Dont forget we have a dawn chorus walk from the visitor centre at Gilfach this Sunday 7th May 5.30 a.m. There will also be a talk on the birds of Rhayader and 2 further guided walks for those that dont fancy an early start. Guided by Rhayader by Nature experts!
Our group visit to RSPB Ynys Hir Reserve yesterday was a great success. Twelve members made the trip. Despite rather persistent drizzle at times and poor long range visibility we gathered a good list of 57 bird species during the day. Most of our time was spent in the hides. Highlights on the reserve were a marsh harrier, two merlins together (and later two further sightings of single merlins), a common and a green sandpiper up close and the highlight of highlights a great grey shrike.
Moving on to Aberystwyth seafront in the late afternoon we watched the starling roost assemble, quite a sight. Starling numbers soon built up and with them came a peregrine, making a successful kill. On the beach were 10 turnstones and on the rocks a rock pipit and an adult Mediterranean gull.
We came home an excited bunch and hardly noticed the drizzle.
This winter is proving to be a Waxwing one – with birds moving in from Scandanavia in good numbers. Waxwings are stunning little birds with a shrill tinkling call. The north and east of the country has seen flocks up until Christmas when they seem to have finally trickled down into mid Wales. A group of 5 are currently feeding on berries in Llanwrthwl and 20+ are in Llandrindod by the old school. Its well worth looking out for them – they seem to eat any berry going , including non-native garden species. The Llanwrthwl birds like pink ash berries that the winter thrush species ignored in the Autumn for example.There must be some in Rhayader somewhere, so check out those berries and listen for the call.
Next week, Thursday 24th November, we are hosting a talk about the possible reintroduction of beavers to Wales. Alicia Leow-Dyke of the Welsh Beaver Project will tell us about the lives of beavers and explain why their reintroduction to Wales will be good for us all.
Venue: CARAD, East Street, Rhayader. Talk begins: 7.30pm. Adults £2, children free.
The meeting of 21st October proved to be quite an eye-opener. Many thanks go to Norman Lowe (Brecknock Moth Recorder) for such an interesting and inspiring morning.
Ten people took part in the search for evidence of moth leaf-miners – the evidence being the burrowing galleries and blotches on leaves left by their caterpillars. With the aid of Norman, and his key to the more common species, twenty-two species were found during the morning. Norman, keen to find more, stayed on into the afternoon and found a further eight.
Nearly all the thirty species found were new for the site despite many years of light-trapping there. Clearly leaf mining moths don’t come to light very often, if at all. All were common and widespread species but Norman went away happy in the knowledge that the outcome filled a gap in what is known about the distribution of moths. His hope is that the morning will also inspire others to go in search – and send him records of their findings. Many can be identified from photographs.
Minings of the moth Stigmella aureola within a leaf of bramble
Minings of the moth Tischeria ekebladella within a leaf of oak
A great day was had at Dinefwr castle and park on Sunday last (25th Sept) – shame there were not more of us. The grounds and far reaching views from the castle ruins were absolutely stunning. Among the huge ancient trees and shubberies we found blackcaps, chiffchaffs, goldcrests and tree creepers with other woodland birds. On flowering ivy draping a wall were comma and red admiral butterflies and a goodly number of hornets. Around the Mill Pond was a kingfisher and common darter, migrant hawker and southern hawker dragonflies. Then to top it all, at the oxbows wetland we found our ‘bird of the day’ – a great white egret stealthily wading the water edges. The White Park cattle were up close and personal and in spectacular condition. A few fallow deer snuck about the woodland edges and speckled wood butterflies fluttered by. This potter in the park provided us with wildlife and historic interest wherever we went. Dinefwr is a wonderful place to visit. We must return next spring – to seek out those elusive lesser spotted woodpeckers.
A couple of weeks ago, having just parked the car on the drive, I looked up and saw a large beetle scurrying along the road in front of my house in Llanwrthwl. I quickly caught it and recognised it as being a Necklace Ground Beetle (Carabus Monilis). These are impressive beasts – an inch long and very fast. They are also rare – a Notable species in the UK, this was the 6th local record (Brecknock/Radnor). The previous record was about 5 years ago – a specimen I found in Arthurs sand pit in the garden – so my humble garden has 30% of the local records! The beetle is associated with unimproved fields, that haven’t been sprayed etc and I suspect these specimens originate in the field across the road, which as far as I am aware has received very little improvement in the last 100 years or so – its full of Yellow rattle and Eyebright as well as Heath Spotted Orchids. In Britain, its a beetle in steep decline. Given that few people send in insect records,it could of course be under recorded – any beetle records should be sent to Phil Ward the local recorder.