Archives for May 2012

A snake in the pond

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 11:40 UK time, Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The grass snake Natrix natrix or more aptly named water snake is a non-venomous snake found throughout the UK and Europe.

The largest of our three native snakes, it can grow over 1.5m in length with the females being larger than the males.

Grass snake by Darren Harries

A grass snake recently photographed by Darren Harries.

They're normally olive green or brown in colour with a characteristic yellow collar behind the head. The undersides are paler white with distinctive blocks of black.

Grass snakes can be tricky to spot due to their speed, agility and camouflage and are one of the few animals that will fake death, becoming completely limp if cornered.

Another defensive technique they use is to excrete a foul smelling liquid from their anal glands which apparently takes a long time to remove from your hands - should you be tempted to pick one up.

Like most snakes, you have to be extremely lucky and patient to spot one, as they will invariably slither away at the slightest vibration as you approach.

Grass snakes are excellent swimmers so your best chance of seeing one is actually when it's swimming in water or curled up in a pond hiding under foliage near the bank.

A swimming grass snake by Rat Salad.

A swimming grass snake by Rat Salad.

Grass snakes prefer being close to water where they prey upon frogs, toads, small fish and the occasional small mammal or bird.

As Britain's only egg laying snake, a favourite haunt is in garden compost heaps which provide the perfect conditions for incubating their eggs in.

Grass snakes eggs will lay up to 40 eggs which require temperatures between 21-28 degrees with plenty of humidity.

Grass snake by Dave Hill @ DEFRA

Grass snake by Dave Hill @ DEFRA

After about 10 weeks the young snakes emerge in early autumn but few reach adulthood, becoming prey to other animals and as a result of this and loss of habitat, these snakes are now in decline.

The head markings on the snakes are unique like a fingerprint and can be used to identify individuals age, sex and distribution

If you do happen to find a grass snake in your garden then don't panic, they're completely harmless and you're incredibly lucky to have one.

BBC Wildlife Finder: Grass snakes

Wikipedia: Grass snakes

Hazy sunshine

Sue Charles Sue Charles | 10:11 UK time, Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The weather's certainly played its part in the torch relay so far - a bit cloudier today with bright spells but not quite as warm as recent days.

Some mist and low cloud in Beaumaris, turning brighter and warmer along the coast towards Rhyl and just a little cloudy at times as the torch relay heads towards Chester.

It's a similar story across Wales with some low cloud with the sun burning away any mist.

It will be a bit hazier than in recent days with a few more breaks in the cloud this afternoon and a small risk of a shower with temperatures in the high teens or low 20s, so not as warm as yesterday.

Tomorrow we'll see sunshine and showers, fairly isolated but if you catch one it could be heavy with the risk of thunder.

It's looking cooler and more changeable for the rest of the week but more promising for the start of the bank holiday weekend.

Nature in Wales this week

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 13:52 UK time, Friday, 25 May 2012

A rare, little tern colony is doing well in north Wales thanks to some extra protection from an electric fence, courtesy of Denbighshire Council.

Welsh ospreys are also doing well. At the RSPB Glaslyn reserve all three chicks have hatched and the pair at the Dyfi Estuary should have chicks hatching this weekend.

Keep an eye on the Dyfi Osprey Facebook page for some incredible HD webcam images of the birds on the nest - probably the best you will ever see of a bird of prey!

Welsh beaches gained 43 Blue Flag awards this year but six lost their status including Aberavon, Llandudno North Shore, Aberystwyth South, Criccieth and Newport.

For snake lovers out there, The National Poisons Information Service - (yes it does exist) have revealed that Wales is an adder bite hotspot.

23 people in Wales were bitten by the UK's only venomous snake between 2009-11 but to keep things in perspective, no-one has died from an adder bite for more than 20 years.

If bitten, get to a hospital ASAP but providing you watch where you're walking and keep your distance, adders will invariably move away before you even see them.

Springwatch is back in Wales for another series, live from the RSPB Ynys-hir reserve. The series starts on Monday 28 May at 8pm on BBC Two.

