The 2008 Glamorgan Biodiversity Blitz took place at Slade Farm and the surrounding area of Southerndown on the 16th August 2008. Despite the appalling weather, there were 19 attendees and over 340 species were recorded on the day. Around 200 of these were new records for our database. Of the 340 or so species, 140 were vascular plants from a good mixture of woodland, grassland, and semiaquatic habitats.
Slade Farm is an award winning organic pastoral farm situated on the Welsh Heritage Coast, and includes a variety of key wildlife habitats. Slade Wood, in the northern part of the survey area, consisted of a mixture of tree species, including English elm (Ulmus procera). Many of the trees themselves, such as horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) and beech (Fagus sylvatica), are important habitats to the c. 50 lichen species recorded, one of which is potentially a previously undescribed species (to be confirmed). The tree slug (Lehmannia marginata) was found grazing amongst some of these lichens. The limestone walls within the site were also valuable habitats for many calcicole species, such as Lecanora crenulata, a lichen more common in southeast Britain. Cwm-y- Buarth situated towards the south of the survey area, had some stunted oaks (Quercus spp) covered in galls from the wasps Andricus kollari and Neuroterus numismalis. A slow worm (Anguis fragilis), was also found to have made its home under a pile of stones in this area.
The Nant-y-Durfol stream cuts through the site, providing wetter habitats for species such as floating sweet grass (Glyceria fluitans), yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus) and water mint (Mentha aquatica). Many species of mollusc were recorded on the day, a number of which were found near the stream, such as Carychium minimum.
Several bird species were observed, one notable sighting was that of a bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), which is a priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. This bird is also red-listed by the RSPB, because it has seen severe declines in recent years, as is the song thrush (Turdus philomelos) which was also recorded. In addition, a green woodpecker (Picus viridis) was heard calling from the farm house, and several migrant species were observed including wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe), swallows (Hirundo rustica) and sand martins (Riparia riparia). A flock of around 30 Canadian geese (Branta canadensis) was also noted feeding in a stubble field.
Black Rocks, Ogmore
Judith Oakley provided us with additional records from Black Rocks (Ogmore), just west of the survey site. This area consists of a rocky shore, and comprises several rock pools. This resulted in an additional 26 records to the species list, and included species such as the lesser spotted dog fish (Scyliorhinus caniculus) and the appropriately named gutweed (Ulva intestinalis).
Many thanks go to the Heritage Coast Project for providing shelter from the weather, and much needed cups of tea; and also to the farmer, Peter Davies and his family, for their warm welcome and hospitality on the day. We would also like to offer our congratulations to Peter for his recent achievement in becoming the first winner of the Nature of Farming Award. He was one of four short-listed finalists, and ultimately gained 36% of the vote in the competition, run by RSPB and Countryfile Magazine and backed by Butterfly Conservation and Plantlife. Thanks must also go to all the recorders that braved the weather, and to those that have submitted records. A list of all species recorded on the day is available to download (Excel, 58.5kB).
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