Marsh Fritilaries and Damselflies

Marsh Fritillary by Mike Clark

Marsh Fritillary by Mike Clark

Early September is the best time for looking for marsh fritillary larvae webs. Rhos Cefn Bryn, our marshy grassland reserve near Llannon is a site we monitor annually to see how the fritillaries are faring.

The larvae webs are home to the caterpillars that will over winter and become adults next summer. 2014 was a good year for the marsh fritillaries and we were pleased to find 24 webs across the site.

Unfortunately this year only 5 webs were discovered; although these were much smaller and inconspicuous than we’re used to seeing at this time of year, and we undoubtedly missed some.

This month the volunteer work group has started some of the winter jobs that come up on the Carmarthenshire reserves.

To benefit the small red damselfly and other odonata that utilise the ponds at Cors Goch, we have created some more open water.

The ponds here have become full of vegetation with very little of the open water necessary for the emergence of adult dragonflies and damselflies. This is an annual job that aims to also allow all stages of successional pond vegetation to be present.

We have also had some access issues at Dinefwr Castle Woods. A veteran Ash came down unexpectedly and contractors were brought into clear it. The path from Penlan park was completely blocked and needed reopening.

Marsh Frittilary larval web by E Foot

Marsh Fritilary larval web by E Foot

Also this month the volunteer group has renewed steps in the gully above the church. Their position in a damp and shady location has consequently meant that they have succumbed to rot and much of the wood needed replacing.