20.06.2022 30 Days Wild #20 Gwylan y Penwaig, clematis, chwilod a marwolaeth di-angen.

Mae’r angen i warchod teulu newydd ifainc yn gryf iawn o fewn ein cymdogion o wylanod y penwaig. Dyma’r rheswm:

Cyw yn cuddio tu ôl i’r simne.

Yng ngeiriau Iolo, mae gwylan y penwaig yn ‘wylan swnllyd, gyfarwydd ac, ar y cyfan yr wylan fawr fwyaf niferus’.

Odyn, ma nhw’n swnllyd.

Odyn, ma nhw’n rhieni arbennig o dda – ac yn cynyddu am y rhesymau amlwg ‘ma.

Ond mae nhw’n mynd amdana’i os dwi allan mewn siorts ar hyn o bryd. Beth sy’n beryglus am siorts o’i gymharu â thrwser? Oes rhywbeth yng nghefn meddwl y gwylanod sy’n perthyn i brofiad câs gyda rhywun yn gwisgo siorts?

Dyma hi yn mynd amdana’i dros hanner cant o weithiau yn yr ardd heddi:

Ar nodyn drist, oedd rhaid claddu mwyalchen (aderyn du) ifainc nath foddi yn y pwll yn yr ardd. Oedd y brigyn dianc wedi disgyn i’r dŵr, a rhaid ei fod yn ormod o bellter i gyrraedd y cerrig ar yr ochr arall.

Diwrnod newydd, siwrne newydd yn y car i fesur nifer y chwilod. Er iddi fod yn ddiwrnod braf, yr un oedd y canlyniad. Dim un. Na’i drial ar bob cyfle cyn i’r cynllun orffen ar ddiwedd Awst.

A bach o brydferthwch i gwpla.

Nes i ofyn y cwestiwn i’n hunain neithiwr, pam fy mod wedi dewis blodyn lliwgar fel enghraifft o brydferthwch. Mae prydferthwch hefyd yn cynnyws planhigion a chreaduriaid unlliw. Ond, mae rhywbeth trawiadol a hudolus am liw hefyd.

19.06.2022 30 Days Wild #19 Beautiful morning glory on barren wastelands

An appreciation of Sea Bindweed today.

Such an incredible splash of colour – normally on barren sand or coastal wasteland.

Taglys Arfor / Calystegia soldanella / Sea Bindweed

Being placed on such a dull canvas really brings the beauty of this plant to the fore.

Twining and quite invasive in the ‘wrong’ place – I’ve had a number of encounters with its cousin the Hedge bindweed or bellbind (Calystegia sepium) with its pure white trumpet flowers. Needless to say, the bindweed always won. It’s a very resilient success story.

It’s beautiful and another reminder of the potency of nature to place wonderment where we least expect to find it (and sometimes where we least want it).

18.06.2022 30 Days Wild #18 Bombus Hypnorum and Bugs Matter

Beth i wneud ar ddiwrnod gwlyb pan mae rhaid teithio yn y car i Abertawe? Shwd mae hynny’n gallu cysylltu gyda’r byd natur?

Today was all about driving to Swansea and contributing to the natural world via the “Bugs Matter” app.

Even whilst driving, there is still an activity to try and compensate for the polluting activity.

I wanted to participate with Bugs Matter last year, but never got round to it. Pretty apathetic on my behalf.

Basically it’s a scheme to measure the bugs that succumb to your car number plate during journeys to compute the number of bugs in our environment and to gauge growth or decline.

Basically, it’s this:

60% in twenty years.

Not the best day to measure any results today due to the wet weather. Still, I covered 28.2km with zero bugs. I’ll run the experiment whenever I get in the car over the coming weeks to get a better gauge; hopefully with better weather.

As an antidote, I get a call for the second time in a week to confirm the presence of a tree bumble bee colony. Bompus Hypnorum only arrived in the UK some 20 years ago. Nice to see that at least one species appears to be thriving.

Find out more on the Wildlife Trust website here

17.06.2022 30 Days Wild #17 K9-free plogging

Nifer o bethau cyffrous a gwyllt heddiw.

Lots of wild and wonderful things today.

Firstly, the robin chicks have hatched. Mr and Mrs Robin are now frantically feeding whilst we carry on in close proximity. Mr Robin liked to perch on my foot when I was pruning yesterday. It made moving around a little bit awkward.

Also, lockdown 2020 offered an opportunity for me to start running. I’ve never been a ‘runner’. And I hadn’t run at all for over 20 years. But running a mile a day for over 200 days was a good way to kick start a revival. I now run 3 days a week and I’m pleased to say that I’m now able to run a marathon every month. Yes, a marathon every month. It takes me a month to run a marathon!

So today was my ‘long’ run of the week. I my favourite route is along an old canal. It’s an industrial canal – and more like a brook but is accompanied by a lovely cycle track thanks to those wonderful Europeans who used to give us money to improve our lives.

Running along this canal is more about plogging than jogging.

Start Plogging!

