Natural Talent blog

Esmee Fairbairn acknowledgement

Delightful December: Woodland snails, travels and looking ahead

Delightful December: Woodland snails, travels and looking ahead

Happy New Year! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Tricksy woodland snails

This month I’ve been trying to finish off another one of my projects with Gwent Wildlife Trust. Back in September 10 litres of leaf litter were collected from different areas of woodland at Silent Valley nature reserve. Each of these bags had to be dried out and then passed through different graded sieves. The material from every sieve layer then is picked through and all the snails removed. These often tiny snails are then identified to species level – a challenge when some are only a few millimetres at adult size! These small species would have been … Continue reading

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Wow, where has time gone? We are now into January and close to what would be the end of my traineeship. Thankfully my traineeship has been extended into mid February now which is great and has given me the opportunity to do more exciting things.

My reports for Blenheim Palace and Woodwalton Fen are finished now with just final tweaks being made to the article for The Coleopterist which has been accepted. This is really rewarding and all the feedback I have has been positive. I am speaking about my work at Blenheim Palace at the Coleopterist Day next month … Continue reading

New experience November: sharing and learning

New experience November: sharing and learning

Hello again!

Wow, November went fast! For me this month has all been about continuing to learn and starting to share information about my project.

Now that the frosts have arrived, it’s been a much quieter time mollusc wise. The larger more noticeable species such as the Garden Snail (Cornu aspersum) have started aestivating – going dormant for the cold winter months. This is done by retracting into their shells and forming a temporary cover over the shell opening. The cover is made of mucus which dries, forming a hard epiphragm and leaving a small hole for air. Winter is … Continue reading

A Spooky Slug Filled October

A Spooky Slug Filled October

Hello again!

Incredibly rare slug behaviour

At the end of last month the knowledgeable Mark Telfer popped into Wales for a visit. He was keen to see a site for the species Testacella maugei (Atlantic Shelled Slug or Dead Man’s Finger) – which happens to be St Fagans National History Museum, part of the National Museum Wales group. Ben casually offered me the option to come along, and I jumped at the chance. A day in the field with three fellow slug enthusiasts? No chance I was turning that down! And it was definitely worth it.

Upon arriving on … Continue reading

Finito!

Finito!

Hi everyone,

I have spend an inordinate amount of time at this microscope this last month identifying specimens from Blenheim Palace and Woodwalton Fen. The good news is that I have identified everything now, except the specimens I sent off to experts for identification. These trickier ones that I couldn’t manage to identify include some red and black click beetles in the genus Ampedus. All of which are uncommon / rare deadwood associated species but all look the same. I have sent off a sample of each one to be DNA tested which is rather exciting.

I have … Continue reading