by Kathy James

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Now you’ve moved too!

Hello,

It’s taken me a while, but I have now transferred your subscriptions to the new website – high five!

I worked this out slightly after publishing my latest blog (including videos) about a starling murmuration today on Anglesey… Please check it out here.

The next time I blog it should wing it’s way straight to your inbox ūüôā

Thanks for sticking with me!

Kathy x

I’ve moved!

This is a post just to say that the Naturebites blog has moved to the new website.

I thought I had moved all the info, including all your email subscriptions,¬†from this blog site across to the new home of the blog. Unfortunately when I posted a blog on the new site last week I realised that it didn’t get sent out to you guys!¬†Website design is not my forte!

I intend to sort this problem out and re-subscribe each and everyone of you. In the meantime, please visit the new website as I have blogged and I would love you to read it!

A cute rabbit to appease you while I rectify the issue!

Thanks for your support as always,

Kathy x

Anglesey Birds – An October Review

The irony of turning my hobby into gainful employment is that I am increasingly spending less time outdoors whilst I attend to the business side of things! To prove that one of us is still ‘out and about’ here is a guest blog from my friend, birder and now colleague Ken Croft…

“The month began well with the long-staying Osprey on the Inland Sea. Together with Kathy James and Elgan Hearn (Holyhead & Anglesey Mail), we managed to get close enough through a ‘scope to read the ring on it’s leg as it perched on a post. A Pied Flycatcher in the Holyhead Breakwater Country Park (BCP) on the 4th was the first of a good run of scarce Anglesey birds at this site (although breeding close by on the mainland Pied Fly’s are very seldom seen on this side of the Menai Straits).

A calm, sunny day on the 6th and I was stopped in my tracks at Soldier’s Point by a gorgeous Firecrest. Unfortunately this bird disappeared before Alan & Ruth (of Biggest Twitch fame) arrived, but shortly after they left and I had moved on into the BCP I was soon on the phone and they were heading back. I had found a little gem from the east in the form of a Yellow-browed Warbler, this little beauty stayed for them to see. Alan returned the favour a couple of days later on the 8th when he found a Spoonbill on the Inland Sea, this bird was still present the next day when I found it feeding with an amazing total of forty-one Little Egrets!

A Firecrest was the next good bird to grace the BCP on the 10th, my first Redwing of the autumn was at Soldier’s Point the next day. As I was driving into the BCP on the 13th, a pale-looking bird in a hawthorn bush caught my eye and I was quickly reversing back trying to beat two approaching dog walkers! I just had time enough to confirm it as a Barred Warbler before it was flushed . This was the 9th record of this species for Anglesey, the last eight of which have all occured on my local patch, the only other record was way back in 1910 on The Skerries. The problem for me now was relocating the bird, but luck was with me and I quickly nailed it down before the first birders arrived. This bird proved quite showy for a Barred Warbler, usually very skulking birds; it remained until the 16th.

Walking back from the BCP on the 15th, I checked out the warm sheltered area below the top road at Soldier’s Point, it was alive with birds; Goldcrests, Long-tailed Tits, Great, Blue and Coal Tits and amongst this throng of birds I found another Yellow-browed Warbler. This bird was very mobile as it moved around this roving tit flock. My hot streak continued the next day, in a morning of thunderstorms, sleeting rain and hailstones I found a 1st winter Red-breasted Flycatcher. The bird remained in the ‘Cathedral’ (a stand of tall trees near the BCP quarry face) all day. It was the 11th record of this species for Anglesey, eight of the last nine also¬†occurring¬†on my ‘patch’.

On the 19th, I found my 3rd Yellow-browed Warbler of the month; this one at Soldier’s Point and with others being found at Hen Felin (14th) and at Penmon (24th). These five birds made up the best year ever for Yellow-broweds on Anglesey. The first record of this species occurring as recently as 1985, these five bring Anglesey’s total up to 37 (25 of which have been found either at Soldier’s Point or the BCP and all but one of the 37 have occurred in the month of October).

