RSC at the Food Festival 2015

Hi!
For the third year, the River Severn Custodians had a stall at the Newtown Food Festival. It was another very well-attended and exciting day. We had American Signal Crayfish on display and samples of Himalayan balsam to eat. There was a colouring project on a large drawing, done by member Geoff, for kids. The nature quiz was won by Rikki Renshaw with a nearly perfect entry.
There were also two nature walks led by Tilde which were well appreciated.
We welcome a few new members who joined at this event.
Thanks to all (and the weather) for making this such a good day out and publicizing our activities.

Just a reminder to take a look at our web site from time to time and to contribute interesting sightings or comments to the blog (http:​//riverseverncustodians.​co.​uk/blog/​) or Facebook page (https:​//www.​facebook.​com/severn.​custodians​).
Regards – Mike Davies (RSC Secretary).

A crowd gathers.

A crowd gathers.

Signal Crayfish display.

Signal Crayfish display.

A general view of the RSC stand.

A general view of the RSC stand.

The colouring-in board.

The colouring-in board.

A general view of the RSC stand.

A general view of the RSC stand.

An unusual view…

Here is an unusual view of the riverbank at the Long Bridge, taken yesterday.
The riverbank is quite overgrown just upstream of the bridge and offers a haven to wildlife.
The reeds create slack water when the river is in flood and allows the Kingfishers to catch the small fish that are sheltering there.
It is also a place favored by Otters, when they feel like venturing onto land and the numerous plants offer the insects plenty of scope for collecting pollen and nectar.
I have often seen Goldfinches, Bullfinches and Treecreepers feeding in the trees in this area, as well.
All in all, in my view this is a nice little spot on our river.

The riverbank at the Long Bridge.

The riverbank at the Long Bridge.

Birds and Butterflies…

A few shots of some of the wildlife seen on my river walk.

Bullfinch feeding at the entrance to Mochdre Brook.

Bullfinch feeding at the entrance to Mochdre Brook.

There are a lot of Bullfinches around at the moment and this one was seen feeding on seed heads at the entrance to the Mochdre Brook.

Nuthatch in the tree tops.

Nuthatch in the tree tops.

There was a also a lot of Nuthatch activity high in the trees opposite the entrance to the Mochdre Brook and I managed to capture this shot of one of them. There appeared to be 3 juveniles chasing each other around.

Gatekeeper butterfly at Trehafren.

Gatekeeper butterfly at Trehafren.

This Gatekeeper butterfly is amazingly ‘perched’ on a spider’s web.

Peacock butterfly at Vaynor.

Peacock butterfly at Vaynor.

Not seen many Peacock’s this year, but this one was caught taking in some warmth from the morning sunshine at Vaynor.

The Kingfisher has been very active around the Mochdre Brook area, but unfortunately has not presented an opportunity of a decent photograph.

River Wildlife…

We are lucky to have a very diverse array of wildlife along our stretch of the river and I would like to share a small selection of my sightings from the past 4 or 5 weeks.
I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did taking them!

Juvenile Fox seen at Vaynor.

Juvenile Fox seen at Vaynor.

Male Kingfisher seen at Mochdre Brook junction.

Male Kingfisher seen at Mochdre Brook junction.

Painted Lady Butterfly seen at Trehafren.

Painted Lady Butterfly seen at Trehafren.

Red Soldier Beetle seen at Trehafren.

Red Soldier Beetle seen at Trehafren.

Juvenile Grey Wagtail seen at Mochdre Brook junction.

Juvenile Grey Wagtail seen at Mochdre Brook junction.

Comma Butterfly seen at Trehafren.

Comma Butterfly seen at Trehafren.

Juvenile birds….

Here are a few photo’s of juvenile birds that I have seen on the river over the past few weeks.

Goosander below Dolerw Bridge.

Goosander below Dolerw Bridge.

Grey Wagtail seen at Mochdre Brook entrance.

Grey Wagtail seen at Mochdre Brook entrance.

Dipper seen downstream of the Mochdre Brook.

Dipper seen downstream of the Mochdre Brook.

The Goosander is part of a family of 8; the Grey Wagtail was 1 of 2 juveniles seen and the Dipper is 1 of 2 juveniles seen.

