Author: Rebecca Vincent

Looking for a Race?

Silent Valley Nature Reserve by Jane Corey

Our friends at Gwent Wildlife Trust are hosting a 6 mile trail run on Sunday 22nd October!

The GWT Silent Valley Challenge will be held on Sunday 22nd October at GWT’s Silent Valley Nature Reserve near Ebbw Vale at 10.30am.

This is an exciting 6 mile trail/fell run that combines the natural environment, historic landscape and some tough terrain. You’ll be surrounded by awesome scenery and wildlife on this stunning Eastern Valleys nature reserve, with family nature trails/walk and other activities for the support team.

Advance Entry Fee: £12 affiliated/GWT members, £14 unaffiliated

Goodies for all runners and prizes for overall and category winners.

All profits will stay in Gwent to support Gwent Wildlife Trust’s work.

The route:

Starting within the beautiful surroundings of Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Silent Valley Nature Reserve, which includes the highest ancient beech woodland in the UK, this multi-terrain (grass, mud, rocky path) trail challenge takes you through a mixture of woodlands, wetlands and open heathland.

The trail begins on the lower levels of the reserve, ascending around the summit of Mynydd Carn-y-Cefn. The route then takes you along the heather-clad ridge with stunning views of the valleys before descending back through the wet woodlands giving you a chance to appreciate the ancient trees in all their autumn glory and finally crossing the Nant Merddog stream to reach the finish.

The start of the course has been altered this year to add a small loop before reaching the narrow trail in the reserve.

The run is for experienced trail and fell runners, with steep inclines and challenging and varying terrain. If the weather is poor, it will also be muddy so appropriately grippy trainers will be required.

Find more information and booking forms for the Silent Valley Challenge.

Skomer Migrant Bird Sightings for August

Bonelli's Warbler on Skomer

Have a little look and see what migrant bird species flew over or landed on Skomer in August…

A Little Grebe was on North Pond (25th). A Sooty Shearwater was seen just north of Skomer on the 27th. Little Egrets were seen on the 1st (three), 15th (two) and 20th (one). Single Grey Herons were seen on the 28th and 31st.

Monthly maxima of wildfowl include: four teal (24th and 25th), 19 Mallard (28th), three Shoveler (24th and 29th) and 93 Common Scoter (23rd).

Sparrowhawks were present with two on the last two days of the month. An Osprey flew over North Haven on the 26th. Kestrels arrived from the 26th and there were two on the 29th and 30th. A Merlin was seen on five dates from the 23rd.

Wader passage peaked with the following counts: two Ringed Plover (27th, 29th and 31st), three Dunlin (7th), nine Snipe (22nd), eight Black-tailed Godwit (1st), 26 Whimbrel (27th), eight Redshank (20th), single Greenshank (25th), two Green Sandpiper (25th and 27th), single Wood Sandpiper (4th), Single Common Sandpiper (four dates) and 18 Turnstone (24th and 25th).

Single Arctic Skuas were seen on the 7th and 19th plus there were two on the 24th. There were 39 Black-headed Gulls on the 10th.

Single Collared Doves were recorded on the 14th and 22nd and there were three on the 16th. A Barn Owl was flushed from North Valley Crossing during the day on the 27th. Short-eared Owls were seen irregularly with singles on eight dates. Two Kingfishers were seen together in South Haven on the 8th. A Wryneck was seen at the Farm on the 29th, 30th and 31st.

Hirundines passage peaked with four Sand Martins (26th), 90 Swallows (26th) and five House Martins (22nd). Four Tree Pipits flew over on the 27th and there were three on the 30th and one on the 31st. There were five Grey Wagtails on the 27th and singles on four other dates. White Wagtails were recorded on the 25th (one), 27th (two) and 29th (one).

There were 17 Robins on the 23rd. Stonechats peaked at 14 on the 20th. There was a clear departure of Wheatears mid-month with no major influxes of migrants.

Reed Warblers began passing through with four on three separate dates. A Melodious Warbler was present on the 17th and was seen again briefly on the 18th. Blackcap numbers peaked at four on the 31st. A Lesser Whitethroat was seen at the Farm on the 29th. A Bonelli’s Warbler was in North Valley on the 30th and 31st. Chiffchaff numbers peaked at ten on the 30th and Willow Warblers at 28 on the 29th. There were seven Goldcrests on both the 30th and 31st.

