Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Angelsey day 5

Day five started overcast and so we decided to go for a walk in the local town, and then head to a nature reserve just up from the town. The nature reserve was called "the dingle" and was a woodland walk alongside a river. There was not too much wildlife, though there was a bit in the river in the form of fish. Eventually though we came out at an open field filled with long grass and reeds and it was here that the wildlife started to appear. The first thing I saw was a willow warbler hiding in the reeds.

-Willow Warbler
At the top of the hill in the which the field was in I could see something moving around but was way to far away to tell what they were, warbler unknown! I decided to go up and have a look. On the way up, a buzzard flew overhead.

-Common Buzzard
When I reached the top I struggled to find the warblers again, but when I did it turned out that they were whitethroats, so another species to add to my holiday list

-Common Whitethroat
On the way back down the hill to the path I began to see more things, including this assassin bug that was also trying to hide behind the plant that it was on.

-Common Green Caspid
and despite there not being any suitable water I also found a common blue damselfly, perched on the grass.

-Common Blue Damselfly
On the way back through the woods there were a few more birds, including a baby robin, mallards, blackbirds and a jay.

That afternoon, because the weather had brightened up we decided to go and look at Malltraeth marsh, which I had read on the internet had a good population of the rare damselflies, and because he weather was good I was optimistic.
  We decided to go round the back, through the woods first and then come back through the marsh. In the woods we saw speckled wood butterfly and large red damselfly.
  As we entered the marsh and we began to be bombarded by biting horseflies. There were two types, the cleg flies and the "green eyed ones"...

-Green eyed horseflies
We persevered on, beyond the flies, not that they left us alone. We walked along the back of the marsh before going up a woodland path to get to the marsh. Up the woodland path we saw quite a few dragon and damselflies, including common darter and common blue tailed damselflies.

-Common Darter

-Common Blue Tailed Damselfly

-Common Blue Damselfly
when we got out of the wooded bit and onto the marsh we were bombarded by biting flies. And we also ended up lost. There was a river at the top of the marsh, and the main path was on the other side of it, but there was no bridge, and the path diddnt seem to be anywhere. we walked through the fields downstream knowing that we would eventually find a bridge, and if not head back.
  the edge of each field had a drainage ditch and it was here that there were loads of damselflies. The first damselfly that I found that was more interesting was this azure.

-Azure Damselfly
The problem with the ditches was that they were heavily infested with flies, and in order to see the damselflies you had to endure the flies. But it turned out to be worth because in one of the ditches I found angelseys poster damselfly species, not southern, but variable. I have only ever seen this species once before so I was choughed to have seen more, especially since this time I actually know what I am looking for.

-Variable Damselfly
Buoyed by seeing an unusual damselfly we continued to walk through the fields until we could see the bridge at the end of one of fields. Walking through that field next to the river I spotted this female common emerald damselfly.

-Common Emerald Damselfly
Looking down from where I was watching the damselfly, my dad pointed out this unusual shield bug on a buttercup leaf. I have never seen anything like, though it is quite similar to a pied shield bug, I have no idea what species it is.

-Shield Bug Sp. 
this field was teeming with wildlife. Strolling on, I flushed a carpet moth. I recognized it as a shaded broad bar, having seen the species before at EGP

-Shaded broad bar
But it was not the only moth in this field, as we found a vetch plant covered in six-spotted burnet moths

-Six Spot Burnet Moths
at the far side of the field there was some yellow hay rattle, and perched on one of them I spotted a four spot chaser, which was nice to see. I tried to get closer to it, but it was quite flighty, and regularly left its perch.

-Four Spot Chaser
We crossed over the bridge onto the pathway on the side of the river. This path was hard standing, and so was easier to walk on, and there were also less flies around, so I could roll my sleeves up again.
  The vegetation between the path and the river was pretty well grown and as many of the plants were in flower there were quite a few butterflies around, including this small tortoiseshell.

-Small Tortoiseshell 
But it was not just insects that were catching my attention, there were a few birds around too, the most interesting of these was a sedge warbler that stuck its head up from the reeds for a few brief moments, but it was certainly one of the more unusual birds seen on the holiday.

-Sedge Warbler
but once more my attention was drawn to the insects when this scorpion fly landed on a reed near me. A species I have never managed to photograph, and This photo hardly does it justice as you can't see the tail.

-Scorpion fly
on the path further up there were some holes in the path, insect burrows. We watched them for a bit, and then one of the inhabitants began to make its way out. It was a digger wasp of some kind, but it was lovely to see.

-Digger Wasp
walking across the path in front of us was a black spiky caterpillar, probably a peacock caterpillar, so we moved it off the path, in case he was run over by a cyclist.

-Peacock caterpillar
and then, next to the water further up, near the bridge that would take us back over and back to the car I spotted another variable damselfly. This one was perched on a plant rooted to the land rather than the water, and so was more accessible to take photos of, greatly adding to my collection of photos of the species for today.

-Variable Damselfly
back on the other side of the river, it was one straight path back to the car with no southern damselfly. But I was not bothered, as I had seen plenty of other lovely things. On the way back to the car I spotted this six spotted burnet moth on a thistle.

-Six spot Burnet Moth
and just before we got into the car park my dad spotted this cluster of small tortoiseshell caterpillars devouring a nettle next to a drainage ditch.

-Small tortoiseshell caterpillars

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