Archives for September 2009

Climbing Pen y Fan

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:23 UK time, Wednesday, 30 September 2009

I'm currently out walking in the Brecon Beacons for my new series of Weatherman Walking for next year and have texted this report in via my mobile to 'Gull' back at HQ - the wonders of modern technology, eh?

The route I'm taking today is the horse shoe route. We started at the Neuadd Reservoirs near Pontsticill and walked up the Roman road to Fan y Big - the one nicknamed the 'diving board' before moving onto Cribyn and Pen y Fan.

Me silhouetted on the top of Pen y Fan:
The views are quite staggering - I can see for miles in all directions and we've all been amazed at how quickly the weather can change up here. From mist and low cloud to sunshine and blue skies.
Views from the top:
I've just seen the army up here training - (prob the S.A.S) running around with heavy packs on. Rather them than me!
We've got a bit more to do up here before we begin the descent so I'd better get a move on as sunset is around 7pm tonight. Sue Charles will be taking over weather duties on Wales Today tonight.

No rest for the wicked though - tomorrow I'm off again, to Tregaron in Ceredigion where we'll be visiting an ancient chapel and staying in a remote hostel somewhere - you know the sort of thing, no electricity or heating etc so I'll be wrapping up warm!

I'll keep you posted.


Eye pod

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 16:37 UK time, Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The BBC Wales Nature Flickr group are a very clever bunch of snappers...

Since we started the photo group back in 2007, we've had something in the region of 5,600+ images and the standard blows my socks off so regularly that I've actually taken to wearing sandles around the office!  ;0

These photos of short beaked common dolphins have come in from a regular contributer to BBC Wales Nature called Ade:





See the full high resolution versions on Flickr


As Ade mentions - the pod which was out off Turbot Bank - a few miles offshore from Milford Haven, consisted of between 80-100 dolphins including mothers with their calves.

The water is so clear it makes me want to grab my snorkel and jump off a boat somewhere soon!


Dolphins on BBC Wales Nature

Michaelmas day

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 09:39 UK time, Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Today, September 29th is Michaelmas Day - traditionally the last day of the harvest season.

Around this time of year if the weather is fine and warm, people often talk about an 'Indian summer' or in Welsh 'haf bach mihangel'.  

The weather has been quiet and settled recently thanks to a persistent area of high pressure but the high is going to move away over the Atlantic ocean over the next few days.

That will allow a weak cold front to move South across Britain; it won't bring much if any rain but it will introduce colder and clearer air from the Arctic.

So Friday morning will start off chilly with a ground frost in places, so you might want to protect some of your plants and veg.

Beyond that, the weather looks like turning more unsettled as we head into the weekend with stronger winds and the chance of a little rain.

Mind you, we've had a good run of dry weather and at least a change in the weather gives forecasters like myself, something to talk about!  :)

I'm off filming some walks for the rest of this week for the new Weatherman Walking series, so will update you on those soon. First stop - Pen y Fan.


Coasting along

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 10:54 UK time, Monday, 28 September 2009

Last week I was in Ceredigion filming for my new series of Weatherman Walking.

The walk started in New Quay and then along the new coast path to Cwmtydu and then Llangrannog, a distance of 9.4 miles.
Thankfully the weather was kind to us, often cloudy but dry with a little sunshine.
I've been to New Quay a couple of times in the past but have never walked along this part of the coast before. I fully recommend it.

We stopped at Bird Rock and along the way saw dolphins, seals and many sea birds. The views are spectacular too, on a clear day you can see the Lleyn Peninsula and Snowdon.

There are also small hidden beaches and coves accessible only by foot or by boat!
The walk takes you to Ynys Lochtyn and eventually Llangrannog where I enjoyed a beautiful sunset followed by a tasty dinner in the Ship Inn.

Yesterday I went to Southerndown for a beach BBQ with friends. We were lucky, the cloud which covered most of Wales broke and the sun shone and everyone had a nice time.
This week I am off filming again in the Brecon Beacons climbing Pen y Fan tomorrow and on Wednesday and then heading back west to Ceredigion for a walk near Tregaron on Thursday and Friday.
I hope I won't be needing my waterproofs this week!

The odd spot of drizzle is likely in the North and West otherwise its looking largely dry although as move into October it will turn slightly colder.

