Issue 54 – Spring 2015

Dragonflies in Wales – from the records
With more people than ever keen to record and contribute their observations of nature, the latest dragonfly atlas has been able to provide a much fuller picture of dragonfly distribution in Wales than was previously known, based on their records. BRIAN WALKER and CLAIRE INSTALL look at the spread of new species into Wales and the reasons why this may be happening.
Recording the water-bird splendour of the Dee Estuary
The Dee Estuary is one of the most important estuaries in the UK for its extensive intertidal habitats and its spectacular numbers of waterbirds – wildfowl, waders, herons, cormorants and terns – which are found all year, but especially in the winter. Here NEIL FRISWELL and COLIN WELLS describe the estuary and the counting of its birds over the last 30 years though the internationally renowned Wetland Bird Survey.
Y Tywyddiadur – the extreme drought of 1887 in Wales and beyond

Outlined in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series (Natur Cymru 50 and 52) were the types of Welsh diary data found in Y Tywyddiadur (“The Weather Record”), which forms part of Llên Natur’s website. This time DUNCAN BROWN and TWM ELIAS present diary and newspaper records which contribute evidence to the discussion regarding the long period of extreme drought and its substantial effect on Europe at the end of the 19th century.

This article is written in Welsh. You can read a translation here.

Common terns at Shotton – a Welsh success story

There was good news in 2014 from Shotton, Flintshire, home of the largest common tern colony in Wales: birds successfully bred, with a minimum of 445 chicks fledging, for the first time since the colony failed to breed in 2009. The Merseyside Ringing Group has been involved with the colony from its inception 45 years ago. Group member PETER COFFEY explains the development of the colony and its significance nationally, explores why the colony failed to breed, and describes what has happened since.

Teifi Marshes nature reserve – from water shrew to water buffalo

Teifi Marshes nature reserve was first introduced to Natur Cymru readers back in the autumn of 2004 (Natur Cymru 12). Still under the management of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, the reserve has changed considerably since then. NATHAN WALTON brings us up to date with the management of this special site and its habitats and species, and explains why it is one of Wales’s most important wetlands.

The Argent and Sable moth and its association with bog myrtle in Wales
Argent and Sable is a handsome day-flying moth with a very limited distribution in England and Wales. ANDREW GRAHAM describes its association with bog myrtle, and encourages other naturalists to find new colonies by doing some detective work outside the moth’s flight season.
Ty Newydd – an environment to write about
An historic house, where Prime Minister David Lloyd George lived, in a stunning setting rich in wildlife, provides a stimulating location for all sorts of writing about the natural environment. ROBERT MINHINNICK reflects on his own experience of the National Writers’ Centre of Wales.
60 Years Ago – the story of a National Nature Reserve
Once sites of exceptional importance for nature become National Nature Reserves their future should be secure, but the stories behind their protection are seldom told. Acquiring sites is neither easy nor quick; in the case of Cors Fochno, it took more than 30 years and very nearly failed. Here PETER WALTERS DAVIES and JAMES ROBERTSON describe some of the twists and turns in the establishment of an NNR.
Book reviews

Seashores: An Ecological Guide by Julian Cremona
The Ash Tree by Oliver Rackham

Discoveries in Science

Interesting insights from the National Museum Wales

The 3D slide collection at Amgueddfa Cymru / National Museum Wales

Kath Slade

Nature at large

A live stranding of a pygmy sperm whale on the Anglesey coast

Ceri Morris

From the garden

It’s all happening at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Running a farm on a National Nature Reserve at the National Botanic Garden Wales

Bruce Langridge

Tribute to Ziggy Otto

By Charlotte Gjerlov

Islands round up

Our regular look at the islands off the Welsh coast. This time:

News from Skomer and Skokholm

Geoff Gibbs

Life lines

Following the work of Natural Resources Wales

Offshore monitoring with CEFAS and Natural Resources Wales

Anthony Barker

In my front garden

Life on the street: the joys of pavement plants

John Crellin

Buglife

Our regular page from the charity Buglife

Riverflies in Wales

Craig Macadam

Woods and forests

News from Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales

Can Ancient Woodland benefit farmers without detrimental impacts on the farm balance sheet?

Christopher Matts