As town centres go Monmouth was at its best today bathed in quality sunshine. I seem to remember a thriving colony of sand martin nesting in the drainage pipes of a river side wall at the bottom of town - now the wall is no more! However, did see one bird so obviously still around.
But forget the plight of Monmouth's sand martin one of the high points of the day was the hairy footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes). A number of this very distinctive looking black bee were seen to be flying in and out of the masonary of a south facing wall of the Robin Hood pub. Not having seen this species before a bit of research was in order and once again like so much in the way of biological recording for this fair county I was presented with blank distribution maps for south east Wales, devoid of those familar black dots that once joined up spell out 'in severe decline'! No records for Monmouthshire on either the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) site or Bees, Wasps, Ants Recording Society (BWARS). So, why are there no records for this bee in the vice county? Pick any one from the following personal opinionated statements that matches you view the best:
- This is a genuine first county record due to its south easterly bias in the UK with only a few coastal records for Wales;
- It has been noted in vice county 35 before but the record(s) have not been submitted to the relevant recording scheme - too lazy!;
- We just don't seem to have enough home grown biological recorders despite the fact this is the home of Alfred Russel Wallace.
Nonetheless, all in all a very pleasing afternoon topped off by the purchase of Paul Sterry's British Wild Flower field guide for just 50p! Leaving a whole £1.50 of the pocket money to spend on bubblegum.