Plogga is a growing movement founded in Sweden, with the simple idea to pick up garbage and jog. The name is an acronym of the swedish words for picking and jogging—’Plocka och jogga’. But it doesn’t need to be jogging. You can walk, canoe, skateboard, cycle—whatever way you choose to get outside and move.

Plogging was started by Erik Ahlström in Sweden and has spread across the globe. One idea. One person. Huge difference.

On today’s plog, I saw a basking slow worm, privet flowers with their not so sweet floral scent, decapitated vole (I really wish domestic cats weren’t feral) a fresh house sparrow fledgling enjoying day 1 of (hopefully) multiple days wild and multiple sweet wrappings, plastic bottles and cans. I like the strange looks I get when carrying an empty can of Fosters whilst jogging / plogging.

Also found some large colonies of green fly aphids:

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Large aphid colonies aren’t great for the host plant, but there’s always someone who’s grateful for the protein.

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Llun: Elen Evans

Mae’r tywydd yn arbennig heddi’. Cyfle i neud bach o waith tu fas am weddill y dydd. Mae angen creu rhywbeth i gadw’r dŵr sy’n llifo oddi ar y to pan mae’n glawio. Cyfle i greu hafan i ‘Berwr y Dŵr’ hefyd.

16.06.2022 30 Days Wild #16 Salty start

I haven’t been in the sea for at least 5 years. That’s ridiculous – especially considering where I live.

So, today was a chance to shock the post-birthday cobwebs with a salty dip.

Ac oedd e’n hollol hyfryd. Elen yn gwmni a’r haul yn tywynnu.

High tide was at a very opportune and very convenient time of 0821 so no need for any of that up before dawn like the truly wild nutters.

One dog walker, one solo walker, one surfer and us. That’s it. 8 miles of beach to ourselves. No motorway or airport queue. No stress. Just a stress deposit bin to leave with a lighter load and to make the day ahead a better one.

15.06.2022 30 Days Wild #15 The common and now depleted blue

I ddechrau, mae rhaid sôn am y lleuad neithiwr ac echnos. Lleuad llawn i’w edmygu a’i werthfawrogi. Nagodd e’n hyfryd?

Today’s encounter with the natural world still makes me smile. I was mowing the lawns (the parts that aren’t ‘no mow May’).

I was quickly accompanied by two companions. Firstly Mr Robin was following me in the hope of finding a delicacy – or possibly to remind me that I hadn’t topped up the bird feeding table for the third time this morning.

Secondly, what I think was a female common blue was obviously agitated by the noise and vibrations of the mower and was hopping ahead of me in search of a safe haven.

Glesyn cyffredin benywaidd / Polyommatus icarus / Female common blue

They always seem so small, fragile – and clumsy. I kept steering the mower in the opposite direction but it kept landing in front of me.

In the end, I just switched off the mower and tried to kneel down, take a picture and embrace the different mindset that I now try to carry for most of the year – but especially during 30 Days Wild.

As always happens, the world slows down when you just stop what you’re doing and put yourself at the centre of the natural world. It was a moment of tranquility.

I was about to take a clear pictures when, in a flash, Mr Robin pounced on the fragile butterfly and paused for a second with the butterfly in its mouth and gave me a very curious look before flying away.

I couldn’t help but smile. The admiration for the butterfly had quickly transformed to the admiration for the circle of life. But I kept thinking about the look the robin gave me. I’d seen it before somewhere, but couldn’t think where.

And then I remembered.

It’s the same look that I sometimes give to people that keep taking pictures of their food to put on social media.

It seems that Mr Robin also recognised that look.

14.06.2022 30 Days Wild #14 Look who’s back

Mae rhaid cynnwys ARW ym mhob ’30 Diwrnod Gwyllt’, ac ni fydd eleni’n eithriad. Bore hyfryd heddiw yn Ysgol Gynradd Gnoll yng Nghastell Nedd. Stori arwr cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol i blant ar ei stepen drws.

https://ioanhefin.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/28-4-13-how-i-met-arw/(opens in a new tab)

This year’s ’30 Days Wild’ has the obligatory tip of the hat to ARW. What made this year different is that the incredible story of Alfred Russel Wallace was shared this morning with his local community in Gnoll Primary School, Neath.

Whilst doing some research updates for the performance, I found myself contributing to my own research on this BBC article

But years 5 and 6 have been undertaking their own research by studying evolution and Alfred Russel Wallace this year. After the performance, we had a Q & A and their questions were amazing.

“Why did he write to Charles Darwin after discovering the theory?”

“Why did he like butterflies?”

“Why did he collect so many beetles?”

“What was his rarest discovery?”

“How many specimens did he collect? I read in a book that it was 25, 566”

To be able to share the story again, and to be able to receive so many wonderful questions made it a wild and memorable Day 14 for 30 Days Wild.

13.06.2022 30 Days Wild #13 See more sycamore

I don’t think I’ve ever noticed quite as much colour in the sycamore seeds as I have this year. No, I’ll correct myself, I’ve never noticed quite as much colour in the sycamore seeds as I have this year. They simply ping.

