Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Back to Blaecaerau

Out early today, well early for me in bright warm sunshine. After a tip off I scoured the area for Marsh Fritillary but had no luck, but other species of butterfly were showing including the first of year Dark Green Fritillary and Small Copper. Others were 7 Dingy Skipper, 6 Common Blue, 3 Small Heath, 15 Green-veined White and a Red Admiral. New moths for the year included Ancylis badiana and Common Heath. A Tree Bumblebee was seen among the commoner species. A total 15 longhorn beetle of the species Rhagium bifasciatum were seen, with 13 in one Hawthorn alone also 3 Green Tiger Beetle were on the paths. The large Red and Black Froghopper was present and Large Red Damselflies were out in numbers. The Narrow Bordered 5-spot Burnet larva seen Monday was now a cocoon, it's in a very prominent place so I can't see it evading the parasitic wasps for long, lots of the Tachinid fly Thelaira nigripes about too.

3 pairs of House Martin were collecting mud for their nests. I later found all three in and behind two specific houses in Caerau road, that's one pair up on last year, so there's hope yet. 3 Whitethroats were calling from the Old tip reclaimed areas.

New blooms for the year were White Clover, Slender Thistle and Heath Speedwell.

17 species of hoverfly were seen with Xanthogramma citrofasciatum found at the end of the street. Managed to net the Parahelophilus which was a male versicolor, also found more Anasimyia contracta at another area, they seem quite common this year as I couldn't find them last year here.

 Parahelophilus versicolor - this family can't be done from photos and have to be netted for ID, which this one was, the photo is just a record shot.
 Xanthogramma citrofasciatum
 Anasimyia contracta - another difficult species to ID, you have to photo it from above to see the shape of T2, so I usually have to settle for a look through the bins.
 Common Blue
 Dingy Skipper - quite common today
 Mondays Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnet is now a cocoon.
Rhagium bifasciatum - 13 in one small Hawthorn bush

Georgia moths part 4

Another dull and rainy day so here's another 5 moths ID'd thanks to Bold Systems database of moths. If I can do 5 of the last remaining 9 photos I'll be happy as the photo quality is now getting pretty poor and the chances of ID'ing foreign micros looks slim.

 Idaea camparia [Geometer]
 Lithostege bosporaria [Geometer]
 Lithostege odessaria [Geometer]
 Loxostege clatharlis [Crambidae]
Protorhoe unicata [Geometer]

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Blaencaerau 22 May

Today was of a case of new, new, new. With new year, site, Caerau area and Valley ticks galore. All this in less than ideal weather conditions, roll on the imminent fine weather.

Had 20 new blooms for the year, with four being valley ticks in Clustered Dock, Cut-leaved Cranesbill, Creeping Buttercup and Beaked Hawk's-beard.

20 species of hoverfly were seen with new species for Caerau and the Blaencaerau COP being Cheilosia variabilis, Anasimyia contracta and a Parahelophilus species that got away while I was side-tracked by something else. First Large Red Damselfly of the year was followed quickly by a new for the valley Tachinid Fly in Thelaira nigripes. The usual day moth records was supplemented with a new for the valley Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnet larva on Yellow Iris getting ready to pupate. The usual Bees were added to by a new for Caerau Orange-tailed Mining Bee [2nd valley record I think]. On the butterfly front Dingy Skipper and Common Blue were seen. Finally another sighting of the longhorn beetle Rhagium bifasciatum, could be another good year for Longhorns.

So all in all a good day.

 Southern Marsh Orchid - probably [re-Sid]
 Large Red Damselfly
 Leucozona lucorum
 Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnet - larva [long body hairs distinguish it from 5-spot and 6-spot Burnet]
Tachinid Fly - Thelaira nigripes

Sunday, 21 May 2017


Decided to have a quick walk between dinner and rugby on the TV, which turned out to be a good idea. Even though there was a stiff wind insects congregated to feed in sheltered spots out of the wind and in bright sunshine.

Butterflies seen were Small Heath, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White and first of the year Dingy Skipper. 4 species of bee were highlighted with a Field Cuckoo Bee. Green Tiger Beetles were still numerous even in the wind. Stopped at the "longhorn" logs and tried a bit of finger scratching on the logs hoping to tempt out Stictoleptura rubra, to my surprise 3 Rhagium bifasciatum adults came out and immediately attacked my fingers, with even one flying at my face. This is the first time I've recorded this species at this log site, I hope they haven't ousted the rubra as they are much rarer and this log pile is a guaranteed site in June for them . Micropterix Calthella numbered over 300 again today, but painstakingly sorting through them I managed to find a Micropterix aureatella on a bramble bush. Finally the large red and black froghopper was again seen in good numbers.

