10 August 2013

Merthyr Mawr Sea-heath

Sea-heath along the strand on the Ogmore
As part of the bee survey I walked the length of shore on the Merthyr Mawr side of the Ogmore estuary. Sea-heath (Frankenia laevis) is locally abundant along this shore line and was being visited by 100's of bees, mostly Buff-tailed (Bombus terrestris) and Red-tailed (B. lapidarius), along with 'clouds' of Meadow Browns (Maniola jurtina) in a few sheltered spots. A confiding Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) was a bonus as was a queen Moss Carder Bee (B. muscorum).

1 comment:

Charles Hipkin said...

I remember the Sea Heath population on Merthyr Mawr from the 1980s, when it was first recorded there - the first record for South Wales in fact. It was a relatively small patch then. Now, as you say, it is locally abundant. Not only that, it has colonised a number of similar upper salt marsh habitats further west along the coast, e.g Crymlyn Burrows. The origin and status of this species in Wales puzzles me. The consensus of opinion (not mine!) has been that it originated as an introduction. There is, perhaps,good evidence for this in Cardiganshire where Arthur Chater described a colony which self-seeded from a nearby flower bed. Is there similar evidence for Merthyr Mawr? Was it deliberately introduced there? Plants are capable of expanding their ranges, even with disjunction, without human interference. And It seems to have done this in South Wales since the 1980s quite effectively.