Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Friday 30 October 2015

Eupteryx stachydearum

A new leafhopper on the oregano plants this morning. I am still seeing lots of Eupteryx melissae and the occasional E. decemnotata on the asters but this one looks quite different! From the description on British Bugs, particularly regarding the pattern on the scutellum, I would say that this E. stachydearum.

Also spotted a Common Flower Bug on the asters.

Common Flower Bug

Eupteryx stachydearum query

Sunday 25 October 2015

Bute Park - fungus query

Walking in the sunshine in Bute Park this morning and noticed this patch of fungus on the edge of the path. Thinking it would be straightforward to identify I snapped a picture .... but I have failed miserably! Can anyone help please?

Is there a different type of fungus growing in the crack in the path at the bottom left of the picture?

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Creigiau hedgehogs

Have been getting regular visits from an adult hedgehog during the summer, but it was nice to see two young hedgehogs in the garden last night. One on either side of the garden path. Hopefully this is a family group and I may be lucky enough to see them visit together.

Monday 5 October 2015

Creigiau - recent garden visitors

Despite the recent changeable weather, a range of invertebrates are still visiting the garden. Common Carder Bumblebees and Honey Bees continue to be busy in the flower beds competing with the various hoverflies that are still around - these are mainly Eristalis sp. with a number of small unidentified sp. adding to the mix.

I don't usually bother with the large number of flies that all look very similar but a recent Cluster Fly  stood out because of the golden coloured thorax.

Cluster Fly
Also seeing a number of the tiny Moth/Drain Flies.

Moth Fly
As the flowers begin to die back, a number of leafhoppers are appearing on the leaves. The majority of these have been Eupterys melissae (I think), but there have been occasional sightings of, what I believe is, Eupteryx decemnotata. My problem with this is that E decemnotata does not appear to have any sightings logged on the LRC Wales DAT - is my ID wrong or is this species under-recorded?

Eupterys melissae

Eupteryx decomnotata ?
Having not seen a Harvestman for a couple of years, I have now seen three species in the garden this year. In addition to Dicranpalpus ramosus and Leiobunum rotundum, I have recently spotted Opilio canestrinii in the flower beds.

Opilio canestrinii
The garden continues to amaze, and it is very much a case of 'the more you look, the more you see'.

Sunday 4 October 2015

empty pupal case query

Found this empty pupal case poking out between two petals of Purple Coneflower. Amazing structure but I have no idea what was in it. (the grid is 2mm)

Saturday 5 September 2015

Hornet & wasps

Bit of a shock emptying the moth box this morning when I found a Hornet in one of the egg boxes. Never seen one before but it is unmistakable ....

... and huge compared to the regular Common and German Wasps that visit the garden. On Thursday, I split an apple and threw it on the garden for the blackbirds, but they didn't get a look-in. I don't know where they came from but within minutes both halves of the apple were covered in wasps. Within 24 hours the apple had been reduced to a thin, almost transparent, peel layer.

Monday 31 August 2015


While moth trapping in Cwmbach, on the 29th August, these two crane-flies were amongst the catch. Having such distinctively marked wings, I thought I would have a good chance of identifying them, but that hasn't been the case and  so I thought I'd post the photos on here just in case. Even if I don't find out what they were, they were nice things to see, anyway.

Looking at the photos, it is clear that the dark markings are quite variable, even between individual wings on the same insect.

Sunday 30 August 2015

Harvestman - Leiobunum rotundum query

I've been logging the wildlife visitors to the garden for a couple of years now and have only seen one harvestman in that time - Dicranopalpus ramosus way back in 2012. So I was surprised to find two last week, one on 22nd and the other on 28th. I think they are female and male Leiobunum rotundum but I would be grateful for confirmation .... or correction.

Saturday 29 August 2015

A greenshank this morning added to a number of recent waders seen at Aberthaw - dunlin, knot, oystercatcher, turnstone, curlew, whimbrel, ringed plover and common sandpiper. I'm quite happy with the picture of a migrant hawker from the pools, although for some reason my plant pictures are not as crisp. Given that these are static subjects I have no excuse. A course in digital photography beckons. Anyway, I think these are Rosebay and, less confidently, Knotgrass?



Migrant Hawker

Sunday 16 August 2015

Long Hoverfly query

Garden watching before lunch and caught this hoverfly on Shasta Daisy - could this be a female Long Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta) ?