Our Flickr group continues to capture some wonderful images from around Wales. Here are a few that have caught my eye lately:

female adder basking in the sun by Matthew Fox

female adder basking in the sun by Matthew Fox

Hedgehog by Jo Edwards

Jo Edwards found this hedgehog dehydrated in her garden so gave it some food and water and got it back on its feet.

A baby treecreeper on the nest by Anthony Cronin

Here's something you don't see every day, a highly camouflaged, treecreeper chick on the nest in Roath Park - snapped by Anthony Cronin

A cuckoo spotted by Mike Warburton

A rare cuckoo, feeding on caterpillars - spotted by Mike Warburton

Bager webcam by Laurence Clark

Who needs Springwatch when you've got your own webcam set up in the back garden. Laurence Clark was amazed to find badgers in his back yard!

More fine, sunny weather ahead

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:15 UK time, Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Tomorrow a few coasts in the north and west may stay grey and misty with sea fog in the Irish Sea but the low cloud should be less extensive than today so more of the country should turn out fine, sunny and very warm.

Top temperatures will be around 25 Celsius, 77 Fahrenheit and it will feel humid with little in the way of wind.

If you don't like the heat, then head to the coast and beaches where sea breezes will keep things refreshingly cooler, about 15 Celsius in Rhyl and 13 Celsius in Fishguard. This is because the sea temperature is still quite cool around 10 or 11 Celsius.

On Friday and over the weekend, an easterly breeze will pick-up making it feel fresher but staying dry and sunny.

Friday is likely to be the hottest day of the week with temperatures soaring as high as 26 Celsius, even on the west coast with a breeze off the land. The sun will be very strong too so don't forget your hat and suncream.

By Sunday evening, if not before, some rain and thundery showers over the West Country may spread into Wales.

Next week looks like turning cooler and more unsettled with changeable weather expected in June so enjoy the hot and sunny weather while it lasts!


Dig out the shorts and flip-flops

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 14:09 UK time, Monday, 21 May 2012

It's time to dig out the shorts and flip-flops! Miserable May will turn into marvellous May this week.

High pressure looks set to bring most of us a taste of summer with plenty of sunshine and becoming warmer too.

The highest temperature recorded in Wales so far this year was in Porthmadog in Gwynedd, 22.2 Celsius, 72 Fahrenheit on March 24, but I think somewhere will beat that this week.

It's not all plain sailing though as some coasts will be cooler with sea breezes and a risk of sea mist/ fog mainly around the Irish Sea.

While Pembrokeshire may be disappointingly cloudy tomorrow with temperatures only 14 Celsius in St. Davids and Manorbier compared to 21 Celsius in Cardiff, Brecon, Wrexham and Knighton.

The Olympic torch reaches Wales this Friday, 25 May and it should be dry and warm with a breeze in Monmouth and Abergavenny.

Breezy too in Pontypool and Cardiff and a risk of a shower in places.

As for the weekend, at the moment it looks like turning cooler and breezy with east to north-east winds. Saturday may turn out fine, clear and sunny but on Sunday cloud may bring showers.

Beyond that, the signs are it will turn more unsettled during the last week of May with low pressure bringing showers or longer spells of rain.

So make the most of the fine and warmer weather this week if you can and don't forget the suncream.


Mixed weather for the weekend

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:20 UK time, Friday, 18 May 2012

Another weekend is upon us and the weather is best described as mixed. However, some parts of the country will fair better than others and there will be differences in the weather from one day to the next.

Most of the rain is likely tonight. Tomorrow will start cloudy and damp, especially in mid Wales and the north. But the light rain and drizzle will tend to die out during the day. In parts of the south and west it should stay dry and brighten-up with a few scattered showers breaking out.

Top temperatures tomorrow in the brighter south will be around 16 Celsius and with light winds it will feel pleasant in the sunshine. In the cloudier north it will be cooler, nearer 11 to 14 Celsius.

Sunday's chart shows low pressure over France so unsettled weather there and for Iberia and north Africa as well.