But it made me think. We haven’t reached the solstice yet, but nature is already thinking about the Autumn. Thinking about the Winter. Thinking about the Spring. In fact, all this beauty and show is not about this year. This isn’t for us. This is for survival.

Everything nature does is about the future. It’s about the continuation of the species. It’s about the next generation. About tomorrow.

Everything we do, is about today. About now. About us.

If only we could step back into Nature’s way of thinking.

12.06.2022 30 Days Wild #12 Bee wild and natural

I’ve mentioned before that I used to keep bees. This coincided with the arrival of the varroa mite and the discovery that my exposure to bee stings put me in the 10% minority of beekeepers that develop a worsening reaction to bee stings. The resultant anaphylactic shock that took me (and my body) by surprise was enough to bring my beekeeping joy to a premature end. And it really was the end of something that brought a wonderful joy. I learnt so much. Especially about when communism and matriarchy successfully collaborate without human misinterpretation or exploitation.

I know I haven’t been actively looking, but I haven’t seen a ‘wild’ bee colony for a very long time. I see one on a regular basis in a chimney and have confirmed the annual existence in the same location for the last 20 years. There must be some serious honeycomb chambers in every nook and cranny of that chimney.

But today, I watched this lovely discovery of a honey bee colony in a mature oak. One rotten branch. One vacant space seeking appropriate developer. One very grateful resident taking over the complete sight.

It was about 6 metres high. Here’s the nest sight:

It was both a reminder and a provider of further joy.

Wrth i’r penawdau du gynyddu, mae natur yn cynnig llygedyn o obaith. Diolch beunyddiol iddi.

11.06.2022 30 Days Wild #11 23,360 Days (64 years) of the simple, wild, natural way of life

Today’s entry isn’t directly about nature. Today’s entry is about living with nature, being in the middle of nature and feeling the direct relationship with nature every day – for 23,360 days or 64 years.

This is a little cottage / smallholding / farm (delete according to which decade or century you’re referring to) near Lampeter.

Gladys Pugh has lived here for 64 years. Gladys Pugh is Sharon’s aunty. Gladys Pugh is a legend.

For 64 years, the family have lived without running water or heating. Whereas the majority of us live insulated from nature, living cosy lives with drinking-quality tap water and on-demand heating to maintain summer temperature for 12 months of the year, life here is very different.

Two centuries of natural limestone pepper and contour the surface. Moss creates micro ecosystems on the natural welsh slate.

Dyma fywyd Cymreig a Chymraeg y ganrif ddiwetha’ sy’n mynnu presenoldeb yn y ganrif fodern. Dyma’r ganrif fodern sy’n llusgo a chladdu treftadaeth a ffordd o fyw gyda phob un ohonom yn dyst ac yn cyfrannu i’r newidiadau a’r colliadau.

Mae ffordd Gladys a’i theulu o fyw yn dystiolaeth o’r newidiadau sydd wedi digwydd ym myd amaethyddiaeth. Nid yw tyddynnod gyda chyn lleied o dir yn gynhaliol erbyn hyn. Cynhaliol ym mha ffordd yw’r cwestiwn? Nid ar gyfer cynnal Land Rover Discovery ar y clôs falle. Ond yn gwbwl cynhaliol o safbwynt bwydo teulu wrth gynnal natur. Y ddau yn cyd-fyw llaw yn llaw. Ffordd o fyw sydd wedi cynnal (a magu) teulu gyda chyn lleied o niwed i’r blaned. A gweud y gwir, wedi galluogi i’r darn bach yma o’r blaned i oroesi ac i ffynnu.

Yng nghanol hyn i gyd, mae ymwelwyr cyson ar yr aelwyd. Teulu agos. Teulu niferus. Teulu llawn cymeriadau Cymru’r dyfodol. Teulu croesawgar (diolch am y cinio!)

Pan aethom i fyw yn Penllwynteg nôl ym 1994. mi roedd darn ‘sbwriel’ ar gornel y clôs. Y darn o dir lle’r oedd ‘sbwriel’ y teulu wedi cael ei dosbarthu gan nad oedd casgliadau wythnosol yn digwydd o gwbwl. Mi roedd y darganfyddiadau yn codi gwên bob tro. Darnau o lestri di-ri. Sodlau esgidiau wedi eu haddasu a’u hadfer i’r hoelen ola’. Cols hen danau llawn straeon. Dim plastig. Dim gwastraff. Mi fydde cyfanswm ‘sbwriel’ hanner canrif yn gyfystyr ag un tomen o sbwriel sy’n cael ei adael yn wythnosol heddi’.

Mae rhywun yn teimlo’r un fadd o ddiffyg sbwriel fel cofnod o fodolaeth y tŷ a’i drigolion yn yr achos yma hefyd.

Natural meadows devoid of monoculture. Tree-lined hedges with nettle bank borders. What a natural paradise. Land to serve the human and wildlife occupants equally. This is how I remember farming. This is farming that would sustain my omnivore / carnivore diet. Equally, the lack of this agricultural practice in Wales is why I became a vegetarian.

Every single day here is both wild and peaceful in equal measures.

And I guess the final the word lies with the legend. If a picture paints a thousand words . . . .