30.06.2021 30 Days Wild #30 Diolchgarwch

D’oes unman yn debyg i gartre’

I really do appreciate where I live.

And that’s how I chose to celebrate the final day of another brilliant #30DaysWild/

So, down to Parc Gwledig Penbre.

Along a little lane passing Rhafnwydden y Môr / Hippophae Rhimoedes / Sea Buckthorn, Pisgwydden Dail Bach / Tilia Cordata / Small-leaved lime and Afalau Surion / Malus Silvestris / Crab Apple.

And on the floor, a multiple of colour and joy.

Top Tegeirian Bera / Anacamptis pyramidalis / Pyramidal Orchid, Pupur y fagwyr / Sedum Acre / Biting Stonecrop, Moron y Maes / Daucus carota / Wild Carrot, Pys llygod / Vicia cracca / Tufted Vetch and Astragalus crassicarpus / Ground-plum

Such diversity with industrial reminders everywhere

The natural reclamation is well under way

And my destination

A pre-medicinal pillbox with postcard views in all directions

Where swallows have left their mark

And humans have left theirs

There’s something non-threatening and very textured about this place now. It’s become acclimatised to its location and has diversified from military to nature hide with ease and artistic merit.

And this is already becoming a highlight for the month.

Until I get to photograph my first Clochdar y Cerrig / Stonechat.

And I think of those men who, 80 years ago, spend continuous days and nights here and must have seen the most incredible sights and learnt so much from nature. Could they risk writing it down? Or face court marshal? Has anyone created that log of nature created within war?

I can’t help thinking of the use of ‘war’ as a definition of our fight against Covid 19. Language is potent. Whatever this is, it doesn’t feel like a war to me. Nature is re-defining her relationship with us. There’s no escape from that now. Perhaps that’s the way it should be.

And this 30 Days Wild has been incredible once again. I’ve learnt so many new things.

Not all the Ash have died.

New shoots of recovery are in the midst of preparation for even newer growth.

And how should #30DiwrnodGwyllt end in 2021?

Well, what would be perfect, is if anything other than a walker, cyclist or jogger should happen to pass.

A dyna ni.

29.06.2021 30 Days Wild #29 Devil’s-bit Scabious a thamaid y cythraul

Back at Theatr na nÓg today.

Some work on a pollinators area with the incredible support of Keep Wales Tidy and some volunteers.

So this (which has been cleared), had another clean and still had this amount of plastic under the low foliage.

Ni ar Stad Ddiwydiannol. Wrth gwrs mae sbwriel. Ond mi roedd darganfod cymaint o blastig mewn darn mor fach o dir wedi’i glirio’n barod yn sobor o boenus. Ac eto, yng nghanol y frwydr, nid oedd natur wedi cilio.

Melyn y Drain / Opisthographis luteolata / Brimstone Moth

So, just a short time later, a great collection of pollinators, including the devil’s-bit scabious (Tamaid y cythraul) which is the source plant food of the Marsh Fritillary, which rounds thing off nicely in an Alfred Russel Wallace kind of way.

And of course, the canal he travelled on is just around the corner.

So there we have it. A great day. One more wild day left. It’s going to be a good one.

28.06.2021 30 Days wild #28 Beauty and Brutality

Nature has a brutal side that most of us find uncomfortable.

Beauty has a soul mate in the world of Brutality.

I have a lot of work to do with my recognition of gulls.

This helps:

https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/how-identify/identify-gulls

But I witnessed quite a brutal fight and I’m not sure why they were fighting. 2 different species. Fighting over territory?

Are we looking at a Herring Gull and a Lesser black-backed gull? Let me know if you can confirm.

And any confirmation of why it was such a ferocious fight then please let me know that as well!

For info, both had partners calmly watching on from a distance. That’s where I’d probably be as well given the choice.

27.03.2021 30 Days Wild #27 Pagan a chapel

You can read that as ‘pagan a chapel’ neu fel ‘pagan a chapel’

Nid fu’r capel erioed yn le cyffyrddus na chartrefol i bagan fel fi. Ond mae rhinweddau arbennig yn perthyn i’r llefydd sy’n parhau i gynnig noddfa, gwarchodfa a llochesi cysegredig – hyd yn oed heb gynulleidfa dynol.

I’m not a church or chapel-goer. But there’s moments of peace and tranquility to be found on sacred sights; and this one is no different.

Sundays are for everyone.

The mighty oak outside (the traditional yew inside)

But on the way home, one of the family of mighty oaks is no more

And there’s a void.

A space.

A missing piece.

A void that will take 100 years to fill . . .

and a 100 teeth to fell.

26.06.2021 30 Days Wild #26 The meadow hangs on.

One of my favourite wild days from last June was the time spent in a local meadow that has been offered a temporary golden era by the unexpected release from agriculture. The bittersweet outcome of this burgeoning biodiversity is due to the impending arrival of full planning application for a building site.

But, the good news is . . .

the very good news is . . .

it’s still there.

And it’s still stunning.

And it’s still awaiting planning

So, it has to be treasured for what it is during this golden restbite from planning destruction.

