Friday, 27 July 2012

Back home after angelsey

 We arrived back from Angelsey at around 10 o'clock that evening, so it was dark when we got home. Whilst unloading the caravan, I spotted something flying next to the wheelie bin. I naturally assumed it must be a moth, as it clearly had some orange and was flying at night. I waited to see what would happen and luckily it landed on the wheelie bin. I could'nt believe it when I saw that it was one of the black and red burrying beetles, the first Time I have ever seen one. I got incredibly excited, as I dop when I see something surprising and rushed upstairs to get my camera. I called my family to come and see it, and they followed me to watch it on the bin. It was frustrating that it kept wanting to go under the lid of the bin, but could'nt fit and I could't get a photo of its head. My dad tried to coax it out from underneath the bin lid, but then the most incredible thing happened; it started to squeak. I was shocked, but amazed. Eventually It settled on the floor where I was able to get some record shots of the squeaky red and black burrying beetle. I was tremendously excited. Eventually it flew off into the night...

-Black and Red Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus vespillo)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Angelsey day 7

So the Angelsey holiday ends. On the way home we decided that we would go to Bodnant Gardens NT in Conway, because my mum likes the gardens there. When we arrived at the gardens I was horrified to find that the biting cleg flies from angelsey had followed us as one landed on the car. I was hoping that we would have left these demons behind, but sadly not.
-Clegg Fly

Having left the fly behind, we walked down the hill and entered the gardens. I headed straight for the "nature" bit at the bottom, but went via the ornamental ponds in case there were any damselflies on the ponds. there were indeed a lot of damselflies on both of the ponds. They were mainly common blue, but there were also a handful of azure's, which were the ones I tried to get photos off.

-Azure Damselfly

When I got down to the bottom the first thing I saw was a golden-ringed dragonfly hunting along the river. That making it four summer holidays in a row that I have seen this species. I was afraid that it wouldn't land, but luckily it did, on a lovely red plant. I crept up to try and avoid scaring it, but it didn't seem to care and so I was able to get really close to it.

-Golden Ringed Dragonfly

On the way up the river I met my brother who said that there was a small pond that had a blue and golden ringed dragonfly on it. I back-tracked to find it, but it was heavily overgrown and access was none existent. I managed to spot a golden-ringed perched on a bit of reed that easy enough to see.  

On the vegetation in front of me near the pond there were quite a few large red damselflies hanging around. I wasn't able to get a great photo, but I managed a quick record shot.

-Large Red Damselfly

I made my way up to the main pond at the top of the river. Most of the access around this pond is restricted at request of the land owners, but the bridge allows you to get views across. There was one golden ringed dragonfly hunting on it, as well as quite a few large red damselflies.
  At the side of the main pond is a a small river that enters the pool. I headed across to it, so that I could head back up to the car for lunch. Looking down into the waterfall plunge pool I saw something long moving, and was surprised to see an eel. I have no idea how it got there, because in order for it to get there from the sea it would have to climb up a 10ft waterfall, or crawl around it, a distance of maybe 10 meters. Either way, it was quite nice too see, though difficult to photograph.


After lunch I headed back down the same way, via the ponds to see that there still quite a few damselflies around, and still a few azures.
-Azure Damselfly

Back in the "Nature bit" I spotted my first unusual bird of the day. I had already had distant views of nuthatch and tree-creeper, but in the bushes near to where the golden-ringed dragonfly had been there was a female blackcap picking insects off the shrubs.
-Female Blackcap

On the bushes next to the blackcap I caught a glimpse of an orange butterfly. When it landed, behind a leaf, I was able to get a shot, of its wing, which showed that it was a comma. Its another lovely insect to add to the list for today.


On the way back up I walked past another small pond where there was a robin having a wash. There was also a southern hawker on the pond, but it cleared off pretty sharpish afterwards.
   After finishing at bodnant we headed to RSPB conway, but it was closed when we arrived, so after that we just decided to go home.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Angelsey day 6

Day 6 was a dissapointing day in that we woke up to the rain and wind, meaning that it was pretty pointless trying to go and find some interesting insects. As a result we decided to go onto the mainland and go and have a look round Camarthen.
  No sooner were we there than did I spot my first bird of the day, a little egret fishing alongside the beach. Its the first of these I have seen for quite some time, and it was also quite close, so I was able to get some resonable photos.

