by Kathy James

Archive for July, 2012

Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon

From August 18th-25th, naturebites is pleased to present ‘Anglesey Marine Week/ Wythnos Morol Mon’; a week of events to enthuse you about Anglesey’s surrounding marine environment.

Listed below is the current timetable of events, please scroll right down as events are taking place every day and I don’t want you to miss out!

Saturday 18th August

Moelfre Lifeboat Day 10am-9pm

  • Through naturebites I have arranged for the Marine Conservation Society to hold a stall at this event, so please pop and say hi and also find out more about the conservation of our precious seas.

Sunday 19th August

Heathland and Seals 10:30am-12:30pm

  • Take a leisurely walk around the range (Penrhosfeilw common near South Stack) and find out more about the rare maritime heathland in full flower. Watch for seal activity off the headland and look for Gannets and other passing seabirds. Learn some of the names of the wildlife in Welsh and about some of the traditional uses of the coastal and heathland plants.
  • This event has been organised by Anglesey Wildlife Walks for ‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon’. The event costs £4 for adults/£2 for children with 50% of this being donated to the Marine Conservation Society.
  • Places are limited so please contact Kathy from naturebites to book. Email: naturebites.wordpress@gmail.com or call 07790431078.

Spot the Dolphin! 12:00-14:00pm

  • Join Sea Watch Foundation for a land-based watch looking for dolphins and porpoise and maybe (fingers crossed) whales!
  • £2 adults, children and dogs free!
  • Meet at the village car park in Llaneilian.

Monday 20th August

Coast Path Volunteer Afternoon 12:30pm-3:30pm

  • Join the National Trust at Cemlyn Bay for an afternoon of coast path repair. Volunteers are a vital part of the National Trust team on Anglesey; learn new skills whilst also helping to maintain our fabulous Anglesey coast path.
  • This event is FREE.
  • Please wear sensible shoes for working outdoors and meet at the Bryn Aber car park (the west one past the house with the big wall).

Seawatch at South Stack 5:30pm-7:00pm

  • Come along to RSPB South Stack for a real treat, looking out to sea for Gannets, Shearwaters, Scoters, Porpoise and Dolphins.   Speak to our friendly and knowledgeable staff about the wildlife on the reserve, see what you can spot and drop in to use our telescopes and binoculars and view footage of the breeding seabirds from earlier in the season.
  • This event costs £2 for adults/£1 for children and is FREE for RSPB members.
  • Please contact the RSPB at South Stack to reserve your place on: south.stack@rspb.org.uk or (01407) 762100

Tuesday 21st August

Tour of Cemlyn Bay 11am

  • This guided walk is straight forward; cliff top, beach, quiet lanes, and a lovely old church makes it worth a visit.  There’s also a brackish lagoon with a variety of bird life, so we may sneak in a little bird-watching as well.
  • This FREE event is brought to you during ‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythos Morol Mon’. The Friends of Anglesey Coast Path ask you to ensure you wear  walking boots and clothes suitable for the day’s weather and suggest bringing some food and drink for lunch en route.
  • Meet 11am at Cemlyn West car park (grid ref: SH32993, sat nav: N 53º41’24” W 4º51’56”). Contact Angus for more details on: (01248) 713338.

Wednesday 22nd August

An Introduction to Newborough Warren; it’s wildlife and social history 10:30am-2:30pm

  • Newborough Warren & Ynys Llanddwyn National Nature Reserve is one of our most spectacular and important sand dune systems. On this walk, led by the CCW Senior Reserve Manager, you will discover how the sand dune system and its plants and animals have evolved through constant change and the impact of man, and what is being done today to manage and protect it.
  • This event is FREE.
  • Please wear sensible footwear for walking and clothing suitable for the weather. Graham will include a stop for lunch so please pack some food!
  • Meet at the CCW car park at Llyn Rhos Ddu (GR SH 426617).

Driftwood Carving 1pm-3pm

  • The National Trust would like to pass on their carpentry skills by asking you to join in with driftwood carving at their Anglesey workshop at Cemlyn Bay.
  • This event is FREE.
  • Places may be limited so please call (01407) 711178 to book your place.