After many days of searching in vain this year, I finally found a couple of Lapland Buntings on The Range on the 21st. As usual, they were very confiding, shuffling about under my feet. The 25th was a bit special on the Inland Sea with the Osprey hovering overhead and a stunning Great Northern Diver in full breeding plumage regally patrolling the water, then as I made my way to Four Mile Bridge I was greeted by 21 Mediterranean Gulls (11 adults, 8 2nd winter and 2 1st winter).

The month finished with a wintry feel when four Whooper Swans flew in high from the North-West over Soldier’s Point with four Eider also arriving the same day. I hope there are still a few passage migrants to be found, but I fear I’m going to have to go into winter-birding mode.”

It is testimony to Ken’s modesty that he doesn’t mention that, with the exception of the Skerries record in 1910 (which was not even alive!), he has found all the Barred Warblers that have ever been recorded on Anglesey. And if that weren’t impressive enough, he also spotted all eight Red-breasted Flycatchers and all twenty-five Yellow-browed Warblers¬†in the Holyhead area

I hope you enjoyed reading about Ken’s October as much as I did?!

Kathy x

Starling Murmurations

With one week to go until our guided walk around Malltraeth Marsh, Ken and I went to see what the starlings had in store for us… It was a quiet start which gave us a chance to spot Little Egrets and Whooper Swans amongst the flooded reed beds. Ravens escorted us along the path as they headed to their evening roost.

A small group of around thirty starlings appeared from somewhere over the A55. Then the odd individual appeared in dribs and drabs before tens of flocks containing thousands of birds made their way to this central point from all directions. Black slicks of birds snaked through the sky; dancing their way across the landscape like Chinese dragons. Some flocks impressed more with their sheer size as they passed directly over our heads wings beating audibly in unison.

The photo below shows David watching a distant flock of birds approach.

 

Over in their destination (some fields above the reed beds) the Starlings collected in black mass. No two occasions are the same when watching the performance of a collection of Starlings as they go in to roost, you never know quite know whether the show will be direct and short or whether there’ll be a spectacular encore. Tonight, we had the most fabulous display. Much to the surprise of the sheep in the field, the mass of Starlings took off, swirled and contorted around above the reeds. What is so impressive to me is that the shapes created by the birds are not flat, opaque images but stunning three-dimensional structures with light a pivotal part of the overall effect.

As I’ve mentioned, you can come and see this amazing spectacle for yourself… join Ken and I next Sunday (November 11th) for a guided walk of Malltraeth Marsh between 3:30pm and 5pm (adults ¬£10/ children free). Call 07790431078 or email Kathy@naturebites.co.uk if you want to know more or to book your place (booking essential).

Photographers also extremely welcome as the phone snapshot I have included goes no way to expressing the magnitude of the event unfolding!

Be great to share this wonder of the natural world with you…

Kathy x

Rainforest Reporter

This spring I was fortunate enough to make it to the final of a UK-wide competition, run by Tesco in conjunction with the RSPB, to find a “Rainforest Reporter”. It was an altogether amazing experience and I didn’t even win! Imagine how the winner, Gareth Jones, would have felt?! His training involved a day’s¬†tuition from the rather hunky Ed Stafford, an adventurer and explorer and the first man ever to walk the length of the Amazon river.

Following on from the frivolities of the London final and the celebrity training Gareth then set off on the more serious journey of a trip to Sierra Leone. From the Gola rainforest, Gareth produced a series of short blogs about conservation efforts by the RSPB and their overseas partners. Most importantly, for me, he spent time with the real heroes of rainforest conservation, the people well and truly on the front line. I am delighted to be able to read one of Gareth’s articles on today’s Guardian Environment pages. You had read the beautifully written article here.

The together for trees project is a true conservation project, not just for a species, but for an ecosystem. The people are as integral to this project as the trees themselves. Sustainable livelihoods in a thriving forest, let’s hope so!

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It’s actually very easy to ignore the ‘eco-messages’ that every business is now obliged to purvey, perhaps the Tesco ¬†‘Together for Trees’ message has passed you by? Feel how you may about Tesco and their exploits, this can only be seen as a step in the right direction; buy the together for trees reusable bags when you need one, donate your clubcard points when you’re feeling generous – if we’re opting in to the conglomerate scheme then let’s direct it where we want it to go!

