Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 8 September 2013


A late posting from 1st September reports on my jolly around the bings of Blaenavon. What are bings I hear you say? Bings are Scottish for spoil tips or slag heaps. These features are ideal for all wannabe naturalists, variable in aspect, chemical composition and age they are the prefect resource for the study of vegetational succession. Bare ground, lichen heath, acid grassland its all to be found on this unintentional exercise in habitat creation by our industrial forefathers. Its a paradox that not too long ago this landscape was vilified as unkempt and derelict now enlightenment has championed its abundant natural history. And with the continued loss of similar sites across south Wales Blaenavon is set to become an island of bing biological diversity amongst the stealth of urban development.

It was notable as the first coat wearing session of the autumn. Birds were a tad thin on the ground a wheatear broke the duck followed by a family party of stonechat. As the temperatures improved the grayling butterflies started to appear with up to half a dozen on a sunny warm south facing bing supported by an odd small tortoiseshell. Where the spoil gives way to more traditional upland habitat round leaved sundew could still be found in flower amongst the sphagnum. On return the sun was now doing its stuff and to my surprise a late green tiger beetle alighted close to foot.

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