4 Nov 2013

Still Autumn

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

Tuesday Nov 5th and the weather is still dry, mild and frost-free.  So the Autumn colours are still muted and despite the recent winds many trees still have most of their leaves – the best is yet to come. We set out towards John’s footprint tunnel behind the bee corner.  Not a lot to report there but interesting to note the difference between the north-facing Ivy and the south-facing.  The latter was buzzing with activity the previous week, Red Admiral Butterflies and Tortoiseshells, Bees, Wasps, Hoverflies, etc., and this Ivy is now largely ‘gone over’, whereas that on the north-facing side is still very green and full of blossom.  But it is very dull so there is very little insect activity.  Michael does his usual turning over of stones and some of us follow his example but everything seems rather quiet – no sign of the Newt that had previously found.

Into the Bee corner to see whether there is any activity there.  Five of the hives show some activity, but again it is all rather lethargic. So off towards the woods behind the Aqualab, examining the various rocks by the Gatehouse for any sign of Otter activity.  The water level is high and on the steps of the lake is a stranded minnow.  We have difficulty working out how that got there.  Along by the lake in preparation for the cold weather to come the gardeners have piled up the leaves of the Gunnera over the tender tops of the plants.

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In the woods the only sign remaining of the large  Honey  fungus John had previously photographed was a rather small, mushy mess.
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The recent rains have largely cleared the lakes of algae and on the second lake we see the usual Mallards, Coots and Moorhens, and also Teal.
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Wandering back towards the Broadwalk we are accompanied by a Robin who clearly hasn’t been properly schooled in the art of modelling as he persists in showing his worst side when John tries to photograph him.  No sign of any winter migrants like Redwings and the indications are that we may get fewer than normal due to an abundant harvest in Scandinavia.  But this could change if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
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Further on along the Broadwalk there are masses of a Red-leg roundhead fungi in a number of the beds amongst the wood mulch.

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Back to the Restaurant for our usual lunch and chat and more discussion on what to do next year.  This was followed the next week by a proper conference type of discussion in Principality House.  Thanks to all who attended – we had almost a full house – and a lot of useful ideas as to what we could or should do.  This year has been very much an exploration both of the Garden itself and a little bit of Waun Las and finding out what we can do.  A two hour walk around the Garden once a week by a handful of enthusiasts is never going to do more than scratch the surface.  But it is a start and as a result of my talk to members and volunteers on the following Friday we should have more help on more days.

Thanks  to John for the photos and if any volunteer or member is interested in joining us please  send an email to Colin Miles  – you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested.   If you click on any of the images in these blogs, or anywhere else you will see a larger picture. And if you click on the Wildlife Walks heading on the left-hand side under News you will see a list of the last 10 Wildlife Survey blogs

If you find an injured bird, hedgehog or other wild animal and want help and advice then phone the Gower Bird hospital. on 01792 371630.