“Welsh Light” 7:30pm

  • Multi-award winning landscape photographer and gallery director, Glyn Davies, invites you to a talk and discussion surrounding his latest book “Welsh Light”.
  • In this session, Glyn will read extracts from his new book, and also talk about why he finds landscape and the sea, so important, not just as the subject for artistic photography, but for his life and well-being.
  • Glyn is keen to progress the talk towards an interactive discussion, about the ways in which the coast benefits us all, and why & how we should be doing our best to preserve it’s natural beauty. Can photographic imagery help in that aim?
  • Tickets cost £10 and Glyn will be donating 20% of the cost of each ticket to the Marine Conservation Society. Books will be available for sale at the talk and a donation from any sales at the event will be made to the Marine Conservation Society.
  • Booking is essential. Please contact Kathy from naturebites on: 07790431078 or email: naturebites.wordpress@gmail.com.

Thursday 23rd August

Coastal Enhancement Volunteer Morning 10am-12 noon

  • The Friends of Anglesey Coast Path have won two national prizes for their coastal enhancement this year and would like to invite you along to join in and see just how they do this!
  • This event is FREE.
  • Please wear sensible footwear and clothing and meet at Malltraeth village car park (grid ref: SH407686, sat nav N53°11’26″W4°23’09”). Contact Ann for more details on: (01407) 730577 or John on: (01248) 712793.

Wrecks & Rogues 10:30am-4:30pm

  • The North Wales Tourist Guiding Association in conjunction with Menter Mon bring you a coastal tour and coach trip with stories of maritime history and Anglesey’s wild coast, led throughout by a qualified guide.
  • The coach departs from Oriel Ynys Mon in Llangefni at 10:30am and returns at 4:30pm. The trip includes a coastal walk to visit the wreck site of the Royal Charter, with total walking time around 1 hour 10 minutes.
  • The tour costs £20 for adults, £18 for 60+, £10 for children (4+) and £50 for a family of two adults and up to four children. Please see the North Wales Tourism website for details of how to book.
  • As part of ‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon’, naturebites has arranged for tour participants to receive educational goody bags from the Marine Conservation Society.

Friday 24th August

Seashore Safari 10am-12noon

  • The North Wales Wildlife Trust are offering their expertise, showing you around the magical world of the seashore at Cemlyn Bay.
  • This event is for all ages! Be inspired by the purple Velvet Swimming Crab, the flower-like Dahlia Anemone and the hidden Five-bearded Rockling.
  • Have fun! Root around the shoreline, see what you find and ask the experts if you need some help.
  • This event is FREE!
  • There’s no need to book. Park at Bryn Aber car park (the west one past the house with the huge wall), walk away from the house towards the open sea and join Ben and Nia from the North Wales Wildlife Trust down on the beach.

Saturday 25th August

Children’s Seaside Poetry Workshop 9:30am-11:30am

  • An open public event inviting children aged 6-11 (accompanied by adults) to explore the coast using poetry.
  • Carol Mead is a poet and author of the award-winning “Sea Things“, a collection of poems about our relationship with the sea.
  • The event is set indoors at Llys Llewellyn, Aberffraw, because of the good ole Welsh weather with the opportunity to go outdoors if sunny!
  • Carol is not charging for this event, but is asking for a £3 donation per child which will go to the Marine Conservation Society.

Coasteering 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm

  • Local outdoor sports provider Outdoor Active are offering a MASSIVE DISCOUNT on their coasteering sessions to offer you the chance to get involved and explore our coastline is a fun and interesting way.
  • Coasteering involves swimming, jumping and scrambling around the coast. Find out more on their website and then join in for just £10 a person (usually £40!).
  • In addition to the huge discount, Outdoor Active are going to donate 10% of each session fee to the Marine Conservation Society.
  • Places are limited so please book by contacting Dave from Outdoor Active on: 07971562512 or email: outdooractivesports@gmail.com.

There are still more events to be added to the programme so watch this space!

If you wish to be involved in ‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon’ either as an event organiser or as a participant then please contact naturebites author, Kathy, on: naturebites.wordpress@gmail.com or call 07790431078.

I hope you can take part in one or a series of these fantastic events that make up ‘Anglesey Marine Week 2012 Wythnos Morol Mon’.

Thanks in advance for getting involved,

Kathy x


What a difference a day makes!?

What a pleasure it is to be alive these brief sunny July days! The sunshine certainly makes things seem better (especially after having had so little!). Cemlyn shows it’s softer side when the wind drops and the sun bounces off the water. Something like the St Ives effect… I’ve heard it said that artists are drawn to St Ives (in Cornwall) because it is surrounded by the sea and consequently the light is reflected in great quantity. Having spent a lot of time there when my Mum lived there, I am certainly under it’s spell.

