Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Seed Scattering on the new wetland with Friends of Parc Slip

The meeting of the Friends of Parc Slip on Saturday 22nd March involved some large scale gardening! The new wetland at Parc Slip is looking fresh and raw following its excavation, so we were out scattering seeds to help the wild flowers to move in. 

The Friends of Parc Slip gang
We were concentrating on seeding the large bunds which surround the wetland- these were formed from the material that was removed when digging the scrapes and will serve to screen the wetland from people walking to the hide to avoid startling the wild residents.  

Working on one of the bunds
The wildflower mix includes some grasses, such as yorkshire fog and wildflowers such as bedstraws, which are sourced from an environmentally friendly company that grows its seed crops in England. Additionally, we were adding kidney vetch seeds to the south facing slope of the bunds, a plant which is fantastic for butterflies, particularly the small blue which has been scarce on the reserve for the last few years. 

Margaret planting kidney vetch seeds
Small blue butterflies, MJ Clark

The work was very muddy and a few people got very close to losing their wellies (see photo below!), but we had a great morning! Anyone is welcome to join us for the Friends of Parc Slip monthly meetings- give Rose an email or ring 01656 724100 to be added to the mailing list.

Rudi stuck in the mud! 
If you would like to donate towards the new elevated bird hide, you can download a donation form from this page and return it to 
Parc Slip Elevated Bird Hide Fund, Freepost RRJG-XCUZ ZUHU, The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Nature Centre, Fountain Road, Tondu, Bridgend CF32 0EH or ring alternatively, give us a ring in the office on 01656 724100. 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Patchwork Challenge and other bird news at Parc Slip; A Guest Blog from Paul Parsons

This year I decided to do a Patchwork year list, joining a few of my birding friends in signing up for the challenge at this webpage. The idea of the Patchwork challenge is to go out birding in your local patch, with an element of competition! 

Robin (Paul Parsons)
Whilst my friends all chose coastal areas to maximise numbers, I decided on Parc Slip due to it's close proximity to my home in Maesteg and the lure of the new wader scrapes and hide.

New wader scrapes at Parc Slip (Paul Parsons)

I have set a target of 100 species for the year, hopefully with the bonus of a rarity or two along the way. The challenge allows for a 3KM square area, so my mapped patch includes some areas just outside the reserve in the form of Bedford Park and Craig yr Aber.

January was a very wet month but most of the common birds were seen along with Kingfisher, Cormorant, Treecreeper, Water Rail, Red Kite and Bittern. There were flocks of 30+ Teal, 25+ Lesser Redpoll, 16 Goldfinch and 30+ Siskin and I ended up with 43 species by the end of the month.

Lesser Redpoll (Paul Parsons)
February started off very wet too and highlights were Crossbill, Great Black Back Gull and Cetti's Warbler. My first returning Lapwing was seen on 10th and a singing Skylark marked the end of the wettest winter on record on the 16th. A flyover Stock Dove on the 25th brought my list up to 55.

March started with a crisp frost on the 1st and Peregrine Falcon and Tufted duck were new additions to the list. I missed a pair of Mute Swans that were seen on the 5th but were chased off by Canada Geese. A flock of 11 Bullfinch were seen on the 6th along with my first moth of the year, a Hebrew Character on the Visitor Centre door. 

Bullfinch eating Hawthorn buds (Paul Parsons)

The new hide was under construction on the 7th and the sun brought out Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, spring had sprung!

On the 8th a female Goshawk drifted over the North wetland but was mobbed and chased by a Peregrine before I could get my camera out. Lapwing numbers were up to 16. Chiffchaffs were new in on the 11th and a flyover Kestrel took my list to 60 on the 13th. 

Green Woodpecker (Paul Parsons)
This week I have seen nothing new, although Woodcocks have been seen by two other birders.
Migration is under way and the next few weeks could turn up something good and hopefully, Sand Martins will return to the reserve this year.

Paul Parsons

Would you like to write a guest blog for the Parc Slip Blog? Contact Rose with your idea. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

Music for Wildlife!

On Friday 28th February, we were privileged to be joined at Parc Slip by local music teachers Angharad Edwards and Thomas Morgan and their students for an evening of music in aid of the Wildlife Trust.

Angharad, Thomas and students- thank you all! (Liz Gordan, Mad Apple Designs)
We were treated to a wonderful array of harp and piano music, from Bach and Purcell to Saint-Saens  and Ravel, from the very talented students, Angharad and Thomas.

The concert was very generously held in aid of the Wildlife Trust and from ticket sales and a raffle, Angharad and her students raised over £250 for the Wildlife Trust! 

Here at Parc Slip, with help from NRW, we have recently created a new series of ponds and wader scrapes which cover 3ha of formally improved agricultural fields. The new scrapes will benefit a host of wetland species; particularly Parc Slip's breeding Lapwing population as well as other waders and wildfowl. 

Artists Impression of new wetland at Parc Slip

To increase visitor enjoyment and give the best view of the new wetland, we are currently in the process of building a new elevated bird hide, which will stand 3m high and give a fantastic view of the wildlife that will be moving in. The new bird hide is not cheap (£20,000!) and we are hoping that anyone who hopes to use the hide will consider donating towards the costs of building and maintenance. 

A taster of the view from the new hide...
The money that Angharad and Co. raised will be put towards the costs of the new hide. A huge thank you to Angharad, Thomas and their students for helping us with our conservation work for wildlife. You can contact Angharad, who is available for lessons, on email.

If you would like to donate towards the new elevated bird hide, you can download a donation form from this page and return it to 
Parc Slip Elevated Bird Hide Fund, Freepost RRJG-XCUZ ZUHU, The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, Nature Centre, Fountain Road, Tondu, Bridgend CF32 0EH or ring alternatively, give us a ring in the office on 01656 724100. 

Thank you! 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Badger sculpture named after celebrity anti-cull campaigner, Queen's Dr Brian May

Following the installation of the new badger sculpture at Parc Slip Nature Reserve, the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, who own and manage the nature reserve, ran a competition amongst its members and on Facebook and Twitter to name the badger. There were many fantastic suggestions, but there was one name that won by a landslide.

Over the last few years, badgers have been the subject of hugely controversial persecution in the struggle against bovine TB. There is no denying that bovine TB in cattle is a significant problem which causes considerable anxiety for the farming community.
The scientific evidence shows that culling badgers is not the best option to achieve a reduction in bovine TB. Despite the evidence, pilot culls still took place in Gloucestershire and Somerset took place in 2013. These culls have proved to be unsuccessful, failing to meet quotas or to reduce bovine TB.
Badger Jon Hawkins
Queen’s Dr Brian May has been a high-profile campaigner against the badger culls since the very start, doing a huge amount to raise awareness and support for the petition against the cull.  By popular demand, the badger sculpture has been named ‘Brian’ in recognition of the fantastic work Dr Brian May has done to help our British badgers.
One of our young volunteers Rudi Bright on Brian the Badger!
The Wildlife Trusts believe that vaccination of badgers combined with more effective testing of cattle, stricter controls on cattle movements and greater bio-security on farms offers better long-term prospects to agriculture at a reduced cost to the taxpayer.
Badger being released after vaccination on Wildlife Trust Reserves Tom Marshall