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Ranger’s Blog – August

“…a lizard in the cleaning cupboard.”

August …a busy time for country parks up and down the British Isles, and Bryngarw has been no exception!

With the holidays in full swing the park has been a hive of activity and, despite some classic British-summertime downpours, we’ve had an action-packed events programme. From outdoor theatre performances and bear hunts to pond dipping and circus tricks, it’s been great fun and a big success; with a record number of children (and adults!) enjoying events at Bryngarw this summer.

bryngarw-park

It’s not all been about the events though…

This month the volunteer group have worked hard, putting in extra volunteer days and focusing their efforts on ‘balsam bashing’, in an ongoing attempt to eradicate non-native Himalayan balsam from the park. This highly invasive plant was introduced to Britain in the 1800’s and has since spread like wild-fire. Its vigorous growth means it outcompetes our native plants and wildflowers for light, space and resources, and drastically reduces the biological diversity of an area. In short, it’s quite the pest! And without help here at Bryngarw, we would certainly be overrun with this pesky plant by now.

We are continually grateful for the effort the volunteers put in to the park year on year, and recently the group had their efforts recognised by dignitaries at our Green Flag event. As many of you may know, at the end of July, Bryngarw achieved a Green Flag Award – a prestigious award which recognises the park as being among some of the best green spaces in the UK. A special event was held here at the park earlier this month to raise the flag and mark the achievement.

green-flag-bryngarw

As well as being the busiest time of year for people, summer is also a good time for wildlife, and this August hasn’t disappointed.

The month started on a bit of a strange note… it’s not every day you find a common lizard in the cleaning cupboard! We suspect this small reptile got ferried in inside one of the delivery boxes, as this isn’t a species commonly seen in the park (the last recorded sighting was in 2011). We gave it a bit of water as it was quite dehydrated and then found a comfortable, sunny spot to release it.

A bit more of a frequent sighting than the common lizard; dragonflies have been on the wing this month, making the most of the occasional spells of sunny weather. These fascinating insects spend most of their lives underwater as nymphs, sometimes staying in their aquatic homes for a number of years, before emerging from the murky depths and transforming into the beautiful creatures we see skimming over our ponds. They are a delight to watch and this season we have been lucky enough to spot a variety of species at the park including: Broad-bodied chaser, Common darter, Southern hawker, Emperor and Golden-ringed.

We are also fortunate here at Bryngarw to have some wonderful bird species, including one of Britain’s classic beauties – the Kingfisher. This exotic-looking bird, with its azure blue and bright orange plumage, has been a regular sight this month, zipping along the river in the Oriental Garden or darting across the lake with a characteristic high-pitched “peep-peep”.

bird-bryngarw

Now, as August draws to a close and the summer excitement eases, the park appears to settle, relaxing for the comparatively quiet autumn season.
But don’t be fooled…there’s plenty in store for Bryngarw over the coming months!