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Posts Tagged ‘birdwatching’

The sea is a mysterious place – millions and millions of gallons of water home to marinelife both above and below the sea’s surface. I am at my most relaxed and chilled when I am on a boat watching anything from dolphins to birds. And a bird you can almost guarantee to see is the Gannet. It is huge, very white and definitely my favourite.

Image of a Gannet by Richard Towell Flicr

Its’ long body, pointed wings with black tips and summery yellow head make it unmistakable. The bill is the Gannet’s most important tool. When they find a shoal of fish they hold their wings back and become a straight, pointed dagger. Dropping at speed, they plunge the water, catch their fish and rise to the surface to eat their prey within seconds.

This year I went out on a boat to see thousands of Gannets breeding on the small island, Bass Rock, in Scotland. It was certainly a sensory experience. The smell (very smelly and fishy!), the sight (a spectacle), the sound (a grating cacophony) and the taste (seasalt on your lips).

If you’d like to see your own Gannet watch from a coastal vantage point looking out to the horizon, get out onto a special boat trip or if you don’t like boats watch young Gannets currently still in their nests at Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire.

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Nature reserves are great places for wildlife but these islands of good habitat need constant management to keep them in perfect condition for wildlife. Listen to this latest podcast from the Wildlife Trusts of South and West Wales about how volunteers are working on the reserve at West Williamson in Pembrokeshire to make space for Brown Hairstreak Butterflies.
Click here to listen to this episode about managing for brown hairstreak butterflies on West Williamston Nature Reserve, Pembrokeshire

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales manages around 90 wildlife reserves in Wales, from Cardiff to Aberystwyth, including the island reserves of Skokholm and Skomer. Our volunteers and Local Groups help us manage these, Local Groups also run a wide variety of events.

We stand up for wildlife, making it as accessible as possible for everyone. As a charity we rely on members, donations, legacies and grants to continue our work.

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South Wales boasts some of the best coastline in Britain and the tiny islands of Skokholm and Skomer are considered by many to be the elite in seabird watching sites.

Listen to this, the first in a series of podcasts from the Wildlife Trusts of South and West Wales, who manage these island reserves for wildlife, to hear about the islands ecology and the amazing work of wardens and volunteers to conserve these amazing microhabitats!

Click here to listen to this episode about Skokholm Island

The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales manages around 90 wildlife reserves in Wales, from Cardiff to Aberystwyth, including the island reserves of Skokholm and Skomer. Our volunteers and Local Groups help us manage these, Local Groups also run a wide variety of events.

We stand up for wildlife, making it as accessible as possible for everyone. As a charity we rely on members, donations, legacies and grants to continue our work.

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If you get up a bit early, wrap up warm and head outside, there is a whole amazing world of sound waiting for you. See how our early birds got on at Bristol BioBlitz: one of our Meet the Species accredited events.

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This time Laura tells us all about sorting out your bird feeders to attract feathery friends to your garden!

Click here to find out more about the Wildlife Garden Project

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Ornithologist (bird expert) Ed Drewitt gives us an overview of the urban peregrine – the once persecuted predator that we have welcomed back into our city homes.

The Peregrine is a bird of speed, power and grace. And wherever you are in the UK it is likely there is one in a town near you. As natural sites have become saturated with nesting Peregrines new breeding birds have moved into towns and cities, trading in rocky crags and sea cliffs for tall office blocks, cathedrals and pylons. In some cities such as Bristol you are more likely to see a Peregrine than a Sparrowhawk, Kestrel or Buzzard.

Urban Peregrine – photo courtesy nebirdsplus

Crow-sized, they can reach speeds of up to 200 miles per hour in a lightning speed dive in which they strike prey with their sharp talons. It is often assumed they just eat pigeons – in fact these only make up half of the diet in urban places. Peregrines also dine on birds from woodland and garden birds to small gulls and wading birds. When the daylight fades and street lamps switch on, Peregrines work a night shift catching nocturnally migrating birds such as Woodcocks, Little Grebes and Water Rails.

Peregrine in Flight – photo courtesy Larry Meade

Look out for Peregrines on tall buildings in town and cities – they perch towards the top on a ledge or gargoyle. In flight their wings look fluttery and effortless.

Click on these links to check out Ed’s appearences doing extreme bird ringing and visiting the urban peregrines of Bath for the BBC.

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The Wildlife Garden Project show us how and why we should be making our own Bird Boxes to attract woodland birds to nest in our gardens!

Click here for more tips and to follow the progress of Lauras garden

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