For projects you can get involved with, see the links on our local and national surveys page.
The details of the 2013 WBP funded course are now available (flier). The topics this year are Grasses, Woodlice, Rust Fungi and Craneflies. The courses are free, but booking is essential.
If you would like to attend any of the courses, please complete the booking form and return it to email@example.com by 28th May. Attendees will be selected at random on this date.
SEWBReC have taken on the role of co-ordinators for an Urban Bat Survey in Newport. Would you be willing to take on a square? The survey involves going out three times during the summer using a bat detector. There will also be an optional training event at the start of the season, and the opportunity to borrow a bat detector, if required. Please take a look at the survey page for more details, and email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would be interested in taking part.
If you live in Swansea, the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales want to know what species you have seen in your garden. Get involved and report your sightings here
The Glamorgan Bat Group (Swansea & Neath Port Talbot) and Cardiff Bat Group are planning to run Urban Bat Surveys during 2013. These schemes are open to everyone, as training on use of bat detectors can be given. Bat detectors can also be lent out where required.
Swansea and Neath Port Talbot: please contact Debbie Kearsley-Evans (email@example.com) for further information and to express interest.
Cardiff: please contact Alex Pollard (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information and to express interest.
For those interested in plant identification, the newly-formed Glamorgan Botany Group will soon be announcing its planned excursions for 2013. Excursions this year will focus on sites in East Glamorgan, with the main aim of drawing up comprehensive species lists to feed into planned Flora projects for the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI). Anyone with an interest in identifying plants is welcome to attend. If you would like to find out more, please contact David Barden (email@example.com) to be added to the email list.
We have started a "Square of the Month" feature, to encourage recording in 1km squares with few or zero records. Have a look at this month's squares here.
Please help us bring back the buzz by supporting our new appeal. Bumblebee numbers are declining and the recent soggy summers have not helped. A gift of £10 will help us continue to support Britain's bumblebees by adding much needed wildflowers back into our landscape. More details on their website.
There's a new wildlife crime consultancy in South Wales - Guildford Wildlife Crime Consultancy. They are available to run a variety of courses on aspects of wildlife crime. See the flyer and website for further details.
Every summer, Plantlife hears from despairing supporters, upset that a favourite flower-rich verge has been destroyed. In a matter of minutes, a bank covered in beautiful native species is reduced to a shorn strip. It’s heartbreaking stuff for us but even worse for our hungry pollinators and other wildlife.
As a result of this Plantlife have started their Save our road verges campaign. Find out how your council is doing on their interactive map and how you can join in.
Proceedings for the 2012 WBP Conference are now available on the WBP website.
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales is offering the opportunity for groups to get involved with the management of their reserve at Cwm Taf Fechan, with activities including hedge laying, coppicing and footpath maintenance. If you know of a school group, community group, university society or anyone looking for a team building opportunity, please take a look at the flyer.
Information on Dikerogammarus villosus, and advice on stopping the spread from Environment Agency Wales: Killer Shrimp Leaflet
Register your bat sightings at The Big Bat Map, and see batty hotspots around the UK. Don't forget to also send your bat records to us too!
Freshwater sponges come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and have been reported from various locations in Wales, and are frequently seen by divers in particular. They occur in a wide range of habitats including mountain streams, lakes, canals and lowland rivers. You may encounter them at any time of year growing attached to hard substrates such as rocks and stones, woody debris, aquatic plants, artificial structures and mussel shells. In winter the colonies shrink and produce resting bodies called gemmules.
There are about 5 species of freshwater sponge known from Britain, but almost nothing is known about their distribution or habitat preferences. This is mainly because sponge identification is a specialist task, so sightings are rarely recorded.
This is where you can help. Karen Evans is currently working on sponges in Britain. She is interested in finding out more about their distribution and is willing to identify specimens sent to her. Specimens should be sent by post in a small tube preserved in a little alcohol (vodka is ideal). A sample of about 1cm across is enough for identification, but it's greatly preferable if the piece contains gemmules (usually visible as small dark seed-like objects).
Please see the flier for further details and Karen's address.