Last week I was especially lucky to spend my day off in the sun. Simple pleasures like wearing flip-flops and no coat, sitting outside of a cafe and actually feeling warm, these things help to content me. I have to add that Laura’s delicious Butternut Squash soup and a refreshing Elderflower presse helped also. Laura is the hands-on owner of Ann’s Pantry in Moelfre (which I can highly recommend!). It’s a gorgeous little place with scrummy food and with a garden for days like these (can’t help but think of the Van Morrison song).

I was visiting this part of Anglesey to go kayaking. And what a brilliant time I had!? Pictured above is Ynys Moelfre, affectionately known as Rat Island too! Rats didn’t appear to be much of a problem for the birds that had evidently bred there though… Shags, Cormorants, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and as I travelled through Y Swnt (the channel between the small island and the village of Moelfre) the eponymous “Kittiwake” call rattled through my ears. I had been told that Kittiwakes are named after their call, but I had never actually had the realisation that this is so phonetic until I passed by that island serenaded with “Kittiwake, Kittiwake”. I was taken aback and grinned like an idiot! An awesome sound and a pleasure to witness.

And finally…I am pleased to announce that I have arranged ‘Anglesey Marine Week’; a week of events in August to celebrate the wonderful marine environment that surrounds Anglesey. From August 18th-25th, these events will be open to all; local residents and tourists alike, aiming to enthuse about what our seas have to offer. I am liasing with the participating organisations and businesses to put the finishing touches to the timetable before I share the details with you. In the meantime, I am so excited at the prospect of all the inspiring events and hope that you’ll be able to join me at one or maybe more of the events on offer 🙂

Here’s to more sunny days by the sea!
Kathy x


Drip, drip, drop little July showers…

Accept for some fleeting respite, June passed by in a flurry of wind and rain. There were glimpses of a forgotten June long ago, but for the most part I was wet.

Spending a lot of my time outdoors with wet feet (I really need to invest in some new shoes), my day off this week was spent with my dear friend Sam taking in one of Anglesey’s finest indoor tourist attractions…the Sea Zoo. We were captivated by the first room with it’s remnants of the old Bangor Pier and comical flatfish and went from tank to tank in wonder. Part way round we bumped into Matt, an aquarist at there, who had also studied at Leeds University like myself. We knew each other from the Zoology circles and he very kindly offered to show us around. It was insightful to hear about the breeding programmes conducted there, something that I was unaware of and certainly could have missed whilst wandering around gawping into the glass. Notable projects exist for the Short-snouted Seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus) and the Common European Lobster (Homarus Gammarus). I was pleased to see that not only was the Anglesey Sea Zoo somewhere fun to visit, but also that it took part in vital conservation work that directly affects the Welsh seas.

I was particularly captivated by the Conger Eels. My Dad won’t be surprised to hear that. The reason that I visited this part of the world so frequently as a child was because my Dad would come here to go sea fishing. We spent many a night out in the dark on the edge of the Menai Straits in the pursuit of these monsters of the deep. I have always been a sea-baby, with a mutual love and fear of the sea. My Dad and my brother Steven would find it hilarious to wait until I was submerged and then shout “Conger-Bonger!”. It worked every time and I’d run out straight away and be disappointed that I could now not enjoy that bit of sea for fear that my toes would be nibbled off by an imaginary Conger Eel.

I remembered the Sea Zoo display from my time spent there as a child and was fascinated to hear that Congers breed just the once and are effectively dying from the moment they are ready to breed. The impact of this on the Congers in the collection being that they have the same natural urge to reproduce as wild eels (after all they were collected from the surrounding waters). The staff at the Sea Zoo are trained to recognise when this is taking effect and make sure that the eel is able to continue with it’s natural migration to the Sargasso Sea to breed and then die. Phenomenal!

Next, Sam and I did something new to us both… we took a trip to Puffin Island (Ynys Seiriol). The rain was lashing down and the cloud covered the Carneddau range which you can normally see from the Beaumaris starting point. Nevertheless, we boarded the boat, The Island Princess, in our waterproof gear and had tissues at the ready to keep our binoculars useable. It was amusing to think of how one might have envisaged this trip a few months ago, a sunny July afternoon, sun tan lotion at the ready, shorts, a cocktail or two. Regardless of the weather we loved it! We had close-ups of Black Guillemot (Anglesey being their most Southerly breeding ground), Razorbill, Guillmot, Puffin, Fulmar, Kittiwake and Gulls galore. I even heard a Wren singing on the island which sounded pretty incongruous whilst sat on a boat.

Back on ‘dry’ land Sam admired the wet patch on my trousers where an unfortunate “water-proof'” trouser malfunction had left it’s mark.

A brilliantly fun rainy day with Sam.

Kathy x