Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Third Time Lucky

After dipping on the Caspian Tern on Sunday at Kenfig, again on Monday at Llanelli and not having the confidence to go on Tuesday Mr Bevan and myself decided to have another go at it this morning.

Arriving as the WWT Llanelli was opening we quickly made our way to the British Steel Hide to hear that it had been there but had flown away. Within a couple of seconds of that being said someone shouted it's still here. Relief all round. Soon we were treated to great scope views and it finally flew a little closer, had a snooze, flew closer again and then flew off over the trees. No tunnocks available but custard doughnuts were a good substitute.

Also really good numbers of breeding plumage Med. Gulls around.

We wandered over to the Welsh Water Hide and then the Peter Scott Hide where we were treated to the Caspian coming in and trying to fish but getting mobbed and then chased off by the Black Headed Gulls.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Marbled Whites

In July 2013 I found a small colony of Marbled Whites on the ridge between Abercynon and the Merthyr Valley near the "Giant's Tooth". In 2014 and 2015 I saw small numbers but in 2016 I did not manage to get there at all although Martin Bell had had a look with no luck.

After dinner today I decided to go up and have a quick look. Although it was earlier than I had seen them before we had managed to see some Marbled Whites in Gloucester the previous week so I thought it was worth the risk. I first walked up the road on the Merthyr side and was soon delighted to see a Marbled White flying around, soon followed by another. By the time I took the turning to walk up to the ridge I had seen four. On top however things just got better, walking on the edge of the grass I kept flushing more Marbled Whites getting 13 in total, much more than I had expected.

There were also good numbers of Dark Green Fritillaries, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Cinnabar Moths.

Dark Green Fritillary

Dark Green Fritillary

Marbled White

Monday, 19 June 2017

Night Heron

A couple of shots of the Night Heron from yesterday's trip to Shrewsbury (see Martin's post below). The light was not good at all (shooting into the sun) so the photo's could have been better.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

One year on.....

On the 19th June 2016, myself, Phil, Mike and Mr Bevan had a day out at Whixall Fen in Shropshire, looking for White-faced Darter and Large Heath butterfly. Unfortunately it was a dull, damp and chilly day and whilst we ticked the Large Heath, there was no sign of the Darter.

Roll on 1 year and an unexpected break in our diaries saw Phil and the two Martins have another shot at the Darter. A not too early start of 4am saw the three set off, with Mr Beven taking the back seat to sleep of the effects of a drinking session the day before.

First port of call was central Shrewsbury to tick the American Black-Crowned Night Heron that has taken up residence around a small ornamental pond in the main park. The plan was simple, park up, wander over to the pond, watch/photograph the heron for a while and then depart for Wixhall Moss. We duly arrived, without incident, around 06:40 grabbed a coffee and wandered over to the gardens, to find the gates locked! Bu*&%$! We amused ourselves wandering the banks of the Severn looking  (unsuccessfully) for Club-tailed Dragonflies. Both Martin's crossed the river and were rewarded with their first Meadow Brown and Ringlet butterflies, before Phil phoned to say he had located the heron. By the time the Martin's made it back to the garden, the gates had been unlocked and the heron was enjoyed for a while - unfortunately, in toggers speak, the light was c$%p, so no decent photo's were taken.

As such it was 8:30 before we departed, just as the council were closing the roads for a carnival, meaning a lengthy detour to get onto the correct road to our next destination. As we headed out onto Whixall Moss, Large Skippers, Meadow Browns and Ringlets kept us company before we found our first Dragon - a Southern Hawker. next up was a Large Red Damselfly - surprising, Mr Bell's first for the year. Soon we were at the main pools for the White-faced Darter and almost immediately a teneral darter was spotted. A few photo's later and a check in the field guide and White-faced Darter was ticked. Now the hunt for an adult male. This took about another 5 minutes, before we were enjoying a couple of the dapper black and scarlet dragonflies.

The pressure off, we wandered around, picking up, Black-tailed Skimmer, Black Darter, Broad-bodied and Four-spot Chasers. Plenty of Large Heath butterflies were on the wing, but none would co-operate for the cameras. Mr Bell found a new moth for his list - a Four-dotted Footman Cybosia mesomella, but it too avoided the paperattzi.

From Whixall Moss, as we did last year, we made the short journey to Prees Heath to tick Silver-studded Blue.

