16th February 2013 – Glamorgan Recorders’ Forum

parkThe Glamorgan Recorders’ Forum was held at Rhondda Heritage Park at Trehafod. It was a full day of talks and presentations with a great many attendees from all walks of wildlife. The event was hosted by the South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre (SEWBReC) who collate and manage wildlife records in the region. We are grateful to them for inviting us to this event.

The first talk of the day was by Chris Manley, author of ‘Moths of Trigon: Observations on a Dorset Country Estate’, copies of which Chris kindly gave away for a very small donation. Chris spoke about an app that he and others have developed for the Smartphone called ‘Butterflies of Europe’. This is described on iTunes as ‘a brilliant resource for experts and novices alike.’

Paul Seligman from Glamorgan Bird Club took us through the changes in technology which have helped him to record his sightings over the years, starting with pencil and paper (not much good in the rain!) through digital recorders and now the latest Smartphone apps. Paul described ‘Bird Track’, iSpot and the very comprehensive ‘Nature Lister’.

More presentations followed and before lunch the audience was treated to an inspirational video made by eight year old Rudi Bright whose favourite book is ‘Tarka the Otter’; Rudi is trying to see all the living organisms mentioned in the book and posts photographs of his many successful sightings on his internet blog.

After a very sociable lunch break we reconvened to hear more talks, starting with Clare Dinham from Buglife, a charity described as being ‘dedicated to the conservation of all invertebrates, passionately committed to saving Britain’s rarest little animals, everything from bees to beetles, and spiders to snails.’ Claire told us about some of Buglife’s work, including that at Kenfig National Nature Reserve here in Wales, recently featured on BBC1’s Countryfile. Kenfig have a Facebook page.

Further presentations included one by Emma Douglas on Coity Wallia Commons, a Biodiversity enhancement project which aims to restore and reconnect 1,063 hectares of priority habitats on Cefn Hirgoed and Mynydd y Gaer, commons north of Bridgend. This project has a particular emphasis on management for the Marsh Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, Bog Bush Cricket and Shrill Carder Bee.

Mark Baber then told us about the Wales Online Amphibian and Reptile Atlas, a project which hopes to record all sightings of these creatures, particularly gathering data from areas on which there is currently little or no information. The data are collected by Cofnod, a Local Records Centre at Bangor.

These are just some of the talks that we enjoyed on Saturday. We felt that it had been time well spent and we recognised the great importance of monitoring and recording wildlife sightings, whether it be a comprehensive survey of Bute Park, or a one-man study of the beasts, birds and bugs seen in our own back gardens. All data are valuable once submitted to the local, regional and national record centres. The information not only to helps to protect, conserve and encourage wild life in Wales but also assists councils to make the right decisions when considering future developments in their area.

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