Met Office chart for Sunday 20 May

Met Office chart for Sunday 20 May

Sunday is not a bad day overall. I wouldn't rule out a shower but most places will be dry. Plenty of cloud but the north and west should be much brighter with a good deal of sunshine. Highest temperatures will be 13 to 16 Celsius with a light to moderate north to north-easterly breeze.

Next week the signs are the weather will improve. Confidence is high in a more settled spell of weather. Sunny spells and becoming warmer too. This will be a welcome change after all the poor weather we've had since March.

So mixed weather this weekend but hopefully a taste of summer on the way next week. And about time too!

Weather for the week ahead

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:06 UK time, Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The weather is in better shape today thanks to high pressure. A few cumulus clouds and sunshine with many coasts clear and sunny.

Cumulus clouds, from Garnswllt looking towards north Gower Coast. Photo: Ted Williams

Cumulus clouds, from Garnswllt looking towards north Gower Coast. Photo: Ted Williams

It's still not that warm for the time of year with temperatures 10 to 14 Celsius across the country this afternoon but at least the wind is lighter than yesterday so out of the breeze and in the sunshine it feels very pleasant.

As expected last night was cold for May with a widespread ground frost. Temperatures in Cardiff dropped to 2 Celsius but in Powys it was colder. Tirabad recorded -1 Celsius with a slight air frost.

Tonight will be less cold with cloud spreading in after midnight. Lowest temperatures between 3 and 7 Celsius with light winds.

Tomorrow will be much cloudier than today. A little rain in the north in the morning. The south drier and brighter. Tomorrow afternoon much of the country should be dry with a little sunshine in places. Top temperatures 11 to 14 Celsius with an east or south-easterly breeze. The wind mainly light but moderate on the Bristol Channel coast.

On Friday and over the weekend low pressure will take control which means mixed weather.

Met Office chart for 16 May

Met Office chart for 16 May

Some rain and showers but not a total washout. A few sunny intervals are likely. Breezy on Sunday.

Feeling more like October

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:41 UK time, Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Forget spring, it feels more like October than May today. Temperatures only 8 to 12 Celsius across Wales with a brisk and chilly north-westerly wind.

The air over us has come all the way from Spitzbergan in the Arctic so no wonder it's a bit nippy!

There has been some sunshine but also a few sharp showers, hail in places and a dusting of snow on the higher hills and mountains including Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons.

A pheasant in the hail yesterday by Ray Stobbart, Denbigh.

A pheasant in the hail yesterday by Ray Stobbart, Denbigh.

Tonight the wind will ease and temperatures will take a tumble, falling close to freezing inland with a widespread ground frost in the countryside.

Tomorrow will be more settled thanks to high pressure but I wouldn't rule out a light shower in places, otherwise it will be dry with sunny spells.

weather chart for 15 May 2012

The best of the sunshine will be in the north and west, especially towards the coast. Top temperatures reaching 10 and 14 Celsius in the afternoon with light and variable winds.

Thursday and Friday will be mostly cloudy with some rain and showers with most of the rain in the north and drier in the south.

At the moment, the weekend looks cool and breezy with north-easterly winds. There is a risk of some showery rain is expected at times although Sunday may turn out dry and brighter with sunny spells.

So wrap-up warm, watch out for Jack Frost tonight and enjoy the sunshine tomorrow


A changeable week ahead

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 13:45 UK time, Monday, 14 May 2012

High pressure worked its magic over the weekend bringing plenty of sunshine which was a real tonic and a welcome change after all the rain.

St. Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan was the sunniest place in the UK yesterday with almost 14 hours of sunshine. While in Bute Park, Cardiff the temperature rose to a respectable 16.3 Celsius, 61 Fahrenheit.

I took advantage of the glorious sunshine and visited Mumbles on Saturday. Then went for a walk on Sunday in the Vale of Glamorgan. The views were stunning on both days

It's a shame the fine weather couldn't last for longer. Last night brought a change, with wet and windy weather spreading from the north-west. At Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula, a wind gust of 57mph was recorded.

The rest of this week looks very changeable to say the least with a mixture of cloud, rain, showers and sunshine as well.

