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

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Sentinals

A couple of weeks ago I spent a soggy Sunday morning wandering around the clearfell that is Blaenavon Community Woodland. Managed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) the majority of this conifir woodland was recently felled under a plant health notice due to a phytophthora infection. A massive ecological pertubation such as this provides a very good opportunity to study the processes of succession.

I was pleased to see a cluster of standing deadwood. There are mutterings amongst the local dog walkers as to their purpose. The heavy rain suppressed most birdlife, but the haul road tracks were starting the recolonise nicely with pioneer vegetation. This parsley piert was common on bare mud.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Guitar hero

There can't too many places where 1960s graffiti has survived the attention of public funded clean up teams. The 'Free Wales' slogan daubed on the cast iron framework of a railway bridge on the outskirts of Blaenavon was a very visible demonstration of the socio-political feeling of the time. Those responsible for recent bridge refurbishment work were unable to recognise the importance of such a political statement within the context of modern day social history and it was regrettably painted over. Thankfully this Jimi Hendrix graffiti is tucked away on another bridge several miles south and has been preserved by virtue of being beyond the public gaze. Long may it survive!

A short walk close to home down the former railway line now a multi user leisure route with the objective of helping my son photograph some natural textures was notable for numbers of singing birds. An orange ladybird was found over wintering on the underside of a cherry laurel leaf and a damaged hart's tongue fern was characteristic of the leaf mine of the micro moth the fern smut.

Running adjacent to the leisure route is Snatchwood Park a private former Victorian parkland landscape complete with heritage trees. This beech tree has been modified for access probably by pigeon shooters. Hopefully more from this site in due course.

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