Water pipit at Castell du late afternoon. Kingfisher and green sandpiper also
16 November 2019
17 October 2019
18 April 2019
The bees started early this year, with a break for the cold snap. My first excursion inland away from Gower found Andrena bicolor working blooms of Tussilago farfara on the hillside opposite Resolven on 26th Feb.
Due to the aforementioned cold period, my next excursion was on 6th April to the area around Gellionen Chapel, partly to get a few records in a square (SN705055) where SEWBREC (in their newsletter) say there are no records recently. Bit early for much but I saw Andrena scotica there:
and found Andrena clarkella next to the chapel:
I decided many years ago, when time permitted, to look for good patches of Bilberry hoping to find Andrena lapponica, a bilberry specialist I never found on the Gower. I also saw a tweet from Liam Olds about having found it at Blackmill near Bridgend. A visit to Cwm Clydach RSPB reserve, on 10th, turned up Andrena praecox, a bee I never found on the Gower during my 5 years looking there, surprising as it is a Willow feeder.
Wandering the roads by car looking for Bilberry not grazed to within an inch of its life eventually brought me to a female Andrena lapponica at the roadside near Rhyd-y-fro:
A dim memory from many years ago took me to woods above Glais (marked Graig Ola on the map) on 13th and I found a superb oakwood/moorland covered in mature and ungrazed bilberry. I found one more Andrena lapponica there and Andrena fulva females (hooray a mining bee it is easy to identify for sure!) also visiting Bilberry along with several Bombus spp. A few other mining bees were on the go, prettiest of which was Andrena ovatula, a species it is absolutely not easy to identify because there is another very similar, wilkella and, of course, Halictus rubicundus also looks very similar:
Looks like a place worth revisiting as the year progresses, (does an NRW sign on a fence mean it is a reserve); it will certainly have a good heather moor community at the end of the summer. I'd be very interested in knowing of any other good sites for a lot of mature Bilberry inland in the far west of Glamorgan (say Swansea valley or westwards) and even on the Gower. Remember maps? This area is a nuisance to work as it lies on the corners of 3 OS maps but I paid for them and am determined to use them!
11 November 2018
Most people will agree that this has been a good autumn for mushrooms and toadstools with some of the common species being particularly abundant. I don't think I've ever seen so much White Saddle (Helvella crispa) along roadsides and woodland paths.
White Saddle (Helvella crispa) at side of forest road, Pelenna Forest, Ton Mawr
Elfin Saddle (Helvella lacunosa), which is usually described as a common species, is much less common in my opinion but has been turning up too, as has Elastic Saddle (Helvella elastica).
Elfin Saddle (Helvella lacunosa) Pant y Saes
There was a large amount of Sulphur Knight (Tricholoma sulphureum) along the edges of Earlswood Golf Course a few weeks ago. One of the really distinctive characteristics of this specie is the strong smell of the fruiting bodies. Most books describe it as 'gas tar' but it reminds me of naphthalene (moth balls).
Sulphur Knight (Tricholoma sulphureum), Earlswood Golf Course
While walking along the Coastal Path near the Quays, Hilary spotted a group of tan coloured caps under a planted shrubbery (mostly Hazel and Birch). As is often the case in such places there was a significant amount wood mulch, possibly coniferous in origin. I originally thought the fungus was a Funnel (Clitocybe sp.), and fixed in that conviction I later (and wrongly) identified it as Clitocybe vermicularis. The tan colour of the cap, the lack of any noticeable smell and the small spores (5 x 3 microns) led in me that direction fairly unambiguously using the keys in Funga Nordica However, after preparing a spore print, several days later, I examined the spores under high magnification (x1000) - see photo below. It is fairly clear that the spores are warty/spiny (verrucose) and that rules out Clitocybe, which I hadn't noticed in my preliminary examination at lower magnification. It is, in fact, Tawny Funnel, Lepista flaccida (formally called Clitocybe inverse), which is fairly common and widespread in southern Britain
Lepista flaccida, The Quays
Lepista flaccida, The Quays
29 October 2018
08 October 2018
One final note, in the upcoming fourth edition of Stace, the genus Conyza has been re-amalgamated with Erigeron so the hybrid now becomes Erigeron x stanleyi.