-Little EgretWalking along the harbour wall, my brother spotted this tiny irredescent beetle on top of one of the wooden pillars, so I took some photos of it.

-BeetleAs we walked rond the sea front to the marina my dad spotted these two juvenile gulls roosting on one of the slipways, and they looked rather cute together, but it was difficult to get them both in focus at the sametime so the photos are not quite what I would have liked.

-Juvenile Herring Gulls
I could also see a cormorant in the water, and it was moving towards us. Eventually it moved close enough for me to bother trying to get a photo. And still it came closer, seemingly un-caring that I was there. Eventually it got out at the foot of one of the staircases heading down to the bottom of the sea wall, really close, as I was right at the top of the stairs. It diddnt seem to care so I took around 100 photos of it;

... It is now 2014, and reading through some posts one afternoon I have encountered this post. I have no idea what 17 year old me was thinking but this is quite clearly a young shag. Its a pity I did not notice this at the time, as its a species I do not see very often, living inland. As a result its a good thing I did take so many photos of it...

-Cormorant  Juvenile Shag
Actually in the marina there were not many birds, but there were quite a few fish, including a shanny and 3 very impressive thick lipped mullet

-Thick Lipped Mullet
Because it had brightened up we decided to go back to angelsey for the afternoon and so we went to the beach at Newborough Forest, which meant that I could go for a walk in the woods to see if there was anything about. I decided to head off towards the pool I could see on my OS map. Sadly this map was hopelessly out of date, and as a result many of the paths were wrong, and as a result I got lost
  I did my best to follow the map, but since I diddnt actually know where I had started in the first place I diddnt have much fun. Eventually I asked some strangers I met in the forest if they could help me.
  Luckily these strangers were locals who go into the forest everyday, so knew it pretty well. Apparently even the forest warden gets lost in the woods.
  Now on the right track I was able to fully appreciate the wildlife around me, though there was not much. Now that the sun was out there were quite a few buzzards overhead.

-Common Buzzard
where the sun broke through the trees there were lovely patches of flowers, and as a result there were also quite a few insects, including this large skipper.

-Large Skipper
I was now on a dead straight path that would take me to past the turn off for the pond. On the way up I spotted a rose chaffer trying to bury itself into the gravel of the path. After taking a few quick photos I decided to move it off the path incase it got run over by forestry vehicles or cyclists.

-Rose Chaffer
Eventually  I reached the pond. It had amazing promise when I was walking to it, as there was a common darter on the path in front of me. There was another on the path furthur up too.

-Common Darter
The pond was actually fenced off, which was quite annoying, but there was a gate, so I climbed over. There were even more birds here than elsewhere in the forest, with green woodpeckers and more buzzards in the vacinity. It was probablky becuase this was a very open area of the forest. The pond was actually in the middle of a "dune-y" field, and wasa an 8 shape with two islands. Or at least thats what it should look like, but it was dry in most of what should have been pond.
  On the few areas that were still pond there were a good selection of common blue and blue tailed damselflies. In terms of dragonflies there was a four spot chaser.

-Common Blue Damselfly

-Common Blue-Tailed Damselfly
Exploring the pond I was surprised to find a dragonfly exuvia about 2 inches long, on a pond with hardly any water and the only dragonfly probably had a body length of about 2 inches. I had stupidly left all my collecting pots at the caravan, so I knew returning it to the car, a walk of around 45 mins, with no pot would be difficult. I therfore would have to improvise, and after 5 mins my hands were sweating something shocking, so that was clearly out of the question. I had an I-pod, Nokia Brick Phone, camera and a map, so I decided to store it in the camera lense cap covered by a map on the widest side and my hand on the narrower side. It worked, and I got it back to a safe place in one piece
  Walking back along the dunes, so I knew the way, I stumbled across a few wild pansies which looked lovely, so I knelt down and took so photos of them, as a record shot.

After that we headed back to the caravan site. As we pulled into the caravan site we spotted a buzzard perched on a telegraph pole on the far side of the dog walking field. However, halfway down the dog walking field I spooked it and so I diddnt really get any photos of it.
  However looking down I spotted a damselfly in the small drainage ditch nest to the field. I was shocked as there was not much water actually in the ditch. Either way, it was another unusual sighting for the camspite.