Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Have flask will travel

I tried out my new Father's Day pressie of a retro style flask along the banks of the River Usk at Llanwenarth today. Its design took me back to the days when as a pre-adolescent I remember summer Sundays were all about John Arlott and John Player (cough!) Sunday League Cricket and not just another opportunity to go shopping. On the issue of smoking sponsorship etc. I vividly recall my sense of shock when as a young Yorkshire fan I witnessed aghast as Phil Sharpe ace batsman and slip fielder was interviewed on TV during a Roses match smoking heavily!

Its always a pleasure walk along the River Usk. A colony of between 40 and 50 sand martin were busily feeding young within an eroded bank. A couple of common sandpiper were vocal along with whitethroat, garden warbler and a distant cuckoo. Two curlew were active in adjacent field and on one occasion birds were seen to mob a corvid, suggesting they have young.

I first became aware of the river shingle spider (Arctosa cinera) through the pages of Colin Titcombe's books on the Wildlife of Gwent. It is a large furry spider thats seem reasonably common on shingle banks - certainly not one for the phobic 

Amongst the plethora of ground beetles on offer was this little gem. Bracteon litorale is an Nationally Scarce (B) species only found on sand banks on the margins of running water.

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