Environment Agency spraying

The Environment Agency, now called Natural Resources Wales,  have been spraying Japanese Knotweed this week along the stretch of the river which is down from the Halfpenny Bridge and towards the Pump House.  We as River Severn Custodians generally report any large stands of this stuff and they come out to spray, but it would appear that they have done this particular spraying off their own bat.

River Diary – July

Once again – as expected – it has been a quiet month on the river as far as birdlife is concerned.
Wrens are quite prolific this year and can be heard singing their hearts out all along the riverbank.
Tree Creepers.  A family (Parent plus 4/5 chicks) were seen feeding in a tree on the river edge at Vaynor towards the end of the month.
Jackdaws. A flock of 12 were also seen around the same area.
Black Headed Gulls. A pair were seen sunning theirselves by the Halfpenny Bridge.

Gulls. There are now quite a few Gulls in the area and a member of the public sent an email to Mike Davies (our Secretary), informing him of some photographs of a Gull taking a Crayfish from the river.
It is unclear whether it is actually a Signal Crayfish that had been taken, but given the total lack of native Crayfish found to date, it would be a good guess that this is what it has caught!
On the surface it would appear that the Gulls are doing us a favour, but it is a little worrying that they just might carry the disease to other areas that are not currently affected, but I think that the chances of this happening are pretty small.
Thanks to Colin Head for contributing this useful information. Its nice to see members of the public using our Blog and Website.
Click here to see the photographs, which are on Facebook.

The Himalayan Balsam is now beginning to flower and hopefully we will start to see more insects along the river banks. Thanks to our Giant Hogweed clearance program, there is only native Hogweed around now – (and a lot of it too). When this turns to seed it will be a fantastic source of food for the seed eating birds such as Finches.
August should produce more visible bird life as the fledglings start to fend for theirselves and start to fatten up for the Autumn or migration.

Still more hogweed

This morning, Joan Avery and I, tackled quite  a long stretch of the left bank of the river around Milford Hall at the invitation of Sally Rackham.  Many of the flowering monsters were growing right on the edge of the river and could only be reached by wading along the river.  Luckily the river is still low enough for this in spite of more water flowing now than last week.  I’m beginning to wonder if we’ll ever do more than a containment action, still, it is satisfying to see them topple.

More Hogweed

Mike and I have had two more sessions dealing with hogweed near the town, in spite of the efforts with John Wigley last week.  On Friday we dealt with the left hand bank from the Halfpenny Bridge down to Mumford’s building.  Today we did the right bank from the Halfpenny Bridge up to the Long Bridge.  In both cases we found a number of flowering monsters that we’re sure weren’t there a week ago.  These really are a challenge and can spring up and flower incredibly quickly.  We’ve now heard about some more up by Milford that need dealing with before they spread.

Hogweed away from home

I have just had a very enjoyable day coaching into Chester and enjoying a delicious lunch on a boat sailing down the canal. I was shocked to see so many trees being allowed to grow on the walls of the canal and one area where Japanese knotweed was rampant. That had already started to destroy the wall again but the worst shock was coming across our Giant Hogweed, A patch about 20 feet in length by 8-10feet from the wall to the canal edge with at least 10 giant specimens in full bloom. On talking to the ‘skipper’ about them he said he knew how lethal they were and had seen first hand how 2 lads he knew were scarred by them.
But he hadn’t thought to notify the authorities about this patch!!!
I fail to understand some people. Anyway, he had the decency to find out the telephone number for me to report it. I will let you know if I get any response.
You will probably say, don’t get involved outside ‘our patch’ but to be honest, I don’t think any of our members could ignore it. It was horrendous!
Joan Avery

Posted on behalf of Joan

RSS Feeds now available

It has been suggested that the Blog could be improved by adding the ability to monitor it remotely via RSS Feeds.
This suggestion has been taken onboard and now both Posts and Comments can be monitored using this method.
The URL for the RSS Feeder is http://riverseverncustodians.co.uk/blog and you will note that it has been added to the newly named Useful Information section, on the right-hand side bar of the Blog screen, to remind members who wish to utilise RSS Feeds.

