Tentatively we included two walks in the latest members’ newsletter. The first was on Sunday the 16th of May and with Covid-19 restrictions eased, fourteen members gathered, desperate to get out and enjoy searching for wildlife together. This, first since the autumn, exploration was to Coed y Cefn, otherwise known as the prysg, just west of Rhayader town.
The principal focus of this morning meeting was to help members learn some bird songs and calls. Fortunately it was a very fine and calm morning when we met at 09.00hrs and made our way into the mixed woodland. At one point we were able to hear the songs of both Pied Flycatcher and Redstart very close at hand. The rather unmusical but pleasing Pied Flycatcher ditty contrasting with the distinctive coursness of the Redstart. Other singers included Song Thrush, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest.
It is a shame that the current need for social distancing makes it impossible to gather round closely. Sightings such as the Scalloped Hazel moth that fluttered across our path and the spectacularly coloured Dor Beetle that lumbering along in defiance of the attentions of a myriad of Wood Ants, were passed back as Chinese Whispers. It may be that the last in our throng were passed identifications quite new to science – a Spelloped Hastle and a Bore Peetle perhaps !! Sorry about that – hopefully by the next meeting things will be easier.
Check out your latest Members’ Newsletter in readiness for the next exploration on Saturday the 12th of June – An Introduction to the Wildlife of Rhos Pastures.
All further scheduled Rhayader By Nature events this summer and autumn have been cancelled due to the uncertainties and risks created by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Future events will be confirmed on the website.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus covid-19 restrictions, Rhayader By Nature’s nightjar evening on Monday, 15th June has been cancelled. Please continue to check our website over any changes to events planned later in the summer.
Many years ago a well known children’s television programme ran an investigation into the UK distribution of the common and widespread Brown-lipped Banded Snail Cepaea nemoralis. Children across the country were asked to search their local area and report their findings. The aim was to map the various colour types – some are a plain bright yellow, some are yellow with bold dark-brown bands (the colour most frequently illustrated in books), others are of a plain pinky-orange, some having a single band, while others are of a dull greenish yellow. Whatever the colour they nearly always have the dark-brown lip at the mouth of the shell that gives then their name.
Most gardens in the Rhayader district have this snail and evidence of their presence can be found most easily where Song Thrushes use a stone or other hard surface as an anvil to break them open.
Yesterday, to further the study of my childhood, I searched our garden and collected snail shells from all the Song Thrush anvils I could find. From my collection (see photo below) it is clear that the commonest colour variety the thrushes find is the plain pinky-orange type, there being only five of the orange single-banded form and three of the plain yellow form (righthand portion of photo) among the c.40 shells found. The question now is – does this reflect the relative proportions of the colour varieties in our garden or does it reflect those that are most easily found by the Song Thrushes ?
We would like to hear about the Brown-lipped Banded Snails in your garden – please, make a search and report your findings to Rhayader by Nature via the ‘Contact’ tab on this web site. Thank you.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus covid-19 restrictions, the following Rhayader By Nature events have been cancelled: the morning bird song event on Saturday, 25th April and the trip to Newport Wetlands on Saturday, 9th May. Please continue to check our website over any changes to events planned later in the summer.
Due to the rapidly developing situation regarding coronavirus Covid-19, the talk planned for this Thursday evening (19th March) by Phil Ward will be postponed to next winter’s programme of talks and we are sorry for any disappointment caused. For further information about Rhayader by Nature events, please continue to visit our website or send an email to email@example.com .
Rhayader by Nature are delighted to present a talk by local entomologist Phil “The Bugman” Ward at 7.30pm on Thursday, 19th March about the wonderful and amazing world of beetles, bugs and other invertebrates. This will be the last of this winter’s talks held by Rhayader By Nature and promises to be highly entertaining and informative; all ages will enjoy Phil’s enthusiasm for the easily overlooked mini-beasts in our countryside and gardens! The talk will take place at the Cwmdauddwr Community Centre (the Old School), Cwmdauddwr, Rhayader. Tickets are £2/adult, children are free.
Rhayader by Nature thoroughly enjoyed an industrious talk on Thursday, 13th February. It was as good as any talk so far in this year’s winter programme, although not one solely on nature conservation. Field Officer for the People’s Collection Wales, Gruffydd Jones explained the digital archiving involved with the project for communities throughout Wales, showing the audience by way of example archived pictures from the past of life here in Rhayader. Alan Samuel was responsible for a number of contributions, someone who the whole hall knew summed up by the unified “yes” when Gruffydd asked who he was! The most encouraging part however were the inquiries made by members after the talk, with one lady showing Gruffydd pictures from former days. Clearly, the talk meant a lot personally to many members of the audience.
Local natural history group Rhayader by Nature are delighted to present a talk by Gruffydd Jones, Field Officer with the People’s Collection Wales at 7.30pm on Thursday, 13th February regarding the organisation’s vital work to digitally preserve the stories and memories of communities throughout Wales. This will be a great opportunity for those interested in Rhayader’s local history to find out more about an exciting and innovative project to preserve and celebrate stories about our area, its people and environment for later generations. The talk will be of interest to anyone with an interest in our community’s history, countryside and wildlife and will take place at the Cwmdauddwr Community Centre (the Old School), Cwmdauddwr, Rhayader. Tickets are £2/adult, children are free.
The first Rhayader by Nature event of 2020 took place on Thursday, 16th January with a bang, or rather a lek! The talk was given by the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s Black Grouse Recovery Project Officer, Silvia Cojocaru. Unsurprisingly the focus was on Black Grouse, which were once widespread in our catchment area as well as in every British county. Even a gentleman in the audience reminisced about the time when a forestry nursery at Staylittle closed due to the Black Grouse’s pestilent eating!
Silvia’s enthusiasm for this long–term project was welcoming to see, with a clear idea into how we should bring this long-lost bird back in the most effective way possible. She did however explain the large amount of work needed just to make the habitat suitable before any birds are released. Nevertheless, it was a great evening with a big turnout, with over 50 people attending.