As we still had plenty of time on our side we decided to head back south and to a new site for all of us, the Gloucester Wildlife Trust reserve at Daneway Banks, to look for Large Blue butterflies. Arriving at the site around 15:40, we were pleased to hear that a couple of Large Blues had been seen today. We quickly picked up Small Heath, Common Blue and Dingy Skipper, before our first Large Blue was spotted - a bit distant, but recognisable. In all we saw at least 5 Large Blues. We also added 3 Marbled Whites and a couple of Small Blue's to the days, and years lists.
                                          Large Blue (honest)
                                          Night Heron (told you the light was a tad unhelpful)
                                          Silver-studded Blue
                                          White-faced Darter (teneral)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Cefnpennar NJ

I took my brother up above Cefnpennar, last night, to show him Nightjars. Still only the one pair, but they showed well, the Male churring from the top of a small tree fairly close, giving good scope views, while the female flew round and round us, catching insects and sussing us out. The Cefn Cuckoo was calling from its usual late evening place, which is probably where it roosts. The midges were a bugger, but otherwise a greet evening: brother chuffed at seeing his first Nightjars.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Cwm Cadlan Tonight

I went up to Cwm Cadlan late afternoon with my friend Gareth Parfitt after Martin Bevan had told me that Marsh Fritillary's had been seen there in a hay meadow. This is on the new part of the reserve and on arriving there we very quickly found some frits seeing definitely six but probably 10.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Some Kind of Spill at Bryn Du

I found all this stuff in the stream below the Pyramidal Orchid site yesterday. It ran into the wheel wash and the two lower feeder ponds. It's  worrying to think what affect it's having on the ponds and local wildlife and it looks like been going on for some time.

Wheel wash looks like a lake at the moment .

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bryn Pica Tip

Having visited Bryn Pica opencast tips, last autumn, looking for rust fungi and found what I suspected were the seed heads of Bee Orchid, I went up there this afternoon to see if I was right. I was and although they were only just coming into bloom and most of the spikes I found were still in the bud stage, I counted 14 in all; pretty well scattered over a moderate sized area. There were also Common Spotted, what looked like Heath Spotted and what I at first thought was Early Purple Orchid, but now think is a dark form of Common Spotted..

Common Spotted Orchid?

Add caption

A couple of Small Heaths were the only butterflies seen, though given the weather, that isn't surprising.
It was nice to have my second Wood Warbler of the year, on the disused railway, below Werfa pond.

weekend wanderings

An early start yesterday, to beat the dog walkers, to do my WeBS at Parc Taf Bargoed. Little of note on the water, though the Canada Geese have moved on - not sure what happened to the pair sitting on eggs.
The reed beds between the lakes and the climbing centre had at least 7, possibly 8, singing Reed Warblers - a site record - The previous max was 3 pairs last year - looks like it could be a bumper season for them here.

On the walk home I noticed a large moth resting on a fence. A quick photo, before it took off.
                                                      Mottled Beauty

After a lazy morning today, I wandered round Coed Cefn Fforest for a couple of hours. Both Wood Warblers were still holding territory whilst just a single Spot' Fly' was noted. A pair of Redstart scolded me, highly suggestive of a nest nearby.

Out on the bog at the top end, a Fitillary grabbed my attention. Three were feeding on Marsh Thistles, in an area out of bounds. Further hunting revealed 5 in the area I can access.
                                         Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

The walk home focused on insects, etc. One of the species I was particularly looking for is one of my favourite beetles, the Hazel Leaf-roller Weevil Apoderus coryli
                                          Hazel Leaf-roller Weevil

One of the more unusually coloured insects found was an early instar of the leaf hopper Evacanthus interuptus. a tiny pink and white, candy striped bug.
                                          Evacanthus interuptus

Thursday, 8 June 2017


Mr Bevan and myself had a few hours seawatching at Porthcawl this morning hoping to pick up some Storm Petrels. We arrived at 9.40 and before he had set his scope up Martin shouted 2 Stormies very close. The quickest we had ever had them and probably the closest. I picked up another one at 10.00 although this was a bit farther out. Who said Porthcawl is rubbish for seawatching!!!!.

Tonight I had a phone call off a friend to say I got a lovely and big dragonfly in my garden please come and have a look. It turned out to be probably my favourite a Gold Ringed Dragonfly. I only seen one last year and that was very late in the season so this was a really nice surprise.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Local news

Abercwmboi Lake Swans have 7 cygnets. I had my first Large Skipper this morning in Robertstown also a small copper.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Vole! Vole!

