Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Cwm Cadlan Reserve

 It's always nice too see the Bog Asphodel is out and a cracking flower.

Things were very dark and damp on Sunday. The Butterwort has almost finished flowering for another year. When I was walking up the path I found a family party of Wrens hiding up in a oak tree but was missing my big lens and did not want to disburb them so I decided to walk on and only took this dodgy shot. There was still a male cuckoo present and he was calling a fair bit but each time I got near he went quiet and did not show all the time I was present. Also on site were at least two pairs of Whinchat, one pair with freshly fledged youngsters and were waiting on a fence to be fed. Up near the old ruin I found a Spotted Flycather which was a nice surprise and watched him flying around fly catching for awhile. Also down by the stream there is a new path going of right towards the farm .

 This was my first local Ringlet this year and always amazes me how dark they are .
Also the Bird Cherry tree are full of webs again and on looking closer I could see the Bird Cherry Ermine Caterpillar.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Robertstown Caterpillars

On my way home from work, on Monday, I stopped off for an hour at Martin's bit of Robertstown, mainly to look for some Wood Warts on Alder, that I could test with KOH (Potassium Hydroxide), but on my way there, in the piece of ground alongside the river, between the road and rail bridges, I came across a sizeable patch of Hesperus in flower.


I had noticed this patch of flowers, in various shades of lilac and pink, from the bypass, but couldn't work out what they were. Investigating them, I found a few of these apparently parasitised Large White caterpillars.

Parasitised Large White Larve

I also came across this strange looking caterpillar, which turned out to be that of the Orange Tip. It was where you would expect to find it if it was on Lady's Smock, in amongst the seed pods, but on Hesperus, it was a few feet higher off the ground. Due to the breeze, which seemed to be concentrated by the bridges, I had great difficulty in getting any sharp images of this one.

Orange Tip. It was around an inch long

Amongst the Hesperus were a number of plants of Red Campion, which were already producing their urn shaped seed heads and in these, feeding Pooh Bear-like on the seeds, I found around a dozen of these fat caterpillars.

The Lychnis, feeding on Red Campion seeds

These turned out to be The Lychnis, which is a little surprising as the moth is also on the wing at the moment.

That little diversion took up most of my hour and I didn't find much on the Cables site. If you decide to explore this patch, Martin, beware the wasp's nest, close by, in the bank of the railway bridge abutment.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Flying Visit to Kenfig pool

After spending most of Saturday in the house with the rain stopping me from working I was glad to get a phone call off Phil. He said did I fancy a trip to Kenfig for the Fen Orchids, it was one I always wanted to see and it was great to escape for a couple of hours. We got there fairly quickly and Phil had Directions from Martin. I thought a piece of cake, boy was I wrong. We found what we thought was the right area and started the search and as I was the only who had my wellies on so it was down to me to do the wet bits. I think Phil had his slippers on for all the good they were. When searching we found a couple of Dark Green Fritillary and a couple of teneral darter which had black costas and I think must have been Ruddy Darter. We were also being followed by the local Horseflies and a single twin lobed Deer Fly. Has time went on we felt we were in the wrong place and moved on to the next area and if by luck we spotted Alun Hughes walking towards us and on asking him any luck we heard the magic words yes. He had seen about 30 and fair play for Alun he took us to the spot and within minutes Phil had found two. Once you get your eye in they were easier to see and find. After saying our thanks to Alun we carried walking around the area but found very little else. We both thought the Marsh Helleborine was a smarter looking flower than the Fen Orchid and it was amazing how small they are and easily over looked. We also found two patches of this Smart Iris.

Has we walked up the path towards the Visitors Centre I spotted this Caterpillar and found out later its a Lacky Moth Caterpillar.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Wee bit more of last weekend in Whixall Mosses

7 Spotted Ladybird Larva.
Tree Bumblebee.
Llangollen Canel
Yellow Tail Moth Caterpillar
Large Heath Butterfly
Common Footman Caterpillar
Still cannot find this one any ideas
Sadly this was the closest we came to white Face Darter, the lack of sunshine beat us but it's an area I would like to go back to and try again. Next time with a big tin of mosquito spray, they even bit me through my trousers. I got three big bites on my legs and have been red all week .
I have ran for birds a fair bit on twitches but when Martin called dragonfly I could not get there fast enough. It was gutting to find out we had a couple of fresh teneral Black Darters and that was the only dragonfly excitement of the day. The bog was good for displaying Curlew and the only place I have seen a curlew perched on a post also nice to see common snipe displaying overhead.