As an RSPB member, and ex-employee, Gareth’s voyage of discovery fills me with great hope. With the RSPB claim that 91 pence in every pound donated is spent on conservation, ‘ to know it’s getting to the right places.

Congratulations to Gareth for spreading the good news from the forests. It’s great to know that all is not yet lost, not yet.

Kathy x

P.s- thank you to Gareth for the use of his photographs.

Exciting news!!

I am extremely pleased (and excited) to announce that Ken and I are now offering guided wildlife tours on Anglesey!!

Birds will obviously be our main focus (Ken is the Birdman of Anglesey after all!), but we will also show you Anglesey’s spectacular scenery and catch up with seasonal wildlife spectacles.

 

There will soon be a¬†spangly¬†new website for you to peruse and seasonal tours for you to choose from, until then just give us a call or drop us an email and we can have a chat about what you’d like to see and do.

We’re hoping you’ll want to join us yourself, or perhaps buy a tour as a gift for another nature lover and we’re happy to book you in for dates in the future ūüôā ¬†Beginners will benefit from tailored tuition, leaving you with the skills¬†necessary¬†to observe wildlife when you leave us. Experts will benefit from our ‘patch’ knowledge and Ken’s Anglesey birds expertise.

Really excited to share this news with you and hope that some of you will join us for a tour!

Kathy & Ken xxx

A Focus on Nature.

There is really only one thing that I need to go outdoors and observe wildlife to the extent that I do; binoculars. At different points through the year I might be clad in shorts and flip-flops or layer upon layer to fight off those impressive Anglesey winds, but to really see the magic of a tiny Goldcrest or a far away Godwit I need a little magnification!

Whilst working at Cemlyn Bay this summer, I briefly met a lady called Lucy (working as part of a team to promote young conservationists) and as any diligent blogger would I quickly dashed off as I was on my way to a scoop; namely kayaker John Willacy had just arrived back from circumnavigating Britain in his boat.

After filming John’s return (still to this day I have not shared the footage, as my blog will not upload it) I found out more about the programme that Lucy is a part of. ‘A Focus on Nature’ (AFON) is an organisation to “open eyes…minds…and imagination” of young conservationists and to nurture their career in this field. The panel, consisting of Stephen Moss (nature writer, broadcaster and BAFTA award-winning television producer, notably the original producer of Springwatch and producer of Big Cat Diary), Pete Gamby (dynamic sales and marketing manager for Opticron), Dr Rob Lambert (Environmental Historian from Nottingham University and one of the most interesting folk you’ll ever meet) and of course Lucy (McRobert), an Environmental History graduate and nature writer.

This inspiring team of visionaries have developed the idea of AFON and now offer youngsters setting out in a career of conservation the chance to develop their field skills with a pair of binoculars (an often very expensive and yet essential edition to someone’s kit). Although this an opportunity for many, the candidates do have to compete for their optics; showing their passion for conservation through nature-writing, photography and more.

It may have been that I decided to write about AFON in a desperate plea for their assistance, luckily this is not the case. Having submitted work from this very blog, the panel have selected me as one of the recipients of their award. Amazing! Thank you.

It may be apparent from my posts and photographs that I have¬†benefited¬†from use of binoculars throughout, these weren’t mine though. The adorable Ken Croft, my birding mentor and friend, used to lend me his super-duper binoculars and forfeit his own sightings (a difficult thing for a birder to do, believe me) and latterly he lent me an old pair of binoculars to see me through my contract with the Wildlife Trust at Cemlyn Bay. Massive thanks to Ken for his kindness and generosity here.

Without these binoculars I may not have made it through to the final of the Rainforest Reporter competition, written many of my blogs or seen any of the wondeful birds I’ve caught up with this year.

So yes, this AFON prize of Opticron binoculars is very relevant and not wasted on somebody who won’t benefit; I am very excited and will cherish this prize! I have so many plans for the future and for my career and these binoculars will kick-start me on my way. Wahoo!

