Page 3 Borage field
The incredibly dry conditions also affected vegetable success and many crops went to seed or produced a small early crop which limited availability for visitors. Prolific courgettes and Swiss chard made up for the lack of variety! Even the Welsh TV programme, “Byw yn yr Ardd” was impressed with one rather large courgette, or rather marrow! One advantage of the dry weather has been the opportunity to access Pwll Cain with the digger and do some long overdue silt clearance. This pond, located in the wetland fields below Carreg Fawr, was originally constructed in 1979 with the purpose of attracting passage birds and enhancing the feeding potential for wetland birds and other animals.
In 1982 a
pectoral sandpiper, a major rarity, visited the pond. This bird’s name in Welsh is pibydd cain, hence the name given from then on to the pond – Pwll Cain. The pond has only been cleared out once since its construction and over the last few years it has been reduced to a puddle. Now the island is once again soaking in the autumn rain, the pond is gradually filling up again and we will watch to see what species are attracted to its waters. The cows have certainly given their seal of approval already!
Seabird tracking on Bardsey Liz Mackley and Jenni Taylor RSPB
In 2011, the RSPB secured funding from the Welsh Assembly for Seabirds Cymru, to track seabirds breeding in Wales. The fieldwork was carried out on Bardsey Island, with the support of the Bardsey Island Trust and the Bardsey Bird and Field Observatory. Starting in mid-May,
both razorbills and kittiwakes breeding on the island were tracked using GPS loggers. These devices stored the birds’ location approximately every 100 seconds, producing a detailed and accurate map of the birds’ movements. Some razorbills also carried tiny time-depth recorders, which measured the depth of their dives. For these birds, because both loggers record the time, their horizontal and vertical movements can be matched up to show foraging in three-dimensions. The pattern of the GPS track gives a rough indication of the birds’ activity. Straight lines tend to show commuting flights between the colony and feeding areas and tightly turning tracks tend to show where birds searched in flight for food. Interestingly, at Bardsey Island some razorbills spent the night resting on the water, carried by the ebb and flow of the tides.
This summer, seabirds were also tracked from two other Welsh islands: Puffin Island (Anglesey, RSPB and Liverpool University) and Skomer (Pembrokeshire, Oxford University). All three sites are contributing data to the RSPB’s Future of the Atlantic Marine Environment (FAME) project (www.FAMEProject.eu
), becoming part of a massive seabird tracking effort across the UK to find typical foraging habitat, so that important areas may be protected. In particular, these Welsh sites have helped bridge an important gap in the Irish Sea between the FAME sites in Scotland (extending as far north as Fair Isle) and the Isles of Scilly in southern England.
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