A midday visit, yesterday, to the usual site saw 6+ Marsh Fritillaries on the wing, with lots of Small Heath, and Common Blue, a few Green-viened whites, 3 Dingy Skippers, 1 Small Copper, 1 Cinnebar, and lots of Burnet Companions. No SPB frits or Green Hairstreaks however.
 Wandering around I almost stood on a young Field Vole.
 There were a mix of Southern Marsh and Heath Spotted Orchids. I came across this individual with strange looking flowers. I presume some strange hybrid. (Edit - a bit more research and I think this is a Early Marsh Orchid.

This morning saw me stop of on the way to Brecon to try to catch up with Whinchat and Ring Ouzel at CCG. In glorious sunshine it didn't take long to get onto a splendid male Whinchate, singing his heart out. The Ouzel's hover were playing hard ball. After a couple of hours, without sucess, I started t head back out as the clouds were starting to roll in. On the way out there was a birder scanning the first part of the basin. We got talking and he was asking about the Ouzels, etc. as he was over for a few days holiday from Leicester. Like myself he had no joy. I put him onto the Whinchat and he headed off to take a look. No sooner had he gone out of sight that two RO's "rattled". I quickly got onto a female in a stunted Rowan, high on the, ridge lin. She was joined by a male and a juvenile. I ran off for the other birder but when we go back to my scope, the RO's had gone. We watch the area for about 20 mins before the visiting birder decided to go back to enjoy the Whinchat for a bit longer. Again, as soon as he disappeared out of sight, the male flew int the same Rowan and two juv's hopped up to be fed. The male didn't hang around for long but the two juv's were content to sit in the middle of the tree. I re-fetched the other birder and one of the juv's was still showing when we got back. As soon as the other birder put his eye to me scope it dropped (I was watching it with my bins). Not long after the heavy rain and low cloud rolled in, so it was game over.

I then crossed over into the Youth Hostel woods to try for Pied Fly' and Marsh Tits. I dipped on the Fly', but a family party of Marsh tits showed well.

After yesterdays close encounter with a Field Vole, whilst in the wood I was surprised to find a Bank Vole walking down the path towards me. I'm sure this must have read the posters encouraging everyone to vote.


8 probably 9 badgers seen on a great night out to Dinefwr with Martin Bevan and his two daughters Christina and Kathryn.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Better late than never

but, after some 7 months, I've (almost) finished the trip report to Colombia. It's linked on the right had colomn

more from Shapwick

Ok, so a few of my photo's from last Sundays wander round Shapwick and Ham Wall.

                                          The hoverfly Eristalinus sephlchralis - check out the eyes
                                          Yellow-barred Longhorn moth - Nemophora degeerella
                                        The Soldier fly Ornate Brigadier Odontomyia ornata
                                        a hoverfly, either Parhelophilus frutetorum or P. versicolor
                                         a first or second instar Roesel's Bushcricket
                                           and Yellow Shell

Thursday, 1 June 2017

A Bit more Shapwick

After we saw so much on Sunday I thought I would share a couple more photos from a great day out. It's worth getting up at stupid o'clock and feelling like a zombie but worth it. First up was a caterpillar, a Vapour Moth found by Martin.
Next up was a first for the year for us, it was found by Phil on the side of the path and it was a Teneral Black Tailed Skimmer and our only one of the day .

We also found a lot of these Yellow - Barred  Longhorn Moth or Nemophora Degeerella and it's an amazing looking moth .
 We found the more you glanced at the water lilies there were loads of Red Eyed Damselflies.
When the sun come out we had a couple of Butterflies, its always nice to see Small Tortiseshell and Peacock and it felt like summer for five mintues.

Than I found this Teneral Scarce Chaser at the same time Phil shouted male. We had a good half dozen, they were a cracking little dragonfly and one I have wanted to see for years, it made my day. It's fun to think that years ago I was in the New Forest with Kevin and Geri and we saw a chap with a hat with cokes hanging of his hat a big Dragonfly book, we laughed and we thought he must be nuts and years later and I am doing it but no coke hat for me, I am not going that far.

We also had lots of Hairy Dragonflies and the more I think of this species I think what I saw over Tir Founder Fields had to be one. The first early Hawker of the year and hopefully more to come.

When we was walking along the path at Shapwick I found this pile of poo as you do, it looks like a badger latrine. I have not seen many latrines and they are mostly messy, do any other animals have a latrine. Mike was missed not being there to smell it.
When we were having a well earned coffee sitting in one of the hides I heard a splash and a head popped up, I was hoping for Otter but this Great Crested Grebe chick came out, it was chasing a adult with a big fish and in the end the parent give up and give it to him. It was a eye opener, it swallowed it with some problems and it was like Phil with a custard doughnut .