The highest day count of Spotted Flycatchers was nine on the 29th.

Aside from the almost daily Common Dolphin sightings there were twelve Bottlenose Dolphins on the 27th and six Risso’s Dolphins on the 31st. An Otter was also seen on a few dates at the start of the month.

 

Remember a Charity Week

Puffin - Sarah Groves

Every September, more than 180 charities join forces to hold the annual Remember A Charity Week. The awareness week aims to raise the profile of legacy giving and encourage the public to consider leaving a gift in their Will.

Remember A Charity Week will run from 11-17 September and we will be calling on the public to #HaveYourSay on the world you want to pass on and hopefully inspire potential supporters to leave a legacy.

Last year The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales received two legacies from people like you choosing to leave a gift in their Will to wildlife. These gifts help support our vital conservation work, from ensuring the Puffin population on Skomer and Skokholm Islands continues to increase, to researching Dolphin communication at our Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre. Gifts in Wills have helped us maintain our 90 nature reserves, they have enabled us to purchase land and provide the right habitat for local wildlife that is struggling to survive in today’s urban jungles.

Leaving a gift in your Will to help local wildlife can be very beneficial to you and your family; adding a gift in your Will offers each of us the opportunity to contribute to good causes in a way that may not be possible during our life time, due to financial responsibilities.

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales understand that your loved ones come first and it is only after they have been provided for that we ask that you think of us. Please give us a call for an informal chat, or alternatively you can request a free booklet which will provide you with information about how we have used previous wills, our promise to you and how you can go about leaving a gift in your Will to The Wildlife Trust. Just contact WTSWW’s legacy officer, Rebecca Vincent via r.vincent@welshwildlife.org.

We are also planning a legacy event which will give people information about leaving us a legacy and tell you about some of our work, both past, present and our future hopes. If you would like to show an interest in this event and be kept up to date with it’s developments (date, time and location) please let Rebecca know on the email address above.

 

 

We Love Welsh Beaver

Beaver Mug to raise funds for The Welsh Beaver Project

The Wildlife Trusts in Wales are selling #ILoveWelshBeaver mugs and are asking people to send us photos of you using the gnaw-geous new mugs. Profits from the mugs and coasters will go towards reintroducing beavers back into Wales. 

Help achieve this truly historic step forward for wildlife conservation in Wales and return these wonderful animals back to Wales. One day beavers could be on a river near you!

Beavers are native to Wales, but they became extinct in the Middle Ages due to unsustainable hunting by humans for their fur, scent glands and food – a story that has been echoed across Europe! Thankfully, through natural recolonisation and reintroduction programmes, beavers are returning to much of their former range. After a successful reintroduction in Scotland, Wales are hoping to follow in their footsteps and welcome beavers back into Wales with open arms, and Alicia, The Beaver Officer (what a job title!) explains why…

“Beavers are referred to as a ‘keystone species’ because their activity restores wetlands and river-edge woodlands to the benefit of other wildlife; they can help to provide habitats for fungi, plants, invertebrates, fish, birds and mammals. Reintroducing Beavers into Wales would also have a benefit to humans by reducing flooding, preventing soil erosion and cleaning the river water.”

Alicia continues, “We are working with The Bevis Trust based in Carmarthenshire, where a site has been selected. A licence application is now with Natural Resources Wales who are currently assessing it. We’re hoping to carry out a reintroduction as soon as possible and need funding in order to do this. There is more work to do, including preparing sites, training volunteers, developing opportunities for education and recreation, as well as sourcing, checking and releasing beavers; the list goes on. We now need a final push to get our beavers back home – that’s where the mugs come in.”

So please, bea-very supportive and buy your mug and coasters from Wildlife Trust shops (we sell them at the Welsh Wildlife Centre near Cilgerran and Parc Slip near Bridgend) or online via the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s website.

It’ll be the best dam mug you ever buy!

Be sure to send your mug shots in to us via @beaverafanc or alicia@rwtwales.org.

