As we approach the end of the first year of the Mid Wales Red Squirrel Partnership (MWRSP) Healthy Reds project, our plans have had to adapt to global events.
Lockdown has interfered with much of our planned volunteer and survey work, and many of the summer shows, which are one of the main ways in which we are able to engage with people, have not gone ahead.
However, we have been very lucky to get out on a few occasions to continue our important monitoring work. Squirrels in Clywedog have continued to show up wonderfully at our camera traps, and we have been conducting some camera trap surveys in Cwm Berwyn, near Tregaron.
This was prompted by a few sightings made by forestry workers in spring this year. As we could not bring volunteers along as we would normally, we filmed our visits as small video diaries, which you can see here:
We have so far confirmed red squirrels in two new locations on five occasions in a two-week period at the start of June and no grey squirrels were seen. Wood warblers were singing on both visits, and we also recorded roe deer, redstarts and three species of thrush.
We recently loaned 20 cameras to Huw Denman, a regular face in the MWRSP and manager of Bryn Arau Duon woods. He has deployed these in Bryn Arau Duon and we are hoping we will have more records coming in from there too. We are also pleased to discover that Pine Martens have bred in one of our “red squirrel nest boxes” in the woods near Strata Florida, above Pontrhydfendigaid.
While these aren’t quite the mammals we put the box up for, but we are pleased nonetheless to play a small part in the recovery of pine martens in mid Wales.