Wetland creation, winter birds and more at Parc Slip

Friends of Parc Slip with the start of the dead hedge

Friends of Parc Slip with the start of the dead hedge

Winter is upon us, but we’re as busy as ever at Parc Slip!

It’s full steam ahead with habitat improvement on the Nature Reserve. In the lapwing field, staff and volunteers are working hard to remove the scrub that is encroaching on the lapwing breeding habitat. The wood material that is removed is being used to create a dead hedge running along side the fence, which will act as an extra long habitat pile providing shelter for birds, invertebrates, small mammals and amphibians.

The Brynna Highland Cows

The Brynna Highland Cows

Lapwing are a ground nesting bird that favour short turf and pot holes for breeding. With this in mind, we are hoping to graze the lapwing field over the next few months with Highland cattle. Highland cattle have been busy grazing the marsh at nearby Nature Reserve Brynna Woods over the summer and have done a fantastic job. We hope that they will be equally successful at Parc Slip, reducing sward height, creating nesting holes and increasing invertebrate food for the chicks with their manure! The cattle will be removed before the onset of lapwing breeding season.

Our most exciting news to report is the start of the digging of a new series of wetland scrapes on the Western side of Parc Slip. This field was previously sheep grazed rush and grass pasture, of very little benefit to wildlife. The new scrapes will be of varying depths and sizes and will be fantastic new habitat for birds, invertebrates, mammals and reptiles and amphibians, including European protected great crested newt.

Bittern Mike Clark

The Parc Slip Bittern Mike Clark

The winter bird list is looking very healthy so far, with regular sightings of our friendly water rail on the Visitor Centre pond, lots of birds visiting the feeders at the Centre and reports of a bittern at the Wader Scrape. You can view the bird list here at the Visitor Centre. Cardiff University placement student Lorna has begun her bird studies in the arable field to establish what species are visiting and which plants are being used the most as a food source. Join us on one of our Winter Bird Walks for a chance to spot the huge flocks of finches visiting the arable field and maybe even the bittern!

One of the freshly dug scrapes

One of the freshly dug scrapes

On the 5th of December, we were joined by TV Presenter Iolo Williams here at Parc Slip for a sold out evening. Iolo presented a fascinating and funny account of his life and career in wildlife to our lucky audience and we raised a substantial amount of money to support the work of the Wildlife Trust. Huge thanks go to Iolo for spending his evening with us.

Our events list for January to March is now online with many activities to get you out and about to beat the winter blues- it can be found here. We hope to see you at some of the events in the New Year.

Lastly, please note that the Parc Slip Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre and Coffee Shop will be closed from end of business on Sunday 22ndDecember until Tuesday 7th Jan except for a Winter Wildlife Walk on Saturday 28th December.