You can also donate via our JustGiving page.

What’s been happening on Skokholm…

Bird ringing on Skokholm

We’ve been blogging about our antics on Skokholm Island this month and have chosen a few of the best bits for you to read below…

6th August: The most exciting observation of the day was of a loose flock of 27 Storm Petrel following Boy’s Pride, one of our local potting vessels. Not only was this a fantastic sight from the Lighthouse, but it also promises a lot for tomorrow – there are clearly a lot of seabirds around and tomorrow we are heading out to sea with Dale Sailing to see what we can find. Other birds logged included 11400 Manx Shearwater, another Storm Petrel at sea (55 were also ringed and seven retrapped last night), 365 Gannet, nine Cormorant, 128 Common Scoter, four Moorhen (with two new fledglings at Orchid Bog), 12 Whimbrel, ten Curlew, three Redshank, a pale Arctic Skua, seven Guillemot, four Razorbill, 32 Puffin (including five in with fish), 80 Meadow Pipit, only 16 Wheatear, nine Sedge Warbler, a Chiffchaff, four Willow Warbler, eight Chough, ten Raven and six Starling. At least 16 Common Dolphin were around the coast and a Grey Seal was tucking into a ray below the Light. It was Fulmar chick ringing day today with a great group of visiting ringers.

Bird ringing on Skokholm© Richard Brown

8th August: A big full moon last night was perhaps not ideal for Storm Petrel ringing (it was so bright that we were casting shadows, conditions which allow the birds to see the nets). Nevertheless we handled 82 birds, 14 of which were already wearing rings from here or elsewhere. Not only did the evening generate some fantastic data, but it was a great opportunity for our guests to see these amazing seabirds up close. The bright night also meant that there was little in the way of avian arrivals (if the heavy rain which hit well after dawn had come a bit earlier, then migrant numbers might have been a bit higher). Totals for the day came to 15000 Manx Shearwater, 120 Gannet, three Cormorant, 13 Common Scoter, three Dunlin, a Snipe, seven Whimbrel, a Curlew, three Redshank, four Turnstone, four Guillemot and only two Puffin (none with fish), 19 Swallow, 26 Wheatear, eight Sedge Warbler, a Chiffchaff, five Willow Warbler, 14 Starling and nine Reed Bunting. A minimum of 29 Common Dolphin were logged, 25 of which were hunting close in off the Lighthouse.

Dolphins Dolphins© Giselle Eagle

11th August: A dark night was perfect for Storm Petrel ringing with our guests (at least until yesterday became today and a big moon rose high in the sky). Regular meteors and a stunning star filled sky were enjoyed as we worked. We handled 85 Storm Petrels, ten of which had previously been ringed here and seven of which had been ringed elsewhere (we don’t know where yet). One of these seven was wearing a French ring, our fifth French control in five years. Despite a brisk wind we managed to squeeze in a changeover boat just after lunch, taking the number of Skokholm residents to 25 (our maximum). The guided walk was a perfect opportunity to meet Manx Shearwater chicks and a few of our other birds which today included over 42000 Manx Shearwater off the Lighthouse, 138 Gannet, six Common Scoter, five Dunlin, five Whimbrel, five Curlew, two Turnstone, three Guillemot, 11 Skylark, 87 Meadow Pipit, another two Pied Wagtail fledglings, a Robin, just 17 Wheatear, a Reed Warbler, a Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff, six Willow Warbler and nine Starling.

 

