Sunday, 30 August 2015


As advertised, I trapped at the Cwmbach end of the Merthyr tunnel, but had very little to show for five hours work. I was expecting the temperatures to drop into single figures, but was pleasantly surprised when they remained just in double digits (11.50 C). Despite that the catch was disappointing, the highlights being four Black Arches.

For most of the session, I wandered about, searching the surrounding vegetation for things to photograph and amongst other things, which I might post later, if I can identify them, I came across a caterpillar on a bramble leaf.

This turned out to be Peach Blossom and when first found, it seemed quite flat and hunkered down on the leaf, but as I photographed it, it suddenly dropped from the leaf and hung below it on a line of silk.

I left it alone and when I returned around ten minutes later, it had climbed back onto the leaf and showed more of a profile.

Down Gower way

I had a day out down the Gower yesterday. Not that busy on the birding front, though 10+ Chough were nice, and a year tick! Highlight was a Magpie moth

I then went down to Whiteford Burrows. Again birdlife quiet, though at least one juv Yellow Wag on the "new" marsh below Cwm Ivy. Best finds were plants and fungi - Eventually found Broad-leaved Helleborine - at least 18 plants. a colony of 100+ Round-leaved Wintergreen, and a colony of Autumn Gentians. Fungi included Amethyist Deceiver, Brown Rollrim, False Chanterelle and Ear-pick Fungus.

                                                     Autumn Gentian
                                          Broad-leaved Helleborine
                                          Ear-pick Fungus

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Moth Trapping Tonight

If anyone is interested, I will be running my moth trap near the Cwmbach portal of the Merthyr tunnel (SO02400270) this evening, from around 20:45.


Just a slow dribble of passage waders so far this month, with today, just Sanderling [2 juv] present this pm.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Collared Earth Star

I was walking past were they were last year and had a shock they were already out, there are more of them this year also one growing about ten feet from the main group.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Broad Leaved Helleborine

A quick visit yesterday to Aberdare park to look at some fungus my daughter had found and was amazed to find 24 Broad Leaved Hellebrine growing in the flower beds at the top of the park and shows a lot more common in the valley than first thought. My Daughter's fungus turned out to be Russula and not ly Agaric which she thought it was and most had been damaged or flatted.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Bird Fair At Rutlands Waters

After many years of not going to the Bird Fair we all said we would go this year so very early on Sunday we set off for the fair. We had a great day and it was nice too see people we not seen in some time and the celebrities of the bird world and televison  like Bill Oddie. We also did some birding and got two Osprey and some cracking Black Terns. Also me and martin have been looking for weeks for Alder Tongue Fungus and when we walking towards one of the hides I looked across at a Alder and there it was staight in front of me and on looking closer found one more on the tree. We found the Reserve a great place to birdwatch and also found two late swifts and a Osprey just sitting there enjoying  the afternoon sunshine. We also bumped in too our old guide and friend from Gambia JJ which was the highlight of the trip and great to catch up on whats been happen on the Osprey project and what's going on back in Gambia.

Saturday, 22 August 2015


I ran my garden trap for the Garden Moth Scheme, as usual last night and, not surprisingly, had quite a good catch, with thirty odd species, including 100 Large Yellow Underwings alone. The highlight for me had to be this lovely Dark Sword-grass and a Diamond-back Moth; both migrants.

Dark Sword-grass
This evening, there were groups of Swallows passing the house, heading down the valley.

Stag do!!

I had a meet in Newport just before midday, so took off to Goldcliffe/Boat Lane/Uskmouth after.

Starting at Goldcliffe there was a good mix of waders and duck, with the first 6 Pintail of the winter having arrived since I was down last week. 9 Knot and 15 Avocet were also additions from last week - and at least 8 Ruff. The Dunlin and Ringed Plover flock decided to roost behingd the island, and with the heat haze (honest!), it wasn't possible to work through them to see if anything more interesting had joined them.

The heat did bring the butterflies and dragonflies out with the best being a smart male Ruddy Darter.

A walk down Boat Lane produced a nice male Southern Hawker

and then I completed a hat trick of British Groundhoppers for the year with a Cerpeo's Groundhopper on the seawall - also a Painted Lady.

I finished off with a walk around Uskmouth, half hoping for a Clouded Yellow, when I spotted a large beetle at the edge of the path.
Lesser Stag Beetle. excellent!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Last Minute Trip

Last Friday afternoon I decided on the spur of the moment to head west to Pembroke and have a relaxing weekend (I didn't even take my scope).
Saturday was spent around North Pembrokeshire in particular Fishguard, Strumble and St Davids where most of the following photos were taken.
Small Copper

Common Blue


Grey Seal






Rock Pipit

This Greater Black Backed Gull took an age to free the meat from the plastic bag

GMRG Sand Dunes Night at Kenfig

Apologies for the shamelessly mothy nature of this post.

Last night I joined Dave Gilmore and Mike Powell at Kenfig for an event which became known as Sand Dunes Night, a title given it by Dave. It came about quite suddenly as a result of a post on the GMRG blog and consisted of four small teams of moth-ers, running traps at two sites on the Gower and at Kenfig and Merthyr Mawr. The object was to try and establish whether Portland Moth is still present in Glamorgan, but also an excuse for some light competition and fun.

We ran three traps in the dunes to the north of the pool and had a decent haul of moths, but unfortunately, not the target species. As I can count the number of times I had previously trapped in dunes on the fingers of a vick, I was just as excited at the prospect of seeing sand hill specialists as I was with the chance of Portland Moth and I wasn't disappointed, with four macro moths new to me and a welcome re-acquaintance with a few I hadn't seen for years, such as this Magpie Moth.

I was lying on my side in a Burnet Rose taking this shot, so excuse the quality, please.

From Jake and Mikes trap came this Tawny-speckled Pug and this absolutely stunning White-line Dart, as species new to me.

I haven't seen one of these for years

What a stunning moth

Another moth new to me was Straw Underwing, of which we trapped quite a few.

Straw Underwing, obligingly flashing part of its underwings 

A moth I must have been shown before was Southern Wainscot, but I am indebted to Mike for showing me a very useful field character for this species, which is the 'Tiara' across the 'forehead' of the moth, visible in the head shot below.

Southern Wainscot

Head on, showing the 'tiara' stripe on the front of the thorax.

Other mothy highlights were these:

Bordered Beauty

I was thrilled to see this Latticed Heath

As well as the moths, there were a few other inverts, including this Speckled Bush Cricket.

Speckled Bush Cricket

As I was knocking down one of my traps, I found this beautiful spider clambering about in one of the egg boxes, which I have now been able to identify as one of the 'Candy Stripe' spiders; Enoplognatha Spp; probably E. ovata, but given the sand dune habitat, it is possible that it could have been E. latimana. A lovely thing, whatever it's true identity is.

As you can see, the spider was tiny, compared with my thumb

A striking colour scheme

Rear view
I intended staying on after Mike and Jake had left, but my rain alarm soon started going off, so I packed up in a rush and headed home, on what became a bit of a struggle of a journey, enlivened by the sight of a fox crossing the road at the top of the Aberdare bypass, near Penwaun and another crossing the road by Aberdare train station.

As I compiled this, I saw the sad sight of a Lesser Black-back flying down the valley, towing a carrier bag.