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

Monday, 18 July 2011

Essex skipper

Second visit to Llandegfedd Reservoir within a week - I'm really making my access tax work! The meadows around the north end are probably more interesting than the watery environment at the moment, and a stroll around this grassland habitat revealed a good number of marbled white, ringlet and gatekeeper, supplemented by both large and small skipper butterflies. 

The best find in amongst the myriad of lepidoptera was this little beauty, the Essex skipper. Widespread in southern and eastern England its been expanding its range into Wales with the first record from Gwent 2000.
Not an easy species to separate from its close relative the small skipper apart from the very distinctive black tips to its antennae.

Day flying moths were also evident including the silver y and the butterfly like shaded broad bar. Also photographed was the mint moth Pyrausta aurata.

The draw down zone is always good value for ground beetles, although a high water level restricts available search areas. Plentiful at the moment is the four spotted ground beetle (Bembidion quadrimaculata).

Bird wise, forget it, just one common sandpiper and a few sand martin. It's a measure of how birdwatchers have abandoned Llandegfedd when an elderly man who has paid his annual access tax of £8 only to walk around a nice environment, mentioned that I was the first birder he had come across this year!

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