Weatherman Walking video: Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Me and the farmer

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 12:38 UK time, Tuesday, 22 September 2009

We've all been there at some time or other...

The quiet country lane suddenly turns into a scene from a John Wayne movie. The only thing missing are the red indians and bullets richocheting off the hedgerows.

Crazy eyed cows, stampede down grass verges either side of the car, whilst you helplessly peer out of the window, praying the bullocks will spare your wing mirrors.

Yes, it's milking time at the farm and there's not a darn thing you can do about it except  follow the herd to wherever it's going...

But next time it happens try and enjoy it and remember this - you're in the farmers office now.

Take a look at this article on BBC Local and discover more about the shepherds and farmers lives in Snowdonia.


Read the rest of this entry

Autumn equinox

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 09:25 UK time, Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The weather has been on top form in Wales recently with very little if any rain for almost a fortnight.

A cold front will bring a little rain today but things are looking up again later this week.

High pressure bringing another dose of fine, settled weather and some sunshine.

Today is the Autumn Equinox. And some people take this day as the official start to Autumn in the Northern hemisphere.

The equinox refers to the moment that the sun crosses directly overhead at the Earth's equator.

The word equinox derives from the Latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night). It means equal day and night. But in reality, the day is longer than the night at an equinox. 
This is because the sun is not a single point of light, but appears to be a disc. So when the centre of the sun is still below the horizon, the upper limb is already visible and emits light.

The atmosphere also refracts light downwards, so even when the upper limb of the sun is still below the horizon, its rays already reach around the horizon to the ground. This combination makes the day slightly longer than the night.

In Cardiff, day and night are equal on September 25th a few days after the Autumn Equinox. At the South Pole the penguins will be celebrating the first appearance of the sun in 6 months.

At the North Pole polar bears will be bracing themselves for 6 months of darkness.

Here in Wales the nights are drawing in but cheer up - there are only 93 shopping days left until Christmas! ;0


Rare Bechstein bat found

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 14:03 UK time, Monday, 21 September 2009

One of Europe's rarest bats has been found at a site in Wales.

The lone, male bat has been discovered residing in Pembrokeshire, 100km west of earlier recorded sites much to everyone's surprise.

 Find out more on BBC News

Surfers chain - world record attempt

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:45 UK time, Monday, 21 September 2009

As you'll know from last week's blog - Baefest was happening down in Swansea Bay along with a 'surfers chain' world record attempt.

As you can see it all went off without a hitch and the record attempt was recorded from the air via a micro-light. All in all 152 surfers took the water to take part.

Michaela Jones has sent me these stunning images, to share with you.

Images by Alun Morris Jones: View over Swansea Bay
Stunning sunset over Swansea Bay on Sat, 19 September:
Birds eye view from above:

Did you take part? If so I'd love to hear from you - leave a comment below.


September sunshine

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:21 UK time, Monday, 21 September 2009

Hope you all had a nice weekend and made the most of the sunshine. The butterflies in my garden certainly did. I've never seen so many!

There seems to be an abundance lot of painted ladies and red admirals flying around currently busily fighting for territory with the wasps, bees and hover flies and our Flickr group have been out in force snapping them.

Here's one I snapped on my mobile whilst walking down a quiet lane yesterday afternoon:

I'm not sure what the plant was in the hedgerow but it was covered with insects of all shapes and sizes. It looked like some sort of ivy which had flowered?

We've had some great photos in this summer. This shot of a comical greylag goose made me chuckle earlier and it's not everyday you see a Mediterranean gull.

This shot of a Mediterranean gull on the wing by pentaxboyo is a corker.

Nice article here on how to attract butterflies to your garden if you're struggling.


Weekend weather

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 13:28 UK time, Friday, 18 September 2009

Well the current dry weather is the longest dry spell we've had in Wales since late May/early June.

Last weekend was gorgeous with plenty of blue skies and super September sunshine but this weekend the weather pattern is a little more complicated.

Pressure is now falling and a weak cold front will move in from the Atlantic tomorrow bringing a few spots of light rain.

Once that clears Sunday looks more promising. Pressure rising again with plenty of sunshine.

Tonight cloud will thicken bringing a few spots of light rain or drizzle, mainly in the west and north. A mild night. Lowest temperatures 8 to 12 Celsius.