You can check out other winning entries and even apply for yourself here. This scheme is set up to help, so please don’t be intimidated. The panel want to encourage you, so apply and see how you get on! For those that won’t be applying, I’d still check out the site as I expect that we’ll hear more from these names in the future and you’ll meet them there first!

Kathy x (eagerly anticipating her new binoculars!!)

Albatross

Albatross is a mighty fine tune by one of my all time favourite bands ‘Fleetwood Mac’. In fact, how about setting the scene by opening up a new a tab and playing it as you read?! Just click here.

The reason I have chosen to call this post ‘Albatross’ has nothing to do with the instrumental though. Yesterday, Wednesday 19th September I received a call from Dave Bateson, the reserve warden up at RSPB South Stack. Having already spoken to Ken, he knew that I was (unfortunately) working down the other end of the island and would not be able to dash for a chance to see a passing Black-Browed Albatross. I don’t think you need to be in ‘birding’ circles to appreciate quite what a bird an albatross is, famed throughout the world because of their enormous wingspan, longevity, loyalty and a symbol of hope lost to sailors in the ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.

It is becoming a trend that phenomenal things are sighted from South Stack when I am down in Menai Bridge. Almost this time last year Ken watched as a pod of Orca made their way northwards past the stack. I had been living on the reserve at the time and disappointingly¬†found myself receiving Ken’s excited call as I walked along the High Street of Menai Bridge, past the Indian take-aways, bakery and coffee shops, miles from the spectacle outside my own bedroom window. In an annoying repetition of history, I was walking in exactly the same place yesterday when I received Dave’s call about the probable Albatross.

Unfortunately, neither I nor Ken (conveniently sea-watching from exactly the right place) managed to see an Albatross, Black-Browed or otherwise. However the texts and twitter speculation soon spread (like wildfire, or perhaps the common cold).

The birding world is well-connected these days; the bird lines and alerts have evolved, are well used and form the ornithological backbone of Britain. With the advent of social media (particularly twitter)¬†and smart phones sightings can be seen by followers all of the world in a matter of seconds. It is fascinating (and also scary) to think that an hour after this “possible Black-Browed Albatross” sighting, it had been coupled with an unconfirmed sighted of the same species from the Isle of Man the previous day and that it was stated that it was now likely that this was an individual that used to visit the Scottish Island of Sula Sgeir. Perhaps is it. Perhaps one or both of these possibles was a definite? And perhaps this Albatross is visiting the North Atlantic rock of Sula Sgeir. And perhaps this is the same individual that has been sighted there before.

Black-Browed Albatross, should after all be breeding on the other side of the world. The likelihood of multiple birds travelling up the Irish Sea is small, but there has often been speculation about the number that may be taking refuge on our remote islands. Who knows?! I certainly don’t and without politely asking Mister Albatross to explain himself I think I’m unlikely to find out.

It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that this Albatross has in fact being visiting Scotland since 1967 when an Albatross was recorded on Bass Rock amongst the Gannets. After this date there were various sightings at various Scottish locations (Gannets close at hand). Indeed, our very own Ken Croft saw his one and only Black-Browed Albatross from South Stack Reserve back in 2005. It is thought that this is the individual that was then known to reside on Sula Sgeir, but perhaps not. Perhaps we have multiple long-distance visitors that despite their grand proportions slip unnoticed to the remote islands of Scotland.

Fascinating as their story may be, I think there is an allure in the unknown. Part of me hopes that they go on avoiding our gaze, seeking solace in our still wild places.

