Saturday, 21 July 2012

Angelsey Day 2

Day two was quite warm, so I decided to go and have a look at cors goch Nature reserve, one of the Angelsey mires, and the one that on paper had all the unusual damselflies on the island. I got a lift there with my parents, and then spent about five mins trying to work out where I was in terms of the OS map that I had. Eventually I found a gate that said welcome to cors goch on it, and found myself very excited about having reached the site of the southern damselflies. The path led me into a wet field, before disappearing. There was a gate at the other side of the field which was open, so I headed for it assuming that must be where the mysterious path had gone. Half way across the field I found my first dragonfly of the day, a four spot chaser hunting over a small, well vegetated pool.

-Four spot chaser
Through the gate I found a flooded field with a number of damselflies in it. I quickly realised though that walking boots were not a good idea, perhaps wellies or waders would have been better, as my socks were soon very wet and my boots waterlogged. On the wildlife front I found none of the unusual damselflies, only common blue and blue tailed, which are still lovely, but not quite what I was looking for.

-Common Blue Damselfly
Continuing through the marsh and continuing to get drenched around the ankles I stumbled across a different damselfly species, not quite one of the rare ones, but a large red,which I was surprised about, as it was quite late in the year for this species.

-Large Red DamselflyThe path continued to not exist until in one corner I found a stile, which didn't do much, giving me the option of either the reserve or the road, I chose the reserve. That was a mistake. I found remnants of a path, including some wooden boards across a mud pit. In the reeds next to the mud pit I found a small female common darter.

-Common DarterI found that the path went onto a dry island in the middle of this sea of marsh and through a field across the dry section. Once more then, the path vanished. It went through an open gate and out into another marsh field. I decided to take a chance and go across it, see if there were any boards or something that I couldn't see. There were not. I ended up jumping from patch of vegetation to patch of vegetation, hopping across to what was a real path on the other side. On the way I spotted more four spot chasers, but didn't particularly want to stop to take a photo of them because I might sink. When I reached the stone path I had probably got trenchfoot. The path cut through an open area of water surrounded my sedge and here there were plenty of damselflies and dragonflies...

-Common Emerald Damselfly

-Azure Damselfly

-Four spot chaserThere were more odonata there than anywhere else on the reserve, but still none of the scarce species I had hoped for. It was nice to catch up with the common emerald damselflies, my first this year. There were also common darter hunting on the path.
  Having located the real path i followed it onto an area of heath. There was not much here, except for some highland cattle. On the far side of the heath was a boardwalk of kinds through the next stage of marsh. I have to say that it was very appreciated. Sadly there was not much nature to make the most of it with, and before I knew it I had reached the other side of the reserve. Here I found another damselfly, which turned out to be a female common blue.

-Common Blue damselflySince I still had half a day until I should concern getting a lift I decided to head back through the reserve to see what I could see. Just before I managed to get onto the boardwalk I spotted an emerald moth on the bracken which was my first moth of the day.

-Emerald MothHalf way back along the board walk I found my first new species of the day. It was not a damselfly but a plant, though an incredibly unusual plant. It was round-leaved sundew, which is the first time I have ever seen a natural carnivorous plant. Whats even more unusual was that they were beginning to flower, though no flowers had yet emerged but the yellow buds were very prominent.

-Round leaved sundewI reached the heathy area again and found a couple of peaty pools that I had missed before. There were lots of common blue damselflies on it as well as a rather nice hawker dragonfly of some description, probably common hawker.
  Leaving the heathy bit before I re tried at the marsh I spotted a family of juvenile wrens flitting through the shrubbery. They didn't really stop for a photo but I got one that was OK.

-Juvenile WrenI had another look at the area where there had been loads of damselflies to see if any southern had turned up but none had. There were still plenty of other damselflies around, including this common blue

-Common Blue DamselflyI decided to walk back to the main road along the farmers track, due to it being dryer. It paid off too, as I spotted some common darters roosting in the vegetation between the track and the marsh.

-Common DarterWhen I reached the stile I talked about earlier I decided to go over just to make sure that if there were any southerns then I would have not missed them. Instead I found a four spot chaser hunting over the marshes.

-Four Spot ChaserAfter that I decided to try and go back to the main road so that I could decided what to do next. To cut a long story short, I got lost amongst the farmland and hills but eventually ended up legging it over a barbed wire fence in order to reach the main road. The only thing I saw during my struggles was a common buzzard.

-Common BuzzardOnce on the main road I decided to walk on to cors errhiniog, or something like that, but it was late in the day, and it was a good 5 miles away, so when I reached the junction after 3 miles and realised it was probably the same distance back to the caravan site, that's where I decided to go, my feet squelching the whole way home. On the way back I spotted a raven flying over head, an ominous sign. There were also some funnel-web spiders in the hedge near to the caravan site.

-Funnel web spider
So overall it was quite disappointing in terms of the species that I didn't see but, not to worry, because there were plenty of other nice things.

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