Some of the showers will be heavy with a risk of hail and thunder and with winds from the Arctic tomorrow, a little snow is likely on the mountains. The nights will also be cold with ground frost, especially in the countryside.

Wednesday looks like the driest and sunniest day of the week with high pressure close by. But it won't hang around for long, so don't bank on next weekend being as nice as the last one.

At the moment, it's looking cool and breezy with a little rain or showers. However, on a brighter note, Sunday may turn out drier and sunnier - if we are lucky.


Wildfowl and wetlands

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:23 UK time, Monday, 14 May 2012

I visited the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Llanelli on Saturday, my maiden voyage and had a great time.

It's a part of Carmarthenshire that I don't really know, so it was nice to finally see it in the flesh and the sunny weather definitely helped.

My three year old loved it and I was surprised at how tame and tolerant the ducks.

I've not see such docile creatures since I visited the Galapagos Islands, where you literally have to step over nesting boobies and marine iguanas to make any progress on each island.

Many of the ducks will feed from the hand too so keep one eye on your sandwiches.

Back to the wetlands and pretty much every duck was met with a 'hello duckie!' from my son, followed by a spot of close quarter eyeballing. Apart from the odd hiss (mainly from the South American geese) we passed through unscathed.

Geese at the WWT

Geese at the WWT

He also got to grips with my binoculars although I'm still not 100% sure what he actually saw!

There were dozens of exotic ducks from all over the world - South America, Australia, Tundra, Europe etc as well as Caribbean flamingo which were a big hit.

We saw black swans, bewick's swans, eider ducks, countless moorhens and coots with their young, shelducks and plenty I'd never heard of.

In the woods surrounding the enclosures I also spotted a blackcap and chiffchaff.

Sadly I didn't get to explore the wilder wetland areas of the 66 hectare site as there is only so much a three year old can handle but I'd love to go back and spend a lot more time there.

Dry and sunny weekend ahead

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:07 UK time, Friday, 11 May 2012

I am sure many of you are fed up with the rain. It feels as if we have had enough to fill a swimming pool lately!

But they say every cloud has a silver lining and following the recent downpours, the drought is over in south west England, the Midlands and parts of Yorkshire according to the Environment Agency.

I think we have seen the worst of the rain for the time being. The weather is improving today, pressure is rising and we are in for a much drier and sunnier weekend for a change.

A few clouds will build-up inland tomorrow and I wouldn't rule out the odd light shower but you'd be very lucky to catch one and most places will stay dry. Many coasts and beaches will enjoy a good dose (about 14 hours) of sunshine.

Day-time temperatures won't be that high for May, 12 to 15 Celsius in the shade in the afternoon, but with lighter winds and sunshine it will feel pleasantly warm.

And don't forget the suncream, the sun is strong given the longest day is only a few weeks away. Factor 15 or higher is best. While at night, it will turn chilly, especially inland.

Tomorrow the barometric pressure will be around 1040mb (30.71 inches of Mercury) corrected to mean sea level, the highest pressure we've had in Wales since February and March. If you fancy a paddle, the sea temperature is a refreshing 10 Celsius.

Sunday will serve up more dry weather. The sunshine hazier than Saturday with high clouds. The south westerly wind will gradually pick-up during the day as well, becoming strong and gusty in the north west.

The Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival is on this weekend with lots of walks to suit all abilities and the weather will be fine.

If you're feeling energetic, a Thunder Walk is taking place in the Brecon Beacons National Park tomorrow - 54 miles in 24 hours.

In Llanberis, the Ras Moel Eilio is taking place tomorrow at 12pm. Conditions will be perfect for the runners.

Sunday night into Monday will turn wet and breezy. The rain will eventually clear on Monday followed by sunshine and showers and the rest of week looks changeable and rather cool.

So make the most of the dry weather and sunshine over the weekend.


Glaslyn osprey chick hatches

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 13:48 UK time, Friday, 11 May 2012

Great news for the team up at the RSPB Glaslyn Osprey Project as the first of three osprey eggs hatched today.

osprey chick hatches at Glaslyn

The first chick hatches at Glaslyn. Image taken from the RSPB webcam.

