Saturday, 27 August 2016

Bits and Bobs from the week or was a Do Di

I called into Dare Valley Country Park before work in the week and found this beauty, it's a Tachina Grossa and has always a bit of a mouthful.
Next I found this wasp feeding on hogweed and I ID it as a Tree Wasp and I was happy with that. Then someone said it looks more like a Common Wasp to me and now I am stumped. It looks more like a Tree Wasp to me and any answers would be great.
Yet another day before work I went over to Abercwmboi lake and found this Wild Carrot and thought the seed head looked great. The mute swan have still got all six young and looking pretty big now. When I was walking around the back I heard a Raven call and looked up and had four Ravens have a bit of a barney and then a flock of Ravens went over which came from the Cefnpennar Golf Course direction and went off  towards Maerdy. There was thirty three in total and nice to see big numbers away from the tip. The BTO site would be going ape and saying unusual high number.
Nice too see the Sweet Chestnuts are out and its feeling more like autumn every day. The only Odonata on the wing was this Common Blue Damselfly.
Last of all I was on Facebook and I noticed someone had had a Collared Earth Star already and I thought I better check my site. I found this large one, it was pretty dark tonight and there could be more on the site and will check tomorrow when it's a bit lighter.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Badger Watch

When I was on Facebook I noticed that  someone had been Badger watching in Llandeilo at Dinefwr Castle and I thought yes that sounds a great idea. I went staight on their web site and found the phone number and contacted  them and was told this was the last watch of the year and there were only two spaces left. There were three of us so sadly no good to me and then she said there might be two more dates and will phone me back and if by magic she said yes they had add two more dates and took my booking and I thought brilliant. Well the week up to the 20 August was sunny but by Friday it was raining and windy, Saturday came and it was wet, I keep checking their website to see if it had been cancelled but no it was still going ahead. We got there in good time and thankfully it was dry. The hide only holds 10 people and it was great to see other people turn up and a relief we were in the right place. Then our guide turned up and said two people had cancelled and had not paid for the watch. On line it said it had sold out and my older daughter could not go because of it. He also said a local Camera club had booked the hide a couple of weeks earlier and only two of them had turned up and the rest had not paid, this must be heart breaking and losing money for the Wildlife Trust with places that could have been sold elsewhere. The hide was a nice size and on getting in there we sat down and our guide went down below and started put out the badgers food, he had a bag full of peanuts and peanut butter and he spread it over a fallen tree and no sooner had he put it out and some birds turned up for some free food. In two hours we got to see  Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch and Chaffinch. Just has we were thinking where are the Badgers a head popped up, little did we know the Set was right by the food. He said there were ten badgers in the set and we got great views of six of them. He also said that badgers have got bad eyesight and this was proved right when a female chaffinch landed right by the badger and he did not see it, when it flew of the badger jumped a mile and you could see it lift into the air. All to quick the two hours were up and the light was starting too go, also on site were lots of Fallow Deer and he said on times they will come after the peanuts too. When we got back to the cars I said I will see you next year and he said we will see as he was 83 and had been doing it for twenty years and I said it's a shame you cannot get someone else to help you and take it over, he said they been trying for a long time but know one wants to take it on. We felt if only it  was closer  to me and my daughter we would have taken it on. You could see it's the love of the badgers that is keeping him going. I jokingly said to him if only you could put a hide by a Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers nest and he yes that would be great. I asked him how many pair are present and he said two pairs and you could see why they are so hard to find. But to think this has been going for so long and we did not know about it, I would have gone every year to see them.

This Badger was very clever, he picked up a lump of peanut butter and ran off with it and a youngster did the same thing but as he got to safety a larger badger took it of him .

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Chill out sunday

After remembering last minute it was the WEBS Sunday and with the rain stopping I went down to Tir Founder to do my count. Apart from a calling Water Rail it was pretty quiet. I got soaked walking up the side of the river as it was all over grown, I did some break dancing and almost fall over in a puddle. But still carried on and found this Cormorant in a tree by the river, he was there two weeks ago as well and thought he looked great with the Himalayen Balsam in the background. When I got to the Ynys sports fields there was lots of Lesser Black Backed Gulls, smaller numbers of Herring Gulls and a nice surprise was a first year Black Headed Gull and than some sod let their dog go through them and the Black Headed Gull was gone on his way. When I got to the canal I spotted these adult and juv Wood Pigeons feeding on the Elderberries, it was nice to see the difference between adult and juv. When I walk past I always look for the Brown Trout in the canal but was really surprised to see this Pike, a nice sized fish, I did not realize they were in there, I been told they are in Abercwmboi lake but had not heard of any here.

In the afternoon my daughter  Kathryn and myself went over Llanwonno and down to the reservoir. On the way down we found this female Southern Hawker and on looking closer could see it was missing some of is upper wing and it was great to get really close to this dragonfly and little did I know was going to be the only one of the trip and I have still not got my Golden Ringed Dragonfly.

Posted this in wrong place and in my garden today and Voucella Pellucens
Back in the forest and aways nice to see this Blue Hoverfly and Leucozona Glaucia.

some more Leucozona Glaucia.
I thought this was marmalade Hoverfly and on looking closer think it's Meliscaeva Cinctella.
Also down by the reservoir we found this Elephant Hawkmoth Caterpillar, it was stuck between two twigs and was drooped over, it looked dead but when we touched it you could see it was still alive. We got the sticks of it and its body soon filled out and you could not see it had been thin in the centre of the body anymore and it was fine.

Green Elf Cup Season

I nipped up to Llwydcoed for an hour or two, this afternoon. The primary reason was to collect a second specimen of a rare rust I had found on acorn cups, last Sunday.

Oak Rust (Cronartium quercuum) Uredosori, discharging orange Uredospores.

The first specimen, when examined under the microscope, threw up a mystery, because all of the spores I measured (a couple of dozen) were way over the size given for Oak Rust in the books. They were, in fact, large enough to be of the American form of it. As the spore producing organs (uredosori) are supposed to be found mainly on the leaves, I wanted to collect some of those, in the hope that those spores would be closer to the normal size for our Oak Rust.
On getting back to the tree, I found that more of the acorn cups were developing the rust, but search as much as I liked, I couldn't find any uredosori on the leaves; so another mystery.

As I was searching the oak leaves, the rain arrived, so I packed up and headed for the car, but as I got to Cwm Nant-y-Gwyddel, it stopped, so I went in there to look for slime moulds. No slime moulds were seen before the return of the rain, but I was pleased to see that the Green Elf Cups were just starting to fruit and looking really good.

Green Elf Cup (Chlorociboria aeruginascens)

Rhaslas landfill

A single ringed plover on landfill site this morning, greenshank[2] and ruff[3] still present in vicinity of pool but restless and easily spooked by dog walkers. Both species appear to favour the poolside rush and can be difficult to spot until flushed by a dogwalker (ho hum). Wheatear[c8] also present around pool and landfill but not much else.

Saturday, 20 August 2016


Some record shots from yesterday morning best being greenshank[3] & ruff[3].