Swift Awareness Week stall and walk Saturday 23rd June

June 19, 2018

This week is Swift Awareness Week and on Saturday 23 June Rhayader by Nature will have a Swift table outside The Arches in East Street (opposite the Spar) from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.  There will be Swift nesting boxes to see and handle and information about Swifts to take away.  A lot can be done to help our Swifts find safe nesting places and by acting together we can ensure they will always have a place in our town.

In the evening, 7.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m., there will be an escorted short walk from Rhayader’s town clock to St Bride’s Church and back to see Swifts and view the places favoured by them for nesting.  Swifts arrive in Rhayader during early May and depart for Africa during July  –  all are usually gone by the first week of August.  While with us they favour the roof spaces of buildings for nesting and spend our autumn, winter and early spring months in Africa.

Swifts add great atmosphere to a summer evening in Rhayader town with their group flights low over the buildings and high pitched whistling calls. They have been nesting in Rhayader for a few hundred years at least and the town just wouldn’t be the same without them.

See you on Saturday.


Pine Marten talk of 15 March

March 19, 2018

This was a super talk by David Bavin of the Vincent Wildlife Trust.  David showed some never to be forgotten photographs and video of this very elusive animal.  He covered the whole story of the 51 adults that have been released in mid Wales over recent years, and brought us up to date with what is known of their movements and current distribution.  Some have wandered considerable distances.  Some have now reared young in the wild.

Thank you David for a fabulous and inspiring talk.

Pine Marten Update – a talk next Thursday 15 March

March 10, 2018

It is two years since David Bavin of the Vincent Wildlife Trust last came to give us an update on this project to repopulate mid Wales with Pine Martens. Next Thursday he returns with some new and exciting news. His illustrated talk will be at the Community Arts Rhayader and District (CARAD) theatre on Thursday 15th March at 7.30 p.m. Entry £2, under 16s free. Everyone welcome.

Since the initial release of Pine Martens nr Cwmystwyth a few years ago some have moved away from the release area and some are now breeding in the wild. There are likely to be individuals close to Rhayader town and David’s update talk provides the latest news and tips on how to detect the presence of Pine Martens.

Tree diseases talk Feb 15th 2018

February 27, 2018

A talk by Andy Wright of Natural Resources Wales

The talk at CARAD on Thursday 15th went very well indeed.  It was rather depressing as expected.   Andy covered the principal diseases of trees in the UK and one or two that may well reach the UK in due course.  Ash dieback in particular is expected to considerably change the look of Rhayader’s surrounding countryside over the next 20 years as the disease continues to widen its grip.  Many of those present at the talk had witnesses the loss of elm trees in the 1960s and 70s and all present were shocked at the thought of now losing all our ash trees.  During question time the subject was broaden out to atmospheric/environmental pollution and damage, and the resultant weakness and stress seen in many (all) plants and animals including ourselves.  There was plenty of food for thought as it is a worldwide issue, but little we can do about it as individuals – he suggested that we buy local, avoid buying imported plants, avoid buying materials that are imported in timber crates and pallets (e.g, Spanish slates), don’t buy trees/hedging plants that are grown abroad, don’t buy any cheap trees of unknown or suspect provenance, and thoroughly wash off mud from footwear between visits to woodlands and the countryside (ideally disinfecting them with special chemicals as their forestry staff routinely do).

Tree diseases talk

February 13, 2018

This coming Thursday we have Andy Wright from Natural Resources Wales giving a talk about the threat to our trees from disease. Our ash trees are dying and our larches and oaks are now also threatened by disease.

Andy will inform us of just how serious this threat is, how to identify the early signs of disease, whether anything can be done to help prevent the diseases from spreading, and how different the countryside may look in 25 years time.

Venue : CARAD (Community Arts Rhayader and District), East Street, Rhayader, Powys
Date : Thursday 15 February 2018
Start : 7.30 p.m.
Entry £2, under 16s free


January 22, 2018

There was a super talk at CARAD by David James and Vic Pardoe last Thursday entitled ‘Images Of Archaeological Sites Around Rhayader’.  Fantastic projected photographs of many Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman sites were shown followed by some of the more recent signs of Man’s activities, including aerial shots of the Elan Valley Dams.  Fifty people attended.

A big thank you goes to David, Vic, the fantastic audience and the volunteers that made this such a successful event.

Away Day to Slimbridge

December 8, 2017

On Saturday 2nd December we gathered at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve at Slimbridge near Gloucester.  We were there principally to see the wild wildfowl that gathers there.  However, the collection of pinioned ducks, geese ands swans provided an opportunity to see up close their stunning plumages.  The huge variety of species present in the collection shows well the great diversity that is to be found in these bird families throughout the world.

We visited most of the observation hides that overlook the surrounding pools and flooded fields, and the salt-marshes of the Severn estuary that when combined, form an extensive sanctuary area.  Here hundreds of wild birds of many species gather, many having flown from their breeding grounds in Arctic Russian to spend the winter, or are stopping off on their migration to places further west and south.  Most well known are the Bewick’s Swans that arrive during November and December to spend the winter at Slimbridge.

During the day we had some fantastic sights and in perfect light conditions, with low, raking winter sunlight highlighting the not often seen subtle variations of plumage colour, especially among the waders and ducks.  Lapwings showed strong metallic, sheens of mixed greens, bronze and purple.  Pintail drakes their rich chocolate browns, wigeon their soft oranges, yellows, pinks and greys.

Birds seen included:  25+ Bewick’s Swans, 16 White-fronted Geese, 400+ Greylag Geese, 250 Barnacle Geese, 1 Red-breasted Goose (with the Barnacle Geese), 25+ Shelduck, 300+ Wigeon, 200+ Teal, 30+ Pintail, 10+ Shoveler, Pochard and Tufted Ducks, 7 Common Cranes, 3 Water Rails, a Little Stint (very close to), 1000+ Lapwings, 20+ Golden plover, 20+ Black-tailed Godwits, 350+ Dunlin and 5+ Snipe.

It was a much enjoyed day out, the fine weather making it especially good.