Kathy X

Helvellyn Triathlon

My last post was all about ‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon’. The week was all about enthusing people about our surrounding sea and through the varied and interesting range of events I am happy that we succeeded. Different local businesses and charities were involved, all benefiting from extra exposure and some from monetary donations. I can now add to that by letting you know how much money we raised for the Marine Conservation Society. Anglesey Wildlife Walks contributed 50% of the ticket price of the Heathland and Seals guided walk; Glyn Davies donated 20% of the ticket price of his talk “Welsh Light”; Carol Mead had a donations box in her studio (where she is a personal trainer) and also gave up her time for free with a seaside poetry workshop where she collected ¬£4 per child towards the cause; Laura (who runs Ann’s Pantry in Moelfre) very kindly baked some delicious madeleines and donated 20% of the price of those sold. In total these guys raised a brilliant ¬£99 which is now winging it’s way over to the Marine Conservation Society. I was also able to add gift aid to that donation, increasing the money to ¬£123.75. Good old gift aid!

Everyone that attended an event should have had the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win ‘A Field Guide to the Marine Fishes of Wales and Adjacent Waters’ donated by the Marine Conservation Society to celebrate the eight days of ¬†‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon’. Using the time honoured method of closing your eyes and delving around with your hand, the name we conjured up at random is Steve Lawson who joined us on Outdoor Active‘s¬†exhilarating¬†coasteering session. I hope Steve and his family enjoy this beautiful book.

Since¬†‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon’ I have been lucky enough to take a trip to the beautiful Lake District and, rather fortunately, during perhaps the best weather of the year so far! Get in! I had gone along to Ambleside as a spectator to the Helvellyn Triathlon where around 700 crazy people decided to swim 1 mile though the seemingly black Ullswater, cycle 38 miles on the road (including up the aptly named ‘struggle’) and run 9 miles over the 3118 feet of Helvellyn. In my book, anyone that completes that deserves an Olympic medal.

At these events being a birder really comes into it’s own; everyone struggles to make out their loved ones in the sea of lycra and rubber and I stand there¬†smugly¬†with my all-seeing bino-vision. Having watched the swim and the seething mass of shiny wetsuits and blue caps in the first wave I headed off up Helvellyn; the place of legends.

I don’t know why I hadn’t gone with her; but one weekend perhaps sixteen years ago my Mum went on a Helvellyn adventure. Teamed up with a climbing instructor and a bunch of kids she set out to the summit of Helvellyn via Striding Edge; the name alone conjures fearful images in my mind. On many occasions my Mum has recounted the tale of how the children skipped along the rocky ridge whilst she clung to the ground sobbing with a steep drop to her right and and certain death to her left.

The mist was rolling in over the top of Helvellyn as I approached and this gave me reason to think about approach from a different angle, missing out the infamous Striding Edge. Down where I was at that moment, the sun was baking me and I stopped to drink and asked a couple that I’d caught up with if they’d like a photo together (I figure if I do this enough times people will also randomly ask me and my friends and family on other occasions where a group photo is absolutely neccessary!). The couple turned out to be Jill and Ken who’s son Chris was competing in the triathlon. We kept the same pace and I hope they don’t mind that we chatted all the way up to the point where the paths diverged and it was either straight up the mountain or via Striding Edge (dum, dum, duuummmm!).

Retelling my Mum’s story to the pair fired Kens memories of a long forgotten trip over striding edge and from then on he was set on joining me on that rather unwelcoming, misty knife-edge.

I did my best crab impression on the very top of the ridge at times, but to be quite honest the mist had cleared and I could do nothing but admire the stunning view and think of my lovely Mum with her ‘being-at-height issues’ and enjoy the moment for her. Jill bounded on ahead despite saying she wouldn’t look down.

The worst bit for me was a scramble up some crumbling scree before we reached the safety of the summit. I like a rock you can trust.

Here is Ken and Jill at the summit:

I had a brief moment of false-joy when I was privileged to be in the lead of all the runners as two headed up the second rise of their run (White Side). These first two powered past me with unbelievable speed and were fifteen minutes ahead of their nearest competitors.

My seemingy slow descent allowed be to say “Well done” to the first 138 runners before I reached the bottom, equally sweaty and exhausted as the triatheletes embarrassingly. Ken and Jill’s son Chris came a very respectable 28th. I think everyone that took part was completely amazing though. To add insult to injury whilst those triatheletes were probably skipping over a mountain or two I was greeted my two red and swollen knees the following day. Oh dear.

