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.
A bumblebee and a tortoiseshell butterfly in the garden this morning. Stock Dove singing on March 1st (a lot later than usual) and the Green Woodpecker heard last week for the first time in a while. A Bee moth in the house since monday should appear in June so is unusually early – the previous earliest record in Breconshire being April 7th.
We had a successful time at the old Nantmel Tip site on sunday. Three moth traps and lots of mammal traps were set the eveing before and the group set about emptying these whilst some wandered around sweeping for other species.
The site covers a large area and consists of drier sedge covered expanses, a small choked up pond and a marshy area full of meadowsweet, hogweed and angelica. The site also borders more mature boggy woodland. The final count for moths was 108, caught in 3 traps – including an Old Lady, Gothic, Beautiful hook-tipped and Double Lobed.
In addition to the larger moths a miniscule orange coloured micro-moth Agonopterix conterminella proved to be a first Radnorshire record. Sorcha managed to catch a few Field voles, Common and Pygmy shrews, many plants were identified and birds included Green woodpecker, Whitethroat, Sedge warbler and Willow Tit. The invertebrate experts found some uncommon bugs including one that remained unidentified on the day and was taken away for analysis. A lovely yellow and black longhorn beetle proved to be a rarely seen Radnorshire specimen.
Last sundays farmland walk proved a success. The group walked along the old railway from Cwmdeuddwr past Rhayader Tunnel nature reserve to Noyadd farm and then back along the lanes to the start. 35 species of bird including a nice Common Redstart sat next to a Spotted flycatcher on a barbed wire fence. A few day flying moths, only one butterfly (common blue on the tunnel reserve) and a few bee species, particularly on the wild raspberry. A nice patch of Broad leaved helleborine had yet to come into flower in one damp shady green lane. An extensive plant list was made along the route, including Hedge woundwort (below).
This broad bodied chaser was newly emerged this evening – drying its wings
This Flame Shouldered moth was a victim of a spider.
Gold swift moths were attracting the duller looking females with their pineapple scent. (Dont know what these two males were up to though!)
Unidentified beetle sp. (Phil?).
Also a couple of Brown china mark moths around the pond near the ruin. Birds included 2 Willow Tits, Bullfinch, Redpolls, Yellowhammer, Chifchaffs, willow warblers, Whitethroat and Stock Dove. Well worth a visit.