Sun, rain, snow, sleet, hail, thunder, lightning in Ceredigion

On the last work day of the year we experienced all sorts of weather (sun, rain, snow, sleet, hail, thunder, lightning) at Cors Ian where I decided to avoid the elevated water levels in the bog and instead cut back some more of the burnt gorse on the hillside. In some places it is showing good signs of regrowth- we are not trying to eradicate it as it provides some shelter for the grazing and wild animals that use the site and good nesting sites for birds. Before it was burnt we were opening up a few holes in it to stagger the age of the gorse and prevent it spreading too much and the grass beneath dying out. Since the burn we are cutting back the worst affected areas instead

Rhos Pil Bach Ponds -  Em Foot

Rhos Pil Bach Ponds - Em Foot

In the week before Christmas we managed to get a digger onto (and off of) Rhos Pil Bach to dig three new ponds as part of a project run by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. The new ponds were dug around the edge of one of the meadows in the scrubbed over areas (not in the rhos pasture itself). Although looking a bit new and stark at the moment they are already full of water and plants will soon grow back around them and hopefully we’ll have frogspawn in them very soon. While the digger was on site it also dredged half of an existing pond to prolong its life. On the south site of a fifth pond we cleared some trees to allow more light in and created a basking bank for the adders and other reptiles found on the site. The volunteers spent a very wet day tidying up the felled trees into log and brash piles and clearing some scrub from the surrounding area.

Rhos Fullbrook Ditches Em Foot

Rhos Fullbrook Ditches Em Foot

A team from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) worked at Rhos Fullbrook to improve the water vole habitat by putting in some new dams along the ditches to create more pools and raise the water level slightly in places. They also cut down some of the trees that were shading the ditches. We’ll be going there later in the month to remove some of the brambles that are also clogging up the ditches. Some of the recycled plastic dams (chosen to last longer than the wooden ones previously installed) are pretty obvious at the moment and look quite out of place but it won’t be long before they are hidden by vegetation and barely visible. A couple of them are pretty hard to spot already!

2014 started with two days of woodland thinning in Coed Maidie B Goddard and Pant Da, luckily the wind had died down but we did get a bit wet. Coed Maidie is fairly young woodland of mostly willow and ash that is very dense with lots of dead wood. The thinning is allowing light in and hopefully giving some of the remaining trees a better chance. Pant Da is a bit older with larger trees and here we are thinning some of the birch trees which are generally taller than, and therefore shading out, the developing oaks.

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 e.foot@welshwildlife.org or to find out more about Ceredigion reserves visit: https://welshwildlife.org/locations/ceredigion/