Knees now fully recovered, I am back in North Wales and inviting you to join in with a beach clean I am organising at Porth Dafarch on Holy Island (Anglesey) on Monday 17th September. It will start at 3:30pm and is part of the Marine Conservation Society’s ‘Big Beachwatch Weekend’. I adopted this beach last year and had a great team of helpers turn up. Would you like to help this time? For more info please email: Kathy@naturebites.co.uk Hope you can make it!

Kathy x

A Big Thank You!!

What a week?!

It exhausted me, but ‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon’ is now over. It took two whole days off nothingness to help me¬†recuperate¬†(the first bank holiday I’ve not worked since goodness knows when), however it was all worth it!

The whole idea was to create a week of events to enthuse people about the sea and we definitely succeeded. It may have been my brainchild, but it could not have gone ahead without the hard work of the event organisers and volunteers which gave up their time.

I am happy with where we’re at; a marine week that Anglesey can be proud of, build upon and enjoy!¬†There are learning points for next years event, of course, but with the basics now laid out the island can take hold of the event if it wishes and run away with imaginative ideas for inspiring people in 2013. Good luck Mon Mam Cymru!

All, but one, events were attended and I would like to thank Elgan Hearn from the Holyhead & Anglesey Mail for his part in that. I was surprised at the recognition I got from having my snorkel-clad face in the local paper!

We had the rain to thank for the poorly attended ‘Spot the Dolphin’ which was such a shame as we were perhaps on the best place on the island that day. Tucked below the lighthouse at Point Lynas we saw porpoise feeding throughout the two hours. To ¬†my delight I spotted a mother with calf breaching the surface, with their seeming singular body and double dorsal fin. A special moment thanks to Emily and Lauren from Seawatch Foundation.

The week was kicked off at Moelfre Lifeboat Day where I was astounded by the feat of organisation by the commitee; a real triumph and ¬†a regular date in the diaries of regular visitors and islanders alike. Emily and Lauren from the ‘Spot the Dolphin’ event held a stall in the Seawatch Centre and chatted to people about cetaceans as well as the work of the Marine Conservation Society – thank you ladies! Also, thanks to Rod, Mandy and all the other commitee members that organised Moelfre Lifeboat Day on the whole.

The weather was on our side for most of the week (unlikely as that seems!) with Sunday getting off to a drizzley start. Nonetheless, Caroline from Anglesey Wildlife Walks entertained us out on ‘the range’ (or Penrhosfeilw Common). Although we didn’t see any seals we heard about many of the medicinal uses of the plants that although beautiful can be so easily overlooked.

On Monday I headed back to Cemlyn where I had spent the summer as a tern warden for the North Wales Wildlife Trust. This time I joined in with a trust of the national variety as we ripped out an old kissing gate and replaced it with a shiny new one. Surprisingly, although the original gate was seemingly fine, it was not wide enough for our new physiques… the guys from the National Trust cheerily advised me that there we many more that needed replacing should I fancy it.

The seawatch at RSPB South Stack was rather lacking on the ol’ bird front, but that’s just the way of the world. It was a beautiful evening enjoyed by quite a crowd as we explored the heath in full bloom the last remaining chick on the sea cliffs, a chubby fulmar. This was also the first event at which we were joined by Alison who had come to North Wales specifically to join in with Anglesey Marine Week festivities.

On Tuesday, I missed out on a guided walk at Cemlyn by the Friends of Anglesey Coastal Path. Chris managed to make it though and he text me to say ” Lovely walk around Cemlyn Bay today. Nice pace, good company”, I was pleased. Chris really made the most of Anglesey Marine Week attending eight of the weeks events!

The next event was a guided walk of Newborough Warren by Graham Williams, the CCW reserves manager. We were all¬†flabbergasted by Graham’s knowledge; he showed us the intricate relationships between the plant species, insects, mammals and birds as well as throwing in a bit of social history for good measure. When we stopped for lunch, Chris had to remind us to let Graham eat as we continued to bombard him with questions!

Whilst I was being windswept on Newborough Warren, the National Trust were at it again at Cemlyn Bay with a fully booked driftwood carving session… photos welcome guys…?!

