Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Land of the Dragon.

Returned from a ten day trip to Wales visiting a brother and sister and of course in-laws and nephews nieces etc although we are not Welsh my sister and brother-in-law have owned a caravan park for the last thirty years at Llangybi situated on top of a mountain not far from Lampeter and make a caravan available for me to stay there for free whenever circumstances allow. Randall who I care for went into the Grange care centre for respite thereby making this all possible. If you wish you can google  Moorlands Caravan Park llangybi to give yourself an idea of what i'm talking about, my sister is Valerie Edwards.
Whenever I get the chance to visit them I spend most of my time on a local nature reserve known as Cors Caron a unique tract of land running to some two thousand acres and consisting of a raised bog and indeed it is known locally as Tregaron Bog and is the home to many Dragonflies including at least three that were new to me this time namely Golden Ringed, Keeled Skimmer and Black Darter. Many other plants and fauna inhabit this unusual environment including Sundew and Sphagnum Moss, while Adders and Lizard are present and the latter I saw on the boardwalk that runs for a very long way getting one into the heart of the bog.
My Niece Karen has married into the farming community so a trip round three other farms was on the agenda with Karen's son Daryl showing me the local natural diversity, the highlight being a large pond in the middle of a marsh that was remote but alive with a great deal of insect life that needed several days of attention as it appeared to be a real natural resource, at least the farmer has told me i'm welcome to visit it whenever i'm in the vicinity. Apart from the usual Red Kites and Buzzards a pair of Ravens and a couple of elusive small birds on the bog that could well have been Reed Warbler.
The Oxon Feather.
                                            Gold-Ringed Dragonfly

                                           Black Darter

                                           Keeled Skimmer

                                           Brother Roy
                                          Sister Val. Below a view across the bog with mountain behind

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Eyes Have It.

Been to darkest Suffolk  recently on the Richard Lewington course "Identifying Moths, Butterflies and Dragonflies. My accommodation was hostel/like in " Willie Lott's House" a farmhouse that featured in the Constable painting "The Haywain" for our location was Flatford mill.
Richard led a most interesting and informative string of events in his easy going and laid-back style being always helpful but never patronising. We recorded 17 Dragonflies, 23 Butterflies and many Moths. My fellow participants were a pleasant mix of like/minded enthusiasts and a superb time was enjoyed by all.
The Oxon Feather.
                                          Spectacle Moth.
                                          Poplar Hawkmoth. below Willie Lott's House.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

This Drinker is no Piss-Artist.

My outside loo moth trap has turned up a Drinker, named I understand, because its caterpillar is thought by some to drink the dew that accumulates on early morning grasses. It's quite likely without foundation but the name will remain nonetheless.
A few other species also became transfixed by the artificial light and I was rather taken by what I think is an Early Thorn this moth parks itself up just as you would expect a Butterfly to settle.
If you would like to have a guess at the other unnamed moths please help yourself.
The Oxon Feather.
                                           The Drinker
                                           Early Thorn.

Monday, 14 July 2014

The Convenience Of Magpies.

Now that the Moth season is "taking off" I have turned the light on in my outside loo and left the door open. I have been almost instantly rewarded with both a macro Magpie and a Small Magpie although the latter Moth is by no means tiny it is classified as micro and I presume it's other criteria that decides. A Scalloped Oak among others was also unable to resist the glow of the artificial light.
The Oxon Feather.
                                             Magpie Moth

                                           Small Magpie Moth
                                            Scalloped Oak.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

S-W Fritillary in the Warren.

Today there were some good sunny spells and after parking beside the Hatford to the 420 lane, I walked about quarter of a mile and entered the Warren from its eastern approaches. It soon became obvious that many Butterflies were on the wing including Large & Small Skipper, many Gatekeepers, Ringlets , just one Peacock, a lot of Meadow Browns, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled White and the target of my main interest today some twenty Silver-Washed Fritillary. These large and beautiful, mainly orange and black Butterflies, were almost constantly on the move as they danced and fluttered from up in the trees to the ride-side bramble bush that had attracted many dozens of most of the species already mentioned as they vied for position to engage in nectaring. The S-W Fritillary's were very lively making it difficult to get a decent snap.
Also seen were two Ravens and one Jay.
The Oxon Feather.
                                          Silver-Washed Fritillary
                                          Large Skipper
                                         Gatekeeper with Ringlet

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Blue Boy & Skippy.

With tasks to attend to it was a quick trip up to Seven Barrows to look for my first Chalkhill Blue of the season. With many Large and Small Skippers and also good numbers of Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Browns and Ringlets it looked like I would be drawing a blank so it was a pleasant surprise to find one as I made my way toward the car for my journey home.
The Oxon Feather.

                      Marbled White showing depletion of scale leaving a red spot.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

King - Rat.

A walk on Otmoor in the vain hope that I would clock the Scarce Chaser Dragonfly and also the Great White Egret that is currently flying around the counties watering holes proved to be just that, ie full of hope but ending in despair. Not all was lost however as I had the good fortune to meet King Camera himself (Roger Wyatt) and an interesting chat with him was time very well spent, in fact with time running out we decided to walk back to the car park together. On our way we stopped at the birdseed feeders and a couple of Brown Rats were utilising the feeders by either climbing into the failing "vermin proof" feeders or mopping up any seed on the ground, a Pheasant was also helping itself to this bounty, the Pheasant and the Rat would occasionally spar with each other and it was unclear who the victor was although I suspect it was probably the Pheasant. Earlier a trip into Bampton to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy left me with quarter of an hour to kill as they were closed for their dinner hour , so a walk in the peaceful surroundings of the local cemetery gave me the small but not unattractive Gatekeeper Butterfly.
The Oxon Feather.
                                          Brown Rat
                                          Greater-Spotted Woodpecker