After a rough and windy night which saw the osprey webcam lose power, the female finally revealed the chick at 10am.

The male osprey was close at hand, waiting patiently with a freshly caught fish for the new arrival.

Find out more on BBC News Online.

Chillier than Xmas Day

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 09:48 UK time, Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Last month, as well as being wet, was also colder than average. April has been colder than March in the past but not by as much as 1.4 degrees since records began in 1910.

It was a bit chilly over the weekend - in fact Christmas Day last year was warmer than last Saturday!

But despite the chill in the air, plenty of people turned-up for the official opening of the Wales Coast Path with special events taking place in Aberystwyth, Flint Castle and Cardiff Bay.

I had a great time in Aberystwyth and then went onto Tregaron where the 2nd Bro Tregaron Walking Weekend was in full swing.

On Sunday I did a walk to Llanddewi Brefi and wasn't the only walker in the village - there were over 300 walkers from various parts of the UK.

There was also a "Super Moon" over the weekend which was 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons this year.

If you missed it, there is another chance in four weeks time during the next full Moon on 4 June. This full Moon will only be about 1000 miles farther away from us and less than 1% smaller than the Super Moon on 5 May.

Think you can notice the difference? We'll have to wait until 4 June and hope for a clear sky...

Weather-wise, we enjoyed a break from the rain yesterday but there is more wet weather on the way today and on Thursday and the Met Office has issued another warning of heavy rain.

Later in the week, the weather is set to improve. Friday will be drier and brighter with a few showers and a cool north-westerly breeze. At the moment, the weather looks quite promising for the weekend.

Saturday the best day thanks to a ridge of high pressure; not that warm but dry with sunny spells and lighter winds. Sunday should be dry too but cloudier and breezier with more rain expected next Monday.

Longer term, there is no sign of any prolonged, settled weather on the horizon but there is hint that the third week of May could bring us something warmer with higher temperatures.

Lets hope so, mind you I will believe it when it happens and in the meantime keep the umbrella handy!


Top 10 Wildlife Trust reserves along the coast

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 11:15 UK time, Thursday, 3 May 2012

There are 32 nature reserves managed by local Wildlife Trusts in Wales that are on or within easy walking distance of the Wales Coast path.

Some are internationally known such as the Skomer and Skokholm islands off Pembrokeshire. Others, like the Solutia Meadows in Gwent are less well known but provide equally enjoyable destinations for walkers along the path.

Ten of the best Wildlife Trust sites along the Wales Coast path are:

1. Skomer/Skokholm (as one reserve) 2. Cemlyn (Anglesey) 3. Solutia Meadows (Gwent) 4. Port Eynon Point (Gower) 5. Cema 6. Gwaith Powdwr (Gwynedd) 7. Lavernock Point (Glamorgan) 8. Penderi Cliffs (Ceredigion) 9. Spinnies (Gwynedd) 10. Goodwick Moor (Pembs)

Wildlife Broadcaster, Iolo Williams said: "These top ten sites will give tourists a unique chance to see the some of the hidden wildlife treasures we have here in Wales."

"While I love the world renowned sites like Skomer with its amazing birdlife and unknown marine life, I'm also pleased that less well known reserves like Cemlyn on Anglesey are so high up the list because it's the most important breeding site for terns in southern Britain."

"Wales' amazing coastline is home to some of our most spectacular wildlife;" explains Rachel Sharp, CEO of Wildlife Trusts Wales.

"These reserves are home to not only a huge variety of birds, (more than 185 species have been spotted at the Wildlife Trusts Abergowan Spinnies in Gwynedd for example), but also rare butterflies such as the purple hairstreak at Lavernock Point in Glamorgan and scarce plants like the southern marsh orchid on the Solutia Meadows in Gwent.

"There are also 'hot spots' for watching bottlenose dolphins and porpoises, such as at Cemaes Head, and the northern most reserve, Cemlyn, on Anglesey is internationally renowned for its bird life."

The Wildlife Trusts Dyfi Osprey Project is also only a short distance inland from the path and the Ospreys have already laid eggs this year.

