Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rhos Pasture - Sun 3 Aug

The next Cardiff Naturalists Society field trip is to the rhos pastures near Brynna on Sun 3 Aug. It will be a day trip starting at 10.30am, so bring a packed lunch.

The trip will be led by Gill Barter of the Countryside Council for Wales. Among the distinctive flora and fauna to be seen on this distinctive purple moor-grass and rush pasture land are whorled caraway and bog bush cricket.

A late summer visit coincides with when the grazing cows are in the lower fields, allowing better access to the species-rich pastureland.
There is limited parking, so car sharing is recommended.
The entrance is at SS 970834. On a narrow lane going north from Pencoed, it is the last gate on the left before a hump back bridge over an old railway line. There is a footpath sign at the entrance.
From B4280, on the northern edge of Pencoed, take the minor road signposted for Rhiwceiliog. Follow this lane, ignoring turnings, and take care on blind bends. After 1km you will see a field entrance on the left with a footpath sign, at grid ref SS 970834 and this is where we will meet. If you cross a hump back bridge over a disused railway line you will have gone too far so turn round - in the driveway entrance you will see on your right - and come back.
I assume people will have maps but if you think directions from the M4 are also needed, these are as follows.  From junction 35 of the M4 take the A473 northwards towards Llanharen. Go straight over two roundabouts (the second one is by the entrance to Pencoed college) and turn left at the third. You are then on the B4280 heading West, and the minor road signposted to Rhiwceiliog (mentioned above) is the first turning on the right.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

National Hedgehog Survey

Cardiff Naturalists Society have been asked if any of its members have records of hedgehog activity that they could submit to the National Hedgehog Survey.
Dan Foreman of the Swansea Ecology Research Team has forwarded a National Hedgehog Survey volunteer pack in pdf format. If you would like a copy forwarded to you, please contact Stephen Nottingham or Lucy Fay
Further information about the National Hedgehog Survey can be found here:
Dan is also asking for submissions of any mammal records for the ongoing Mammal Society Mammal Atlas Project. Information about this can be found on the Mammal Atlas Project website:

Friday, July 11, 2014

PARC SLIP - 5th JULY 2014

                Eleven members and friends assembled by the Parc Slip Visitor Centre for a tour of this Wildlife Trust Reserve in glorious sunshine after early morning rain. We were fortunate to be accompanied by Margaret and John Samuel who know the site intimately and to benefit also from the expertise of Rob Parry, the Conservation Manager. Serenaded by birdsong from skylarks, wrens, dunnocks, blackcaps and other warblers we made our way to the Northern Wetlands hide. Little grebes were feeding their chicks and a family of Canada geese swam over hoping for hand-outs.

                As we toured the Reserve, Margaret and John counted butterflies along their regular transect. Ringlets were amazingly plentiful with a total tally of 176, meadow browns were also widespread with 51. There were smaller numbers of large and small skippers and whites plus several other species including comma and small tortoiseshell. It was a pleasure to see so many insects on the wing, taking advantage of the flowery banks. Only a few moths were noted but we were delighted to see single broad-bodied chaser, southern hawker, common darter and golden ringed dragonflies.
                We admired the new hide and extensive scrape it overlooks, but failed to locate the little ringed plover family which had been raised there. En route, a common lizard posed beside the path long enough for all to enjoy. We followed the path beside the stream with its many little waterfalls and returned to the car park via the cycle path, passing the monument to the many lives lost in a mining disaster at the former colliery.
                A reduced party stayed to enjoy their picnic lunches beside the Centre pools where damselflies and a moorhen family were in evidence. Although the Centre cafĂ© was closed for repairs, we were grateful for the use of the toilets. 
                A circuit of the eastern part followed. Colourful patches of blue meadow cranesbill and pink everlasting pea delighted the eye, but we helped John pull up Himalayan balsam plants to reduce the spread of this invasive alien. Bruce has an eye for galls of various sorts and during the day drew our attention to the strange pink tongues of a fungus, Taphrina alni sprouting from alder cones while the leaf ribs were pimpled by green galls of Eriophyes inangulis caused by a mite.
Taphrina alni
                We left Margaret and John to complete their butterfly count, returning to our cars highly impressed by the diversity and profusion of wildlife on the Reserve.
                                                                                                                                                Linda Nottage
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