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

Sunday, 21 April 2019

High school old boys

Its been a few years since I kicked the dust around the lower Afon Lwyd. This section of the river is on the outskirts of Caerleon and not far from its confluence with the River Usk. From the Newport High School Old Boys rugby pitch access is easy to the rivers edge via well worn footpaths. As with most valley rivers there is an enormous amount of invasive non-native plant species on show, from Japanese knotweed, to Spanish bluebell and Himalayan balsam. But the most striking vegetational component was an extensive carpet of flowering ramson, along with clear evidence that some were being dug up. However much of the ramson population was suffering from damage caused by the arum rust fungus.

In an opening around half a dozen sand martin circled but there was no evidence of a nesting site. In a bend in the river were a number of otter spraints. Walking upstream I was in sight of the Star Industrial Estate where it appears heavy vehicles are accessing and damaging a nice wet alder woodland comprising marsh marigold and yellow flag iris. On the way back I could pick out a few flowering wych elm and a knot of slow worm were revealed from beneath a discarded builders rubble bag.

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