Saturday plenty of cloud. A few spots of light rain or the odd shower. Some places staying dry and in places the sun will break through.

Top temperatures 17 to 20 Celsius with light winds.


If you're heading to Swansea Bay tomorrow for the Bae Fest. I wouldn't rule out a shower here but most of the day dry. Hopefully a little sunshine as well.

Temperatures peaking at 17 Celsius with a light breeze.

Sunday a better day. Generally dry and brighter. A good deal of sunshine.

Feeling fresher. Top temperatures 16 to 19 Celsius with a light to moderate north-westerly breeze.


So a fine day for the Mold Food and Drink Festival.

Next week, the wind will pick-up bringing some rain but high pressure may return by the weekend bringing us another dose of fine, settled weather.


Nature's up and downs

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 12:46 UK time, Friday, 18 September 2009

Maureen Jenner got in touch with us to let us know about all the wildlife activity in her neck of the woods in Ferryside, Camarthenshire.

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Baefest & a world record attempt

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 09:09 UK time, Friday, 18 September 2009

Bae Fest is a free one-day beach festival taking place on Swansea Bay, on Saturday, 19 September 2009. The event is all in aid of charity and prmoises to be a great day out for the whole family.

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Meanwhile in outer space...

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 13:27 UK time, Thursday, 17 September 2009

The International Space Station has been visible in the skies this week!

Mike Davies from Neath saw it on 12 September and filmed it flying over. Here's a frame grab from the video:



There's another opportunity to see it tonight cloud permitting. Look for a bright moving star-like object rising in the western sky at 20:40 tonight.

It will cross the sky passing almost overhead and then disappear in the east at 20:44. Tomorrow night it rises in the west at 19:29 and disappears in the east at 19:35.

For more information go to and click on ISS.

The planet Jupiter is also visible and bright in the evening at the moment, look towards the South-Eastern sky. If you're up early you can see Venus shining brightly in the East before dawn.

Brian Woosnam from the North Wales and Llandrillo College Astronomy Society took this picture of Venus and the thin crescent Moon the other morning:



Sensational sunsets

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 12:48 UK time, Thursday, 17 September 2009


It's been dry across the majority of Wales for over a week now and as a result we've had some lovely sun sets.

Dennis Bright from Ogmore by Sea sent in this amazing shot of the sun sinking into the Bristol Channel:


And Mair Rees from Llanarth sent in this stunner looking over towards Newquay:


And this one from Dewi Roberts at Tywyn beach:


Check out more great photos on the BBC Wales Nature site

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One for the foodies

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 12:04 UK time, Thursday, 17 September 2009

The National Trust in Wales will celebrate British Food Fortnight from the 19th of September to the 4th of October as part of it's ongoing commitment to using the finest local and seasonal food.

A recent local study showed that over 60% of the Trust's spend on food went straight to local suppliers worth in the region of £400,000 to the Welsh economy.

During the open season in Wales an astounding 133,949 cups of tea, 11,268 cream teas, and 140,902 pieces of home-made cake and scones!

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National moth night

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 16:16 UK time, Wednesday, 16 September 2009

National Moth Night celebrates all things moth!

Beginners and experts alike can take part and help record and survey the range of species across the UK.

It's happening over two nights this year and specific species are being targeted in order to learn more about their movements and migratory habits.
Elephant hawk moth by 'Gtj-45' on our BBC Wales Flickr group:
September is usually a good month for moths as home bred species mix with visitors from  abroad depending on the weather conditions and wind direction.

You can take part at an organised event or set up a home made moth trap in your garden and send in your results and photos.

A old white sheet and a bright light at night can work wonders!

If you'd like to take part then visit the website for more information.

How to make a home made moth trap

Taking part

More on moths at BBC Wales Nature

I'm going to give it a try this year and see what I get...

If you get any nice photos - email them into me and I'll post up the best ones in this blog.


Beachwatch: Ogmore beach clean

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 14:58 UK time, Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Beachwatch is an annual event which is both a beach clean and litter survey in one.
It takes place on the 3rd weekend of September every year, and thousands of volunteers all over Britain get involved in cleaning their local beaches.

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Discover Bridgend on foot

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 14:08 UK time, Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Themed walks are taking place all over the county borough of Bridgend between 18th-20th September as part of Discovery Walks Weekend 2009.

