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.
Each day from the 21st to the 28th June this female hawfinch made brief visits to the daily scatter of birdseed put out on the ground by the house. It was seen three times each day but only stayed for a few seconds each visit. On two visits it appeared to be carrying seed away into the woods.
A chance to walk a private section of the Wye north from Llanwrthwl tomorrow. Meet at Llanwrthwl bridge at 10. Details on the events page.
Meet at the car park at the start of the Elan valley trail at 10 am to clear and spruce up the 3 nature trails in town. Finish by 1pm.
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.
Members will by now have received the latest newsletter, event programme and notification of the AGM. If you haven’t received this, please contact Rhayader by Nature via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone secretary Pam Knight on 01597 811169. These can also be picked up in person (and annual subs paid) at the forthcoming AGM.
Our full programme of summer events has now also been published on this website. The next event is –
April, Tuesday 5th – Rhayader by Nature AGM – followed by a talk by Darylle Hardy on exciting improvements planned at the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust’s Gilfach Nature Reserve. 7.30pm at the Museum Gallery, CARAD, East Street, Rhayader.
We had record attendance at Thursdays Pine Marten talk at CARAD in Rhayader, with 58 attendees in total.The talk gave a comprehensive insight into the Vincent Wildlife Trusts Pine Marten project, which has seen 20 Scottish Martens translocated to Ceredigion during 2015. David Bavin and Hugh Denman gave details of the great science involved in ensuring the most suitable location was chosen, and how the translocation process was designed vigorously in order to give the project every chance of succeeding. Details were also given of how the animals are being tracked in order to ensure they are settling down in their new territories. Data collected will potentially help inform further translocations in the future. A real bonus of the project is the potential positive impact the translocation may have on other species – notably the Red Squirrel, still found in very small numbers in some parts of central Wales. Scientific research, particularly in Ireland, suggests that Pine Martens could provide a more sustainable and effective method of controlling Grey Squirrels, replacing the expensive and ineffective ‘vermin control’ methods of old.
Perhaps in the future we may see both Pine Marten and Red Squirrel being added to our local wildlife population. Pine Martens are nocturnal and particularly difficult to find and watch in the field, but wouldn’t it be great if one day the improvement in biodiversity leads to Red Squirrels becoming a regular sighting on the feeders at the Elan Valley visitor centre…….