Only birds of note were 2 male of each Whitethroat and Tree Pipit singing.

Oh yes I almost forget 20 species of hoverfly highlights being Dasysyrphus Venustus and the first of the year Xylota Jakutorum.

 face shot of the Dasysyrphus venustus showing black knob at base of antennae, which discounts the rarer hilaris.
 Xylota jakutorum
 Dingy Skipper
 Micropterix aureatella
Rhagium bifasciatum

Friday, 19 May 2017

Bryn Cynan, Llangynwyd

A fine day so plenty of blooms and hoverflies. New blooms for the year included Bugle, Pencilled Cranesbill, Wallflower [presumed escape], Lesser Spearwort, Sanicle, Woodruff, Wood Forget-me-not, Yellow Pimpernel and Midland Hawthorn. 22 species of hoverfly with best being my first photo of Sericomyia lappona, I also have 2 specimens which I've keyed out as Platycheirus peltatus and Pipiza noctiluca both of which would be new for valley. I'll send them off at the end of the year for confirmation with the HRS. Although I have a photo of the Platycheirus (see below). Micropterix calthella were out in huge numbers today.

 Sericomyia lappona
 Paltycheirus species that keys out to "peltatus" [confirmed as peltatus sl. from photo - new for valley by HRS]
 Cheilosia illustrata - 1st of year for me
 Cheilosia albitarsis agg.
Micropterix calthella

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Lower Valley

Had a walk from Darren Woods to the sewage works in the first fine day for what seems an age. Garden Warblers were singing in the woods as were many Song Thrush. A Reed Warbler was singing from the sewage works reed-bed but the undergrowth was too much for me to get a better look. Otherwise all the usual summer and resident birds were in full voice.

25 species of hoverfly were seen, with quite a few first for the year and some bright colourful species highlighted by a male Criorhina berberina which was a first for me, but not the valley. Other insect highlight included Ashy-mining Bee and the Large Red and Black Froghopper.

First blooms of the year included Herb Benett, Dovesfoot Cranesbill, Wood Cranesbill, Pignut, Holly, Common Chickweed, Black Medick and Dog's Mercury.

 Criorhina berberina
 Eristalis horticola
 Eristalis tenax - a colourful individual
 Neoascia meticulosa - cloudless cross-veins and end of hind femur yellow, antennae dimensions rule out the yet to be recorded in Wales - geniculata
 Xanthogramma pedissequum s.s.
 Xylota segnis
 Ashy-mining Bee
 Large red and black Froghopper
Song Thrush

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Georgia moths part 3

Another set of 5 ID'd this morning in the gloom that is Welsh Weather.

 Bordered Gothic - the other similar Gothic is much bigger and wider and this was on the smallish side and Gothic is more of a western species. state this as a common species in the Caucasus while the Gothic is not.
 Bright Wave -eastern darker form
 Cucullia argentina [Noctuid] - went through all the Cucullia [Shark]species, luckily it began with "A", and then a eureka moment realizing that argent is latin in heraldry for silver, as is the colour of its streak.
 Lime-speck Pug - no similar species
Oxyptilus parvidactyla [Plume Moth] - there are a three similar species and they need to be checked genitilia wise, but the other two haven't been recorded in the region, so I'm going out on a limb here and saying it's probably this. None of the British or European Plumes occur in the Caucasus and many of the family seem to have small ranges. I.E. Oxyptilus family plumes in Ukraine/Balkans don't occur in the Caucasus.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Georgia Moths part 2

With all the rain today I had a few hours to knuckle down and ID another batch of moths by cross-referencing images on a number of European sites. There really are some good sites for moths on the net if you look hard enough.

 Small Grass Emerald
 Noctuid - Phyllophila obliterata
 Brocade - Think it's Pale-shouldered Brocade [what you think Sid], none of the non-British brocades come close so its down to PaleShouldered/ Light Brocade
 Common Quaker
 Pyralid - Evergestis frumentalis

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Pembroke today

Went to Pembroke for the day to see a male Red-footed Falcon, alas it flew off before we arrived and wasn't seen again. So we [Sid and I] had a walk around the general area for a couple of hours. The sea provided year ticks in Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwake and Guillemot, While the coastal path had Raven at nest, 2 Chough and lots of Linnet, Whitethroat and Stonechat. At Goodwick harbour a lone Bar-tailed Godwit was a nice find and there was a large passage of Barn Swallow and House Martin going west. Also photo'd the hoverfly Cheilosia albitarsis amongst the commoner species. A May Bug (Common Cockchaffer) flew by.

 Raven at nest site
 Bar-tailed Godwit
Cheilosia albitarsis - lots about today