Birds of winter and spring, moths and other stuff

It’s been an interesting week at The Cwm. A great grey shrike, that appears to have been around the Llanwrthwl area since before Christmas, has visited us twice this week (yesterday allowing me to take a few photos). There has been an arrival of some summer migrants too: the first chiffchaff that arrived here on the 29 March has been joined by two other singing males; a smart male white wagtail stayed from the 2-4 April; a ring ouzel flew by on the 4th; then on the 5th a walk around the grounds found the first pied flycatcher, willow warbler and tree pipit of the spring.

Since then it has gone a bit cold. A search yesterday while finding the shrike failed to find any of the summer migrants.

I put the moth trap out for the night of the 5th/6th April, its first outing of the year. It was a clear starry night which didn’t bode well as it looked as though it was going to be a very cold night. I expected to catch two or three moths at best but to my great surprise there was a catch of 226 moths of 13 species. Most abundant were small quaker 176, common quaker 17 and clouded drab 10. Then there were Hebrew character 7, brindled pug 5, early grey 3, oak beauty 2 and singles of March moth, red chestnut, yellow horned, shoulder stripe, mottled grey and chestnut.

The 4th and 5th April were super spring days with bumblebees (buff-tailed and tree) about here and there and our first peacock butterfly of the year making a sortie across the rhos. Lesser celandines opened their flowers in a crowd of yellow, golden saxifrage was in full flower, marsh marigold flowers made a start and the first barren strawberry flowers opened.

It’s a great time to be out and about.

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