Monday, 19 June 2017

Night Heron

A couple of shots of the Night Heron from yesterday's trip to Shrewsbury (see Martin's post below). The light was not good at all (shooting into the sun) so the photo's could have been better.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

One year on.....

On the 19th June 2016, myself, Phil, Mike and Mr Bevan had a day out at Whixall Fen in Shropshire, looking for White-faced Darter and Large Heath butterfly. Unfortunately it was a dull, damp and chilly day and whilst we ticked the Large Heath, there was no sign of the Darter.

Roll on 1 year and an unexpected break in our diaries saw Phil and the two Martins have another shot at the Darter. A not too early start of 4am saw the three set off, with Mr Beven taking the back seat to sleep of the effects of a drinking session the day before.

First port of call was central Shrewsbury to tick the American Black-Crowned Night Heron that has taken up residence around a small ornamental pond in the main park. The plan was simple, park up, wander over to the pond, watch/photograph the heron for a while and then depart for Wixhall Moss. We duly arrived, without incident, around 06:40 grabbed a coffee and wandered over to the gardens, to find the gates locked! Bu*&%$! We amused ourselves wandering the banks of the Severn looking  (unsuccessfully) for Club-tailed Dragonflies. Both Martin's crossed the river and were rewarded with their first Meadow Brown and Ringlet butterflies, before Phil phoned to say he had located the heron. By the time the Martin's made it back to the garden, the gates had been unlocked and the heron was enjoyed for a while - unfortunately, in toggers speak, the light was c$%p, so no decent photo's were taken.

As such it was 8:30 before we departed, just as the council were closing the roads for a carnival, meaning a lengthy detour to get onto the correct road to our next destination. As we headed out onto Whixall Moss, Large Skippers, Meadow Browns and Ringlets kept us company before we found our first Dragon - a Southern Hawker. next up was a Large Red Damselfly - surprising, Mr Bell's first for the year. Soon we were at the main pools for the White-faced Darter and almost immediately a teneral darter was spotted. A few photo's later and a check in the field guide and White-faced Darter was ticked. Now the hunt for an adult male. This took about another 5 minutes, before we were enjoying a couple of the dapper black and scarlet dragonflies.

The pressure off, we wandered around, picking up, Black-tailed Skimmer, Black Darter, Broad-bodied and Four-spot Chasers. Plenty of Large Heath butterflies were on the wing, but none would co-operate for the cameras. Mr Bell found a new moth for his list - a Four-dotted Footman Cybosia mesomella, but it too avoided the paperattzi.

From Whixall Moss, as we did last year, we made the short journey to Prees Heath to tick Silver-studded Blue.

As we still had plenty of time on our side we decided to head back south and to a new site for all of us, the Gloucester Wildlife Trust reserve at Daneway Banks, to look for Large Blue butterflies. Arriving at the site around 15:40, we were pleased to hear that a couple of Large Blues had been seen today. We quickly picked up Small Heath, Common Blue and Dingy Skipper, before our first Large Blue was spotted - a bit distant, but recognisable. In all we saw at least 5 Large Blues. We also added 3 Marbled Whites and a couple of Small Blue's to the days, and years lists.
                                          Large Blue (honest)
                                          Night Heron (told you the light was a tad unhelpful)
                                          Silver-studded Blue
                                          White-faced Darter (teneral)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Cefnpennar NJ

I took my brother up above Cefnpennar, last night, to show him Nightjars. Still only the one pair, but they showed well, the Male churring from the top of a small tree fairly close, giving good scope views, while the female flew round and round us, catching insects and sussing us out. The Cefn Cuckoo was calling from its usual late evening place, which is probably where it roosts. The midges were a bugger, but otherwise a greet evening: brother chuffed at seeing his first Nightjars.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Cwm Cadlan Tonight

I went up to Cwm Cadlan late afternoon with my friend Gareth Parfitt after Martin Bevan had told me that Marsh Fritillary's had been seen there in a hay meadow. This is on the new part of the reserve and on arriving there we very quickly found some frits seeing definitely six but probably 10.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Some Kind of Spill at Bryn Du

I found all this stuff in the stream below the Pyramidal Orchid site yesterday. It ran into the wheel wash and the two lower feeder ponds. It's  worrying to think what affect it's having on the ponds and local wildlife and it looks like been going on for some time.

Wheel wash looks like a lake at the moment .

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bryn Pica Tip

Having visited Bryn Pica opencast tips, last autumn, looking for rust fungi and found what I suspected were the seed heads of Bee Orchid, I went up there this afternoon to see if I was right. I was and although they were only just coming into bloom and most of the spikes I found were still in the bud stage, I counted 14 in all; pretty well scattered over a moderate sized area. There were also Common Spotted, what looked like Heath Spotted and what I at first thought was Early Purple Orchid, but now think is a dark form of Common Spotted..

Common Spotted Orchid?

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A couple of Small Heaths were the only butterflies seen, though given the weather, that isn't surprising.
It was nice to have my second Wood Warbler of the year, on the disused railway, below Werfa pond.

weekend wanderings

An early start yesterday, to beat the dog walkers, to do my WeBS at Parc Taf Bargoed. Little of note on the water, though the Canada Geese have moved on - not sure what happened to the pair sitting on eggs.
The reed beds between the lakes and the climbing centre had at least 7, possibly 8, singing Reed Warblers - a site record - The previous max was 3 pairs last year - looks like it could be a bumper season for them here.

On the walk home I noticed a large moth resting on a fence. A quick photo, before it took off.
                                                      Mottled Beauty

After a lazy morning today, I wandered round Coed Cefn Fforest for a couple of hours. Both Wood Warblers were still holding territory whilst just a single Spot' Fly' was noted. A pair of Redstart scolded me, highly suggestive of a nest nearby.

Out on the bog at the top end, a Fitillary grabbed my attention. Three were feeding on Marsh Thistles, in an area out of bounds. Further hunting revealed 5 in the area I can access.
                                         Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

The walk home focused on insects, etc. One of the species I was particularly looking for is one of my favourite beetles, the Hazel Leaf-roller Weevil Apoderus coryli
                                          Hazel Leaf-roller Weevil

One of the more unusually coloured insects found was an early instar of the leaf hopper Evacanthus interuptus. a tiny pink and white, candy striped bug.
                                          Evacanthus interuptus