Invasive species are one of the most serious threats to freshwater biodiversity, both globally and in Britain. A particular cause for concern are the 'freshwater shrimps' (amphipods and isopods) which are often abundant in freshwaters and therefore important in freshwater food chains. Freshwater shrimps do not disperse easily between river basins, but when canals or water transfers occur, these species will readily colonise the new environment, with serious effects on native biodiversity. A recent example is the 'killer shrimp', Dikerogammarus villosus, but there are already 7 established non-native freshwater shrimps in Britain (compared to just 5 native species) and another 15 species are considered high risk.
Funded by Defra, the Freshwater Biological Association has produced a detailed illustrated key that includes all freshwater native and non-native species occurring in Britain, plus those species thought most likely to invade in the near future. This can be downloaded here [pdf, 4.1MB].
In October 2011, the SEWBReC database reached the 2 million record mark. The species in question was the first Welsh record of Old World Webworm (Hellula undalis). The moth was caught by Barry Stewart at Nitten Field on Gower, on the 2nd October during the unseasonably mild weather. Usually found in the tropics, and around the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, it is a pest of crucifers in its natural range.
Photo: Barry Stewart
We've just recieved our first Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata) record since 1923! This lovely minibeast was spotted in Monmouth by Christine Blumer, who reported her sighting to Gwent Wildlife Trust. GWT's Orchard Project Officer, Alice Rees, is on the hunt for the Noble Chafer (Gnorimus nobilis), a rare species which frequents orchards but has never been recorded in Gwent.
Despite this record being for a Rose, rather than Noble, Chafer, SEWBReC were delighted as always to recieve a record for a rare species. Further photos (© Christine Blumer) of the chafer can be viewed in our gallery here.
If you have any records of Chafers of any variety, please submit them to SEWBReC via our online form, and if you have any orchard based records, particularly of the elusive Noble Chafer, please contact Alice Rees at Gwent Wildlife Trust.
Unfortunately Phytophthora ramorum was recently identified in Vaccinium at Gethin woodland. Public access remains open, but visitors are advised to take biosecurity measures – for additional details, please download letter (Word doc, 324KB).
In order to slow the spread of this disease people should familiarise themselves with its symptoms, and employ the recommended precautionary measures when visiting infected areas. For further information, please follow the link to the Phytophthera article below.
Invasive non-native species can have a damaging impact on British plants, animals and ecosystems. They can spread disease, prey on native species and compete with them for food and living space.
If you are a water user, you may unknowingly be helping to spread invasive species from one water body to another in equipment, shoes and clothing.
The Welsh Assembly Government has been working with DEFRA, the EA and other stakeholders to highlight the importance to all recreational and other water users of taking basic, but effective bio-security measures to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. You can help by following three simple steps: check, clean and dry equipment before leaving the water.
For further information, please download the poster - English (pdf, 544KB); Welsh (pdf, 601KB) - or visit www.direct.gov.uk and search for Check Clean Dry.
Phytophthora ramorum (formerly known as 'Sudden Oak Death') and Phytophthora kernoviae are two fungus-like pathogens which affect a range of trees, shrubs and other plants. They have the potential to threaten a variety of important UK habitats, including native heathland, ancient woodland and forestry, heritage parks and gardens, and also the horticultural trade.
There has been a coordinated approach to disease control aimed at containment and eradication of these pathogens since the first UK findings in 2002. In 2009 the decision was reached that more needed to be done, and a 5-year programme was launched with the aim of containing the risk from spreading further. The 3 main work streams are research and development, education and awareness raising, and disease control through clearance of host plants in high risk areas.
Three of the key host plants are Rhododendron, Vaccinium and Japanese Larch, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Symptoms of infection can vary with the type of plant infected. On shrubs, typical symptoms can include blackening of leaves around the midrib and at the tips, and/or wilting and dieback of shoots. Trees can show black lesions (called cankers) on the bark, which 'bleed' a dark sap. You can help: Please report any suspected Phytophthora outbreaks or vast Rhondodendron stands (including landowner details if known) to Kevin Izzard, Higher Phythophthora Project Officer at Fera (Food & Environment Research Agency): Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 01792 313047.
Biosecurity is crucial in preventing the further spread of these pathogens. Key points:
Please take the time to read the Phytophthera public information leaflet (English,Welsh). A wealth of further information and resources are availiable on the Fera website and the Forestry Commission website. For further information on an upcoming awareness presentation to be held at Parc Slip, please visit the events pages.
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