Trip reports

Indoor Meeting - The travels of a natural history enthusiast

Friday, 15 March 2013

Neville Davies works in the police but has also set up ecology cymru and written four books on natural history. He was born and bred in Caerphilly. The castle there is good for water birds such as kingfishers. The Cefn Onn ridge is home to fungi such as the birch polypore and the cramp balls or King Alfred cakes. Plants include common spotted orchids, toadflax and toothwort.

Draethen near to Rudry contains stunning beech woodland. Ganoderma fungi is found here which may grow to a foot across. It is often found near woodpecker holes raising the question do they use it as a perch.

Sker Point near Kenfig is grazed by cattle and sheep; this is good habitat for the parasol mushroom. The Newport Wetland area has seen major changes over the years. It was ash ponds but has been regenerated to form reed beds and ponds. Beard tit and short eared owls can be found here. The area around the Brecon canal is packed with birds such as heron as well as rabbits. Pen -y-fan is good for ringed ouzels and red kites. Harebells can be seen anywhere in Brecon. It can however be dangerous with steep slopes, particularly if the weather turns bad.

Moving a bit further away to Devon, gorse provide habitat for yellow hammers. Stack rock in Pembrokeshire is the UFO capital of Wales. Birds arrange themselves on the cliff with guillemots at the top and kittiwakes at the bottom. Other wildlife includes grey seals, stoats, sea thrift, and sea campion.
After our tea break we moved on to lands far away..... Starting with Mallorca. Audouin's gull is found here and is one of the world's rarest gulls. It has dark legs and is less aggressive looking than most gulls. In Spain black-winged stilt can be found anywhere with water, they have long legs that look like they might break. Flamingos can also be found in deep water, they have amazingly long legs.

On the island of Sappho close to Turkey pelican can be found as well as crested lark. In Madeira Trocaz pigeon, Madeira firecrest and shearwaters can be seen. Neville took a boat from Funchal to Desertas island and saw the Desertas petrel. Poland contains some of the last primeval forest. There are seven or eight species of wood pecker including the black wood pecker. There are also bison, wild boar and brown bear. The final country was Bulgaria home to the white stork, burnet orchid and Roman snail.

Neville was thanked for a wonderful talk that covered many areas.

Huw Moody-Jones