Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

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.

Monday 3 August 2015

Roesel's Bush-cricket at Hailey Park

While poking around on my local patch, Hailey Park Meadow, last week, I heard an odd sounding cricket (the call was a persistent buzzing, a bit like a quieter version of a cicada). It proved easy to locate a singing male, and the pale U-shaped mark on the shoulder confirmed this to be Roesel's Bush-cricket.

Roesel's Bush-cricket
A further two males were heard singing nearby, suggesting a resident population.

Like several other crickets, this species has been spreading north and west in recent years. It was recorded new to Glamorgan last year, at a site near Pentrebane on the western fringes of Cardiff - not very far from Hailey Park as the cricket flies (or leaps). Greg Jones has confirmed that this is the second known Glamorgan site, but there are bound to be others - one to look and listen out for.

Saturday 1 August 2015

Bee Chafer at Cardiff Docks

I've been hoping to see a Bee Chafer Trichus fasciatus for years, so I was delighted to finally chance across one on the foreshore at Cardiff Docks last week. I was actually looking for larval cases of an obscure micro-moth, Coleophora silenella, which feeds on Bladder Campion and in Wales is only known from this area. I failed to find any of these, but the beetle was ample compensation.

Trichus fasciatus sharing a Wild Carrot umbel with the soldier-beetle Rhagonycha fulva

The bee chafer has a curiously disjunct distribution in the UK, see the map below (from the NBN Gateway). Many of the Glamorgan records are coastal (Kenfig, Baglan etc), which seems odd given that the larvae are said to be associated with old tree stumps.
Distribution of Trichius fasciatus in the UK according to records accessible through the NBN Gateway
Hi - I am (hopefully) moving from Cardiff to Rhoose Point in the near future, so I will be trying to get to know the wildlife of the coast over the next few years. I'm a birder really, but I am going to try and learn more about the flora. I start at a very low every visit I will try to identify a couple of species. Today this one at Aberthaw I was confident was orpine. Then I was convinced it was marjoram. Now I really don't know so any comments welcome. Best bird today was a lone whimbrel, although I also counted 47 Canada Geese flying over in a minute.

Dave Pritchard