Storm petrel© Giselle Eagle

19th August: Given that it was the 27 year anniversary of the only Skokholm record of Black-browed Albatross, it could perhaps be predicted that seawatching would be high on the agenda today, particularly as a stiff westerly was again blowing. Early signs were good with a Balearic Shearwater and the first two definite Arctic Tern of the year heading west. Although it wasn’t exactly kicking off, there was enough interest to demand a presence at the seawatch hide and this was rewarded just after 0800 with a close in Great Shearwater heading west. I’ve been staring at the sea from Welsh Islands for the best part of 13 years and this was my first Great, but views that good were worth the wait. This was perhaps surprisingly only the fifth for Skokholm following two on 9th September 1993, one on 9th August 2000 and one on 5th September 2007. Although only Rich saw the Great, we still managed to put a smile on Jenny’s face (and make her dance) with great views of her first Balearic Shearwater this afternoon (the second of the day). Other birds logged included 18220 Manx Shearwater, 215 Gannet, five Shag, 18 Oystercatcher, eight Dunlin, an adult Black-tailed Godwit, three Whimbrel, two Curlew, three Redshank, the Wood Sandpiper, a Turnstone, four Sandwich Tern, 70 Guillemot, 18 Razorbill, 18 Skylark, 18 Swallow, 138 Meadow Pipit, five Robin, 32 Wheatear, seven Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler, a Chiffchaff, 13 Willow Warbler, the first Spotted Flycatcher of the autumn (a bit on the late side compared to recent years, perhaps unsurprisingly given recent rough weather), 23 Chough (there have only been two higher Skok counts, with 26 in September 2007 and 32 in September 1965), seven Starling and a Goldfinch. There were brilliant views to be had of the Wood Sandpiper as it fed at South Pond this evening.

Wood Sandpiper© Richard Brown

25th August: A glorious day saw a small arrival of common migrants to Skokholm, but it was the invertebrates that again took centre stage. The highlight was a European Corn-borer, the first for Skokholm and one of very few Pembrokeshire records; this species breeds in the southeast of the UK, but is perhaps just as likely to occur as an immigrant from the continent. A Western Conifer Seed Bug at the Well was only the fifth to be found here. Birds logged today included 34 Storm Petrel handled last night (four already wearing rings), five Shag, two Grey Heron, a Shoveler, two Common Scoter, a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel, a Merlin (something of an early autumn raptor bonanza), two Water Rail, four Dunlin, a Snipe, five Black-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, six Curlew, a Green Sandpiper, eight Turnstone, a Guillemot, three Sand Martin, 179 Meadow Pipit, two White Wagtail, 16 Robin, 25 Wheatear (including the first Greenland bird of the autumn), a Song Thrush, six Sedge Warbler, three Reed Warbler, five Whitethroat, four Chiffchaff, 16 Willow Warbler, 19 Chough and eight Starling. A Frog near the Red Hut was a fantastically rare daytime sighting.

Moth© Richard Brown

To read all of this months entries to the blog visit the skokholm blog.

Christmas & New Year’s Day at The Glasshouse Café

Mince Pies

Festive Fare amidst the flora & fauna of the Teifi Marshes. 

Enjoy a festive treat amidst the tree tops in The Welsh Wildlife Centre’s Glasshouse Café, tuck in to fabulous home made festive fare while taking the chance to survey the stunning Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve.

The Autumn and Winter months are a very rewarding time to pay us a visit with many species of birds being spotted from high up in the café. Highlights have been Goshawk, Great White Egret, Merlin and the stunning sight of the near silent Barn Owl soaring past the Visitor Centre.

An equally impressive sight at this time of year in the late afternoon or early evening is the Starling murmuration visible from the Café or from the top meadow. The birds swoop and dive in formation overhead before diving down on to the Teifi Marshes below.

Keep an ear tuned for the sound of the wild Red Deer who visit the reserve in the Autumn for the annual rut. These most impressive animals can be seen in the fields along the approach to the Visitor Centre and along the paths that transverse the reserve.

We will be serving our Christmas menu from 25 November through to 20 December with both two & three course options available. Booking is essential as everything is home made here in our kitchen by our talented Chefs.

Our 2017 Christmas Menu

Starters 

Lightly spiced parsnip soup with bread roll [vegan]

Chicken & pistachio terrine

Thai tuna fish cakes with sweet chilli sauce & picked cucumber

Main Courses

Traditional roast Pembrokeshire turkey with all of its seasonal trimmings

Rabbit confit served on a bed of creamed celeriac

Welsh beef daube cooked in a rich Bourguignon style sauce

Roast squash, cranberry & walnut filo parcels served with a spinach veloute [vegan]

Puddings

Sticky date pudding with toffee sauce [vegan]

Traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce

Zesty French style lemon tart

Chocolate & mint cheesecake

Two courses £17.50              Three courses £22.50 

We are fully licenced & can accommodate parties of up to fifty with lunch served between 12pm – 2.30pm.