Ladybird season

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 09:23 UK time, Thursday, 3 May 2012

Ladybirds are becoming much more active now as the weather warms up and their favourite food source - aphids become more widely available (but hopefully not on my vegetable patch).

May is the main breeding season for ladybirds so you can expect to see a lot more of our 51 resident species (only 29 of these are recognisably ladybirds) out and about over the next month.

Among our resident species you'll also spot the increasingly common, invasive harlequin ladybird which is being carefully monitored.

Confusingly it comes in many colours, many of which resemble our native ladybirds making it difficult to distinguish.

Introduced to north America and mainland Europe as a biological control for aphids, their ferocious appetite has led to the decline of our native species.

Not only do they eat aphids, they will also eat ladybird larvae and other insect larva such as butterfly eggs, caterpillars and lacewing larvae and at least 1000 British insects are now at risk.

First spotted in the south east of England in 2004 they have expanded rapidly, north and west.

Harlequin ladybird by Keith Evans.

Harlequin ladybird in Llangollen by Keith Evans

Here are a few simple ways to distinguish harlequin ladybirds from resident species from the Harlequin Ladybird Survey website:

  • If it's less than 5 mm (1/5 inch) in length, it is definitely not a harlequin ladybird.
  • If it's red with precisely 7 black spots, it is a 7-spot ladybird.
  • If it has white or cream spots, it is a striped ladybird, an orange ladybird or a cream-spot adybird.
  • If it is large, burgundy coloured and has 15 black spots, it is an eyed ladybird .
  • If it has an orange pronotum, and fine hairs all over the elytra, it is a bryony ladybird..
  • If it is black with four or six red spots, two of which are right at the front of the outside margin of the elytra, it is a melanic form of the 2-spot ladybird..

A recent study led by Dr Helen Roy from the UK's Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Tim Adriaens from the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) in Belgium has found that seven resident species are at risk.

The seven species in decline are the 2-spot, 10-spot, cream-spot, pine, orange, 14-spot and 22-spot ladybirds.

Find out more about Harlequin ladybirds on BBC Nature.

Rainfall: Facts and figures

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:46 UK time, Wednesday, 2 May 2012

I've been busy today looking through more rainfall figures from the Met Office and there's no change. April was still wet! Overall, it was the wettest April on record across the UK.

Central, southern and south-east England along with east and north-east England were the wettest parts of the country with around two and a half times the average rainfall. Meanwhile Northern Ireland and western Scotland were the only areas to be drier than average.

Lake Vyrnwy dam by Ron Kyte

Lake Vyrnwy dam by Ron Kyte

In Wales, 160.8mm of rain fell, almost twice the April average of 85.9mm. It was the 3rd wettest April in 100 years of records dating back to 1910! Wetter Aprils were in 1913 and 1920 with 167mm and 194mm of rain respectively.

Brecknockshire was the wettest county with 198.6mm of rain, more than twice the April average.

While Anglesey had the least rain with 91.5mm but that is still 43% more rainfall than normal.
The Dulas on 29 April at Hay-on Wye by Mike Barrell.

The Dulas at Hay-on Wye on 29 April by Mike Barrell

New April rainfall records were set at Tredegar, St. Athan, Hawarden and Rhyl with 231mm, 156mm, 131mm and 95mm respectively. Double the monthly average or more.

Tredegar was also one of the wettest places in the UK. While RAF Valley on Anglesey was one of the driest with 65mm of rain.

We've enjoyed a break from the rain today with some sunshine but the weather remains very changeable. More rain is forecast in the next 24 hours. At the moment, it looks like the heaviest rain will be in the south and the Met Office has issued a warning.

