Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma
Good news stories for nature are normally hard to come by in the hostile environment that surrounds our natural world. Therefore when one does get that wonderful back-tingling sensation offered by success, we better get ready to shout loud and proud about it! Here are just some examples from around Wales in recent years…
Back in 2016, after years of dedicated conservation work, we proudly announced that the bittern nested at RSPB Cors Ddyga on Anglesey - the first time in Wales for 32 years. The bittern, a type of streaky pale-brown heron, brilliantly camouflaged for its home amongst the reed, was last known to have bred in Wales in 1984.
RSPB Cors Ddyga was formed in 1994 with this goal in mind. It was a long time coming, and despite having seen various vulnerable species such as water voles, grasshopper warblers and otters thrive in the area due to reserve staff’s hard work, discovering that bitterns had nested really was the icing on the cake.
Also in 2016, a Welsh-born common crane took to the skies of Wales for the first time in around 400 years. This followed on from a pair of these spectacular wetland birds nesting on the Gwent Levels and successfully rearing a single chick.
The adult birds originated from the Great Crane Project reintroduction scheme which released ninety-three hand-reared cranes between 2010 and 2014 on the Somerset Levels and Moors area on the RSPB West Sedgemoor Reserve in Somerset.
We have also celebrated the return of the marsh harrier – a bird that last bred in Wales in 1946 – and the fledging of four chicks at RSPB Cors Ddyga in 2016. Succeeding in bringing marsh harriers back to Wales followed a lot of efforts to improve wetland on the reserve.
During the breeding season, male marsh harriers will skydance, by performing amazing courtship displays, wheeling at great heights then diving towards the ground while performing a series of tumbles.
During the warm summer of 2018, for the first time in more than a decade, a pair of roseate terns – the UK’s rarest breeding seabird – fledged not only one chick, but two from The Skerries, off Anglesey.
The work undertaken on the islands over previous years has been key to attracting them back. The EU-funded Roseate Tern LIFE Project provided a two-week extension on the islands’ wardening season, along with newly designed nest boxes being placed strategically around the islands. The wardens also placed lures playing roseate tern calls and hand-made decoys with the aim of attracting passing roseate terns to the colony.
After more than two decades of tireless opposition, plans to build a new 14-mile motorway south of Newport ground to a halt in early June. In a landmark move for nature, Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, revealed that the Black Route expansion will not be given the green light due to cost and environmental concerns.
Along with strong opposition from many individuals and organisations including CALM (Campaign Against the Levels Motorway) and Gwent Wildlife Trust, thousands of RSPB Cymru supporters also spoke out against the diversion. A 38 degrees petition calling for the road to be stopped featured more than 20,200 signatures, with the number growing rapidly in the weeks leading up to Mark Drakeford’s decision. This demonstrates that your passion can be a real force in the fight to save nature!
If swift populations continue to decline at the current rate, we might lose them as a breeding bird in Wales within the next 20 years. Since 1995, a decline of 69% has been seen in swift numbers in Wales. Therefore, we’re hoping that one of our future successes will hopefully be the new swift tower situated on the Cardiff Bay Barrage.
Providing 90 new nest sites for swifts to return to each year, the swift tower is a flagship example of giving swifts a home in the city. Designed by Polish architects Menthol, the tower has been installed as part of a partnership project delivered by RSPB Cymru, Glamorgan Bird Club and Cardiff Harbour Authority. The project is funded through the generous support of the The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Featured image credit: Ben Andrew rspb-images.com
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