As usual, the River Severn Custodians will have a stall at the Newtown Food Festival on Sunday 3rd September. Come and join us or, at least visit if you can. Chris Kinsey will be leading a short nature walk between 1 and 2pm, suitable for all ages and abilities. Hope to see existing and potential new members then.
We’ve had our new camera traps set up along the river in a couple of places. Still learning the best technique but we’ve captured birds, squirrels, foxes and a bit of badger so far.
Mike and Paula
The next AGM will take place on Thursday 30th March at Roseholme, Golwgydre Lane, starting at 7pm. Everybody is welcome or send comments to the secretary if you aren’t going to be able to make it.
Don’t forget that the Custodians will have a stand on Sunday 4th September at the Newtown Food Festival. Come and help, if you can, or at least visit us there.
Today (Saturday 14th May 2016) an even bigger team went out to tackle the Giant Hogweed upstream and downstream from the Halfpenny Bridge. The larger team went downstream and found many specimens but not as many as previous years. We are winning! The smaller team went upstream, intending to deal with the nasty baddies up to the Dolerw footbridge and into Dolerw Park. They didn’t achieve that encountering a major forest around the Longbridge. Another team will meet at 2 pm on Tuesday 17th May to try to complete this exercise.
The team ready to start
Today we cleared a few paths through the Himalayan Balsam to provide easier access to the beach between the Halfpenny Bridge and Long Bridge. This area is well used by fishermen and families and the amount of Balsam removed was negligible. While dealing with these plants we saw that the seeds are ripe and ready for eating. Please do your bit to control this invasive by collecting and eating these delicious seeds. There’ll still be plenty of flowers for the bees!
Today we had a successful session tackling the Hogweed growing on the recreation area where the Mochdre Brook meets the Severn. 5 Custodians decimated those nasty plants and because the ground was soft we were more successful than usual in getting the roots out. The impression is quite clear that there are less Giant Hogweed plants than usual and most of them are this season’s seedlings. We are definitely winning but will never completely stop them of course. The other good sign is that the native hogweed is now thriving so we are helping the good, local guys. Well done the team!
There is another session up and down stream from the Halfpenny Bridge on Saturday, 14th May. All are welcome.
Yes, it’s that time again. The hogweed has crept up on us while we’ve not been looking and is now in urgent need of attention. See attached photo of some specimens near the Mochdre Brook.
Please let me know if you are available/willing to participate in a morning session on either Thursday 12th May and/or on Saturday 14th.
Mike Davies, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike and I were watching the grayling that seems to be resident just off Long Bridge. You can see her/him any time the water is clear. A couple of people stopped to watch with us and today we saw two of them. Just look at the two large flat rocks downstream of the bridge and we can almost guarantee you’ll see a fish.
Whilst walking through the park yesterday afternoon, I managed to capture this photograph of a Blue Tit using one of the nest boxes.
Its encouraging to know that the boxes are still intact and in use, a number of years after being erected.
Blue Tit using nest box in Dolerw.
Some of you may have noticed the rotting carcass of a calf caught by a log in the river just below the Halfpenny bridge. We called the Environment Agency Hotline and their response was that they don’t come out for only 1 animal! Apparently you must need a whole herd of dead cattle in the water before they will respond. They suggested we notify the town council who suggested that we wait for a good rain.
The Custodians AGM will take place on Thursday 25th February at 7 pm in Tregynon. All are welcome. If you intend to take part, let me know and I’ll provide details of the venue. RSC AGM 2016 draft agenda rev 1. The agenda is appended for your comments or additions.
Vaynor steps completed
The slippery and treacherous footpath down to the river has now been replaced with a set of safe steps, thanks to the efforts of Walking Newtown. It is now easier for all to access the river.
Some weeks ago Joan Avery reported sewage smells coming from the Severn by the new construction at the old Boys and Boden site. We reported it and a couple of days ago the Natural Resources Wales called again to say they’ve reported it to Severn Trent. They didn’t find sewage when they investigated but they have noticed stuff going into the river that should not be there. Severn Trent should investigate eventually but in the meantime, NRW asked us to report immediately if anyone sees or smells anything unusual again. The hotline, which we should all have in our mobiles, is 0800807060.
The early morning Autumn mists have been clinging to our beautiful river over the last few days and I would like to share a couple of views with everyone.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Autumn mist on the river Severn at Vaynor.
Autumn mist on the river Severn at the Mochdre Brook.
A few photo’s of a selection of wildlife seen on our stretch of the river over the past few weeks.
Kingfisher (male) seen off the Halfpenny Bridge.
Kingfisher (male) seen off the Halfpenny Bridge.
Grey Heron seen at Trehafren.
Mute Swan preening at Trehafren.
I was fortunate enough to capture some shots of this dog Otter on the river recently.
It was fishing right in front of me for 5 minutes and beautiful to watch.
Three days ago I saw a small creature running across our front porch. When I went to look more closely (having thought it either a rat or a mouse) I found it was either a stoat or a weasel – I really can’t tell them apart. I have never seen one here before. Are they common around the river?
I think the otter has been visiting our pond again. I think I saw a mink swimming across the pond about a month ago, but now there is a regular track across the field from the river to the pond and evidence of the grass being flattened – similar to the pattern a couple of years ago when the otter was here. Not yet seen any spreint however.
Following the very successful Custodians stand at the Food Festival some of the more intrepid visitors from our twin town, Les Herbiers, were introduced to the wonderful art of the coracle. Paula demonstrated the technique then let them loose on the Severn. With a few mishaps they did well and the only one who got wet was Paula rescuing Daniel Charrier off the rocks. The photo shows his son, Martin, who is obviously a natural. Another memory of Newtown for them to take back to France.