2014 Logo Competition Winner

Logo Competition WinnerWe are pleased to announce the winner of our 2014 logo competition is Gwyn Hopkins.

“Flat Holm Island is known for its glorious and spectacular sunset. This gave me the inspiration for the logo. It is also a bird sanctuary. hence the birds in the distance returning home to the island.” Gwyn Hopkins

He wins a free day trip to the island and a year’s membership of the society.

Congratulations Gwyn!

Gwent Glamorgan Recorders Newsletter

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Richard Facey, Flat Holm Ringing Group, Ringing a House Martin on one of the summer trips to Flat Holm.

The Flat Holm Sociey feature in the latest edition of the Gwent Glamorgan Recorders Newsletter. 

The article gives a comprehensive update on the summer trips over to Flat Holm.

Also featured in the newsletter is a very interesting article about the work that the South East Wales Biodiversity Records are doing in collecting data from Mary Gillham’s diaries.

Autumn Volunteer Weekend on Flat Holm – Spaces Available

Flat Holm Island, sunset and sustainable development

Sunset over Flat Holm

We still have a couple of places available on this weekend’s volunteering trip to Flat Holm Island (departing 07:15 10th October and returning 21:15 12th October).

The main purpose of this trip is to is to carry out general island maintenance and various surveys including:  painting, vegetation clearance, DIY jobs, butterfly survey, vegetation survey, beach clean, bird walk and autumn migration bird ringing.

Free for Flat Holm Society Members. £10 for non members.  Email flatholm.society@gmail.com if you would like to come along.

Competition: design the new Flat Holm Society logo

At the May 2014 FHS committee meeting, we decided a Society re-brand was in order. This starts with designing a new logo. So, if you would like to exercise your imagination, this competition is for you.  You don’t need specialist design skills; just a great idea about the island!

The competition closes on 31st July 2014. The prize is a year’s free Society membership and a trip to the island.

Logo competition terms and conditions 

Please read very carefully the specification, and terms and conditions, before you start. You’ll also find details of where to send your logo idea.

Good luck!

Environment Wales Grant Application Submitted

Black Cap Bird

Black Cap ringed on Flat Holm

We have submitted this year’s grant application to Environment Wales today. A big thank you to everyone who has helped with this and sent in letters of support.

This year we are asking for funding to continue to enable us to assist in the long-running bird monitoring and ringing project. Flat Holm serves as a nesting ground for approximately 4000 pairs of Lesser Black Backed gulls. The grant will enable the society to continue to conduct gull ringing and population counts on the island. This year we are also proposing that during island visits, society member volunteers will also undertake general bird ringing and monitor other birds, butterfly, moth and bat species present on the Island. It is also proposed that the society will undertake regular vegetation surveys. It is hoped that we will be able to provide training to volunteers in survey and identification techniques for bird, butterfly, moth and bats.

Lesser Black Backed Gull

Lesser Black Backed Gull on Flat Holm

Finally, we are proposing to provide education in the importance of proper waste disposal and recycling through beach cleans and surveys. Surveys will show what waste is washing up on the beaches and information will be shared with the Marine Conservation Society. All items collected during beach clean activities will be recycled / disposed of in the appropriate way on the mainland.

If you would like to get involved in any of the volunteer work we are hoping to carry out this year then please email flatholm.society@gmail.com . We can offer a variety of different volunteering options on Flat Holm Island ranging from one day, overnight to longer periods of 1 – 2 weeks. This year we also hope to be able to offer some mainland based volunteering activities too!

St. David’s Day rugby is played on Flat Holm!

Funded by our Environment Wales grant, Warden Stewart Gray and several Society members, including two of our youngest and two of our oldest, took to a flat calm Bristol Channel at dawn on St David’s Day with Ryan from Bay Island Voyages for a working weekend on the island. Due to the terrible weather, it had been several weeks since a visit.

Winching the wind turbine

Carwyn and Stewart raise the wind turbine

On our initial walk around in windless, gorgeous sunshine, we were relieved to find the island in a very good state, with only minor storm damage to some guttering. The island welcomed us and St. David’s Day with beefy clumps of daffodils here and there. Easter also seems well anticipated with lots of huge rabbits and extensive burrowing higher up the cliff above West Beach.

The most urgent job was to overhaul the wind turbine so it could complement the solar panel power generation once more. Engineers Lee, Peter, Stewart and Bob got on with this, ably assisted by rugby player Carwyn contributing his magnificent strength to the arduous job of winching the pylon up and down.

Plastic washed up on West Beach

42 bottles, 15 balls, 5 shoes …

Meanwhile, down the hill on West Beach, Linda, Sarah and Ray conducted a beach survey. Once the Marine Conservation Society form was completed, 42 plastic bottles, 15 balls and 5 shoes were recorded … all just from West Beach. The flotsam included an intact rugby ball which Ray appropriated for an impromptu rugby game with his son Carwyn.

Pink granite boulder, West Beach

The boulder has moved …

Linda observed West Beach’s most famous resident, a pink granite erratic boulder, had been shifted by the huge storms. We also believe there has been some storm damage to the wave-form limestone karst pavement.

Sarah and Bob carried out a long overdue photographic vegetation survey while Linda swept the scrub with binoculars to count the impossibly elusive Soay sheep: all 26 are present and doing well.

After a toasty night in the farmhouse, where the temperamental kitchen range did a better job of cooking us than the food, we woke to a windy, grey and drizzly Sunday.

St David's Day rugby on Flat Holm

Rugby on St David’s Day with a ball found on West Beach

Kitted up in all our wet weather gear we did a bird walk, led by Stewart. Most lesser black-backed gulls are back, plump and well groomed, bickering over the prime nesting spots. A couple of ringed birds were noted but we could not get clear sight of the ring numbers. We spotted several pairs of oyster catchers on the beaches and a lone song thrush perching on an isolated cliff spot.

Vegetation and path clearing took us to mid-afternoon when the weather turned pretty dire.  Those of us going back were glad to see Ryan’s lights setting off from Penarth Head in the gathering gloom.

After a surprisingly smooth and dry ride back across the rainy, westerly swell, Sam let us through the barrage lock with the usual jokes on the public(!) tannoy. We celebrated safe arrival with a naughty roar around Cardiff Bay in the dark before being dropped, exhausted, damp and happy, at Environment Quay.

Do join us for the next working weekend on 29-30 March!

Future of Flat Holm island secured

FH IslandWe are very pleased to announce that at a meeting of the Cardiff council’s cabinet yesterday it was agreed that the island should remain open and operated by the authority until April 2015. Operational control will then be transferred to two unnamed national organisations which have been chosen as the preferred operator after the council sought expressions of interests.

This is excellent news for Flat Holm and the Society will continue to support the work of Cardiff Council and the new organisations during the period of transition and beyond.

Read the story about this in today’s Western Mail.

Spaces available on volunteer trip

Fancy a weekend with a difference?

gulls_put_upWe still have spaces on this weekend’s volunteer trip to Flat Holm Island. you are interested please email flatholm.society@gmail.com

The trip departs at 08:30 am on the 20th of September and departs Flat Holm at 10:30 on the 22nd September. All food and boat costs are covered by the Environment Wales Grant.

Matt the Warden has put together a list of jobs he needs help with including various general maintenance, painting and vegetation clearing work. During the trip there may also be an opportunity to assist the Valleys Bat Group in undertaking a survey of the Island.

You will have spare time to explore Flat Holm and enjoy a pint in the Gull and Leek.