May 20th 2014. Weather – Mild, cloudy, damp
Unfortunately the Moth trap set up in Trawscoed Meadow failed to operate so no Moths to record from there. But later on we did see some day-flying Moths, including one which Marigold, our Moth expert had never seen before. And quite a lot of Blue Butterflies down below the Wild Garden, including at least 2 mating pairs.
We had intended to do our monthly bird count with the aid of Julian Friese but he was not well enough to join us. However he did send a very interesting and rather sad find from his own garden in the shape of a Goldcrest nest, complete with 5 eggs and a dead parent bird. He thinks that this was a juvenile first-time nesting pair who had unwisely chosen a site only just above ground level and that the cat had done its deadly work. As well as that nest there the usual Swallow one in the hatch by the reception and a Wren’s nest in the wood next to the visitors car park.
Leaving the gatehouse we headed to the Great Glasshouse to see what the Sparrows were doing with their nests. Still studiously ignoring the nest boxes which had been provided they are quite content to nest in the holes in the wall behind the Ivy. I say behind the Ivy, but most of that had been removed due to a severe outbreak of sooty mould, caused by Aphids. However, the removal hasn’t troubled the the Sparrows and they are continuing to raise 2 or even 3 broods during the year, even as late as December.
Going out toward Waun Las the many flowers that were now appearing captured our attention and the appearance of Orchids. As always the question was what kind? They were various shades of purple and quite different shapes, some a distinct pyramid, some rather upright, others more globular. Could be Common Spotted, Heath or Marsh, but almost impossible to say without some form of DNA analysis as they hybridise so readily.
Down by the entrance to Waun Las then along past Llyn Canol we came across quite a lot of Blue Butterflies, with 2 pairs mating. They are early and this augurs well and should provide an excellent spectacle for the rest of the Garden. Green-Veined Whites, Orange Tip Butterflies and quite a few Moths also caught our attention, in particular a Silver-ground Carpet and another, the Burnet Companion which Marigold had not seen before.
Down alongside the Llyn Uchaf we watched and listened to a pair of noisy Crows who were feeding 2 nestlings. Good to see the Blue Damsel flies back though no Dragon Flies yet. Michael found a Palmate Newt and in Pwll yr Ardd near the Gatehouse we came across a rather amazing sight. First of all we saw hundreds of Toad Tadpoles then, a little further on not hundreds but possibly thousands of them – a complete black mass 2 or 3 foot square. Apparently they do this to deter predators but the following day they weren’t around. Possibly predated by a Heron who didn’t understand the rules!
Traws Coed Wood: Blackbird, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Swifts 2, Whitethroat, Willow warbler, Wren, Refurbished Wren’s nest
Traws Coed Meadow Female Orange Tip Butterfly, Cinnabar Moth, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Swallows, 6 Swift Glass House Sparrows nesting in holes in the stone block wall, 1 Pair Sparrows mating, Robin
Wildflower Meadow A purple Vetch, Birdsfoot Trefoi,l Bistort, Black Medick, Bugle, Field Cranesbill, Ladies Mantle, Meadow Buttercup, Orchids, Ragged Robin, Red Clover, Ribwort, Plantain, Silverweed, Yellow Rattle, Royal Fern, Purple Moor Grass?
Bull Sculpture to Waun Las Entrance Creeping Buttercup, Enchanter’s Nightshade, Figwort, Garlic, Hedge Mustard, Ground Ivy, Red Campion, Water Avens – planted? Yellow Iris, Wayfaring Tree? Palmate Newt, A Shiny Leaf Beetle – Chrysomelid, Green Dock Leaf Beetle, Leopard Slug, Centipede, Orange Tip Butterfly, Green Veined White Butterfly, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Dipper, Great Tits, Pr Grey Wagtail, Robin, Swifts 5, Wren 2
Lyn Canol Bog Bean, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Great Tit, Mallard – Female + 3 duckling, Female + 5, 2 Pairs 3 Single Males, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Frog Tadpoles, Froghopper in cuckoo spit, Jumping Leaf Beetle, Common Blue Butterfly – Pairs mating, Barred Yellow Moth, Silver-ground Carpet Moth Lyn Uchaf Carrion Crow nest – adult feeding 2 young, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Moorhen 3, Reed Bunting, Wren 2 ,Globe Flower – Michael said this flower was very rare nationally and therefore probably planted, Small White Butterfly, Green Dock Leaf Beetle – adult, eggs and larvae
Pwll yr Ardd + Woods behind Aqualab Blackbird, Blue Tit, Coot, Great Tit carrying food, Moorhen with 3 young, Willow Warbler, Wren, Cowslip, Stickleback, Toad Tadpoles – massed together.
Thanks to Anne for these detailed notes and to Peter and John for their photos. If any volunteer or member is interested in joining us please send an email to Colin Miles – you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested. If you click on the Wildlife Walks heading on the left-hand side under News you will see a list of the last 10 Wildlife Survey blogs. If you find an injured bird, hedgehog or other wild animal and want help and advice then phone the Gower Bird hospital. on 01792 371630.