Friday, 23 September 2016

Buff Tip larva

The colder nights and chilly wind today have taken their toll on the insects. Very few hoverflies about today. All I have to show for it was this Buff Tip Larva.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

My. Bach, Maesteg

Had a quick look round the Ivy at Maesteg cemetery on way back from Bridgend and then walked the road to Cwrt-y-Mynys farm. 19 species of Hoverflies seen, I was a bit late and lots of the Ivy was in the shade. A late Riponnesia splendens was the pick of the bunch. There were also a good scattering of butterflies around.

 Eristalis tenax
 Platycheirus albimanus
 Common Blue
 Small White
Green Shieldbug

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Numbers of hoverflies are dropping sharply now that we are entering the second half of September. Flowering plants are becoming scarcer, with only Devilsbit Scabious and the odd Common Ragwort hanging on here. Probably my last visit to Blaencaerau this year looking for hoverflies, instead I'll concentrate on the lower end of the valley with its Ivy and Japanese Knotweed in bloom. Managed 20 species but lots of them were single number sightings. Other insects stole the show today on the photography front.

 Eristalis nemorum - diagnostic display flight
 Brindled Plume [A. Punctidactyla] - a tick for me but not new for the valley
 Common Darter - male
 Meadow Grasshopper - wings shorter than abdomen
Leaf Cutter Bee - probably/possibly Wood-carving Leafcutter Bee but there is to much pollen on the Bee to be sure. It is one of the Big three [in size], with Willoughby's and Silvery Leaf-cutter Bee. The lack of hair bands on the abdomen and bigger head point to Wood-carving amongst other things, But Irecord experts wont commit. This record therefore goes down as "plausible" record.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Lletty Sewage works

Most of the flowers have gone over now, but Ivy and Japanese Knotweed are in bloom at most places. The Sewage works has an abundance of both, although the knotweed has blocked most of the paths and is hard to negotiate. Nevertheless I had 22 species today, anything over 20 species is regarded as a good day for September. The 15th September 2016 count of 29 species at Garnwen was the highest for September on record for the valley after a bit of research. Difficult to photograph today with the sun's glare, tried various settings on the camera, the best of which is below.

 Eupeodes luniger
 Helophilus pendulus
 Xylota segnis
Meliscaeva auricollis

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Xanthandrus comtus @ Garnwen

Xanthandrus comtus is a scarce migrant and numbers vary from year to year, this year is a poor year with very few records even from England. So I was taken aback when I spotted one amongst the large numbers of Episyrphus balteatus [also a migrant], whose numbers have shot through the roof over the last two weeks, so it must have come over the channel amongst them. As usual with scarce species it was well tucked in and hard to photograph, only managed two shots [one out of focus] before it flew off and was not re-found despite trying for an hour. On the new LERC Wales records site there have only been 6 sightings in the last 10 years and not in Glamorgan. But there are 3 records from Glamorgan from before that on the NBN Gateway maps, whether or not these are verified records I can't tell, but they were before the advent of digital cameras and concrete proof.

Xanthandrus comtus - not the best of photos but enough to confirm ID. New for Valley

29 species of hoverfly were recorded at Garnwen today. A good count for September, the best of the rest being Leucozona glaucia & laternaria.

 Leucozona glaucia
Sericomyia silentis

I have just had the FSC guide to harvestmen of the British Isles and managed to photograph one today under difficult light, but I think I got the ID right.

Mitopus morio

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Lletty Brongu sewage woorks

After driving back and forth to Manchester airport [400 miles round trip], even though I was tired I needed to stretch my legs. So had a quick hour around the sewage works and recorded just 17 species of hoverfly on thy Japanese Knotweed blooms, the best being Sphaerophoria scripta and Epistrophe grossulariae. Not much else about although there were 4 species of Butterfly including 6 Red Admiral and 1 Painted Lady. Only other insects seen was a Dark Giant Horsefly, which was tucked in the Japanese knotweed and didn't allow me the right angle for a positive identification photo and a single Common Carder Bee, which try as I might couldn't make it an interesting hoverfly.

 Sphaerophoria scripta
Dark Giant Horsefly - Honest

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Garnwen/Drysiog loop

Weather started off cloudy but got better and warmer [20c] as the day went on, this was mirrored by the hoverflies and insects which became more numerous as the day progressed. Japanese knotweed was in full bloom and attracted hundreds of hoverflies the most numerous being Meliscaeva cinctella [140], Episyrphus balteatus [100] and Eristalis pertinax [75]. Also had a record count of 17 Sericomyia silentis. Up until now I have only seen them feeding on purple flowers such as Heather, Black Knapweed and Devilsbit Scabious, but today they were seen feeding on Japanese Knotweed, Common Ragwort and Angelica for some reason I've yet to fathom. 25 species of hoverfly were seen today, which is pretty good for mid September. Also came across a single leaf-cutter bee that looks new for the valley, I've put it on Irecord for confirmation but it fits the description for Brown-footed Leaf-cutter Bee and the keys bear this out. Also noticeable today was the vast amount of "pug" larva on Common Ragwort [100+], Sid will ID it for me later, I had 19 of these on 1 plant. So a good day all in all

 Chrysogaster solstitialis
 Helophilus pendulus
 Leucozona glaucia - all yellow scutellum and orange based legs
 Leucozona laternaria - similar but note partially black scutellum and much darker legs
 Meliscaeva auricollis
 Sericomyia silentis - on Angelica
 Xylota jakutorum
 Xylota segnis
possible/probable Brown-footed Leaf-cutter Bee   [confirmed on Irecord - new for valley]
 and again
Pug larva A/W ID - 19 on 1 plant, 100+ in total. [Goldenrod Pug - ID by Paul Parsons]

Wednesday, 7 September 2016


Another warm September day [24c], so hoverfly numbers were up to 21 species, with Helophilus trivittatus and Eristalis intricarius still being recorded. 6 species of butterfly still surviving, Small Copper being the best. Common Lizard were still showing on all the stiles, basking in the sun. A few other insect families were also recorded with Nowickia ferox [Tachinid Fly] being the best. Photographed a few leaf-mines on Ash and Hawthorn, but they were inconclusive.

 Eristalis intricarius
 Helophilus trivittatus
 Sericomyia silentis
 Common Green Shieldbug - 5th instar
 Common Lizard
 Coxcomb Prominent - larva
 Meadow Grasshopper
 Garden Snail - finally
 Nowickia ferox
 Painted Lady
Small Copper

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Lletty to Shwt

Walked from Lletty Brongu to Shwt bridge today along the lanes, it was very muggy at 24c. Most of the late summer flowers have gone over now, but still managed 16 species of hoverfly, Japanese Knotweed is now coming into bloom and this was what attracted most hoverflies. Highlights included Epistrophe grossulariae and very late Chrysogaster solstitialis, this species normally only feeds on Hogweed and disappears when the hogweed dies but was seen today on an isolated Angelica plant. Other insects included 100's of Nettle Tap Moth and quite a few Common Wasp nests in the banks of the lanes.

 Epistrophe grossulariae
 Chrysogaster solstitialis - very late record as all the Hogweed has gone over, this one on Angelica.
 Cheilosia bergenstammi

With the number of hoverflies dropping quickly through September, I was able to have more time looking at leaves for micro moth larva mines, I found a few but nothing new for the valley.

 Bramble - Stigmella aurella
 Sycamore - Stigmella speciosa
Finally a tiny Snail species which I don't know so I've put it on Irecord for confirmation