Why are Robins Christmassy?
True to form the weather has been a mixed bag recently. From Gale strength winds battering your car as you traverse the Menai straits to stunning sunshine in Spring-like Moelfre. There’s been torrential downpours too as well as snow on the aptly named Snowdon mountain range. A glance out the window now though is met with cornflower blue skies and white fluffy clouds. There is a hint of something a little more ominous though as the clouds are travelling at speed and the television aerials are shaking.
On Sunday morning I was out, not in the aforementioned torrential downpours or dramatic winds, but in a dreary grey drizzle that was to be found at Bangor harbour. I had gone along to watch ‘cannon netting’. The professional bird ringers were there to entrap wading birds in order to ring them, a process integral to species monitoring. After a hefty hoard of 400 Dunlin the previous day I think we were all out of luck. The logistics of setting up such a net means that you have to get the birds in the right place and that day there weren’t any birds playing ball. There was just a few dozen bird enthusiasts getting wet in a carpark! Nevertheless, it was great to meet the crew. There were local ringers and trainees as well as some folk from the BTO (that’s the British Trust for Ornithology if you weren’t sure) and everyone was very informative. I was especially happy to hear about all the measures put into place to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the birds. The prospect of firing a net over the birds can seem rather daunting in that respect, but all my doubts were squashed by the various rules and regulations surrounding the process that enables these bird lovers to find out more about the thing whch they devote so much of their lives too.
I was pleased to hear Alan Titchmarsh extolling the virtues of connectivity with nature recently on BBC Breakfast. He may have been plugging his new book but nevertheless our connection with nature is something very close to my heart which I am keen to promote. Go Alan! Two recent visits I’ve made have had a similar thread running through, that of getting our young people involved with nature in their local area. One was a scheme at Treborth botantical gardens, just outside Bangor where local school children have been involved with creating a wonderous wildlife garden equipt with multi-level dipping pond, bug hotel, sensory butterfly patch and even beehives!
The other community involvement project I visited is at the Pili Palas near Menai Bridge. Here, local College lecturer Geraint leads a team of lads who volunteer their time to create a wildlife-rich outdoor area at the acclaimed tourist attraction. Head-keeper Ed showed me around the site recently and showed me the cracking start the group had made in turning the overgrown, unusable area into a specially planned wildlife area which could also be used as an educational facility. Top marks guys! I hope to catch up with group soon and then I can let you know more.
So for now I’d like to leave you with a clip of my dear friend Rob talking about Robins. It’s from a Nottingham university e-advent calendar…it’s festive! http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/adventcalendar/2011/12/02/2-december-robin-red-breast/ red-breast/
Kathy x x x