The irony of creating a golden moment of natural diversity due to being sandwiched between agricultural neglect and planning destruction is a clear indication of how easy it is to recreate promised lands of natural wealth.

They need very little investment and will cost the taxpayer nothing!

25.06.2021 30 Days Wild #25 Sea samphire

When something is called after the patron saint of fishermen (Saint Pierre) and prized for being the poor man’s salty asparagus, then you can be sure that it has a strong connection with the sea.

In North Wales, apparently they call it sampkin.

So we were going to have a foraging meal for today’s wild adventure – but the local stocks in Hen Harbwr Penbre seemed quite deprived – so we left them for another day.

I really like the sound of pickled samphire – and I really, really like the sound of pickled sampkin. And by the ‘sound’, I really mean the ‘sound’. They must squeak on your teeth.

I guess there’s only one way to find out!

24.06.2021 30 Days Wild #24 Gwennol y glennydd

Gwennol y glenndd / Riparia riparia / Sand martin

Am enw. Gwennol y glennydd. Mae hyd yn oed adar yn tynnu tuag at gynghanedd.

A dyma’r gwennoliaid lleol ym Mhorth Tywyn.

Allwch chi weld y wennol yn y llun cynta’?

Ma’r enw Cymraeg i’r apus apus (Swift) hefyd o gymorth wrth ddod i adnabod y wahaniaeth rhwng adar sy’n debyg iawn. Ma’r ‘wennol ddu’ yn crynhoi un o’r gwahaniaethau hynny sydd o gymorth i bawb wrth adnabod y gwahaniaeth.

Rhyfeddod yw’r daith anhygoel i bob un o deulu’r ‘hirundine’. A gwyrth yw eu bod yma o gwbwl – yn enwedig wrth ystyried bod y boblogaeth wedi bron diflannu dwy waith yn yr hanner canrif ddiwetha’ oherwydd sychder gaeafol yn yr Affrig.

Pa obaith i’r dyfodol wrth ystyried newid hinsawdd?

23.06.2021 #23 Focus and perspective

2 observations (p.t.p!) on focus and perspectives today.

A lovely view of the tidal horizon.

But perspective is precious.

Corhedydd y Graig / Anthus Petrosus / Rock pipit.

Having not featured in my Top 30 Days Wild before this year, the rock pipit now has 2 entries for 2021.

Disguise and camouflage are closely related to focus and perspective.

What we see and what we find are such a small percentage of what we miss and what we pass.

22.06.2021 30 Days Wild #22 Bricking it

Today is a chance to introduce some industry into this year’s 30 Days Wild and to address my general wild lack of geology or geography references.

So, today I’m bricking it.

And the tenuous link from yesterday is; beetles – Alfred Russel Wallace – Pontneddfechan – Craig y Dinas – silica & clay & lime – furnace bricks. Dinas bricks are now common across the world – but they were first created in South Wales by the botanist and potter William Weston Young.

Here are some of my bricks in the ‘nyth’.

But I have 2 favourites – a beautiful irregular and inconsistent Swansea Brick found whilst Heini and Sam were renovating their house.

And this one:

According to the excellent http://www.industrialgwent.co.uk/g51-westwales/index.htm#llanelly this is from my local patch in Mynyddygarreg. The lime kilns built for the brickworks are still there – overgrown and reclaimed by nature from where the story started.

Not a living hearbeat and perhaps not the typical 30 Days Wild entry but created because someone had an understanding of the natural elements.

Compare the back of this brick with a fragment from Porth Tywyn beach – possibly from the furnace of the old Carmarthen Bay Power Station.

Sandstone, clay & lime,

by name,

a brick

capturing time

21.06.2021 30 Days Wild #21 Chwilod a chywilydd

Today, I let myself down.

I let my friends down.

I let my family down.

And I let Alfred Russel Wallace down.

I wasn’t sure what to write about. I can’t write about the solstice on this day each year. On second thoughts, why not? You could write about it every day for the rest of your life and still have a new thought every day.

I could write about Venus and Pollux in close proximity during the night of the day with longest daylight hours.

But I was thinking about this lovely beetle chart from the Wildlife Trust

And then this morning, in the office, I had this little visitor.

Did Alffi bring him in – did he find a little gateway to this arid land?

Neidr gantroed – brown centipede.

And when I put him out, I thought, “Yes, today’s all about coleoptera” (I’ve been banging on about birds and flowers enough to have a 24 hour break)

And then I found this little chap.

And this is where I let myself down. What sort of picture is that? How on earth can anyone identify this?

It’s just not good enough!

Ok – I didn’t pin him on a board and take a magnifying glass to make sure that everything was identifiable.

And at least he or she is still wandering happily around the garden.

But what if it’s a strawberry beetle?

Or one of the capsid bugs?

Why do I know the name of every specimen of ‘beatle’ and hardle any of the genus ‘beetle’?

Simply not good enough.

Next time, I will be a better naturalist.

What’s in a name?

Everything Mr McCartney, Mr Harrison, Mr Lennon and Mr Starr.