We can only help support Wales’ birds if we understand where and how they live. Conservation work based on well-disseminated, good quality research work is crucial, and we are fortunate in the UK that such activities are undertaken by both professional organisations and expert, unpaid volunteers. In 2015, grants have been awarded to two projects that are working to help Wales’ birds. The results of these studies will appear in future issues of our journal, Birds in Wales.
In addition, WOS made a £1000 contribution to BirdTrack, of which the Society is a partner, to assist additional developments of the scheme that will benefit bird recording in Wales.
Project: A Swift Recovery
Recipient: North Wales Wildlife Trust (£500)
Following initial research and consultation, we have identified 15 locations in N Wales with existing swift breeding populations, where we could improve availability of nest sites by box provision. We have already contacted several property owners to ask permission to erect boxes on their buildings. We will offer a choice of 2 box types to suit the particular building / access.
Nestboxes will be provided at a minimum of eight locations before the start of May 2015. These will be monitored and occupancy data collected and provided to county bird recorders and owners for at least the first three years. The project will be used to raise awareness within the region of the plight of Swifts, and measures that building owners can take to help.
Project: Sand martins at Parc Slip Nature Reserve
Recipient: Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales (£500)
The new wetlands provide ideal foraging opportunities for Sand Martin, a species that hasn’t been recorded breeding at the reserve for over 15 years. To provide the suitable nesting opportunities for Sand Martin, WTSWW plans to create two nesting banks, including a natural sediment bank and an artificial box bank, with provision for 20 nests. The existing scrape will be extended so that it lies directly beneath the vertical bank to offer greater security to nesting Sand Martins. Once the bank is formed, nesting burrows will be created and partially filled with sand, for the Sand Martins to further excavate. The Sand Martin Banks will be located in close proximity to the Mary Gillham Elevated Bird Hide, which overlooks the scrapes.
Research and monitoring will be undertaken throughout the breeding season by staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Trust, working in partnership with Cardiff University and the Glamorgan Bird Club.