Around 40 people, including many children, were at Llanfyllin’s Workhouse for the Bioblitz on Saturday 18th July. The wealth of wildlife on Y Dolydd’s six-acre site came as a surprise to many. But star of the show was an otter, captured on a camera trap set the evening before on the stream which borders the field. Whilst otters have been seen before on the Cain this is thought to be the first time one has been recorded digitally, and participants were able to watch the footage in the Meadows Gallery. Badgers appeared too.
The camera was set up by Mark and Jenni Duffell of Arvensis Ecology, who are carrying out an ecological survey of the site funded by Environment Wales. The survey is designed to involve volunteers and families with events throughout the summer. The Bioblitz began at 8 o’clock on the Friday evening when children were invited to help set 50 humane Longworth mammal traps along the hedgerows. Then they followed ecologist Andrew Cutts on a bat safari round the building: the hand-held detectors recorded three species of bat. Before they emerged the swifts put on a spectacular display.
The first activity next morning was to open the Longworth traps. There was excitement when three were found to contain bank voles and two held shrews: a typical success ratio. All could be weighed and closely examined. A moth trap had also been set and was found to contain more than 30 different species. Then there was a nature treasure hunt; clay modelling and leaf painting for children; walks around the site looking at plants and invertebrates and a stream dipping session for families as well as a permaculture display. In between people could sit and listen to gentle live music in the courtyard or enjoy lunches or snacks in the newly refurbished café-bar.
Coming up during the school holidays are Family Wildlife Days on 29th July, 3rd August and 25th August, with sessions between 10.30 and 12.30 or 1.30 and 3.30. There’s also a Wildlife Evening at 7.00 on 29th July when people can learn how to record their findings. More information from Tree Marshall on 07534 354082.
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