Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Top Llan

Went in search of Great Grey Shrike that had been around the last couple of winters, but no luck this time. Birds present on this cold crisp morning included 20 Crossbill [2 flocks - 14 & 6], 2pairs Bullfinch, 17 Meadow Pipit, 9 Skylark, female Reed Bunting, 105 Starling, 15 Blackbird and singles of Goldfinch and Fieldfare.

 The replica BODVOC Stone is now looking a little worse for wear, with the inscription barely visible. The original is now housed in the Margam Stone Museum near Port Talbot. 

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Hoverfly Det's results

I have received the results of the specimens I sent Roger Morris of the HRS in early November, which were specimens that I had gathered in the valley throughout 2016 and the results were better than expected. With 6 new species for the valley and many difficult species confirmed by determination rather than photographs.

New for Valley

Neoascia tenur -                      Lletty Brongu sewage works, Maesteg   05 Jul 16
Cheilosia longula -                  Blaencaerau, Maesteg   13 Jul 16
Melangyna labiatarum -        Blaencaerau, Maesteg   13 Jul 16
Parasyrphus vittiger -             Garnwen, Maesteg   04 Aug 16
Sphaerophoria interrupta -    Darren-y-Bannau, Caerau, Maesteg   05 Aug 16
Sphaerophoria philanthus -   Garnwen, Maesteg   10 Aug 16

Species Difficult to ID from photos confirmed [already on list]

Melanogaster hirtella                    Sphegina clunipes
Neoascia podagrica                       Paragus haemorrhous
Syrphus vitripennis                       Cheilosia Proxima
Cheilosia fraterna [new for me]  Sphegina elegans

Common species also determined which are easy from photos

Syrphus torvus, Melanostoma mellinum, Platycheirus albimanus,
Chrysogaster solstitialis, Cheilosia bergenstammi, Cheilosia impressa,
Xylota jakutorum, Platycheirus scutatus, Melanostoma scalare,
Syrphus ribesii, Cheilosia variabilis, Cheilosia pagana,
Platycheirus angustatus

So the valley list jumps from 109 to 115, to celebrate here's my 5 favourite Hoverflies of the year 2016. See if you can ID them as a Christmas Quiz.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Ghana scenic 2016

 Abrafo farm scrub - very rich in birds
 200+ foot tall tree. Locals call it "Ceiba"
 Brennu Beach Road scrubland
 Cocoa Beans drying in the sun at a small village
 Forest Lodge near Kakum
 World Famous Kakum Canopy Walkway - 120ft above the forest floor.
 the walkway close up, its 1km long with 6 tree towers anchoring the rope walkway
 Mognori Bush, Mole
 Mole Reserve entrance
 Mole waterhole
 Praa River
 Shai Hills near Accra
Winneba Lagoons on the coast - the tide was in

Ghana various stuff

 Rosy Bee-eater - after a bit of photo enhancement
 Blister Beetle species - There are 120 species worldwide and 40 are in Africa, but that's as far as I got on ID.
 Bug species - Borbiri Forest
 Centaurus Beetle - didn't realize there were 30 species of Rhino Beetle in Africa
 Common (Rainbow) Agama
 3 photos of Dragonflies I've yet to ID, there seems scant information on the web for Odonata in West Africa

 Giant Millipede species - this one was 12" long and if you touch it, it secretes a poisonous liquid over its body
 Everybody photographs this species of Grasshopper while in Ghana, but nobody has a name for it.
 Portia Widow - Dragonfly I could ID
Western Bluewing - Damselfly I could ID.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Ghana Birds 2016 part 4

 Spur-winged Plover
 Swamp Flycatcher
 Vieillot' s Black Weaver
 Wahlberg's Eagle
 Western Nicator
 White-crested Hornbill
 White-backed Vulture
 White-throated Bee-eater
 Wire-tailed Swallow
 Yellow-billed Shrike
Yellow-crowned Gonolek

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Ghana Birds part 3

 Black Bee-eater
 Red-vented Malimbe
 Red-billed Firefinch
 Red-necked Buzzard
 Rock Pratincole
 Rosy Bee-eater
 Red-throated Bee-eater
 Senegal Coucal
 Senegal Thick-knee
Splendid Glossy Starling