21 October 2014

Convolvulus Hawk-moth

Sent in to the university last week from Alan Martin of Fforest, presumably in Glamorgan, a photo of a Convolvulus Hawk resting on his step and unfortunately trodden on by a visitor to his house!  Record dated 11th October, can't paste the picture in because I'm so computer illiterate. I have the original e mail to forward to the county moth recorder if he wants to see it.

14 October 2014

A bryophyte excursion to the top of Glamorgan

view looking east over Llyn Fach with Craig y Llyn to the right
Last week, on the 10th, Sam Bosanquet, George Tordoff and myself surveyed the mosses and liverworts on the section of Craig y Llyn above Llyn Fach, i.e. that part that lies within Neath Port Talbot at SN9003Peaking at 600m in the plantation a little way south of the crags, this also happens to be the highest land in Glamorgan.
Sam & George examining the highest terrestrial bryophytes in Glamorgan,
the plentiful epiphytes on the spruce behind are of course higher!
A total of 135 bryophyte taxa were recorded taking the total for tetrad SN90B to 163, promoting it to the 4th spot in Glamorgan's bryo-diversity league, but with the caveat that many squares have still not yet been looked at! Three 'Nationally Scarce' species were recorded, Tall-clustered Thread-moss Bryum pallescens on the track adjacent to the trig point, Slender Fringe-moss Racomitrium sudeticum on a small stone enclosure, with Orange-bud Thread-moss Pohlia flexuosa on the crags themselves. The main discovery however, was a assemblage of locally rare species in a small cave on the lower cliff sequence, which included Fine-leaved Leskea Orthothecium intricatum, Spotty Featherwort Plagiochila punctata and Recurved Rock-bristle Seligeria recurvata, the latter new for the county.
Slender Fringe-moss
Fine-leaved Leskea
A few non-bryophyte species of interest were noted including a larva of the sawfly Abia candens, found feeding on Devil’s-bit Scabious. George and myself, being comparative novices are indebted to Sam for his patience in sharing his expertise on what was a memorable excursion.
the small cave in which Sam found Recurved Rock-bristle
Fountain Smoothcap Atrichum crispum

Great White Egret

The Great White Egret, according to the current (2009) edition of Collins Bird Guide, is a two star vagrant to the UK. This seems out of date: changes can be rapid with egrets. I have old bird guides which show the Little Egret's range coming nowhere near the UK, yet they are now a common sight on many estuaries, including, of course, the Burry Inlet. It seems the Great White Egret is moving into Britain in a similar way. It breeds on the Somerset Levels and keeps turning up here. My last two visits to WWT Llanelli have provided sightings of a Great White Egret. This morning it was something special: the bird was feeding vigorously and came very close to my position in the Michael Powell hide. Despite rain and low cloud, the views were so good that I was able to get the photos below.

The bird was determined to be photographed, because when I moved on to the British Steel hide it followed me (Penclawdd in the background):

 and then carried on as before:

A magnificent and very co-operative bird.

08 October 2014


Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria), Rheola Forest

It's been a bit of a weird autumn for fungi so far. After a wet August followed by a warm September, things were looking promising, but the long dry period then curtailed a sustained appearance of fruiting bodies. However,  Fly Agarics were particularly good in Neath Valley forests and it was a fantastic month for Boletes, including the highly prized Cep (Boletus edulis). It was also a good month for Slimy Spike (Gomphidius glutinosus) and Larch Spike (Gomphidius maculatus) in Afan Forest Park. See below for a selection of others.

Beech Milkcap (Lactarius blennius), Glyncastle Forest

Conifer Dapperling (Lepiota felina), Rheola Forest

Dusky Puffball (Lycoperdon nigrescens) Pentreclwydau

Grisette (Amanita vaginata), Pelenna Forest

The more typical autumn weather which we are experiencing now may kick-start a new flush of fruiting bodies.