Monday, 22 June 2015

Gwyl Taf and Pwll Waun Cynon

I spent Sunday morning rummaging about in the undergrowth on Gwyl Taf nature reserve, looking for adults and nymphs of the leafhopper Sonronius dahlbomi and while doing that I came across this intermediate instar of the Red-legged Shieldbug.

Another thing I found there was this Nymph of the Speckled Bush Cricket.

This last one is a real puzzler, as previously, in all the years I have been out in the night and day I have never once heard a cricket calling in the valleys. When I go to the lower areas and coast, I hear and recognise them, but up hear I only hear and find grasshoppers. So convinced was I that we didn't have crickets up here (apart from the occasional accidental introduction of the odd individual with plants bought from garden centres down the vale and such like) that I even managed to persuade the recorder for Orthoptera. In fact, when he came up to Merthyr to take part in a biodiversity blitz a few years ago, he vowed to prove me wrong, but eventually had to admit defeat. I always though our climate in some way unsuitable for them: possibly too wet.
Martin Bevan has found the odd individual here and there, but I have always regarded those as accidentals: how wrong can you be? Finding a nymph at Gwyl Taf proves that there is a breeding population there, even if its origin might have been a single gravid female, accidentally introduced.
This is one assertion of mine that I am happy to have disproved. I just wish Crickets were more common up hear, as I regard it a real treat to listen to them chirping away.

On my way home, I called in to Pwll Waun Cynon. Walking around there, I noticed a lot of this prominent and common rust on the Meadowsweet, called Triphragmium ulmariae.

A lot of the Meadowsweet leaves and shoots were distorted and covered in a powdery mildew too and also on Meadowsweet, I noticed a few of these click beetles.

They looked quite distinctive, with the prominent hairs, but as always with beetles, accurate identification is a problem. I feel confident in it being a Hemicrepidus and so it might be H. hirtus, but then again...

These Green Shieldbugs were having almost as much fun as I was.

As with the beetles, identifying Weevils can be quite involved (more involved than I want to get), but I was confident in this being the Green (yes I know it's blue) Nettle Weevil (Phyllobius pomaceus), but looking at the photo, the prominent strip of yellow scales near its underside, suggests that it may actually be one of the Chlorophanus weevils. Anyway, despite the poor photo, it was a nice looking thing.

I don't know why some of the shoots of the Creeping Thistle in this one patch, develop without chlorophyll, but I intend finding out.

A nice finale to my whistle stop visit was this Fourteen Spot Ladybird.


  1. Great find on the bush-cricket - I've been looking/listening out for any since I moved up here 10 years ago.
    On the Thistles, I had a lot like that last year in a lot of places

  2. I've had a bit of a surf and come up with this interesting article about White Colour Disease. It look like we aught to be keeping records of any affected plants we find.

  3. Interesting. I've bookmarked the page and will note the locality of any I see from now on.

    Thanks Mark

  4. re; bush crickets, Mark didn't we have at least a temporary colony south of the Blaincanaid Heronry at one time, I seem to remember going back the following year with a bat detector and failing to pick up anything.

  5. Not with me, Mike. But no doubt you are right about there being a colony there. I wonder how permanent the breeding populations of bush crickets are in the valleys?

  6. I'll have more time on my hands after Wednesday and a lot more time to spend on the rest of my patch, there are places on my doorstep I haven't been to for years which need a visit. I've also got a 180mm macro which is still in the box.

  7. Some nice shot mark and i so lots of the green weevil in lots place in the valley and nice to put a real name to it and the rust sames to everywhere at the moment and i see it on nettles.

  8. The rust on nettles is a different one. It is another Puccinia, but on nettles it is Puccinia urticata.