Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Garnwen/Drysiog loop

Even though the weather was mostly fine at 18c, there was very little about insect-wise, Only 15 species of hoverfly, with nothing special. Leucozona glaucia still out in good numbers, with Chrysogaster solstitialis barely holding on and Cheilosia bergenstammi numbers building up on the Common Ragwort. A Volucella pellucens was doing a good impression of  a Volucella inanis but the black scutellum hairs portrayed its true identity. 6 species of butterfly seen as well as lots of Tree Wasp and a Hairy (Sloe) Shieldbug. Moths seen included Schreckensteinia festaliella and Eupoecilia angustana.

 Hairy (Sloe) Shieldbug.
 Leucozona glaucia
 Red Admiral
 Schreckensteinia festaliella
Volucella pellucens - with black scutellum bristles/hairs. [pale/yellow on inanis]

Thursday, 10 August 2017


Sunshine! at last. 21c and the first time for what seems like an eternity I was able to walk around for 3hrs. 20 species of Hoverfly recorded but nothing special, will take the hoverflies some time to recover in numbers from the bleak weather we've been having. Today was more of a butterfly day with good numbers of 7 species feeding on Hemp Agrimony now in full bloom, highlights being a Painted Lady and Red Admiral numbers building up. Came across adults moths of Adaina microdactyla (Hemp-agrimony Plume), Aethes cnicana (Tortrix) and Ruby Tiger. Another 2 juvenile dark Common Lizard were seen and the ever faithful longhorn beetle Stictoleptura rubra (male) put in the usual appearance on Angelica. A bit of mountain walking also clears the lungs after a period of house lazing.

 Painted Lady
 Red Admiral
 Speckled Wood
Stictoleptura rubra [male]

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

weekly roundup

Weather has been poor, insects numbers well down for the time of year. Managed to visit a few places between showers - Blaencaerau COP, Gilfach mountain and top Llangynwyd and Darren-y-Bannau , Mynydd Bach. A few photos of different families from the week are below.

 Field Cuckoo Bee
 Baby Common Lizard - not an expression I've used before, not sure what the terminology for juveniles are. [ update - correct term is hatchling then juvenile then adults are cow (female) and bull (male).]
 adult and "baby" Common Lizard
 Harlequin Ladybird
 Conopid fly - Physocephala rufipes - quite a few seen
 Volucella pellucens
 Ichneumon Fly - one for Irecord
 conopid fly - Sicus ferrugineous - lots around, they all seem to be in some kind of torpor, alive but unable to move, maybe post breeding dying time.
 Ichneumon Fly (2) - another for Irecord
 Helophilus pendulus - rather scarce this year
Eristalis arbustorum

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Lletty Brongu

After a week of rain I was going stir crazy. So ventured out in the gloom and wind at 17c. There wasn't much about at all, only 18 species of hoverfly all common. Other insects were far and few between the best being a Southern Hawker Dragonfly drying in what sunshine it could get. Rain again tomorrow better start revising for my South Africa Trip.

 Syritta pipiens - one of the few species in double figures
Southern Hawker - drying in the wind

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Blaencaerau "C.O.P."

Hot day at 25c with very little wind, hoverflies were hard to come by away from the Hogweed and Angelica. I've been spoilt the last couple of days, but today only managed 33 species with very little of interest besides 2 Eristais rupium.

So my mind wandered to other species and I had a good cross-section of families (see photos below)

 Antler Moth - unusualy feeding by day on creeping Thistle
 lots of young Common Frogs around the rain puddles
 Common Shrew - 2 dead together is a first, could be motorcycle casualties [run over that is and not crash victims 😁]
 Nicrophorus vespilloides - a burying beetle next to the shrew, it to looks like it has been run over by something
 I think this is a Ruby Tiger caterpillar - [Sid can you confirm]
 longhorn beetle Stictoleptura rubra - 3 seen today
OK, one hoverfly photo - Leucozona laternaria, 17 seen today compared to 14 Leucozona glaucia
Fairy Flax - a common UK plant of dry grasslands. How I've never seen it before I don't know, there were literally thousand's in bloom today. It is very small and I was on my knees when I spotted it though.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Parc Tir-iarll, Cwmfellin