Wednesday was a very hectic day with drama coming from Dave from Outdoor Active (the coasteering provider). Dave had very kindly agreed to collect the extra chairs needed for Glyn Davies’ talk later that evening. In the meantime however he managed to slip and stab himself in the hand with a knife! Ouch! Dave was in the capable hands of Bangor A&E department and I needed to find some chairs now that our original supplier was shut. So huge thanks to Nigel Brown of Treborth Botanical Gardens for his help in keeping us sat down for “Welsh Light” in Glyn’s gallery.

“Welsh Light” came at the end of a very busy day and was the perfect¬†antidote. We admired Glyn’s stunning landscapes and were transported by his poetic descriptions. Glyn is a captivating speaker and I gained a brilliant understanding of his motivations which are much more complex than merely to take a pretty picture. His emotional connection with the sea, for me, summed up the importance of Anglesey Marine Week; our unspoilt world is food for the soul.

Despite having joined the Friends of Anglesey Coast Path down at Malltraeth Estuary on Thursday morning, I spent almost the entire time with Adam and Jeremy from BBC Radio Wales (sorry guys!!). The ‘friends’¬†diligently¬†picked up litter and kept the coast path accessible whilst I chatted about Anglesey Marine Week and our brilliant coast for the weekly programme ‘Science Cafe’. Until Tues 4th September you can listen to the episode here – Science Cafe Seaside Special.

The weather forecast for Friday was terrible, but instead of heavy downpours I was greeted at Cemlyn by red hot sunshine and the smiley faces of Nia and Ben from the North Wales Wildlife Trust. Here we undertook everyone’s favourite seashore past-time, rockpooling! We produced a great haul! I was particularly excited to find a sandeel and felt that this was my most advanced qualification yet to work with seabirds ūüôā Hat’s off to the youngsters though as they really did us proud! Our specimen trays were full to the brim with sticklebacks, blennys, shrimp, crabs and the most gigantic prawns!

Last Saturday I was joined by my friend Anna for the weekend and she and I went along to Carol Mead’s childrens’ poetry workshop down in Llys Llewelyn, Aberffraw. The info had said for 6-11yr olds, we were all engrossed! Carol read from her award-winning book ‘Sea Things’ and we joined in, wobbling like a wibble-wobble-ish Jellyfish! It was particularly pleasing that a young chap inspired by his rockpooling with the Wildlife Trust the day before had come along to express himself through this medium. Having too much fun, we ran over time and Anna and I dashed off to join in with the last event of the week up at Porth Dafarch.

As mentioned before, Dave from Outdoor Active had managed to stab his own hand and spent Saturday having surgery in a Liverpool hospital and so was unable to jump off cliffs with us! In his place, the lovely Geraint lead us round the stunning coast left out of Porth Dafarch. Our group was diverse, aged 10-60 and with varying levels of ability and bravery. We swam, scrambled, climbed and jumped our way along the course for two hours. I was very happy scrambling around the rocks, but my legs turned to jelly (like the wibble-wobble-ish Jellyfish) when I had to jump in. I was completely put to shame by ten year old Grace who showed us all how to do it. With out a doubt she was the most fearless participant and I wish could have captured the look of disappointment on her face when we turned to head home.

So that was it. Anglesey Marine Week over.

The feedback I’ve had from everyone that’s joined in has been great and if you are, I’m definitely on for next year?!

A massive thank you to everyone that gets a mention in this post and also Laura from Ann’s Pantry, Hayley from RSPB South Stack, Ann and Angus from the Friends of Anglesey Coastal Path, Gwynfor and Bryn from the National Trust, Ken Croft & David Wright for their time volunteering at the South Stack seawatch, Jon Pinnington (North Wales Tourist Guide), Steffan Hughes from the Anglesey County Council Tourism Department, Danielle Gibas from Seawatch Foundation, Gareth Owen from Keep Wales Tidy and Rebecca O’Dowd from the Marine Conservation Society.

Thank you to everyone who made Anglesey Marine Week a success!

Kathy x

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