Issue 55 – Summer 2015

The prospects for wild pollinators in Wales – how are we doing?

The continued decline of wild pollinators such as solitary bees, bumblebees and hoverflies, has generated public concern and political action. Can we expect these initiatives to bear fruit, and the decline to be halted, or is there still more to do? MIKE HOWE considers the outlook.

Seeing Stars Campaign

Most of us are familiar with the term ‘pollution’. However, we tend to associate this mainly with air pollution resulting from the unnecessary effects of gases on the atmosphere, or with water pollution caused by chemicals or oil spills. In this article GETHIN DAVIES discusses a lesser-known type of pollution which is on the increase worldwide, namely light pollution.

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

The blue ground beetle at Coed Maesmelin – a mystery unravelled

In 2012 heavy rain brought misery to many, but it’s an ill wind, as they say…. The blue ground beetle may have remained unnoticed in a south Wales woodland for many years, but rising stream waters brought it to the attention of a nearby discerning resident who contacted Buglife. JOHN WALTERS, CHRISTOPHER MATTS and CLARE DINHAM relate the tale.

Fifty Years Ago - The North Pond on Skomer

In 1965 DAVID SAUNDERS, warden on Skomer Island, decided to enlarge a small pond in the hopes of attracting more wildlife – a bold and successful move, as he now recalls.

Malltraeth Marsh: Digging for Victory

For two decades the RSPB has been using innovative methods to turn an area of rushy fields into diverse wetland habitats for birds and a range of other wildlife. IAN HAWKINS describes the use of specialised machinery to open and maintain dynamic habitats as well as the outcomes for some scarce plants and animals.

Dinosaur discovery - new kid on the Jurassic block

Wales is not traditionally known for its dinosaur fossils, but a recent discovery in 2014 may be about to change this. When CINDY HOWELLS was asked to identify some remains from a south Wales beach she found herself looking at a previously unknown species that will put Wales on the therapod map…

Seagrass meadows in Wales: vulnerable features and fish nurseries

In a few places in Welsh seas, seagrasses form extensive, biodiverse and productive meadows. RICHARD UNSWORTH considers the role of seagrass meadows as nurseries for young fish, the vulnerability of this special habitat and some steps to conserve it.

Seeing in the dark – the value of camera traps

Many of our mammals are quite difficult to observe in the field, and it is often easier to look for their droppings and footprints. MAL INGHAM has installed nine trail cameras in the vicinity of his garden and tells us about what he is able to watch, including badgers, otters, polecats and one new arrival – a Reeves’ muntjac.

Glow-worms and street lighting

As if glow-worms don’t have enough problems, street lights at one of their best locations in north Wales have been confusing males, which have mistaken the lights for females, leading to unrequited love for the males and a potential shortage of mates for the females. ANNE BUTLER fills in the background to what, thanks to a local champion and cooperation all round, has had a happy outcome.

Book reviews

Ospreys in Wales – the First Ten Years by Emyr Evans
The Wales Coast Path – a Practical Guide for Walkers by Christopher Goddard & Katherine Evans
Nature in Towns and Cities by David Goode
Rust Fungus Red Data List and Census Catalogue for Wales by Ray G. Woods, R. Nigel Stringer, Debbie A. Evans and Arthur O. Chater
Britain’s Habitats by Sophie Lake, Durwyn Liley, Robert Still & Andy Swash
Threatened Arable Plants in Wales – Plantlife


Our regular page from the charity Plantlife

Wales’ forgotten flora – arable weeds!

Colin Cheesman

Nature at large

Afon Elwy – caring for a river
David Iorwerth Roberts

Habitat management

It’s all in the mind – changing perceptions of how the land should look

Ivy Denham

Woods and forests

News from Coed Cadw, the Woodland Trust in Wales

Learning to love the surprisingly significant slug


Kylie Jones Mattock

Life lines

Following the work of Natural Resources Wales

Burning desire – wildfires in the South Wales valleys


Huw Williams

Marine Matters

The importance of natural historians

Ivor Rees