The RSS Feeds from the Blog have been tested via Feedreader and found to work successfully.
Feedreader software is available at www.Feedreader.com and is free to use after initial registration.

More Hogweed

This morning John Wigley and I tackled some of the Giant Hogweed between Cambrian Bridge and Longbridge.  There were a few in difficult location, including a flowering monster on the left bank reached by wading across the river.  Good job the water level is low.  Joan Avery has reported another couple upstream from Dolerw Bridge.  We’ll try to tackle those in the next few days.

Updated River Walk

The Walking Newtown group has now updated the route and map for the river walk to include the improvements made to the route near Castell y Dail.  You can find it on the activities page of the River Severn Custodians at  http://www.riverseverncustodians.co.uk/riverwalk.html

This is a delightful circular walk starting out along the river to the Mochdre Brook.  If you are lucky, you may see otters, and a variety of birds, trees and plants (hopefully not including the Giant Hogweed).

Give it a try and post your opinions or comments here.

We need your feedback

Hi Everyone
In response to Mike’s recent email to all Members regarding the low usage of the Blog, I am creating this Post as a focal point for you to add your Comments.

From the usage information that I am receiving for the Blog, it appears that there are only 5 members who have made contributions via Posts and only Mike and Russ who contribute on a regular basis. Our worry is that people are put off contributing, because they don’t know how, and if that is the case, then we will have to take the necessary steps to provide the appropriate help.
However, even if Members are not making Posts, I would have expected more Comments to have been made on the Posts that currently exist.

What you can do to help.
1. Log In
Logging In when you use the Blog helps to identify you as a Member.
You don’t have to do this every time you visit the Blog, but having logged in once, the system will thereafter recognise you as a Member, even if you are only viewing the Blog and are not logged in.
This will help to identify the Blog usage by registered Members.
2. Add Comments.
By making a Comment to a Post, you give the Blog some ‘life’ and also provide valuable feedback that the Post has been viewed.
A Comment could be a simple phrase, such as “Well done”.
3. Create Posts.
Create a Post about things that concern you on the river, such as wildlife sightings or environmental issues. Don’t leave it to someone else to do it and don’t worry if someone else has already created a Post on the same subject.

It is quite surprising how many (worldwide) ‘hits’ our Blog receives from Internet Search Engines.
They are usually made by members of the public who are researching environmental issues and from that point of view, it makes the Blog well worth the effort.

So, either by a Comment to this Post or via a separate email, please tell us why you love/hate the Blog and make suggestions as to how we might improve its usage.

Many thanks
Russ Edwards – Blogmaster

Hate hogweed event 6th July 2013

On a hot and sunny Saturday a team of Custodians tackled the on-going problem of Giant Hogweed at Vaynor near where the Mochdre Brook joins the river.  Many of these were quite small re-growths, with a few large, mature plants.  The general opinion is that we are making progress here and should keep an eye on the area and return when necessary for another assault.  Many thanks to the members that joined us in this attack.

Wow – What a whopper!

I know that he would be the last person to hog (pardon the pun) the limelight, but I felt that I had to show this little clip of Mike dealing with this specimen plant, at the Hate Hogweed event held on 06/07/2013 at Vaynor.
There was a lot of good work done elsewhere by the RSC Team and I would prefer to leave it to Mike himself to provide details (in a separate post), of how the event went.

More Giant Hogweed

On my walk this morning I was horrified to see a weedy hogweed but in full bloom. I cannot get to it so need the help of somebody more agile than me.

Mumford’s the agricultural feed shed has a picnic table up on the bank, if you
look down to the river from there the beastly thing is hiding under the group
of trees. There could possibly be more down there but I could only see the one.
It is imperative it is beheaded as I don’t know how near to setting seed it is.
I would be grateful for our trusty friends to behead it.

Posted on behalf of Joan Avery who is still having trouble logging on.