Saturday, 14 July 2018

Local stuff

New for moth trap this week; the Mirid bug Miridius quadrivirgatus, Satin Lutestring and Mompha raschkiella. At Rhaslas pulled a dead bream on the 11th [620mm fork of tail to tip of lip], birds singles of oystercatcher and redshank, common sandpiper[6], dunlin[2] and little ringed plover[2], also good gull flock with c730 birds present made up of c180 herring gull, c550 lesser black-backed and 2 black-headed. The rest of the week very quiet with 2 little ringed plover and a common snipe present on the 13th. Grayling[7] noted during lap. Llwyn-onn on the 13th; common sandpiper[2] and a single little ringed plover otherwise quiet.

It was clear(wing) to see

I had a bit of free time this morning before heading down to Cardiff for an athletics meet. I wasn't sure where or what to do initially but remembered I'd seen what looked like a leaf spot rust on Dogwood on the way to work yesterday, just at the Fiddlers Elbow. I took a wander down that way and several leaves do look to have what may be the fungi Elsinoe corni but these were not mature enough to allow me to try to take the id any further.

I the decided to head across the road to a small fenced off area that had been cleared a couple of years go to host the plant for the repairs to the bridge. This was starting to grow over, so offered the prospect of finding something interesting.

There were a number of Great Mullein, many heavily eaten by caterpillars, but I couldn't find any all. One plant, however hosted over 30 Hairy Shieldbugs, mainly adults but a few final instar nymphs.

There was also a large bank of Creeping Thistle, so after being introduced to the Creeping Thistle Lacebug Tingnis ampliata last week by Mark, I began a hunt to see if I could find any of my own. It took a while, but I eventually located 3, but on Spear Thistle rather than Creeping - The photo's are not great but this will be the very similar Tingis cardui. 

I turned round and saw what I thought was a Sawfly resting on some Perforate St John's-wort, so I quickly took a snap, only to notice as I focused in that it was one of my most wanted moths - a Clearwing. There in front of me was a fine Six-belted Clearwing. And no lures in sight/smell. Superb.

I continued to mooch around and eventually came across two adult T. ampliata on a heavily wilting Creeping Thistle.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Sunday North of the county

First stop this morning was Llwyn Onn Reservoir to look for the Great White Egret and the Black Grey Heron but I failed to find them. I had 6 Grey Herons and they all looked grey even with sunglasses on and I think Mike has been in the sun to much. It's been sometime since I saw the old bridge. This reservoir would make a cracking wader scrape and some on Facebook said they are doing work on it has been drained on purpose. Bird wise  I had 2 Cormorants, 2 Great Crested Grebes, about a dozen Mallard and about 20 gulls and they were Lesser, Herring and 1 Greater Black Backed. The only waders were 2 Common Sandpipers. I also had Otter Tracks and they seemed to a youngster going by the size of the tracks. Next stop was Cwm Cadlan and the dragonfly ponds up near the limestone pavement.

First pond was almost dried up and which the local ponies were using for a drink and a bath. I found three dead sheep and think if we don't have rain soon there will be more stuff dying up there .

The main pond had lots of water but it's been fenced off. However the fence is down in the corner and the livestock have been drinking from there, it looks pretty deep and if one of them falls in they will not get back out. There was lots of dragonfly activity going on. I had about half dozen Common Hawkers and two Emperors but sadly they were the bog standard ones and not the foreign visitors which are in the capital at the moment. There were still a couple of Four Spot Chasers there also I saw Large Red and Common Blue Damselflies. I also found this Common Hawker doing back stoke and I managed to stretch over and lift it out to dry it's wings. It does not matter how many times you handle a dragonfly it's still a great pleasure to get that close to nature. Also of note I flushed a Common Snipe and it almost give me a heart attack.

 I also found 6 Palmate Newts swimming around and this is the most I have seen there.
Next stop was the Cwm Cadlan reserve and by then it was very hot and hard work getting about. I went to check another dragonfly pond but it was all dried up and very little going on. When I walked back I found this gold spot moth and it looked very smart in the sunlight. I was having a coffee when I saw this very dapper helicopter going over.