Also noticed an Ensign Fly, possibly Sepsis fulgen

On Tuesday I spotted an odd-looking little beastie hunting on the Shasta Daisies but didn't have a clue as to what it was. When trying to identify a recently caught lacewing I found a very similar image to one I had taken. I now think that these images may be larva and adult of a Green Lacewing - Chrysoperia carnea.

I would be grateful for confirmation/correction of my IDs.

Friday 14 August 2015

Coast Path Nash Point

Nice walk from Nash point to Southerndown last weekend. Lots of the usual suspect butterflies around and also spotted a few Meadow Grasshoppers, but like David, in the previous post, I am trying to improve my wildflower ID skills. Corrections welcome.

Meadow Grasshopper

Cultivated Flax

Carline Thistle

Common Knapweed

Common Mallow

Field Bindweed


Sunday 9 August 2015

A beautiful morning today at Aberthaw. Over a hundred swallows stocking up before heading south, with a few house martins mixed in. More signs of movement with lesser whitethroat, common whitethroat and chiffchaff about. Lots of dragonflies around, although I was only able to identify Emperor and Blue-tailed Damsel. Butterflies included common blue, small white, meadow brown, gatekeeper by the score and my first grayling of the year.

I also photoed a few yellow plants to continue my floral education. Three below. From my book I'm thinking Large-flowered Evening Primrose, Perforate St. John's Wort and Common (or Welsh?) Groundsel. Grateful for any confirmation or correction! Thanks in advance....

Thursday 6 August 2015

Creigiau garden visitors

The garden has been well watered this week and the winds have made a mess of the flower beds but the bees and Co. don't seem to mind.

Lots of Buff-tailed Bumblebees and Honey Bees in the garden at the moment - I counted 10 Buff-tailed and 20+ Honey Bees in one of the beds this afternoon - with occasional visits from Common Carder, White-tailed and Red-tailed the garden is quite busy. The Tachinid Fly seems to be a regular now, and further searching on-line suggests a strong resemblance to Nowickia ferox. I haven't seen any Scaeva selenitica that George reported on the GMRG blog but have had several visits from Scaeva pyastri.

Tachinid Fly - poss Nowickia ferox

I hadn't seen a frog in the garden for quite a while, but when releasing the moths from the weekend I saw one on the decking, obviously watching out for an easy meal.

We've been having regular visits from hedgehogs for a few weeks, but this week, we have been seeing two together. From the noises they are making at least one of them has breeding intentions! Hopefully we will be seeing a family group in the near future.

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Variegated Thistle

A week or so ago, A friend of mine, Martin Bevan posted photos on another blogsite I visit, of a Spear Thistle, at Bryn Du, North of Llwydcoed, Aberdare. It was apparently suffering from the 'White Thistle Disease' I mentioned in an earlier post, but on looking closer at Martin's excellent photos, I began to suspect that it was in fact, a normal, healthy thistle, exhibiting an extreme form of variegation on around half of its shoots. It took me a while, but eventually, on Sunday, I managed to get up there to examine the beast up close and as can be seen from the accompanying photos, this striking and handsome plant is indeed variegated, with around half of the plant normally green, with purple flowers and the other half, mainly creamy white, with several of the leaves having green centres to them.

The flowers on the chloritic shoots haven't yet opened, so I will have to revisit the plant in a week or two, to see what colour they turn out to be.. Interestingly, Martin also found a clump of variegated Meadowsweet not too far away from this, though the Meadowsweet showed only hints of variegation.
Just how stable the variegation on this thistle and the meadowsweet prove to be remains to be seen.

While up there, I found this small group of Round-leaved Wintergreen, growing on the lower, wetter part of a partially vegetated, shallow bank of basic slag left over from forest road construction around thirty years ago. Until recently, this bank also held a colony of Small Blue butterflies, but none were seen this year.

On Kidney Vetch seed head, on the basic slag bank, I came across this tiny jumping spider (apologies for the photo) which is certainly one of the Heliophanus species and is probably either H. cupreus, or H. flaviceps.

Another spider found wandering on the ground was this little beauty. I thought it might be an Alopecosa of some sort.

As for these, I have no idea and don't realistically expect an identification.

This last insect has me stumped. I can't find anything like it in my general insect field guides. It was resting on the leaf blade of a bullrush and was very small. I love the dark venation on the leading edge of the wings.