Helo, Robyn ydw i! Dwi'n 15 mlwydd oed ac yn mynd i Ysgol Gyfun St. Julian's yng Nghasnewydd. Dwi'n hoffi darllen a gwrando ar gerddoriaeth yn fy amser hamdden. Yn amlwg dwi'n caru anifeiliaid! Fy hoff aderyn yw’r robin goch! Roeddwn i ar brofiad gwaith ym mis Chwefror, dau ddiwrnod yn Gwlypdiroedd Casnewydd a tri diwrnod yn swyddfa RSPB Cymru yng Nghaerdydd. Roedd yr wythnos yna yn brofiad da iawn, roeddwn i wedi ymarfer llawer o sgiliau gwaith a hefyd dysgu llawer. Dw'i wir wedi joio fy wythnos gyda'r RSPB!
Ar fy niwrnod cyntaf roeddwn i'n mynd ar y we i edrych am blanhigion i fynd yn ardd bywyd gwyllt RSPB Cymru yn y Sioe Frenhinol ym mis Gorffennaf. Yn gwneud hyn, roeddwn i wedi dysgu llawer am greu gardd bywyd gwyllt.
Gadewch i mi roi rhestr o gwpl o blanhigion a bydd yn dda yng ngardd bywyd gwyllt a pham. Afalau Surion (Crab Apples) - bydd coeden afal surion yn dda iawn i'ch gardd bywyd gwyllt. Mae llawer o adar yn hoffi bwyta'r afalau, yn enwedig robin goch, drudwy, aderyn yr eira a llinos werdd. Yn y gwanwyn mae'r gwenyn yn cael ei denu i'r blodau ar y goeden. Mae'n gallu fod yn gartref i dros 90 fath o bryfed!
Llygad y Dydd, Dant y Llew a Ygall (Daisies, Dandelions and Thistles) – mae rhain yn denu gwenyn, pili-pala, pryfed hofran, gwyfynod a mwy. Mae hyd yn oed llinosod yn dod i hôl yr hadau.
Ceiros Cornelian (Cornelian Cherry) - mae'r ceirios yn denu'r adar yn dda ac yn dod o teulu’r Dogwood. Mae'r ffrwyth coch yn boblogaidd gyda'r adar yn yr haf.
Rhosyn (Rose)- mae'r adar yn hoff iawn o'r ffrwythau a llawer o bryfed yn cael eu denu i'r blodyn fel y pili-pala a gwenyn.
Os ydych chi am wybod mwy ewch i www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/wildlifegarden/ Bydd y gwefan yn medru rhoi mwy o gyngor i chi o bethau rydych chi'n gallu rhoi yn eich gardd i ddenu bywyd gwyllt!
Diolch am ddarllen! Robyn
I have been writing these blogs here for fifteen months now, and in that time I have indebted to various members of staff at RSPB Cymru HQ, Sutherland House, for their help from time to time in filling in the blanks. Every so often you get a piece of information that makes you stop and think. Something you think so common place is actually under threat. A bird you thought was above all the pressures that are put on it by our activity, something that’s not even a farmland bird, the usual species to be held as examples of population declines, something as simple and commonplace as the humble Mallard.
I have a lot time for ducks … ducks are where I began my interest in birding, I had ducks at my wedding, quite a lot of them in fact in various guises, so the fact that Mallard is now an amber listed bird came as a bit of a shock to me.
Most of you will have heard of the traffic light system which tells us the level of threat to various population numbers of species. Birds that are listed as having green status are fairly self-explanatory, and are of least conservation concern, and have healthy and robust breeding numbers. But what does amber listed actually mean? An in depth explanation can be found on the RSPB website here, but to summarise the Mallard is now an amber listed bird due to the fall in breeding numbers at their traditional breeding sites, the exact reasons for this are still unclear. The RSPB put breeding pairs at somewhere in the region of 50,000 to 127,000 birds, when you see that the decline has to be in the region of 25-49% you begin to understand the numbers involved. We all associate Mallard ducklings with Easter so stop and think about the sobering reality when you see them this spring that these birds are in decline.
Another seemingly ubiquitous bird that is declining in great numbers is the Starling. This species is in the top bracket of conservation concern and are red listed. There has been a global decline of this bird of over fifty per cent in recent years. “You don’t see as many Starlings…” has become one of the most heard phrases for me personally in recent times. Even in the five years I have been visiting The Wash I have noticed that Freiston Shores' Starling population has diminished to a small groups of birds, from decent sized murmurations.The decline in Starling numbers quite rightly gets a lot of press coverage, but another seemingly common bird has recently become red listed. It might surprise you that the Herring Gull is now on that list. Herring Gulls probably don’t get as much press as they are considered noisy and messy birds by most people, indeed culls of city dwelling gulls have been mooted in the past. Their fondness for pecking open rubbish bags and feeding from the contents or thrown away takeaways is not the most endearing behaviour it must be said, but they are natural scavengers, and they are only taking advantage of our behaviour. Modern cities must look like ideal nesting habitats to Herring Gulls, so it is no wonder they have chosen to move in. Over half of UK population now breed at approximately ten sites in the UK, which makes those sites critically important for the continuation of species in healthy numbers. This, along with significant declines in population numbers is why it is now on the red list of conservation concern.
Why not have a look at the Birds Of Conservation Concern download that is available, which has a comprehensive list of the 158 birds currently on the amber and red lists, you will be surprised at some of the entries on there. This all illustrates quite starkly why conservation groups and especially the RSPB need our support more than ever at this point of our planets ecological life.