Many of our dishes are naturally gluten free – please ask at time of booking. To book email m.hodgson@welshwildlife.org or call 01239 621600.

The Visitor Centre closes on 20 December & reopens with a Big All Day Breakfast bang on New Year’s Day at 10am with options for confirmed carnivores, vegans & vegetarians on the menu.

News from Vine House Farm

The Wildlife Trust’s are grateful to have a partnership with Vine House Farm. For every bag of bird feed you buy, up to 5% of the profit goes to the work of The Wildlife Trusts in the UK!. Here’s what they’ve been up to this month…

The star visitors of the month to the farm were two Whinchats. I saw them on July 15th and they stayed for three days. I see a Whinchat about once every three or four years and have never seen two on the farm together. They are a small bird about the same size as a Robin and are related to a Robin. They breed in the North West of England and Scotland; they would be on their way to Africa, south of the Equator, to spend the winter.

Star bird of the area was a Caspian Tern which appeared on the nearly dry gravel pit, in Baston Fen. It stayed for most of a day but was gone the next morning. Annually, only around two Caspian Terns are seen each year in the UK, so no wonder a crowd soon gathered at the gravel pit that Saturday afternoon

The breeding season is now over for most birds, but some pairs of Tree Sparrows will go on until the end of August. Swallows and House Martins will go on into September. They are able to feed their youngsters later than all the other insectivorous birds, because they live on the last stage of the insects life, the flying stage.

The breeding season is ending, because insects have reproduced, the adults die off and by September there aren’t enough insects around for birds to feed on. Their progeny winter as eggs or larvae and they will hatch out or wake up when the correct temperature is reached in the spring. Wood Pigeons will continue to breed as long as they have a source of grain, which they mix with water to make pigeon milk, which is regurgitated to their young.

Who would have thought 20 years ago that there would be Ravens in Deeping Fen? They have been around now for at least two years and are one of a growing band of predators we never used to have 30 years ago. On the farm this summer I have seen Ravens, which must have bred locally, whilst Marsh Harriers and Buzzards have bred on the farm. Kites are seen every day in the sky, so they will have bred locally too. Carrion Crows and Magpies are everywhere and there are plenty of Foxes and Badgers around too.

One of the main reasons this has come about is due to the pheasants that have been reared all over the country for commercial shoots. Apparently 40 million of these half sharp pheasants are released into the countryside every year. They get run over, they get ill and get wounded by shooters which provides all those predators that I mentioned with a surplus of food and any animal or bird that has a surplus of food will increase in numbers.

There is one more species that I haven’t mentioned, the Lesser Black Backed Gull, a very smart looking bird that we are seeing more and more. They have had plenty of food from all the outdoor pigs in Norfolk all through the year and also the afterbirth and dead young Common Seals that are breeding on the out marsh in the Wash. 3,000 pairs have nested on the outer bund in the Wash for the past 20 years and now they have spread inland with 40 pairs nesting at Deeping Lakes this year. They are everywhere and they require food such as carrion, live animals and birds as well, whatever they can grab. With modern agriculture being unfriendly to wildlife, every car being a fly swatter and all these predators about no wonder our farmland birds are declining.

Visit Vine House Farm to order your bird feed today!

Skomer Island Bird Sightings July 2017

Sand Martin - Margaret Holland

As we are all aware, Skomer Island is a wildlife haven, especially for birds. Each month the warden composes a species list of what bird sightings have taken place on the island the previous month. This month’s sightings are as follows:

Common Scoter began passing through from the 4th July, when 160 were seen. Smaller numbers were seen thereafter with 80 on the 22nd July being the peak for the second half of the month.

There were only three sightings of Ketrels with singles on the 16th, 17th and 24th July.

An adult Water Rail was caught on a camera trap on the 22nd and 24th and was the first of the summer/autumn. The Coot that turned up on North Pond at the end of last month was present until the 22nd and two were reported there on the 10th.