Sid was parked up as I arrived, but didn't bump into him on my circuit. Another good day for hoverflies with 40 species recorded on the Hogweed and some interesting specimens taken including Cheilosia and Pipizella, both maybe new for valley. Temperatures was 20c when I arrived but increased to 23c through the afternoon and this meant that hoverflies decided to have a rest with many resting on shady leaves and out of the direct sunlight. Highlights included Dasysyrphus pinastri and another 14 Scaeva pyrastri, this migrant is having a very good year.

Also recorded the longhorn beetle Leptura quadrifasciata, there's been less than half a dozen records for the valley so was a good find here. Otherwise all the usual suspects although butterflies were out in good numbers particularly the Gatekeeper.

 Leptura quadrifasciata
 Cheilosia impressa
 Leucozona glaucia
 Melangyna compositarum agg.
Melanostoma scalare - dead and infected with the Entomphthora fungus, which affects the brain of the insects making them climb to the top of a tall plant, where they hang upside down and die so the white spores can disperse more easily in the wind.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Lletty Brongu Lanes

After three days rain and people mentioning that there are very few hovers about after the rain, I waited till the afternoon and better weather to take a walk. It was quite warm at 20c and very little wind but was overcast on times.  When not expecting much you always end up with a good day, I realized this when I got out of the car and the first hogweed plant has 7 species of hoverfly on it. In  a 1 mile round walk hoverflies were everywhere and in huge numbers. I recorded over a 1000 flies of 45 species on the Hogweed and supporting plants, which was a new daily record for me beating last years 43 at Blaencaerau around the same time of year. With so many hoverflies I didn't notice much else except for a couple of longhorn beetles Rutpela maculata and some tortrix moths in Pammene aurana.

 Chrysotoxum species - a large individual showing characteristics of both "cautum" and "elegans" [the 2 larger ones of the genus]. For cautum it shows on the antennae seg 1 is shorter than seg 2, but also shows seg 1 + seg 2 is longer than seg 3 which should not be in cautum but in elegans. Also the thoracic hairs are pale and not as long as the antennae are wide again favouring elegans. The second picture shows that the yellow on tergite 2 bends down and thickens to the lateral margin like on elegans, on cautum it should be straight to the margin. I kept the specimen and it keys out to elegans. I'll send the photos to Roger Morris of HRS to see if he can add anything on the ID. Otherwise we will have to wait until the end of the year when the specimens are assessed. I'll update with his thoughts when I get a reply.  update - From photos Roger Morris reckons it's Chrysotoxum cautum [worth a try though 👮]
 Chrysotoxum bicinctum
 Dasysyrphus albostriatus
 Epistrophe grossulariae
 Eupeodes latifasciatus - key'ed out
 Leucozona glaucia
 Myathropa florea
 Platycheirus granditarsus
 Scaeva pyrastri

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Llangynwyd lanes

Lots of Hogweed around the lanes of Llangynwyd today. But with temperatures hitting a sultry 26c I wasn't expecting much. I did however record 27 species of hoverfly. The highlight being a Pipiza species - see below.

I took a quick photo of this Pipiza before potting it as they can't be done with photos for sure and are regarded by experts as the most difficult family in the hoverfly super family. When I checked against the keys I can't make it anything but "lugubris", this is the rarest of the Pipiza and there are only 2 records for Wales, both from the Gower coast. I've tried and re-tried to ID it but it still comes out lugubris. So we wont know the true identity until I send off my samples  at the end of the season to Roger Morris at the Hoverfly recording scheme. Finger's crossed 🔍🔎🔍🔎.

Other insects see today -

 Tachinid Fly - Phasia hemiptera
 Epistrophe grossulariae
Dasysyrphus albostriatus