Monday, 16 January 2017

Garden visitors 15 January

Milder weather and some sunshine brought in the visitors on Sunday.

Watched a 'strange encounter' when a flower bug (Anthocoris nemorum ?) came face to face with a Calliphora sp fly but nothing happened - after saying hello they moved on and went their separate ways.

Apparently there are not many hoverflies around at the moment, but 4 came into the garden for a look around. A single Episyrphus balteatus, and three (2 female & 1 male) Meliscaeva sp.

In addition to the many Calliphora that were buzzing around, I also saw a number of other flies - an odd-looking fly with large femora  (I've put pictures of this on the UK Diptera Facebook Group to see if anyone can help with ID), a Sepsis sp, and  a couple of different Anthomyiidae sp (at least I think that's what they were).

Also saw one of the green leafhoppers and a  springtail. Not a bad hour in the garden!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Golden Days

At a site, in the mid Cynon Valley, this afternoon, I was photographing the apothecia of the lichen Xanthoria parietina, which appear to be host to a lichinocolous fungus (possibly Lichenoconium xanthoriae), I noticed another yellowish lichen on a nearby branch of the same tree and immediately recognised it as the rare (for Wales, anyway) Teloschistes chrysophthalmus, or Golden-eye Lichen.
In autumn 2015, the first record of it in Wales was made further up the Cynon Valley, though not by me and since then I have been keeping my eye open for it.
Strangely; straight after the first discovery in 2015, I went on holiday to Dorset and accidentally found it on Winfrith Heath nature reserve. It isn't quite so rare down there, but it was a first for the reserve.
The position of the first site is being kept secret, as these foliose lichens on trees are very vulnerable to accidental damage, so I will not divulge its location here. As far as I am aware, this is only the second record in Wales, though hopefully someone will put me right on that.

Sorry about the photo. The camera was on a tripod, but there was just enough breeze to gently move the tree as I tried to photograph it.

Teloschistes chrysophthalmus, The whole lichen is only around 15mm across.

Xanthoria parietina. The middle two apothecia have black dots on them. Those
are the pycnidia of a lichenocolous fungus; possibly Lichenoconium xanthoriae.
I took a specimen and will check it out.

Monday, 19 December 2016

December Harvestmen

Two visits this month - the first on 02 December, which I am confident is Opilio canestrinii, and the second on 16 December. I'm not really sure about the second one - it looks like an oddly coloured O. canestrinii, but not sure. Would appreciate confirmation/correction for this one..

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Bird Watching day out 27/11/2016

Driving past the water treatment works on the Abercynon back road this pylon is a good Cormorant roost, on the way out in the morning I counted 15 but when comming back later in the aftenoon this had risen to 21 (only twenty in the photo as one flew off). Good for bird watchers but not so good for the anglers, I can not see many fish being left in the Taff after this lot help themselves.



Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Just over the Border: Chalara Ash Dieback

Out for a walk, just below the lower Neuadd reservoir, to the south of the Brecon Beacons, on Sunday, I noticed a form of dieback on some Ash saplings, the like of which I hadn't seen before.
The tops two or three feet of most of them were dead and most of them showed dead lateral shoots which had also dies and where they joined the main stem, lesions were formed in the living bark. At the time, I strongly suspected that what I was seeing was Chalara Ash Dieback disease: formally called Chalara fraxinea (a name now reserved for the asexual form of the disease) and which is now called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, and a search on the internet, once home confirmed it.

According to the forestry commission's distribution map  < >, it is now pretty widespread and was confirmed in that 10km square (SO01) in 2015 and in the same year, it was also confirmed in SO00; the square I live in, though I haven't yet noticed this type of dieback locally.

Sad times!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Creigiau - Minotaur Beetle

Found this guy in Thursday night's moth trap - doing backstroke in a puddle of water in one of the egg boxes. Dried him out and he was ok to be released into the garden yesterday. I've never seen one of these before - a male Minotaur Beetle (Typhaeus typhoeus). Those horns are amazing ......

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Common Toad - Creigiau

First ever sighting of a Common Toad in the garden this morning. Probably quite young as it couldn't have been much more than 2 inches long.