The stream running thought the reserve was almost dried  up where I found this Beautiful Demoiselle trying to cool down by flapping it's wings. All in all it's just nice to get out for a couple of hours and chill.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Hail Emperor!

As Mark has already reported I joined him yesterday night for a  mothing session at Pwll Waun Cynon, but I think my brain was already frazzled well before then.
I was due to be in Cardiff for most of yesterday, so decided to try for the Lesser Emperor that had been recorded at Cosmeston. No luck with the Lesser Emp' just a single Emperor and Four-spot Chaser to show for my visit, though the Water Voles did behave impeccably, and a Kingfisher decided to share the boardwalk by the dipping pull with me (Not that I saw as it was behind me, but another person there with a camera took a shot of it).

Over at the Cardiff Athletics stadium, a second generation Brimstone was a pleasant interlude from the coaching and officiating duties.

The plan was to do my weekly shop on the way home from the athletics meet, but somehow forgot my wallet, meaning the shopping was put off till today.

After getting in from the overnight mothing session, I grabbed a couple of hours semi-kip before returning to Cosmeston, this time with success as the male Emperor was patrolling the north shore of the west lake, along with several Emperors and Black-tailed Skimmers. At one point what looked like a female Lesser Emperor showed up. Unfortunately no photo's as the area was quickly overrun by dogs and their untrained owners.

After shopping, a local walk produced now fewer than 3 Red Admirals (my first of the year) and 2 fresh Comma's.

Its now time for an early night.

Last night, at Pwll Waun Cynon.

Martin Bell joined me and gave welcome assistance at various points in the moth trapping process; especially the sorting out of the catch. We ran the trap from 22:00 until 03:10, by which time our combined I.Q had reduced to only slightly above that of a concussed sheep; but being up at that early hour meant that we were treated to the breathtaking sight of Mars, blazing brightly, low over the hill above Fernhill.

We had around 77 species, including some goodies, such as Double Lobed, Double Line and Double Dart. There were also a couple of nice micros, the best of which had to be the concolorous form (lacking the white costal patch) of Ypsolopha parenthesella, which is basically has warm brown coloured wings and a white head and neck. However, this individual was generously dusted with iridescent purple-blue scales, giving it a purple-blue sheen. All the individuals I have seen of this moth over the years and not once have I ever noticed that iridescence.

The other micro of note was Hedya salicella, which is a large Tortrix moth, of which we had at least six. It is a local species and on ADERYN there are just 64 records scattered across Wales.

Thanks to Martin for his company and help - I hope your eyeballs don't feel as terrible as mine.

A Bug nymph, possibly of the genus Tingis. There are two species of
Tingis lacebugs that are found on Thistle and I am fairly sure this is one
 of them. I will have to go back there in a few weeks, to see if there are any
 adults about.

Hedya salicella

Hedya salicella

Ypsolopha parenthesella

Ypsolopha parenthesella

Ypsolopha parenthesella
Prays ruficeps

Double Lobed
Minor Shoulder-knot

Dingy Shears


Saturday, 7 July 2018

The Draining of Abercwmboi Lake!

This past week I have been wondering where the helicopter, helping the fire brigade is filling its bucket, as it always seems to be heading down the valley with it empty and back up with it full. I couldn't think of where it might be dunking it.
Currently, there is a large fire on the hillside above Cwmaman and Glynhafod and watching the helicopter toing and froing, it is clear that it is filling up from Abercwmboi lake.

Now, there is little chance of it actually draining the lake, but it must be causing considerable disturbance to the wildfowl and other bird life there.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Local stuff

Great white egret at Llwyn-onn this a.m. found by ranger TG, also present common sand[2] plus 2-3 little ringed plover present last c7 days [TG]. At Rhaslas 2 adult little ringed plover, 3 dunlin and common sandpiper present over the last couple of days suggest return passage is underway. The garden moth trap has gone slightly crazy with several garden and personal ticks over the last couple of weeks including celypha rivulana and barred red probably the best.