Friday, 15 June 2018

Yes Bee Beetle

On Wednesday night I had my first multiple sighting of Bee Beetle when I found these two roosting very close to each other, both on bramble flowers. It looks like they stay on the flower and when it closes for the night they are tucked up inside. Also on Wednesday there was rain coming in and maybe because weather was going to change they knew to get ready to roost.

 Last night one was still there and it's the photo above and maybe it's roost site.
Also Wednesday I found this Long Horned Beetle. I was looking for puss moth caterpillar in this willow when I found this Hoverfly.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Highlights from the last couple of weeks

First up was this mating pair of Eyed Hawkmoth which were the second and third for me and saved a very quiet walk to Craig -Y-Llyn.
Next up was a night moth trapping with Mark Evans and wildlife trust members at Pwll Waun Cynon or Peace Park to everybody else. Little did we know there was going to be a feast and we were the main course, the gnats were murder. It was still a cracking night and we had good numbers of Elephant Hawkmoth and three Poplar Hawkmoth.

This Gold Spot was a real treat, we also had at least two Scorched Wing Moths and in total we had 55 species and 13 were new for the Reserve so not a bad night at all. Also a nice highlight was two Whimbrel flying over and calling.

I found this Blood Vein at Abercwmboi Lake when I was doing my Webs early by a week because a friend told me that they were due that weekend.
What can I say I am never tried of these and always a buzz to find every year.

After not seeing one for years and checking the mullein plant every time I see one I was having a quick walk over Tir Founder Fields when I found a plant covered in Mullein Moth Caterpillars and what a little beauty.
Back to Craig-y-Llyn, the sun came out for about 5 minutes and I had about 8 Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary.
After years of talking about going for Black Hairsteaks Phil and myself headed up to Oxfordshire to a place called Whitecross Green Wood which is a Wildlife Trust Reserve. We panicked for a hour or so before we got there as it was cold and cloudy. But by the time we found the site and this time it was not my map reading skills this time but very badly sign posted, I had to ask two locals where it was. When we got there someone had turned the heat up to full temperature. It was very hot and we soon had the Black Hairsteaks quite low down but has the day progressed they were moving higher up in the trees. Probably ended up with over 70 in total.
Last up and back over Abercwmboi lake. I was checking if any Bee Orchids where out and I eventually found 7 which was a real surprise as last year there was none.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

The exotic beauty of Orchids!

Phil has recently provided me with a copy of the Book - The Orchid Hunter - about a guy's attempt to see (almost) all of Britain's Orchids in a single season. He visited South Wales to pick up Fen Orchid at Kenfig and Small White Orchid in mid Powys. Doing some digging around to find out where the Small White can be found, I came across references to Bird's-nest Orchids near to home.

So late this afternoon I made my way over to the site. It took me almost an hour to locate two spikes, but clambering up the banks, I noted a third, and later a forth. It took less than 5 minutes to walk back to the car!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

To Bee or not to Bee

I had been planning on heading down to the Gower today but couldn't face the thought of driving back through the traffic, so decided to stay local. The bird life on the whole was quiet. I had been thinking that it was surprising I hadn't seen a Hazel Leaf Roller Weevil yet this year, and, low and behold, one appeared.

Now if only a Bee Beetle would show up just as easily. 10 minutes later, I scanned a batch of Ox-eye Daisy's when I spied...... Yes, one of my most wanted Beetles now in the bag.
Less than 10m further and a second, quickly followed by a third, were found, and 30m further a fourth! They were bigger than I expected.

A walk round the settling beds at Parc Taf Bargoed showed plenty of Southern Marsh Orchids, but no Bee Orchids yet. Common Spotted Orchid was new for me at this site.
Also on show were plenty of Large Red and Azure Damselflies, 2 male Broad-bodied Chasers and two male Beautiful Demoselle's.

Raven Count

Apologies if you've alreardy read this on Facebook; I'm too knackered to write a different version here.

The Ravens certainly weren't in a hurry for breakfast, this morning.
I was up at 02:30, in order to get to the roost by 04:00, at the latest and was actually in position at 03:45. That was fortunate, for the first group of Ravens to fly out, left at 03:55.
The weather was ideal, with clear skies and only a light, if chilly, northerly breeze. After the usual pre count anxiety over whether I would be able to see the early leavers in the pre dawn gloom was dispelled by the sight of them clearly silhouetted against the twilit eastern sky, I settled down to enjoy the show.
Because the count can take an hour and I might be waiting for half and hour or more for them to begin flying out, I usually take a folding chair and sit in relative comfort for it. This morning, I took the chair, as usual, but as I had almost no sleep, due to moth trapping on Friday night, coupled with the very early start this morning, I found that I was soon struggling to stay awake, as I waited between groups of ravens. The only solution was to stand for it; after all, it would only be for an hour.
As things turned out, it was probably the protracted and tedious count I can remember. Usually, during each count, around half the total number of birsd will leave in one or more large groups, which are spectacular to watch, but can be a nightmare to count, if the light is poor.
No large groups today; just small ones, with 3 to 6 members and long gaps between them, so that to reach the final total of 340, it took 2 hours and 20 minutes.
I hope they don't make a habit of those long, leisurely fly outs, but at least, I had other birds to entertain me while I waited.
Not far away in front of me, a Grasshopper Warbler was reeling, unseen and further away in the same direction, a male Nightjar churred for a few minutes, prior to roosting for the day. The air was filled with the sound of birdsong, including those of Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Willow Warbler, Song Thrush and Reed Bunting, but king of them all, as far as I'm concerned was the Blackbird. Such a fuss in made over the undoubtedly beautiful song of the Nightingale, but to my mind, the Blackbird's song is its equal.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Willow Tit Survey

I also did my second visit to Tirfounder North and I was amazed how quiet  it was. I had no tit flocks at all and I witnessed a Jay ripping into a Long Tailed Tits nest, it flew off with a chick. This nest was about 15 to 20 feet up in a fork of a Sycamore tree and the camouflage on the nest was brilliant , I know it's nature but still sad to see. I also found a Dragonfly near the bridge, it was hiding up in the Ivy on the wall, I could see the larvae so it must have crawled across the path and up the wall, this path is pretty busy with people walking to Aberdare and it was very lucky it was not stood on. I had half dozen people pass when I was trying to take a photo. It was a Golden Ringed Dragonfly which I think is the earliest I have seen one. A nice end to a wet walk but still no Willow Tit again.

Migration in Canada

Have a look at this lads it's incredible.