seals in the clear waters around it.

German-born Birgitta was brought up near the Swiss Alps.

“I don’t think I will get bored,” the 35-year-old said.

“There is so much to learn and like. There is everything like insects and plants and birds to start exploring.

“And the sea is a completely different universe as soon as you put your head under the water.”

The pair currently live in Norfolk where Eddie is warden on Blakeney Point – a remote finger of land that stretches three miles into the North Sea.

He said: “This opportunity came up and because it was a combination of being able to work together and work with internationally important sea bird populations we jumped at this.

“I love Blakeney Point and it will be hard to leave.

“But Skomer is also amazing and I am looking forward to the challenge of moving to Wales and working on Skomer and all that brings.

Puffin in burrow by Lyndsey Maiden (1 of 1)

Puffin in burrow by L Maiden

“Having spoken to ex-warden Chris Taylor there is a real buzz about the place, the buzz of researchers and visitors and interesting bird life.”They are the second couple to take charge of an island in only a few weeks.

Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle have just moved to Skokholm – a stone’s throw from Skomer.

Dinner parties will be few and far between.

“There will probably not be so many parties because it is difficult to get from Skomer to Skokholm,” Birgitta said.

“But perhaps once in a while we might meet up.”

Storms and isolation will be among the challenges they face as well as coping with unreliable supplies of water, food and electricity.

Eddie said: “They have got generators and solar energy systems but they will go wrong.

“There will be communication systems like internet access but that will go wrong as well.

“Phone lines will go down and things like that.

“And we won’t be able to pop to the shop to get a pint of milk.”

Birgitta, known as Bee, has been obsessed with nature since she was eight.

“It was always what I wanted to do. It’s not a job it is a lifestyle.

“There are people that always know that they want to live with nature, among and with nature, and according to nature’s rules.

“I have always been like that. I have always enjoyed being outdoors, not indoors.”

Eddie admitted the work was only suited to “certain people.” “Others would go nuts,” the 34-year-old said.

“My present job is almost a lot more isolated even though it is not quite an island.

“It’s a spit, a finger of land that comes off the main land and we are right on the end.”

They say Blakeney Point is “the remotest part of Norfolk”.

“People have to walk up three or four miles of treacherous shingle to get there,” Eddie said.

“There is no road. It is very isolated. I am used to it and enjoy it.

“In a way I might have to get used to the buzz of the people on the island.

“So it won’t be quite as lonely as you’d think.

“People will probably find it amusing that you can get more isolated than an island.”

The trip to their new home might not be fun.

“I get sea sick when I go on boats,” Bee said.

“These things you have to live with.”

Article by James McCarthy

Training Courses 2016 Parc Slip, Bridgend

Adult marsh fritillary by Rob Parry

Emperor DragonflyThe WTSWW Ecological Training Courses offer a great opportunity for conservationists and wildlife enthusiasts to increase their field identification skills and learn more about the conservation and ecology of a variety of species and Taxa. Courses are designed to provide a broad knowledge of the topic through practical and theoretical sessions, based at the Parc Slip Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre & Nature Reserve. All booking information is at the bottom of this post. More information about each course is available if you click the links in the course titles.

To sign up to the mailing list to be kept up to date with new and upcoming Training Courses click HERE

 

Writing the Wild

Saturday 11th June 2016. 10am-4pm. Parc Slip Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre.

Tutor: Susan Richardson

This course will encourage you to creatively respond, through writing, to the wildlife and landscape you encounter while exploring Parc Slip Nature Reserve in the early summer. Guided by Susan and the writing prompts which she will provide, you will spend part of the course outdoors, walking and enjoying focused periods of writing on nature and wildlife themes, sparked by the material you gather.

 

Course Booking
• Courses cost £60 per person, except for the two-day amphibian and reptile course which is charged at a special price of £110 per person.
• Limited places available. To avoid disappointment ensure you book early.
• Payment for courses can be made by debit/credit card over the phone or by cheque. Cheques should be made payable to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.
• Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided – please bring own packed lunch.
• Due to the courses being partly field based – please bring suitable footwear and clothing.
• Please note that there will be no refunds for any cancellations within two weeks of the course; there will be an administrative charge of £5 for all other cancellations. Should WTSWW have to cancel the course the full fee will be refunded. For further course information, please contact Marie Lindley on 01656 724100.

Please find a map to Parc Slip below, postcode CF35 0EH

View Larger Map