A Taf Fechan Treasure Map

This is my treasure map (not to scale). Granted it doesn’t lead to pieces of eight or buried treasure but a treasure map (not to scale) it is anyway.

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Taf Fechan treasure map

 

This is a map (not to scale) that I made to help remind me where our reptile sheets were placed on a seemingly uniform slope of bracken often taller than I am, without any obvious landmarks they had the habit of disappearing at the most inopportune moments causing much confusion.

Common lizard (Female) – easy way to remember its “spotty man” (as in Super Ted) and stripy means a girl.

Common lizard (Female) – easy way to remember it’s “spotty man” (as in Super Ted) and stripy means a girl.

The map (not to scale) started as just a simple aid memoir but with most amateur cartographers I think I got scared of all that blankness and kind of filled it in with other helpful information to the would be surveyor. So why do I think it’s a treasure map (not to scale)? Because of what happens when you lift that sheet, the expectation, the unknowing maybe is the best way to describe it, that is resolved with the simple action of lifting a piece of roofing felt.

This map (not to scale) has led me to Wood mice running over my feet, to 43 Slow Worms on a single survey, to Toads pretending they don’t exist “you ain’t seen me right!”, to watching a Common Shrews nose (which if you haven’t witnessed is one of nature’s true wonders) and many other things besides.

Of course this treasure map (not to scale) is now out of date as we have installed another hibernaculum since its drawing and are planning a third to go in soon. A hibernaculum is kind of a reptile hotel build to give reptiles and amphibians a place to hibernate overwinter the making of which involves putting huge amounts of effort into digging a big hole then immediately filling it in again but in a highly specialised way, I find this is true with most holes dug for conservation purposes (this is also true for piling stuff but that’s another story).

Slow worm (female) again a stripe down the back and dark sides means a girl, males are (usually) plain brown

Slow worm (female) again a stripe down the back and dark sides means a girl, males are (usually) plain brown

The hope is that I will see the effect of building these hibernacula in my surveys over the next few years. (And yes, stepping on snails IS the worst sound in the world, it’s horrible)

Graham Watkeys Taf Fechan Warden