Sunday, 28 September 2008

Let the scrub-bashing commence

The 'Friends' have just spent a good afternoon making a start on the scrub that is taking over our meadow. The willow just has to go. It was lovely to see such a good turnout as well with today's event led by Cardiff Council Countryside Rangers, Alec and Raj. All we need now is someone to strim away the dreaded brambles as there's far too many for us to hack away by hand plus I'm sore enough from the getting in the way of the thorns. The heron came to join us for a short while just over the brambles, no doubt in search of the numerous frogs that seem to be on the move at the moment. Have added only a handful of photos but the rest are in my photobucket account slide show here.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Sunday the 28 Sept is scrub-bashing day

Don't forget to come along at 2pm and meet up in the car park at the top of Radyr Road for a spot of scrub bashing. Its a great way to get rid of all those frustrations of the past week in one go. Don't be shy even if you come on your own as you'll get a warm welcome and a pair of loppers and gloves!

Another sunny day

It seems the herons are making the most of being in the meadow at the moment and no doubt are catching something to eat there. Its lovely to see them wandering around then freezing for a while to catch their prey out. Alas though they were very difficult to photograph so every time I got near enough they flew off and my trusty little camera isn't up to such shots from a distance, so you just have to imagine that the blob in the middle of the scrub is a heron taking off! The other day I did see a bird I'd never seen before and raced back to look in my books. Now I know we have had a sighting of a wryneck on the park and this looked very much like one - I hope so as they're not common at all in Britain let alone South Wales.
Also great to see a lot of youngsters out and about in the meadow and making use of the log 'benches' to meet up and hang out.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Rare visitor spotted again

Yet another beautiful sunny day on Hailey Park, and while most have hit Barry Island there were a few enjoying the meadow today. I managed to get a glimpse of the clouded yellow butterfly again today but alas close-up photography defeats my poor camera sometimes (so I have added the link to an item in UK Safari so you all at least know what he looks like). His presence in our meadow is rare, especially as so often he's on his own when we've seen him in here. Clouded yellows are migratory butterflies who are more often than not usually not found on their own.
To be honest the best pix I took today were of my dogs but then that's for another blog really.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Invasion coming to an end soon

The blog also needs a note to say that the horrid Japanese Knotweed (middle pic) will be dealt with soon in the meadow. We also have lots of Himalayan Balsam (aka 'Policeman's Helmet', top, with bee inside, and bottom pics), which is much prettier than the knotweed but just as invasive and can be destructive (erodes the ground its on) - it is also a lot easier to take out by hand, which was a task a handful of us did the other week in one area, but there's still lots to do there as well.

The usual supects need lots of help this autumn

Now that the summer has all but faded away we need lots of help in the meadow cutting the scrub back. If there are any groups out there who'd love to help please get in touch. We have set days for the Friends of Hailey Park but am sure we can do more days if there are enough and Gareth has a space in his diary. Cardiff Conservation Volunteers will be helping us out in November and December but its just the usual suspects who will be coming in September and October. Why not get fit for Christmas. You can see some of the scrub in the pix. It would be fantastic to get most of it done before next spring. Plus it will be fun to do, honest!

Summer again

Wow its summer at last, or at least it feels like it but a pity that the colours out and about on the meadow are autumnal ones. I even spied a heron land on the meadow just now who went for a walk. Couldn't get near him though to take a pic. It is quite boggy in places so he probably feels quite at home there.
I also took a pic of 'progress', across the river from the meadow there are now flats appearing and their new residents will have fantastic views and hopefully this sort of progress won't be a threat to us in the future.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Ponds and butterflies

More work has been done today to help create a permanent pond next to the meadow (we may create another one in the meadow at some stage so watch this space - there's always a need for ponds). About 4 or 5 trees were removed so the temporary/seasonal pond can get more light to it. They have left the area to the left with its dense tree and shrub cover as there are about 40-50 orchids growing there that love that sort of habitat (sometimes you have to go searching for some of the wonderful things that grow there).
On saturday there was much excitement as we think we saw a clouded yellow butterfly, which is a rare visitor to this area.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

What a difference 24 hours makes

The river has now gone down quite a lot and is nowhere near as huge as it was or as dangerous. Plus the 'lakes' in the meadow have now disappeared as well, but its still wellie weather all the same.

Weather warning

If anyone is brave enough to venture out towards the meadow no doubt they are most likely a dog walker as why else would you want to when the weather has been like it has. The meadow is flooded in places and just plain boggy in others but great if you've got your wellies on. In venturing across the meadow beware of going too far over towards the river as its just plain dangerous - I will attempt later to show how dangerous it is (if I can with two dogs and a camera). Yesterday, with dogs firmly on leads and by my side, I ventured toward the path by the river but its completely disappeared so there is no way anyone can get from there over to the water wheel on Ty Mawr Road (in fact parts of Ty Mawr Road itself are also flooded as well), or the woods behind it, or even access to the path along the railway bridge towards the horses' field across the river toward Radyr). For now I will leave you all with sunnier times and a calm river.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

What a difference autumn makes

Gone are the lovely swathes of colour, replaced by golden and brown hues with a dash of red thrown in and a lonely splash of yellow. Talking of lonely though, in the middle of the stretch of meadow we mowed and raked the other week there is a solitary little oak tree that will hopefully grow in the middle of this area forever more, and we'll just have to mow round it.

Memories of sunnier days

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

I couldn't resist ...

More pix of the few days we had this summer when it was actually sunny, if not a bit windy. While everyone's summer was spoilt by the rain the meadow just carried on regardless and showed itself off. Sadly the carpets of purple and yellow are now fading and we're left with a few dotted areas of colour as they sow their seed and then just die back and wait till next spring. However, don't think for one minute that the onset of autumn means life in the meadow will be dull, far from it --- just take a walk on a crisp autumn morning and see how beautiful it can still be.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Website of the week - Cardiff Nats

During the summer on a rare evening when it wasn’t raining we had the pleasure of a joint nature walk between Friends of Hailey Park and Cardiff Naturalists' Society. While the walk started at the bowling green we eventually made it to the meadow. The walk was a success and were very pleased to see a long-standing member of Cardiff Nats, Dr Mary Gillham MBE, on the walk, who has been an active member of the society for decades and continues to be one of the most highly respected naturalists in South Wales.
The Cardiff Naturalists' Society is the longest established wildlife organization in this area, having been formed in 1867 at the instigation of Robert Drane F.L.S. Members of the Society have been instrumental in protecting many of the wild areas that we all know and love, from Skomer to Forest Farm.
We hope to have continuing links with Cardiff Nats in the years to come as we progress with the regeneration of our meadow. The next walk between the two groups has been proposed for July 2009.