Otters & Mink…

Otters.
On Wednesday afternoon, I was passing St. Mary’s Church and met a lady who had just video’d an Otter on her mobile phone. It was clearly a dog Otter swimming up river towards the Long Bridge.
A fortnight ago, I heard of 3 separate daily sightings of the bitch and 2 pups, swimming around the Trehafren area at 7.30 am each day. They actually left the water and ran along the river banks at one point.
I believe that the dog Otter has travelled downstream from the Mochdre Brook area and the bitch and pups have travelled upstream from the Penarth Weir area, so their paths must have crossed.
It is probably 18 months since the bitch and pups were first reported in the area around Abermule and it’s probably time for them to leave her and fend for themselves.

This leads me to conclude that perhaps the dog and bitch are possibly starting to check one another out with a view to mating as soon as the cubs have gone, since Otters do not have a fixed breeding season.
Let’s hope that we continue to see a lot more of this delightful creature on our river.

Mink.
On Tuesday of this week, I happened to be talking to some fishermen, when a Mink swam across the river, right in front of us. They told me that they are a regular occurrence along Trehafren and often see them catch and eat Crayfish, but they couldn’t tell if they were the Red Signal variety.
I am monitoring the area to see if I can get some photographic evidence, but nothing to date.

Common Sandpipers return….

Glad to report that the Common Sandpipers have nested and raised chicks again this year, around the Vaynor area. The parents were calling continuously and eventually a single chick popped out of the reeds and scuttled along the rocks into the undergrowth on the riverbank.
The photo’s below show the parent birds and the very young chick. I noted that one of the parents has a leg ring.

Common Sandpiper calling to the chick.

Common Sandpiper calling to the chick.

Common Sandpiper seen at Vaynor.

Common Sandpiper seen at Vaynor.

Common Sandpiper chick seen at Vaynor.

Common Sandpiper chick seen at Vaynor.

Otter Sighting….

There have been numerous reports of Otter sightings around the area below Penarth Weir, so I was quite surprised when this lone Otter swam across the river close by me at Vaynor. It dived under the water after a fish, but I didn’t see it surface and it just melted away from view.
From the size of it, I would think that it is a dog Otter.

Otter seen at Vaynor.

Otter seen at Vaynor.

Kingfisher fledglings…

We have been fortunate enough to have a pair of Kingfishers breed successfully on our river and this resulted in 2 fledglings being raised. Below are some shots of them taken a few weeks ago.
At the time of posting, it appears that the parents may now have left them to fend for themselves.

The adult Kingfisher returns with a meal.

The adult Kingfisher returns with a meal.

A fledgling begs for food.

A fledgling begs for food.

A fledgling waits for the parent to return with a meal.

A fledgling waits for the parent to return with a meal.

Common Sandpipers

It’s nice to see that the Common Sandpipers have returned to our river again this year.
I am not sure that they have settled on a permanent basis, but last year they nested around the Mochdre Brook area and successfully reared a small brood. Let’s hope they achieve the same result this year.

Common Sandpiper at Mochdre Brook.

Common Sandpiper at Mochdre Brook.

Dippers on the Mochdre Brook

The leg-ringed Dipper (E05) that was seen on the brook last year, appears to have been replaced by a new Dipper (J81), which has found a mate and they are now in the process of nest building.
I believe that the Dipper with the leg-ring is the female of the pair.

Dipper (J81) at Mochdre Brook.

Dipper (J81) at Mochdre Brook.

Dipper with nesting material.

Male Dipper with nesting material.

The pair of Dippers at Mochdre Brook.

The pair of Dippers at Mochdre Brook.

Cormorant at Trehafren…

Although they are not seen on our river too frequently, a Cormorant has been seen on our stretch of the river for over a month and last week, I was lucky enough to get some shots of it.
Fortunately for me – (not for the bird) – it’s feathers were becoming water-logged and it needed to get out of the water to dry off and preen itself. It settled on the opposite river bank and gave me a brilliant view of those huge webbed feet and that large green/blue eye.
In the water, the feathers on its back take on an almost snake like appearance.
A striking bird, but of course – hated by the fishing fraternity.

Cormorant at Trehafren

Cormorant at Trehafren

Cormorant at Trehafren.

Cormorant at Trehafren.