Thursday, 25 September 2014

Rhaslas puddle

Not much water left, you couldn't dround a horse in it. Merthyr gulls missing for over a week, annual trip around the Severn Estuary foraging hot spots for the juv's? No waterfowl today, oh hum.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

Keep your eyes out for...

this beetle.

A couple of weeks ago I did a walk along the Taff Trail down to Cilfynydd. Whilst there were not many birds, my eye was caught by a bright red beetle sitting on a leaf. It looked a bit like a Cardinal Beetle, but was quite small, probably less than 10mm in length, and a well ridged elytra. After doing a bit of research I believe this is a Net-winged Beetle Platycis minutus. - the pale tips to the antenna being the most obvious diagnostic feature. About a mile further along, I found a second individual.
A look on the NBN Gateway shows only two previous records for this nationally scarce beetle for Glamorgan - both in Merthyr Mawr. There is, however a record from along the Heads of the Valley, near Blackrock and a couple near Llangorse, so it might not be as scarce as currently thought.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday Stroll

Martin Bevan and myself met at the bottom of Glenboi at 7am this morning and walked up through the village onto the mountain, up to the Targets, through the forestry to above Abercwmboi and then completed the circle by walking back down the forestry the stroll taking five and half hours.
Unusually lots of birds around although 90 % of them were Meadow Pipits ( safe to say they have had a good year ), only my second Whinchat of the year, plenty of Crossbills heard but only one seen by Martin. 6 Buzzards in the air together was also nice. 3 species of butterflies ( Comma, Small Tortiseshell and Speckled Wood ). One species of dragonfly Common Darter and loads of Fungi.

Martin also found some Broad Leaved Helleborine on the edge of the wood above Sierra Pines.

Up on t' moors

A walk looking for Red Grouse turned up trumps with 3 seen in flight - flushed by a gun dog, but no sign of owners/hunters. Probably two Hen Harriers hunting over the moor.
After Martin  Bevan showed me my first Sundews (Oblong-leaved) when we were in the New Forest earlier this year, I found my own Round - leaved (or Common) Sundews.
It was then up to CCG. Little in the way of birdlife, but plenty of fungi along the path including some impressive Fly Argic's, the size of side plates.
On the way home, I called into Rhaslas. it's really disappointing to see that the "developers" are well into draining the pond. 30 Canada honkers, 12 Tufted, 4 Wigeon and 2 Pintail were the wildfowl making the most of the remaining water. I did manage to pick up my first Black Darter for the year.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Nice pile of rocks.

 One of the seven wonders of the cynon valley. Or UFO landing site.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Broad leaved helleborine

I found 12 up on Abernants Parish Road this morning in four different sites. Mark said they were in Abernant but I do not know if this is new site or mark knew about them. They are a lot easier to see with seed bods than flowers. There was also Canadian Fleabane and a lot of Ploughman's Spikenard.

 Fly Agaric Aberdare Park
Found this in Robertstown any ideas.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


Two shoveler and a wigeon flushed by a dog walker with bins walking the bank at 09:30, also tufted duck[33] were still sitting him out when I give up, jumped back in the car and left. Best of the last couple of days; kestrel in serious aerial pursuit of a meadow pipit, briefly taken by 1 talon before the bird shook itself loose and escaped (7th), pintail[2] (9th) and small number of wheatear still going through, image below taken yesterday evening.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A Couple of Pics from Robertstown

During my short visit to Robertstown, I found this beautiful hoverfly; Chrysotoxum festivum. It is a distinctive species and one I haven't previously seen.

Chrysotoxum festivum

It is fairly well distributed, but apparently never particularly abundant.

Chrysotoxum festivum

While there, I also came upon this Hairy Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum), which is a local species, but one I occasionally come across in such overgrown, scrubby places..

Hairy Shieldbug

It is a pity that this particular site is doomed to be developed as the site of the new college.

Monday, 8 September 2014

For Martin

Following our chat today, here are some pics of the migrant hoverfly, Scaeva pyrastri and the plant Canadian Fleabane, both taken at Abernant. Car passed (still in shock) so I've treated myself to that book on Hoverflies.

Scaeva pyrastri. Note the distinctive, comma-like ends to the cream stripes.

Canadian Fleabane. The plant is around 40cm tall.

Detail of the flowers.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Everything bar birds

Few photos from the last week.
 Was told that Mike used to have one of these as an haircut
 Black Darter and below Large White

Saturday, 6 September 2014


 I managed to get on site before the phantom dog walker of old Fochrhiw Town this morning, Dai 2 laps. A single calling golden plover flyover, a common sandpiper and a distant greenshank on the west bank. On the water; tufted duck[20], teal[5], but singles of wigeon and pochard apear to have moved on. Mipits up to knee high with skylark[10], wheatear[4] and a single first winter black headed gull were the best of the rest.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Fly Agaric

 It goes to show you can walk an area regularly and still find new stuff.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014


Faily quiet day on 'My Patch' so ventured up to Llwyn-onn where good passage of sand martin [c120] between 15:50 - 16:00 hours. Just the usual at the north end with the same plastic ringed cormorants SPA & SPU on the beach but not much else. Bumped into 2 of the rangers staring into the Taf Fawr from Garw Nant Bridge at several hand sized signal crayfish heading north (I tried a couple of shots but couldnt do them justice). The rangers also had oyster catcher[2] on the dam wall yesterday and an osprey at the Usk Reservoir this morning.

Phil watching waders at Rhaslas before Mike arrives.

When Mike pulls up, Phil was like JJ his bird finder or half brick when looking for the wind up cisticola.

Seven Wonders of the Cynon Valley.

 I found this on willow is it a Grey Dagger Caterpillar.
 Second brood of Wall Brown at  Penderyn quarry.
 Musk Thistle same site.

 Broom Moth  Caterpillar.
I have been looking for these everywhere and I was walking across Robertstown bridge on Sunday and there on the path a cracking Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar, I also found these Buff Tip Moth Caterpillar on Oak.
Nice Orange spot.

A Couple of shots from Devon.

 Mating Migrant Hawkers.
 Emperor Dragonfly.
Birding so quiet that birdwatchers are watching these crackers. Lancaster Bombers and two Spitfires. Great sight.
 Sunday morning got up stopped a clock and got to see this.
Exmouth a little later.