Nature Corner

I spotted a Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) hanging in the air over the fields by the cycle bridge outside town last week. Next to the Buzzard it is probably our most easily seen birds of prey and is widespread all over the country, often seen hovering over the grassed edges of motorways and major roads. Actually it does not really hover and its vernacular name of Windhover is a bit of a misnomer — if you watch it through binoculars carefully you will notice that is flying slowly into the wind but remaining constant in relation to the ground. It is continually making slight adjustments to its tail and wings to adapt to the wind but all the time keeping its head immobile as if clamped into position with ferocious concentrated intensity. Then a seemingly effortless turn and selects a new position, all of which requires incredible co-ordination– true mastery of the air. Its Welsh name is Cudyll Coch–Red Falcon.

Nick Ford
Nick Ford

Nature Corner

The poor old House Mouse is of course in human eyes ‘a pest’, a term that is applied to any creature that looks as if it is getting the better of us, but it is nothing of the sort, it’s just a species doing it’s best to survive and using our dwellings and food supplies to do just that.It will eat just about anything it can find in an average house including the tasty covering of electrical cables and a particular favourite –soap, with it’s nutritious supply of modified fats. Modern hermetically sealed and ultra clean houses are not their favourites, they prefer older buildings with lots of nooks and crannies and gaps so they can get access to food cupboards and the like

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The Mus domesticus can squeeze through the most amazingly narrow apertures, flattening their bodies to seemingly cardboard thin measurements and of course if you put down traps and catch a couple it makes little difference to the numbers as in favourable conditions they can breed throughout the year with litters of 5 to 8 young which take only three weeks to become independant leaving the female to breed again. Unfortunately unlike most of our other rodents which are actually quite clean, the House mouse has a rather greasy skin and smells a bit, but lets not hold that against it. Yes , you’re right I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for them (like most animals in fact) and yes I share my house with a few of them in the winter.

A New Buzz About CAT

CAT’s visitor centre has been a hive of activity recently. We are presently putting the final touches to an Introductory Film about CAT and meanwhile…

The buzz is all about our stunning new bee hut, opening at 10am, Saturday 16th October: containing carved bees of different species and paintings of a variety of flowers that bees pollinate, it is impossible not to wax lyrical.

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Installation experts Pippa Bailey and Jony Easterby and friends have combed the local libraries and utilised their 20 years of artistic and beekeeping experience to provide CAT with a whole new permanent exhibition, full of fascinating facts and about our flower-fertilising friends – BEES.

Bruce Heagerty said “A huge thanks to Powys County Council Tourism Section’s ‘Community Welcome Scheme’ for sponsoring this, the new film and a number of the new signs being erected around CAT.
Without their help and the artistry of everyone who has contributed, CAT’s site would look a lot poorer. This is a great day for CAT and particularly our hardworking Displays Group.”

How many foraging trips to flowers does it take a Honey Bee to produce a pound of white clover honey? What do drones do? Come and find out…

This project is part-funded through the Rural Development Plan for 2007-2013 which is financed by the European Union and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Site Community

CAT includes a residential community with a capacity for 16 people. Staff members and long term volunteers live on site, with their families in a collection of four timber self build dwellings and five slate cottages. The residents here live according to CAT’s principles of preserving biodiversity, combating climate change and promoting global equity. Here is a brief insight into CAT’s onsite community…

Architecture Students find inspiration in WISE at this years professional diploma summer school.

This week the new WISE building at CAT has been buzzing with architecture students, all working on their final projects.  We took the opportunity to go and quiz them about what they are doing and how their course is going.

The WISE was alive with creative energy, paper covering the studio floors, cardboard models and sketchbooks spread out across the tables, the huge windows were filling the airy rooms with light, connecting and framing the woods and mountains around CAT.

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Continue reading “Architecture Students find inspiration in WISE at this years professional diploma summer school.”

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CAT’s Rennie Telford takes a look at Life in the Slow Lane

glasssnail21After a spell of rain or a summer shower, snails appear from out of their nooks and crannies in search of food -much to the annoyance of gardeners as they make a bee line (or should that be a snail line) for all your carefully tended young plants – but don’t dismiss the humble snail as just an uninteresting pest – if you take a closer look they are quite fascinating creatures.

There are several species of snail apart from the familiar Garden or Common snail. Look out for the Glossy Glass snail with a thin translucent shell and deep blue colouring on its body. Then there are the two ‘punk’ species, whose shells are covered with patches of ‘ hairs ‘ – the Hairy snail and the Silky snail.

Continue reading “CAT’s Rennie Telford takes a look at Life in the Slow Lane”