Message from Blogmaster.

Hi everyone…
I felt that I should inform you that there has been an update to the WordPress text editor and you may find that things work a little differently, when using it to create posts to the Blog.
Apparently, the cut and paste facility has been improved to allow the importation of external documents and an improved drag and drop facility has been introduced for adding photo’s.
Viewing of the Blog should remain unaffected by the update.

RSC at Newtown Carnival.

Once again, the Custodians had a stand at the Newtown Carnival on Saturday, 14th July 2014.
There was a good turn out of RSC Members to help set up the stand and we had a prime location adjacent to the main arena, so there was plenty of passing ‘customers’.
One major disappointment was that we failed to catch any Signal Crayfish. This was a significant blow to our crowd pulling ability and had been quite an attraction with the children at last year’s event.
Luckily however, Lisa Barlow of the Severn Rivers Trust was on hand and kept the children amused by getting them to make decorative fish instead – well done Lisa.
A new video of views of the river and its wildlife was shown by Russ Edwards, using our new projector and this was enjoyed by many people. The video also has a section showing the work of the Custodians and this helped to make people aware of the type of work that we carry out.
The Wildlife Identification competition was held again this year and although entries were down on last year, it was closely contested and had some fairly high scoring – (see previous post for more details).
Unfortunately, we did not receive any entries for our Photographic Competition and this was probably due to inadequate advertisement on our behalf, prior to Carnival Day.
Chris Kinsey carried out her Riverside Walks and saw enough wildlife to be out for an hour!

Given the wide range of activities available at the Carnival, there was a lot of interest in our stand and we managed to enroll some new Members to our group. The event definitely acts as a showcase for the public to appreciate the type of work that we carry out and overall, we can consider the day a success.
Thanks to all Members who gave up their time to help out and particularly to Joan Avery, for organizing the rota etc.

Due to the traffic continually passing our stand, it was almost impossible to take many photo’s once things got under way, but here are a few that we managed to capture.

RSC at Newtown Carnival

RSC at Newtown Carnival

Carnival Wildlife Quiz

Although not quite as successful as the previous quiz, which we held at last year’s Food Festival, we never the less had 14 entries at this years quiz and the scoring was very high.
There were 3 entries tied for first place, with each having 35 points out of a possible maximum of 45 points and we had to determine a winner by selecting the person with the highest number of correct and fully defined answers.
The eventual winner was Andrew Jones who received a Guide to Britsh Birds book – well done Andrew.
Just edged out of the frame were Elwyn Cook and David Archer – again, well done to you both.
Thanks to all who entered the quiz and we hope that you enjoyed taking part.

The correct answers to the quiz are shown below.

Answers to Wildlife Quiz - 2014

Answers to Wildlife Quiz – 2014

Newtown Carnival – Photo Competition

I am pleased to announce that the River Severn Custodians will be having a stall at the Carnival on the 14th of June 2014.

This year, we thought that it would be interesting to get young people involved with the river environment by way of a photo competition, which will be open to anyone up to and including 16 years of age.
The photo can be taken with a digital camera or mobile phone etc. and emailed to the address shown below.
Any subject that involves the river can be used, e.g. wildlife, people enjoying the river, views of the river, your dog playing in the water or whatever you feel would make a good photo.
A panel of Judges will decide the winning photo(s) on the day of the Carnival and there are prizes to be won.

This is a fun competition and therefore we need to keep the rules simple.
1. You must be 16 years of age or younger to enter.
2. The picture must be taken along the River Severn between Mochdre Brook (Vaynor) and Penarth Weir.
3. The River Severn must appear somewhere as part of the photograph.
4. Email your entry to    secretary@riverseverncustodians.co.uk.
Include your name, age and type of camera used.
5. The Judges decision will be final.
6. Closing date for entries is 12th of June 2014.

There are a few minor considerations…
The river can be a dangerous place as well as an enjoyable one – please take care out there.
If photographing specific people that you don’t know, please ask if they are willing to be photographed. (Some people do not like having their photo taken).
Please take care not to damage property or disturb wildlife when photographing.

Enjoy the competition and have fun.

We are now on Facebook

Hi everyone….
I am pleased to announce that we are now on Facebook and cordially send out an invitation to everyone, to contribute to our Timeline and/or Blog.
The Facebook address is shown in the Useful Information panel on the right of this screen, for your reference.
There are numerous photo albums available, which show the RSC at work, the area that we cover and the wildlife that can be seen along the river.

Facebook users
If you are already a Facebook user, you can become a ‘friend’ of the Custodians and this will allow you to post directly to our Timeline.
The page will not reveal your friendship to anyone else, but by making contributions to the Timeline, normal Facebook ‘tracking’ would come into play.

Non-Facebook users
If you do not have a Facebook account, you will still be able to view the Timeline and add comments to the posts, but you will not be allowed to make a post yourself.
In order that the public can make posts, I have created a ‘Blog’ page that will allow the general public to make posts to the RSC on Facebook.
There are instructions on how to use this page in the ‘About’ section of the Blog page.

In summary, you need to be a Facebook ‘friend’ of the RSC to post directly to the Timeline, otherwise anyone can post to the Blog page.
It may appear a little daunting to non-Facebook users, but please take time to have a look and offer suggestions if you think that there are improvements which could be made.

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.

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

New Video – Kingfishers

A new video of Kingfishers has been added to the Video Gallery/Wildlife section.
They were filmed at Pwll Penarth by Russ Edwards, but the Kingfishers are actually catching fish in the river around the Penarth Weir area, as there are no suitable fish in the Pwll Penarth waters.
It endorses the important work that the RSC is carrying out to protect the river environment for these birds and our other wildlife.

Seen on the river this month

Dippers.
1 pair nesting in the upper Vaynor area and a pair courting a little further downstream in mid Vaynor. 2 more sightings between Dolerw Bridge and the Halfpenny Bridge.
Grey Wagtails.
4 or 5 different locations between the Mochdre Brook and the Long Bridge.
Little Grebe.
Seen feeding by the Halfpenny Bridge.
Kingfisher.
Between the Long Bridge and Halfpenny Bridge and also at Vaynor.
Goosanders.
2 pairs between Mochdre Brook and Dolerw Bridge and also a single female.
Pied Wagtails.
The resident flock of Pied Wagtails are still very strong by the Post Office car park.
Tree Creeper.
Seen in the trees by the river at Trehafren.
Jay.
By the Skate Park, Trehafren and Vaynor areas.
Grey Heron.
Sunning itself in a tree at Vaynor – (Yes we did have 1 almost sunny day!)

Otters.
Although I have not seen these myself, I have received 2 separate reports of 2 Otters being seen by the Halfpenny Bridge. With there being just 2 sighted, it leads me to think that these are probably the 2 cubs which have now been left to fend for themselves, by the mother. She will now probably find the dog Otter and mate, as they apparently have no fixed mating season.
Brambling.
Again, not seen personally but has been seen around the Dolerw Bridge to Trehafren area.
Goldcrest.
Seen by Sue Newham on the sloping concrete flood defences alongside the Back Lane carpark at the end of March.

The ‘common’ birds appear to be doing well, with lots of Robins, Blackbirds, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Magpies, Siskins, Chaffinches, Wood Pigeons surviving during this particularly bad spell of weather.
I’m sure that there is a lot of other wildlife that has been seen out there and I would like to encourage members to post their sightings in a similar manner.