Since the end of beginning of spring, Pembrokeshire reserves have been rested from the winter mayhem of contractors undertaking large scale habitat works and volunteers running wild with bowsaws, loppers and bonfires! Things begin to quieten down and the breeding season gets well underway.
The focus now shifts more to maintenance work of reserve infrastructure such as fences, footpaths and bird hides, the control of native and non-native invasive species such as bracken and Himalayan balsam and general species survey work.
At Teifi Marshes, work has just started on installing a new boardwalk that replaces part of an old one on the Wetland Trail that is in a state of disrepair. This project is being funded by the Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ fund and Natural Resources Wales. This is being erected by contractors and due for completion come the end of August. Further work on installing a new boardwalk at Llangloffan Fen will also take place this summer, again funded by Natural Resources Wales. Maintenance work on footpaths on other reserves is undertaken by volunteers on a weekly basis and mainly involves clearing encroaching scrub and repairing steps and gates.
Most reserves in Pembrokeshire are lucky not to suffer to greatly from non-native invasive species with only Teifi Marshes and Pembroke Upper Mill Pond the real victims. Work continues at these sites to pull stands of Himalayan balsam wherever found and treat areas of Japanese knotweed, another species quickly expanding its range in the wider countryside.
Species survey and monitoring work occurs on all reserves throughout the year and varies from site to site, season to season and species to species. More work takes place during summer months as this is when most of our wildlife comes alive and when more people are keen to experience the biodiversity in their locality. The list of surveys includes CES bird ringing at Teifi Marshes, bat surveys at Pengelli Forest, reptile surveys at Llangloffan Fen, otter and small mammal surveys at Pembroke Upper Mill Pond, butterfly surveys at West Williamston and plant/flower surveys on Dowrog Common. These are just a few.
Summertime is also an exciting time for a land manager as it also allows outcomes of habitats work undertaken during winter months to show themselves. The open water creation and enhancement projects on Dowrog Common, Pembroke Upper Mill Pond, Llangloffan Fen and Teifi Marshes have certainly proved themselves well with species such as frogs, toads, dragon and damselflies, wetland birds and aquatic plants being well recorded.
Wildlife Trust Officer, Pembrokeshire