Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Caerau Starlings

Came across an unusually large gathering of Starlings by the Newton Houses today. The flock must have been the majority if not all of the breeding population for Caerau and contained 115 birds. 34 of the birds were adult the rest juveniles. This equates to 17 pairs and 81 juveniles. Taking that this is a post spring breeding gathering, it would mean the success rate would be 4.76 juveniles per pair. Starlings usually lay between four and five eggs so that's a pretty good success rate.


Monday, 30 May 2016

Caerau insects today

 Xanthogramma citrofasciatum - hoverfly - 1st for Caerau area
Eristalis nemorum - hoverfly showing classic behaviour trait, with male hovering above feeding female - another first for Caerau.
 Drinker moth caterpillar
 Longhorn - Rhagium bifasciatum [Two-banded Longhorn]
Longhorn - Pachytodes cerambyciformis [Speckled Longhorn]

Last night at Foel Fawr there were 2 pairs of Nightjar, the third pair has moved further over into West Glamorgan, so out of the recording area. While walking back I had a male flying around the lights on Cymmer Hill main road as the cars were passing.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Watermill Flood, Ogmore

Dean Bolt who has a knack of finding rarities came up trumps again today, with an adult Squacco Heron at the Watermill, Ogmore. The bird looked healthy and was busily feeding on small fish and newts while I was there at 1330hrs. Managed a distant record shot. Squacco Heron's are still on the UK rarity list with only about half a dozen records per year, and was new for Glamorgan for me. They come from southern Europe so this bird has overshot by quite a bit.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Other Blaencaerau insects today

 Ashy-mining Bee
 Cocksfoot Moth
 Common Carder Bee
 Micropteryx aureatella
Oedemera viriscens

Blaencaerau hoverflies

22 species recorded today plus 4 Cheilosia species that can't be identified from photos.

 Chrysotoxum arcuatum
 Dasysyrphus tricinctus
 Leucozona lucorum
 Melanogaster hirtella agg.
 Meliscaeva cinctella
 Platycheirus scutatus agg.
 Sericomyia silentis
 Sphegina sibirica
 Syrphus ribesii
 Xylota jakutorum
Noticeably unidentifiable Cheilosia species.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Garnwen today

 Dingy Skipper
 Small Heath
 Chrysotoxum arcuatum
 Dasysyrphus venustus
Dasysyrphus venustus - face profile, important in separating from those pesky rarities. Non-inflated frons [forehead], black base to antennae on face and black stripe down centres of face. Plus the yellow on the abdomen touches the edge with no gap.

Shapwick Heath/Ham Walls 25/05/16

Birds - 71 species of birds were seen, highlights included - 2 seen and 8 booming Bittern, 4 Great White Egret, 3 Little Egret, 1 pair and immature male Marsh Harrier, 3 Hobby, 1 male Garganey and 28 Black-tailed Godwit.

Insects - a wide variety were seen with some of the best photos below.

 distant Garganey
 Anasimyia lineata hoverfly
 Myathropa florea hoverfly
 Neoascia tenur hoverfly
 Tropidia scita hoverfly
 Red-headed Cardinal Beetle
 Oedemera nobilis Beetle
 Variable Damselfly
 Dark Bush Cricket
micro moth - Nemophora Degeerella

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Portland Bill today

Colin Gittins and myself travelled to Portland Bill today to see the Great Spotted Cuckoo, which had been hanging around there for a while. We saw the bird straight after we parked up on Reap Lane on the Bill. The bird was quite showy at times and seemed very healthy as it munched away on a near biblical proportions of "hairy" Caterpillars.
 Great Spotted Cuckoo - a very healthy individual
 Brown-tail Moth caterpillar - main course, literally millions of these present
 Garden Tiger caterpillar - Side salad for the Cuckoo
 Supporting Cast - Peregrine, Little Owl & a fearless Dunnock

Speaking of fearless, while at the Bill, HMS Somerset [F82] passed by. She is a Type 23 Frigate based at Devonport and was commissioned in 1989 and is still going strong.

We stopped at Ham Walls/Shapwick Heath reserve in Somerset on the way back and had a great afternoon there. I've got a lot of insect photos to sort out, so I'll post that area tomorrow.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Valley today (briefly)

Hoverfly - Pipizella species - the 3 species of Pipizella can only be determined under high magnification. The only other pointer is the antenna which is very subjective and from the photo that points to "viduata", but has to go down as Pipizella species only sadly. LATE POST - netted one 26/05/16 and checked  genitilia under high magnification and indeed was Pipizella viduata.CHoverfly - Cheilosia Albitarsis agg.

Sewage works and River area insects 23/05/16

 Hoverfly -Chalcosyrphus nemorum
 Hoverfly - Melanogaster hirtella agg.
 Hoverfly - Cheilosia albitarsis agg.
 Click Beetle - Athous vittatus
 Bee species - andrena haemorrha
 Froghopper - Cercopis vulnerata - 50+ seen
 Beetle - Green Dock Beetle [Gastrophysa viridula]
 Large Red Damselfly
Broad-nosed Weevil- a/w ID confirmation possibly Phyllobius glaucus