There was a Dunlin on the 28th and an adult Ruff on the 26th, both on North Pond. A juvenile Redshank was present on Moorey Mere on the 18th and 19th and further records came on the 22nd and 24th. There were three Common Sandpipers on the 4th and a single on the 14th. The first Turnstone (four) were seen on the 28th.

Arctic Skuas were seen offshore on the 22nd, 26th and 30th. A Mediterranean Gull and a Sandwich Tern were seen in Jack Sound on the 8th. Black-headed Gulls were seen occasionally with 17 on the 6th and seven on the 29th.

Collared Doves were seen on the 5th and the 25th. A juvenile Cuckoo was present around the Farm between the 12th and 26th. Short-eared Owls were still being seen during the first half of the month but were absent from the log during the second half. Swifts were moving through, generally in small numbers but there were 32 on the 17th and eleven on the 18th. A Kingfisher was seen briefly in South Haven on the 17th.

Another unlikely visitor to the island was a Great Spotted Woodpecker which was present in North Valley between the 25th and 29th.

Thirty three Sand Martins passed through east on the 18th and there were two on the 24th and singles on the 17th and 25th. A few Swallows passed through with a maximum of 25 on the 23rd. House Martins were also recorded with singles on the 1st and 2nd and two on the 5th. Single Grey Wagtails were recorded on the 2nd and 9th.

Surprisingly Song Thrushes were recorded on six dates, involving at least two individuals. Blackcaps and Willow Warblers began to appear with max. counts of five and twelve (both on the 25th) respectively.

The largest flock of Chough was 20 over the Neck on the 8th and two chicks from a nest along the north coast fledged early in the month. The Starling flock peaked at 44 on the 16th.

A House Sparrow was seen briefly around the Farm on the 18th.

July was also a great month for mammals with Risso’s Dolphins on the 4th and 8th, Common Dolphins most days and an Otter seen on six dates. Some great sightings that lined up with The Wildlife Trust’s National Marine Week at the beginning of July!

Book an autumn visit to Skomer island this year!

Good Moth Records at Dow Corning’s Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve

Elephant Hawk Moth

In 2015 we wrote about a rare moth (only caught twice in Wales before); Anania perlucidalis, that we found at Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve, the site in Barry that The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales manage on behalf of Dow Corning. Since then we have continued to carry out a range of surveys as well as managing the grassland, woodland and scrub for the benefit of the species present.

Towards the end of July this year we put the moth trap out again despite slightly dubious weather forecast. When we got there in the morning we were pleasantly surprised to find the trap alive with moths of all shapes and sizes – over 340 individuals of 93 different species! These ranged from tiny little micro-moths of only a couple of millimetres long to huge Poplar Hawkmoths, moths disguised as bits of broken twig to bright pink and green Elephant Hawkmoths!

Unsurprisingly given the number of creatures involved, it took us quite a while to sort through the trap, identifying everything we could before releasing them unharmed in the surrounding vegetation (hopefully out of reach of the robins loitering around on the lookout for an easy meal…).

Cadoxton Ponds has a lot of potential for many species, including moths, due to the range of habitats present and its location near the coast which means it is a potential stop-off for migrating animals. As it was, we caught two migrant moth species and over 25 other species that we’d never caught at the site before. 

We didn’t catch anything quite as rare as the moth I wrote about last time but the highlight was definitely a small, unprepossessing-looking species called Monochroa palustrellus which is only the second time that it has been recorded in Glamorgan! Other uncommon species include a Dusky Sallow which is a very smart moth that is scarce in the county and mainly confined to the coast; its caterpillars feeding on various grasses. The other good record was a micromoth called Epiblema foenella whose caterpillars feed on mugwort, which is present in good numbers at Cadoxton Ponds.

We will hopefully (weather permitting…) be running a couple more traps at the reserve in the coming months as well as surveys for other invertebrates and birds amongst other things. If we find anything of note we will let you know! Until then we’ll be managing the grassland to ensure that it doesn’t get completely swamped in brambles as well as preventing the reedbeds from encroaching too far into areas of open water on the site; maintaining a good mosaic of habitats in the reserve is essential to keep it in suitable condition for as many different species as possible.
Dow Corning < Dow Corning Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve

Cadoxton Ponds is 30 acre nature reserve created by Dow Corning on land adjacent to the manufacturing site. The reserve hosts educational visits to support the sustainability curriculum. Further information is available.

