Issue 52 – Autumn 2014

Carmel nature reserve: a landscape of surprises

Often the best places for wildlife defy definition. Carmel NNR is an example, with its intimate landscape concealing a mixture of woodland and grassland habitats, complete with vanishing lake or turlough. It is a richly rewarding place to be associated with, but has also had its share of difficulties, as DEBORAH SAZER explains.

Guillemots on Skomer - the value of long-term population studies

In an earlier article (Guillemots on Skomer, NC 30:33) TIM BIRKHEAD described how long-term monitoring studies had revealed the secrets of this endearing seabird. Such monitoring depends on dedication, continuity of approach, and funding. With funding in doubt, the author puts the case for the methodology behind more than four decades of data.

Joining hands to protect peatlands – partnerships restore two degraded wetlands

Two separate partnership projects are underway in Snowdonia and Anglesey to restore a large area of degraded wetland habitat. Both are funded by the Welsh Government’s Resilient Ecosystems Fund (REF), and will run until February 2015. GETHIN DAVIES and DAVE COWLEY describe what has been achieved so far, what is planned for the final phase, and what benefits are anticipated from this pioneering partnership work.

50 years ago - North American land birds in Wales

Amongst all the ‘sea beans and nicker nuts’ which winter storms bring onto our coastline and islands, a surprising variety of American land birds are swept across the Atlantic to delight and perplex observers here, as DAVID SAUNDERS recounts.

Climate and a changing coastline

Last winter’s storms brought into sharp relief the power of the sea to re-shape our coastline, a power which will be more and more evident as sea levels rise. The National Trust, with responsibility for so much of Wales’s coastline, has been exploring the range of options from hard coastal defence to ‘no active intervention’, as SARAH MELLOR and RICHARD NEALE explain.

Y Tywyddiadur - Recording weather and phenology in Wales (part 2)

Outlined in Part 1 of this series (Natur Cymru 50) were the types of Welsh diary data found in Y Tywyddiadur (“The Weather Record”), which forms part of Llên Natur’s website. Here DUNCAN BROWN and TWM ELIAS present some of the specific topics and case studies that arose from researching almost 90,000 entries in Y Tywyddiadur, highlighting the value of the Welsh evidence as an environmental resource within a wider context.

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


Renewable energy and the natural environment – a National Trust perspective

The National Trust has been trailblazing the generation of renewable energy on its estate, but only after cutting back on its energy use, and not at the expense of biodiversity, as KEITH JONES explains.

Levelling Nature – motorway madness on the Gwent Levels

In an alarming and dramatic mid-summer statement, the Welsh Government announced its preferred option for the M4 relief road across the Gwent Levels. The route chosen appears to be the most ecologically destructive, most financially expensive, and most time-consuming of all the options on offer. SORREL JONES, Conservation Officer for Gwent Wildlife Trust, comments here on the controversies, difficulties and perceptions that surround Welsh Government’s decision.

Red squirrel conservation and disease - Adenovirus in Wales

The role of adenovirus in red squirrel mortality is becoming clearer, thanks to recent research. But the picture is a complex one, not least because of the possibility of viral transmission by grey squirrels and woodmice and the discovery that red squirrels can carry the infection without dying from it, as CRAIG SHUTTLEWORTH explains.

From the garden

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

BeeWalk survey with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Clare Flynn

Nature at large

Habitat management – invasive plants and Pen y Graig Goch Farm

Ivy Denham


Islands round-up

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

Bardsey (Ynys Enlli) and Ramsey

Geoff Gibbs

Discoveries in science

Interesting insights from the National Museum Wales

Linking Natural Science Collections in Wales: Summer 2014 update

Christian Baars

Woods and forests

News from Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales

Infrastructure: what a proposed new motorway would mean for the Gwent Levels

Jerry Langford

Book reviews

Deep Country: five Years in the Welsh Hills by Neil Ansell
Atlas of Dragonflies in Britain and Ireland by Michael Shrubb
Puffins by Euan Dunn
Slugs of Britain and Ireland by Ben Rowson, James Turner, Roy Anderson & Bill Symondson
Birdwatching Walks in Gwent by Al Venables, Andrew Baker, Dave Brassey, John Coleman, Chris Field, Verity Picken & Steph Tyler