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

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Journal of Earth Surface Processes

If you haven't read Martin J Haigh's Slope retreat and gullying on revegetated surface mine dumps, Waun Hoscyn, Gwent (1980) published in the Journal of Earth Surface Processes then why not. I made my way to this post Second War land reclamation scheme on the flanks of Mynydd Farteg Fawr south of Blaenavon to look for wildlife in this civil engineered landscape.

I know this area well from the days when I was a fervent nest recorder finding nesting lapwing and snipe on the poorly vegetated coal spoil. Nowadays there's greenery, displacing at least the lapwing to other sites with less biomass.

I ambled across a plateau interspersed with shallow ponds and deeply incised gullys. Skylark and meadow pipit were widespread; a female wheatear lingered stubbornly around a watercourse complete with ample nesting sites. A singing male whinchat was located in among a large stand of heather along with a number of active linnet. As I dropped off the plateau into a small well vegetated valley I could hear a reed bunting and to my joy a snipe called repeatedly. The water that runs off this compacted substrate is not free of pollutants the tell tales signs of iron oxide minewater pollution are still evident. On the return back to the car a cuckoo called and was located on a fence post, but as I made a hash of extracting my camera from a tangle of bag straps it took flight and out of range.

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