Always great to see my first Common Emerald Damselfly of the year.
 Argent and Sable
Twin Lobed Deer Fly were very common there and give brilliant views of this colourful fly.

Llantrisant Common

Last night, at the invitation of the warden, Carys |Solman, I joined her, George Tordoff and Graham Watkeys to trap at Y Gweira nature reserve, on Llantrisant Common. George set his trap up on the reserve itself, but the presence of  seven very boisterous horses made me decide to run mine on the common, outside the reserve. I couldn't risk the trap being kicked or trampled, as at this time of year, I would have little time to repair any significant damage.

The night went well, my trap running until well after two. The showers kept off and after initially cooling down under clear skies, it warmed up as overcast conditions moved in after midnight.

We had an interesting time and quite good catches, the night being made more enjoyable by the amazing absence of biting insects.

My DSLR was occupied for a couple of hours, taking a time lapse sequence of a dung fungus (the same one we found at Pwll Waun Cynon), so I didn't take many photos of the moths, but here are a couple:

Pseudagyrotoza conwagana

Beautiful Hook-tip

Evergestis pallitata

Double Line

George had a male Glow Worm attracted to his trap and when I went to check on my camera and its progress with the time lapse, I found this female, glowing brightly. Unfortunately, with my camera preoccupied, I only had my mobile's camera with which to photograph it. The results are rubbish, but you can just about see what it is.

Glow Worm Female

Downy Emeralds

I had the day off work on Tuesday so took a trip down to hensol forest looking for the Downy Emeralds. Arriving just after 09:30, it was still a little cool for any of the Odonta's to be out and about, so I had a wander round looking for anything else of interest I could point my camera at, and add to the year list.

There were lot's of goodies on show, White and Fringed Water Lilies, lots of Hoverflies, several mating Knotgrass Leaf Beetles a great co-operative Vine Weevil, etc. Eventually the first of the Damselflies began to show - Common Blue, followed by Blue-tailed. Eventually the larger dragons took to the wing. Although most kept their distance (Note to self to take the scope next time) I did pick up several Broad-bodied Chasers, at least 3 male Emperor's plus an ovipositing female, and at least 3 Downy Emeralds.

                                          Vine Weevil
                                          Xylota sylvarum - a Sawfly mimic Hoverfly
                                         Knotgrass Leaf Beetle
                                         Chrysolina staphylaea (I think)

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Craig y Llyn

A quick walk on Saturday afternoon in a little bit of sunshine and these Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary appeared. I saw two in a short burst of sun, also a single Small Heath and a cracking Small moth on the Knapweed. Seems to be lots on there, any ideas please.

Monday, 20 June 2016


Saturday started early, with my "late" season BBS before heading of to Brecon to coach/officiate. The walk up to my staring point was accompanied by a calling Cuckoo - and my thoughts were it would shut up as soon as I started my transect. Come 05:30, and the start, the Cuckoo was still calling, and duly recorded for the survey. Numbers (individuals and species) were better than the early season visit, but still down on previous years.
After the count I had a short gap before I needed to head up to Brecon so I had a little potter around and surprised myself with 2 Dark Green Frit's.

On arriving at Brecon, and awaiting my athletes I had a quick check on Birdguides - Almost the first bird up was a Broad-billed Sandpiper at Goldcliffe - Arhhhhh!. I'd dipped the previous two there - the last in April this year. Would it stick around? I knew I would not be able to get away until after 1, at the earliest.

I managed to get away about half past one, drove home, picked up my scope and arrive at Goldcliffe at 3pm, only to find out it had flown off about 14:30... High tide was not long after 18:00, so a long wait was in prospect. A Wood Sandpiper provided immediate compensation. Eventually a turnstone appeared, followed by a second... and then suddenly there was a single Dunlin. If was fast approaching 6 pm, and no sign.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, there was a couple who had walked over to the sea wall hide but rather than go into the hide they decided to climb over the raised bank, flushing most of the Lapwing and wildfowl. Although distant, and with onlt small patches of the back pool visable from the main hides I noticed an avocet acting quite aggitated, I presumed as it has young. I then noticed something small moving in the background. Scope onto it and it was two, three, four, then five Dunlin and a Ringed Plover. Phil Bristow, had now focused on the waders and quickly picked up the BBS. Result - though distant and totally unsatisfactory views. A quick yomp round to the sea wall hide, passing the couple who had decided to climb the bank, and there we enjoyed scope filling views of the sandpiper in great light. I even managed to grab a couple of piss poor record shots

it is in all three photo's, honest!

So 50 weeks after my last British tick, a new addition to my British list.