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The rain in Spain

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:37 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The weather was pretty awesome over the weekend. The best weekend we've had in ages but the nights were chilly with clear skies.

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Weekend weather

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 13:49 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

The dry weather is set to last right through the weekend with high pressure keeping things fine and settled.

The satellite sequence shows a blob of high cloud moving south across Wales.

Thicker cloud will brin rain to the far north of Scotland and Norway with the jet stream currently located to the North and East of Britain.

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Rare glossy ibis sighting

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 15:02 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

It's been a  busy month for the unusual - tired turtles, dead whales, an escaped eagle owl, missing meercat and now this!

Twenty five of these birds have recently been spotted feeding in Pembrey, West Wales.

Moses Davies, a contributor from our BBC Wales Nature Flickr group has sent in some stunning images of the birds feeding on worms and other grubs in the fields.
The last time one of these was spotted in Wales - a solitary bird was way back in 1910!

The birds are thought to have arrived off the back of Hurricane Bill - possibly blown off course.


View a gallery of these birds on Flickr

Meercat missing in Barry

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 12:14 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

Barry, in South Wales isn't the first place you usually associate with meercats!

You're more likely to see one on prime time BBC One or on Wild Welsh Zoo but one little lady has recently gone missing.

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A gannet to dinner

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 15:32 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Huw Jenkins has sent in this curious tale of a gannet losing it's way inland...

Our neighbour had found it amongst his cattle half a mile upstream from where the Dwyryd becomes tidal at Maentwrog.

Last year he presented us with an injured buzzard which had taken a chunk out of his finger so this time he was taking no chances and the gannet's beak was knotted with farmer's orange twine.

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Mink at Llandanwg

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 15:15 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

We've just had 3 nice photos of a mink sent in from Bill Hinton to the Wales Nature inbox

At first Bill thought it was either a stout or a weasel due to the
colour but Wildlife Wales have informed him that is in fact a mink.
Bill snapped this mink whilst walking around the bay of Llandanwg in North Wales.
If you have an unusual nature photo then email it to us or add it to our Flickr group.



Read the 'mink versus rabbit' blog

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Indian Summer

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 12:24 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Wasn't it great to pull back the curtains this morning and find the sun streaming in through the window?

High pressure from the Azores is working its magic. It's a blocking high too which means it's going to stick around for quite a while. Something which hasn't happened since last June.

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Wild Welsh Zoo

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 12:10 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Did you know that a total bill for a zebra's manicure can cost well over a thousand pounds? Well don't worry - neither did I!

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Cockles and mussels alive, oh no, no

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 09:36 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Last night there was a great piece on the state of our seas on Panorama which I'm sure many of you watched in disbelief as the team highlighted the problems of CSO discharges at our local beaches.

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Good weather on the way

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 12:38 UK time, Monday, 7 September 2009

Typical isn't it, the kids go back to school and what happens? The weather starts to improve! And that's exactly what's going to happen this week.

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A look back at summer's weather

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 11:34 UK time, Friday, 4 September 2009

Well back in April the Met Office issued their long range forecast which was 'odds on for a BBQ summer'.

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Dalek invasion on Harlech

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 09:59 UK time, Thursday, 3 September 2009

This one just in from our guest nature blogger, Huw Jenkins:

The summer held so much promise. Derek said it would be a
barbecue summer, my family campaigned for a pool in the garden and
there were days in June when I was grateful for a cooling dip in the sea.

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Severe weather warning

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 13:43 UK time, Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The remains of tropical storm Danny are heading our way bringing a dose of heavy rain and strong winds. The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for most of Wales so take care if you are travelling.

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Tropical storm Danny

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 10:15 UK time, Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Tuesday was the first official day of the Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere from a meteorological point of view.

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Reaching the summit

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 09:26 UK time, Wednesday, 2 September 2009

I hope you had a good bank holiday weekend despite the mixed weather. I went to Snowdonia for a few days staying in Llanberis and climbed Snowdon on Saturday via the Pyg and miners track.

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A whale of a time

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 15:03 UK time, Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A 33 ft long, Minke whale has been found washed up on the rocks at the Knap in Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan today.

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Turtle photos from Gower

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 09:46 UK time, Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Last week we reported on a loggerhead turtle find on Gower.
We've just had the photos and information in from the City and County of Swansea Nature Conservation Team.

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