Saturday, May 21, 2011

Footprints in the sands of Time

Just published ... A new book about one of our most famous members

Colonel Harry Morrey Salmon is fondly remembered as one of our most illustrious former members, however many of us are now too young or recent a member to know him (including me which is a situation I regret because he seems to have been a truly inspirational figure)

As the book flyer says, he was Hailed as "Welsh Ornithologist of the century" and "Father of British Bird Photography". He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in 1971

We are therefore very happy to be able to promote a new book that has been published by members of his Family

You can download a flyer with full details of the book and how to order a copy by clicking here

He was treasurer of the National Museum of Wales which is an organization that the society has always had close links with and they now house his photographic collections

Having just read his obituary which can be found online here and a number of other on-line references to his illustrious military career (in both world wars) I can say that I will be getting a copy and hope to be able to bring you a review fairly soon


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Corals Caves and Caterpillars

And a few flowers of course

The trip on Sunday 16th May was a great success with a keen bunch of members, and some new fiends who will hopefully become members taking to the hills above Penwyllt in the Swansea valley. The walk was to take place in the Ogof Fynnon Ddu Nature reserve which was the first national nature reserve in the UK to be defined specifically because of it's caves. It does however contain a lot more than that as we were to see

After a brief introduction to the geology we headed up the tramway to the limestone pavement which was to be the feature of the day botanically.

Arriving there it was plain to see the difference botanically between the sheep grazed are outside the fencing, and the  area inside that was flourishing

But before we focused on that there was at least a moment to admire the superb corals in the limestone such as this colony which was nearly half a meter across

There were a number of plants we had come to see, but probably the most noteworthy for the site was the Hairly Greenweed (Genista pilosa)  which the society were asked to see whether it was still present on our last formal trip up some 15 years ago. Just as then we were able to find it and can report that there are a few patches so it looks healthy

As well as the plants we were able to find quite a few moth caterpillars, sunning themselves on the rocks. I believe this is some form of eggar Caterpillar and they were very common on the pavement   

We retreated from the top of the hill for our lunch because of some slight rain and took shelter in the entrance of Ogof Fynnon ddu which is the deepest ave in the UK when measured top to bottom .

As we were not fully equipped we were only able to shelter just inside the entrance and admire the scale of the passages

After this we descended to the old Silica brick works via the tram road and admired what man can achieve and how much of the landscape is not natural. Since returning home I have purchased the excellent Penwyllt book by Peter Burgess  which means I know a lot more about the site now and I should clearly have read it before I started

Oh well.. maybe next time


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Unusual Bird Feeding Pictures

Isn't the Internet wonderful !

In terms of Wildlife photographers there are many excellent practitioners out there.  I have recently been entertained by 2 excellent photographers on the Olympus UK e-Group forum who have posted fascinating pictures of bird feeding behaviour

with many thanks to Peter and Peter I would like to ask if there is anyone who can comment on how usual or otherwise the following feeding behaviours are.

The first is from Peter Drury who is based in Portsmouth and posts wonderful wildlife pictures in his on-line gallery

The selection in question was entitled  Duck! There's a flying crab!  and can be seen in the e-group in detail where Peter explains how the Mallard picked the crab up and refused to give it away despite being mobbed by the Black Headed Gull.

As Peter says "The normal food of a Mallard is small aquatic invertebrates, seeds, roots, shoots and grain. A crab hardly falls into any of these categories.Comments welcome as always"

The second fascinating picture I have seen recently was from "PeterBirder" from Braintree in Essex who also posts excellent wildlife pictures in his on-line gallery

Peter posted a fascinating series of pictures showing a male Blackbird trying to feed a whole mouse to his offspring

Once again the full thread of pictures can be seen on the Olympus e-group

This Peter commented that "My take on all this is that the adult is inexperienced and possibly a "single dad" as we haven't seen the female or the third youngster that were around last week. I suspect that the mouse was killed by one of the local cats and "dad" saw this as an opportunity as worms are in short supply as "Andym" has suggested. I think that during the day one of the larger local birds, possibly the Sparrowhawk has taken the mouse".

Once again he would love to hear from anyone who has any experience of such behavior - please feel free to leave a comment here and we will pass it on to them

Their pictures and comments are re-posted here with their very kind permission permission and they retain full copyright over both
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