Wildflower day

This Tuesday, ahead of the Wild flower day on Sunday, we had decided on a bioblitz on the Trawscoed Meadow where the event was to take place.  This week, as well as the usual group of Howard, Michael, Jan, Keith, Marigold and Hannah, we were ably assisted by Cameron, a work experience lad.  He was very good at catching insects and his young eyes proved extremely useful in spotting things that we missed, including a very tiny Waxcap and the gorgeous Emperor Moth Caterpillar which was crawling along the road seeking a place to pupate.

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As usual we split up into groups, the botanists Howard, Michael and Hannah busily studying and logging the plants whilst the rest of us meandered around spotting whatever attracted our attention.  Very pleased to see so many butterflies around – mainly Ringlets and also Meadow Browns.  In the hot weather they are very active, which makes it difficult to get a good look at them.  But it did highlight the need to bring nets and other such equipment for the Wild flower day itself.

Prior to that day we had arranged that Aiofe, one of the Science students, would set up the moth trap the previous evening.  This is a very simple device consisting of a lot of egg boxes contained in a box with a battery operated,  fluorescent light which switches itself on when it gets dark enough.  The moths are attracted to the light and then settle themselves down in the egg boxes ready for us to look at them the next morning.  Which Marigold did.

As it was so hot, the moth display was set up in the shade of the courtyard and proved a big hit with the visitors.  Altogether there were 21 species, all of them probably fairly typical of the meadow and woods environment.  We speculated that as the Greater Butterfly Orchids are pollinated by moths – they give off a vanilla-type scent – and the trap was set up near the 320 we had counted, that these were maybe attracted to that area because of them.  And pride of place in terms of visual impact has to go to the Garden Tiger moth.

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We had 6 artists and craft makers, Joanne Glover who does the plant illustrations for Waun Las and the Cwm Idwal display, a herbalist, a woodturner and a few plant scientists.  Herbalist Nicola Dee Kelly did a Hay meadow herbal hunt and Bruce did a morning and afternoon wild flower walk.  Natasha did a talk on the Arctic-alpine Plants of Snowdonia  in the Theatr Botanica and later led a tour across the Waun Las Nature Reserve to look at the hay meadow. And of course we mustn’t forget Margot and her library team and an especial thanks to Richard Pryce  for his help and expert advice and anyone else I haven’t mentioned!

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All in all a fantastic day despite the weather – well it was too hot!!!

As John James wasn’t able to attend on the day I have borrowed some photos from Carl Stringer – with his permission – many thanks.  The other photos are John’s from the Tuesday walk.

If any volunteer or member is interested in joining us, or even starting something similar on a different day, then send an email to Colin Miles  – you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested.  Also if you see or photograph anything exciting in the Garden. If you click on any of the images in these blogs, or anywhere else you will see a larger picture. And 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 Walk blogs.

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