© All Images Anthony Walton
Glaslyn Valley was filled with excitement on Sunday morning as the Osprey pair returned to their usual nest site near Pont Croesor, Porthmadog, for the 10th year! Arriving few days later than recent years, the female Osprey was spotted on the nest at 8am and her partner for the last 10 years appeared a couple of hours later, with a fish in his claws.
Geraint Williams, Osprey Project Officer said: “We’re delighted to see them back, looking so well and healthy. Our Ospreys are usually the first back in the UK, so when an osprey was spotted on the nest last Tuesday, our hopes were raised. We soon realised that it wasn’t one of ours. We started to worry, but thankfully, they are now back, safe and sound."
Ospreys are spectacular fish-eating birds of prey with a wingspan of nearly five feet. Their lives are full of risks. They spend every winter in West Africa and travel thousands of miles to return to Glaslyn every year to breed and raise their chicks.
Geraint added “These two pairs are known to break the record for the earliest date ever for Ospreys to lay eggs in the UK and the earliest date ever to hatch a chick. Who knows, they might break a record again this year!”
The pair settling back to their nest after a long journey from West Africa:
You can follow the Ospreys’ progress from the visitor viewing site. It’s free of charge and open from 10am and last entry 4:30pm every day, except Mondays and Fridays, although the site will be opened every bank holiday, until end of August. Telescopes and a live video link to the nest are already in place.
Details can also be found on the RSPB website at www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature and there will be regular updates about the birds on the Glaslyn osprey blog at http://blogs.rspb.org.uk/glaslynospreys as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
A red letter day and that letter was most certainly the letter K.
A few weeks back I had the pleasure of visiting the Red Kite feeding station at Llanddeusant at the western edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. I had been hoping to visit since I had discovered there was a feeding station there when I attended the Welsh Ornithological Societies annual conference at nearby Myddfai. I had always thought that our nearest feeding station was Gigrin Farm, Rhayader.
I had been patiently waiting for a sunny day to make it worth taking the camera. I had spoken to enough people to know that the kites can shift a bit when coming in for food, so I wanted to get some high shutter speeds to try and capture this.
Red Kites are one of Wales’s iconic birds. It was the last stronghold of just a few breeding pairs in mid Wales after they were ruthlessly persecuted throughout the country. A recent scientific study by Nottingham University ascertained that the entire UK population in 1977 had emanated from one single female Red Kite. Thankfully, due to reintroductions and the hard work of the RSPB and other conservation groups this beautiful bird of prey is on the comeback now. Numbers have steadily increased, and although not a common sight in our skies yet, population levels are heading in the right direction. I quite frequently see one here in my hometown of Tonyrefail. It’s only when you witness it being mobbed by a buzzard that the size difference between the two species is so evident. If you don’t have a handily placed Buzzard to help you ID a Red Kite, then the other diagnostic feature is the tail. The Buzzard has a fan shaped tail; the Red Kite a distinct V shaped set of tail feathers.
So it was with eager anticipation I headed over the mountains and into deepest rural West Wales to try and get some promised close up views of these magnificent creatures. We hadn’t got much further than the Nant Ddu reservoir just the other side of Merthyr Tydfil when we saw our first Red Kite of the day, it cruised alongside the car for a couple of hundred metres before soaring on an unseen thermal. It only helped to raise expectations.
Our Satnav took us directly to the Red Kite Café, which serves as a visitor centre for the feeding station. This was alas not open on the day of our visit, and it is worth checking before you leave as it has seasonal opening hours. The hide for the feeding station is situated just down the lane that heads back to Myddfai. Feeding times are 2pm during GMT hours and 3pm during BST. You are asked to be in the hide a good five minutes before the feeding commences. The hide is quite large, so there is no need to worry about there not being room. There is an entry fee of just three pounds, which can be left in an honesty box if no one is around to collect it.
At the duly allotted time the man with a bucket of meat and offal appeared and spread food over the field outside the hide. We had watched a small build-up of birds in the surrounding trees as they clearly knew the feeding routine. The steady nasal cawing of Ravens a soundtrack to the day’s events. From seemingly nowhere the Red Kites began to arrive. Ten quickly became twenty, and twenty suddenly became about fifty birds. All were circling above the field, seemingly checking the coast was clear before they made a low flying pass to pick up a piece of carcass. They do not land and feed, they prefer to snatch at the food and fly off to a feeding post nearby or even eating on the wing. It was breath taking to watch all this activity from no more than twenty odd feet away. The sound of the whoosh of air as they swooped over the hide to snatch at another piece of meat was something that will live with you for a while too.
Carrion Crows and Ravens were the next to arrive. They had to battle it out with a lone Buzzard to try and get the smaller pieces of meat the Red Kites had not picked up, all the time ducking under the swooping kites that were still collecting more food. It was quite a feeding frenzy at this point.
Slowly, as the food run out, the kites began to disperse again, some returning to the trees adjacent the field, others back to their territories, and the whole spectacle was over for another day. It will be played out every day of the year, even Christmas Day.
I came away a very happy bird watcher and with a memory card full of images. I can’t recommend it highly enough if you haven’t been to a feeding station before. I am patiently waiting for another “blue sky day” to make another visit.
The Red Kite Feeding Station at Llanddeusant website can be found here.
The Gigrin Farm Feeding Station Website can be found here.
More photographs from the day can be found here in my Flickr set.
I put a short video of the Buzzard being harassed up on YouTube that can be found here.
PS. I got that Buzzard shot I mentioned in my blog a couple of weeks back! ;o)
All images © Anthony Walton.