Seven coast walks to try this weekend

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:31 UK time, Wednesday, 2 May 2012

As the grand opening of the Wales Coast Path draws ever nearer, the National Trust who manage 200 miles of the coast have suggested seven coast walks for you to try this Bank Holiday weekend:

Barafundle Beach, on the Pembrokeshire Coast by Arwyn Harris

Barafundle Bay, on the Pembrokeshire coast by Arwyn Harris

1. Church Bay, Ynys Mon / Anglesey, Sunday 6 May at 10.30am

5 miles, 2.5hrs

A National Trust walk around the Church Bay Meet at the Swtan car park with Warden Bryn Jones

Contact Number: 01407711178

2. Porthdinllaen, Llyn, Sunday 5 May, 4pm - 6pm

Start and finish at Porthdinllaen car park at Morfa Nefyn
Circular walk with Ranger. Learn about the fascinating maritime history and wildlife of the village and beach.

Contact: 01758 760533.

3. Mynydd Rhiw, Llyn, Sunday 6 May, 2pm - 5pm

Start and finish at Mynydd Rhiw lay by at summit of road between Bryncroes and Rhiw. Circular walk visiting the cottages of the tyddynnwyr (smallholders) hear from the Ranger about our exciting restoration project.

Contact: 01758 760533.

4. Cwm Tydu, Ceredigion on Sunday 5 May, 10am - 1pm

Start and finish at the beach at Cwm Tydu - walk along the coast and through the woods at Ryslip to see early spring flowers, along with the possibility of chough and pearl bordered fritillary.

Contact: 01545 573030 / 07917266367

5. Solva, Pembrokeshire on Sunday 6 May, 2pm - 4pm

4 mile circular walk from Solva Harbour to Nine Wells and back with National Trust Area Warden Andrew Tuddenham.You'll see ship wrecks, coastal forts and plenty of birds along the way. Some moderate gradients.

Contact 01348 837860.

6. Stackpole, Pembrokeshire - Saturday 5th May 10am - 2.30pm

Starting and Finishing at Broadhaven car park. Walk with Head Ranger Chris Oliver along the lime stone cliffs of Stackpole, with a chance to see a variety of birds including Chough, Guillemots, Razor Bills and Gannets.

Pause at Boat House Stackpole Quay for a tea before winding your way back through dunes, woodland, farmland and the Bosherston Lakes back to Broadhaven.

Contact National Trust at Stackpole on 01646 661359 for further details.

7. Cwm Ivy, Gower on Sunday 6 May at 4:30am.

Dawn Chorus walk on Coast Path at Cwm Ivy. Listen to the countryside wake up, with experts on hand to identify the bird call. A magical experience.

Contact 01792 390636 or email:

Wettest April since records began

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:57 UK time, Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The weather has been making the news recently with torrential rain, floods and gales causing disruption and damage across Wales. On Sunday strong to severe gale force north-easterly winds brought down trees and power lines.

The highest gusts recorded were 71mph at Mumbles Head in Swansea, 68mph at Aberdaron on the Lleyn Peninsula, 57mph at Aberporth and 55mph at Cardiff Airport.

In the UK it was the wettest April since records began in 1910 but some parts of the country had more rain than others. Northern Ireland was slightly drier than average.

While east and north-east England had two and a half times the normal April rainfall. This is a lot of rain but one wet month is not enough to end the drought in England given the lack of rain over the past year or two.

In Wales, around 150mm (6 inches) of rain fell in April. Making it one of the wettest Aprils for 100 years! And five times more rainfall than April 2011.

The average rainfall in April in Wales is 86mm. John Goodger who runs a weather station at Velindre near Glasbury in Powys has been recording weather for 40 years.

He's just recorded his wettest April on record with 235.6 mm of rain fell - nearly three and a half times the average of 68mm!

There has been more heavy rain in Powys today. At the time of writing there are two flood warnings in force on the River Monnow and several flood alerts.

Tonight the whole of Wales will become dry and tomorrow will be much drier than today allowing river levels to drop.

Tomorrow night a few showers otherwise dry. However rain may spread into the south later in the night.

On Thursday the south could be wet with heavy rain for a time. The rain may spread into Mid Wales but northern parts may stay dry and bright with sunshine.

Friday should be dry apart from the odd shower and a little rain in the north. As for the bank holiday weekend, don't bank on it being warm. It looks like turning cooler.

Showers are likely but with some dry and bright weather as well and at night it may be cold enough for a touch of frost inland.


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