In an exciting development at Sirhowy Hill Woodlands, we are thrilled to reveal some remarkable recent discoveries made within our local nature reserve.During a visit by Liam olds of Buglife to advise us on how best to manage our grasslands and wood edges in our diverse colliery spoil habitats, we had the privilege of witnessing the presence of two extraordinary bee species: the Tormentil Mining Bee (Andrena tarsata) and the Bilberry/Whimberry Bumblebee (Bombus monticola). These findings shed light on the ecological significance of Sirhowy Hill Woodlands and the success of our conservation endeavours in Blaenau Gwent County, Wales.
The Tormentil Mining Bee, a nationally scarce bee species of conservation priority in Wales and England, has now graced our woodlands with its presence. Notably, this elusive bee had previously been observed in only one other location within Gwent. The inaugural sighting in Blaenau Gwent County bolsters our understanding of local biodiversity and solidifies Sirhowy Hill Woodlands as a sanctuary of exceptional ecological value.
The Tormentil Mining Bee (Andrena tarsals)
Happily for us the Tormentil Mining Bee (Andrena tarsata) has taken its rightful place in our woodlands as a captivating species with significant conservation importance. As a nationally scarce bee, its population has experienced a decline throughout the United Kingdom, necessitating focused efforts for its protection and preservation. We are honoured to provide a habitat conducive to the survival and prosperity of this vital pollinator and Liam has advised us on making sure the patches of tormentil which it depends on and is its preferred forage, throughout our woodland don’t get diminished by scrub and woodland encroachment. The presence of the Tormentil Mining Bee at Sirhowy Hill Woodlands stands as a testament to our dedication to conservation and the extraordinary biodiversity harboured within our local nature reserve.
The Bilberry/Whimberry Bumblebee (Bombus monticola):
During our walk, we were blessed with yet another remarkable discovery—the Bilberry/Whimberry Bumblebee (Bombus monticola). This magnificent species, known to inhabit upland areas, faces a concerning decline in its population. Each sighting holds immense significance as we strive to monitor and protect this invaluable contributor to our ecosystem. The observation of the Bilberry/Whimberry Bumblebee within Sirhowy Hill Woodlands not only adds to our understanding of its distribution but also underscores the rich variety of habitats fostered within our woodlands.
The disvovery of the Tormentil Mining Bee and the Bilberry/Whimberry Bumblebee at Sirhowy Hill Woodlands represents a momentous triumph for conservation. These findings exemplify the success of our ongoing efforts to safeguard and restore colliery spoil habitats. By providing a nurturing environment for these rare bee species, Sirhowy Hill Woodlands serves as a vital cornerstone in upholding local biodiversity and bolstering the broader ecological well-being of Blaenau Gwent County.it also underscores how necessary it is to get some baseline in depth surveys done as we may have lots more special species there that we don’t yet know about,as the last ecological survey was done in 2013 !!!
The presence of the Tormentil Mining Bee and the Bilberry/Whimberry Bumblebee within Sirhowy Hill Woodlands fills us with immense pride and renewed determination to improve the grassland habitats for the benefit of invertabrates theseextraordinary discoveries not only emphasise the significance of our woodlands as a refuge for rare and threatened bee species but also demonstrate the positive impact of our conservation endeavours. We are also very grateful to the entire Sirhowy Hill Woodlands community and volunteers for their unwavering commitment to preserving our natural heritage. Together, we hope to continue to safeguard and conserve the ecological wonders and their habitats that grace our local nature reserve for now and for the future.