July and August highlights
July and August at Y Byddwn revolved mostly around family parties of birds although the highlight on August 20th involved a moth trapping evening with 8 traps set up and 6 members in attendance.
On July 6th my only day of July at the reserve I recorded 32 bird species and there were young of robin, wren, blackbird, mistle thrush, chiffchaff and pied wagtail. Two song thrushes were still singing, both on the reserve while another sang nearby suggesting a healthy population in the area. The single spotted flycatcher was again evident suggesting probable breeding.
This fairly common bristly beetle Lagria hirta photographed on July 6th feeds on nectar and pollen and is often found on open flowers of the daisy or carrot family.
In August once again the spotted flycatcher was evident, the last sighting being the 23rd. The 8th proved to be an excellent day with 36 species of bird including two new species for the reserve, both males, a whitethroat in the hedge whilst a yellowhammer joined flocks of chaffinches and house sparrows on the edge of the wheat field next to the reserve. The chaffinches and sparrows in fact along with swallow, blackcap, chiffchaff, coal tit and goldfinch were all in family parties while there were single juveniles of great spotted woodpecker, song thrush, grey wagtail and buzzard.
The moth trapping evening on the 2oth began with 2 tawny owls screeching and hooting, perhaps annoyed at us being on there territory. They came very close.
From the 8 moth traps set we recorded 39 or 40 moths, 17 new to the reserve. One of the best, though not on the reserve was Catocala nupta Red Underwing, one of our largest moths with a wingspan up to 75mm, It was actually settled on a tree near the trap and incredibly well camouflaged. Another good find on the reserve was a Trichiura crataegi Pale Eggar whose larvae feed on Hawthorn of which there are plenty on the reserve. However probably the best find and in fact a new county record was left until the last not from an actual moth but a leaf mine on the leaf of a rowan tree. This leaf is mined by the larvae of a minor moth Leucoptera malifoliella. A great website for identifying moths, flies and mites is www.leafmines.co.uk
This small moth with a wingspan of just 20mm is one of many similar species. Its larvae feed on mosses on walls or tree trunks.