Dow Corning Logo

Our first ever Pop-Up Wildlife Garden in Cardiff

Building the pop up garden

Be Inspired to Go Wild!

Did you know that there is more space managed as garden in the UK than all nature reserves put together? Imagine what a difference we could make if everyone did something for wildlife in their gardens. This month The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales reached out to Cardiff residents and encouraged people to garden with wildlife in mind.

The Wildlife Trust’s ‘My Wild Cardiff’ project, funded with the generous support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, is helping people around Cardiff welcome their wildlife neighbours into their gardens.

As part of the My Wild Cardiff project, The Wildlife Trust created a ‘Pop-up’ Wildlife Garden in Cardiff’s largest park; Bute Park. Designed by Shani Lawrence Garden Designs, the garden featured a pond, a living lawn, a green roof and plenty of homes for wildlife. The temporary garden inspired visitors from all parts of the country and gave them ideas as to how they can improve their own gardens for wildlife.

Rose Revera, The Wildlife Trust’s People and Wildlife Officer who is running the My Wild Cardiff project, said “Anything that people can do in their gardens to create more habitat for wildlife in the area will help species such as hedgehogs, bumblebees, butterflies and birds. Creating a network of green areas will strengthen the populations that are seriously struggling, rather than them being confined to a single green area with limited resources. We hope that our pop-up wildlife garden will educate and inspire people to help their wild neighbours.”

The garden was open to visitors from Monday 7th August until Sunday 6th August, next to the Summerhouse Café in Bute Park and attracted approx 1,300 visitors in the two weeks it was there for. some generous people also donated funds to us and we gave away numerous gardening advice leaflets.

During our time at Bute Park we kept a species list of all the wildlife that came to admire our pop up garden. Some of these species included a Hedgehog, a juvenile Robin who visited us consistently over a few days, a Hummingbird Hawk Moth was spotted around the flowers and a whole load of bumblebees, insects and birds also came to visit.

And we’re not done yet! The My Wild Cardiff project will now focus it’s attention on allotments in Cardiff until the 1st September; giving allotment owners a chance to win some wildlife goodies by sending us photos of their bug hotels (images can be sent to r.revera@welshwildlife.org by Monday 1st September). Click here for more info.

After this we will be moving on to My Wild School – we are running a FREE teacher training day for teachers, teaching assistants and trainees, in conjunction with Cardiff Council Community Rangers and the RSPB on Monday 16th October. More information can be found here. Book with Rose on email or phone 01656 724100.

Bats at Parc Slip

Bats

Most bat species in the UK evolved to live in trees and caves, but as habitat loss has reduced these natural roosting sites, many bats have now adapted to roost in man-made structures. Bats can be found roosting in buildings including houses, outbuildings, mine shafts, tunnels, bridges and churches.

Man-made roosts can provide the stable conditions that bats need. Most bat species are now known to use buildings, but they use them in different ways, for example crevice-dwelling bats include the pipistrelle species, whilst serotine and Daubenton’s bat use the roof space to roost and may be visible on the timbers. Artificial roosts are now essential in the survival of many bat species.

Unfortunately with this dependence on man-made structures comes a vulnerability to the activities of humans. If bats are disturbed during hibernation or when they are rearing their young, the local population can be hugely impacted. Demolition, renovations, artificial lighting, and chemical treatment of building materials can all have a detrimental impact on bats. Many buildings are now very well insulated and don’t have spaces for bats to roost anymore, and as bats are unable to create their own entrance holes, they cannot roost in these buildings.

At Parc Slip nature reserve we have a pipistrelle bat roost in our office roof. This month, we did an emergence survey and counted the bats as they came out to feed for the night. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that we had 260 bats using the roost! We are pleased to be roost owners and it is a comfort to know that this bat population will be protected.

All bats and their roosts are protected by law and any structures which bats use for shelter are protected from damage or destruction whether occupied or not. It is the law that you must seek advice from your Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO) before doing any works on structures where you think bats may be.