17 October 2019

Whooper swans

7 adult whooper swans by the mound at Wernffrwd at high water this am

18 April 2019

off inland

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!