Thursday, June 18, 2009

Catching The Butterfly

Asides from the painted ladies captured in Wales, I also picked up a couple of butterfly lifers during the trip - small white and wall brown. Other species seen included large white, speckled wood, green-veined white and a single orange-tip.

I didn't do a lot of birding during the trip, but still saw some great species. On the journey up, I stopped on the Berwyns and had a munch on my prawn baguette. Whilst chewing away, I heard, then spotted a splendid male common crossbill in the trees in front of us. A very unexpected year tick, and a lifer for Mrs Reg. Crippling views too.

On arriving in Llangybi, we all had a walk up the lane to the magic field - a beautiful spot for birding and home to a wide variety of species, including a merlin that my father spotted during the winter months. Methinks I shall have to do some winter birding in Wales next year!

A leisurely walk produced some nice birds, but nothing exceptional. This is where I spotted my wall brown butterflies, which I identified from photographs when I got home.

Wall brown butterfly

Wall brown butterfly

Green beetle on sheep's bit scabius

Green beetle on sheep's bit scabius

On Sunday we did a few jobs in the garden, though I was a little distracted by the painted ladies that had taken up residence in the front garden. Later on, a large red damselfly turned up in the pond, then what was almost certainly a four-spotted chaser dragonfly appeared momentarily, before shooting off never to be seen again. The damselfly was a lifer, as would have been the dragonfly, but I was reluctant to tick it without being absolutely sure about its identity.

Large red damselfly

Large red damselfly

After ice-creams in Criccieth, I trawled the rock pools on the beach. I was hoping to find a starfish and it wasn't long before I discovered this little chap.

Starfish found on Criccieth beach

Starfish found on Criccieth beach

A scan of the sea didn't produce anything. I had hoped to see Manx shearwaters and gannets, but none were present.

Our luck changed that evening though when my Mum, Dad and I took an evening stroll up to the magic field. Several grasshopper warblers were reeling away in the grass, and after about half an hour we were treated to the best ever views I have had of this elusive species. Much better than the fleeting glimpse I had in Islay recently.

On Monday we stumbled upon several pied flycatchers in woodland near Tan-Y-Bwlch, plus common blue damselflies in huge numbers. Two wood warblers were heard, but remained out of sight. Another large red damselfly was seen, plus an unidentified dragonfly, that looked like it might have been a common hawker.

Common blue damselfly

Common blue damselfly

On Tuesday we headed up the coast to Coed Aber. This produced several redstarts, a garden warbler, and lifers in the shape of a golden-ringed dragonfly and the aforementioned small white butterfly. On returning to the bungalow, I sat by the pond for a couple of hours in the hope that a few more damselflies or dragonflies would reappear, but it remained quiet.

Small white butterfly

Small white butterfly

News of a royal tern in the area resulted in us having another scan of the sea on Tuesday evening, but this only produced a few distant gannets.

I'm off to Devon in a couple of weeks, so I really must get out on the patch before then. The weather doesn't look too bad this weekend, so I hope to be out looking for a few butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies a bit closer to home.

6 comments:

Dean said...

Great post & pics, Reg.
The beetle is a Thick-kneed Flower Beetle (Oedemera nobilis).

Reg The Birder said...

Thanks, Dean. I am wary of getting too tangled up in beetle identification, but it is nice to know what things are.

Andy said...

If you want to see Manx Shearwaters at Criccieth at this time of year you need to get there as early in the day as possible: basically the earlier you get there the more you will see and the closer they will be; if you can make the effort to get there at dawn you will be guaranteed to see literally hundreds, many of them very close.

Andy said...

PS I haven't tried but evenings may be good too although the light will be less favourable.

Reg The Birder said...

Thanks, Andy. I've seen them plenty of times in the past, so I'm not too worried about dipping on them this year.

Kay said...

Hi Reg, some great pics there, especially the Large Red Damselfly, never seen one of those yet.