On Wednesday, the Mary Gillham Project left the office for a day of exciting exploration at Parc Slip Nature Reserve, Bridgend. We were treated to a guided walk around the reserve with Lorna Baggett, from Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, specifically looking for reptiles.
Parc Slip has one hundred ‘reptile refugia’ across a large transect that act as a shelter to the reptiles, heating up in the sun to keep them warm. We were taken to each refugia, on the lookout for grass snakes, adders, common lizards and slow worms, where Lorna then carefully lifted up each one to (hopefully) reveal a reptile underneath.
The weather was drizzly, however the day was a success as we managed to find a few adders, grass snakes and multiple slow worms! These refugia are part of an ongoing study to monitor the population of reptiles in the area; therefore each reptile found was recorded onto paper.
We also saw a few moths and a caterpillar, along with the stunning variety of flora that Parc Slip has to offer.
As many of you may know, Parc Slip is home to the Mary Gillham hide, and so after the ramble many of us continued on to spend some time observing birds, as well as the impressive landscape, from the hide. Here we were lucky to see Moorhen and Coot, as well as a few other species.
After an exciting few hours in the field, we retired to the lovely Wildlife Trust café for some hot drinks and food. Emotional farewells were exchanged as I have now come to the end of my placement year with the Mary Gillham Project; but this isn’t goodbye forever! I’ll definitely continue helping out with the project and will be keeping in touch with all the amazing people who have taught me so much this year.
Big thanks to Lorna and the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales for this exciting experience! Thank you Annie for all of these great images (see her blog here).