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Iolo's Street Life

If you missed the first episode of Iolo’s Street Life, it’s showing on BBC iPlayer for the next 24days.
Here’s the Link

The next episode is on tomorrow (Friday 27th) at 7:30pm on BBC One Wales so there’s time to get it on series link if you’re able.

For those that haven’t been following my blog over the last year, this series was my first time working on a major production, commissioned by the BBC and produced by Aden Productions. I was employed by Aden as a researcher and as a researcher, it was my job to ensure that everything on the day of filming was pre-planned to ensure we made full use of the limited days we had Iolo and the production team booked.
Not an easy task when you’re dealing with subjects as unpredictable as Wildlife and as you can imagine, to ensure things went perfectly on the day, it required many hours prior, sleeping in random hotels all over the country, staying up all hours monitoring cameras, laying camera traps, speaking with local people on the phone, at their doorstep, on the streets… Pretty much anything it took to get the knowledge we needed to film wildlife on the streets.
It was a great pleasure to work on the program and everyone at Aden was so welcoming, supportive and generally such a good bunch to work alongside. I mainly worked with Associate Producer, Osian Griffiths, who helped guide me in this new role, but I also spent some time with Kathy James who was also new to the role of Researcher but she had her own series to concentrate on called Iolo: Saving the Land of the Wild. A truly epic series that touched upon some really important topics we’re facing in this country at the moment so well worth watching if you haven’t already.

I probably should have took more behind the scene pics for my own memory sake but I didn’t want to be the one playing about with my phone on a major shoot. Below are some of my setups, some footage of which you’ve already seen of the Owls and Foxes but some that also didn’t make the cut like the Otters at Haverfordwest and Sparrowhawks in Michele Hughes Garden. For every one item you see in the program, we must of had 3 extra as reserves, backup plans, or items that simple didn’t meat the criteria in the final cut.

I must admit, the whole experience filming with Iolo and being such a critical part of the filming process, was such an honour, but I’ll be totally honest, it took a tole on my mental health, and all I’ve really concentrated on since then, was getting myself back on track, both physically and mentally. Very soon I’ll be co-launching a new community interest company called ‘In Our Nature’ with Veronika Brannovic. The company aims to improve wellbeing for people who suffer with mental illness, by utilising the power of nature and everything it has to offer. More about this on a future blog post.

For now, I hope you enjoy the program, please let me know what you think via the comments, on social media ect.

In the present, I think I just about made the most of the last bit of autumn sunshine I could get, getting some more time with the Brown Hawkers at Ebbw Vale and finding a very late Male Black-tailed Skimmer which usually peaks in June-July.

Something else I stumbled upon by accident was later identified by Steve Williams, was a possible Tufa Spring. - Read more about it here. I’ve seen this before at this exact location and I’ve mistaken it for some sort of pollution incident, almost ringing NRW to check on it too as there was a burn out car nearby and I’ve found random chemical containers up there in the past. If this is a natural Tufa Spring, it'll be worth examining the flora around the pond as there may be some rare plant life that usually associates themselves with calcium-rich waters.

End of Season

My first season as a Ranger at Llandegfedd has ended and what better way to end it than with a Black Tern and Great White Egret! It was nice to also receive a card and box of biscuits from Valery (Local Resident and Llandegfedd's star litter picker). She deserves a medal for the amount of time and effort she puts into keeping the place look tidy, that and she's genuinely a lovely person so it meant a lot to receive a personal card from her. Other notable sightings at Llandegfedd came from Craig Constance yesterday morning with a flock of Hawfinch! They appear to be popping up all over the country at the moment, suspected to be caused by the destruction of large forests in Russia. 

Suddenly I have lots of time on my hands for the next 4 months till the next season starts (If they have me back). If you know of any conservation work this winter, i'd appreciate getting in-touch with me. 

With beautiful weather today, you'd think I'd be out in the car venturing off somewhere special with my camera, but instead, I'm stuck at home with a fractured wrist..
Not exactly what I had planned after work finished but maybe I need the rest? 
Will need to go back to the hospital next week for a scan as it's a 'complicated' bone that may need further attention if it doesn't heal properly. 

That said, I can still hold the camera! Turns out I carry the camera with my left hand and all the right hand does is press the shutter lol. So a little trip across the canal is all I'm able to do for now till I can drive again. 

Traditional Breconshire Style Hedge Laying

Traditional Breconshire Style Hedge Laying

Last week in work my colleagues and I were introduced to a true traditional -'Breconshire style'- way of hedge laying. The location was just above Llangorse Lake on the west bank on a SSSI site. We've done work in this beautiful area before so it was nice to visit again and hear all the birds in the background, including seeing two Great White Egrets that were using the flooded fields catching early spring frogs. Rather than explain everything we did, I thought I'd put a short video together showing various stages of the Hedge. If you're familiar with Hedge Laying but perhaps not with the Breconshire style, I'd highly recommend it, it has such a great finish but is also made strong and most importantly, stock proof. 

Red Grouse Theme of the day

Today had such potential to be my favourite day so far working at the beacons, on an Annual Grouse count, high up in the hills surrounded by miles of flowering heather. Sounds amazing right? Well, theme of the day was set by the picture below that pretty much described our day before it even started. 

As we climbed up to the highest peak of Cwmyoy, the fog got thicker and before we knew it, visibility was pretty poor. 18 of us turned up for the count, joined by three highly trained spotter Dogs that would aid us tremendously, providing there were any grouse. By now I'm sure you've worked out the outcome but apart from a few grouse droppings, we pretty much only found Fox Moth Caterpillars and two Heather Bumble Bee's. 

Not for lack of trying though! The word 'yomping' comes to mind and I certainly have the blisters to show for it! I'll refrain from posting pictures.. not a pretty picture.

I've edited this photo of a Ram in such a way that it minimises the Fog so this doesn't give you a true indication of how foggy it was. A clearer day will probably result in more grouse but even still, I don't think the numbers are doing so well up there.