Butterfly Orchids and Marsh Fritillaries

Invasive species removal has continued in earnest this month with a joint work party pulling Himalayan balsam at Castle Woods in Carmarthenshire followed by a day at Rhos Glyn yr Helyg pulling it along the River Grannell. We were in anew area at Castle Woods and it was amazing what a difference the day made. At Rhos Glyn yr Helyg we caught it a few years ago before it got chance to take over so every year there is slightly less and we really have to search for it. Unfortunately there are patches upstream and along our downstream boundary so we will probably never eradicate it but seem to have it well under control. We were lucky enough to see a marsh fritillary butterfly while we were there.

We didn’t find any dormice in the dormouse boxes at Cwm Clettwr when we checked them this month but they had all been deserted by the blue tits so we could clear them out for the dormice. The new tubes had not been used either. We know they are still around as the voluntary warden found one in his bird boxes at the end of May! Checks will continue monthly.

Greater Butterfly Orchid at Caeu Llety Cybi by Em Foot

Greater Butterfly Orchid at Caeu Llety Cybi by Em Foot

Several days have been spent at the beautiful Caeau Llety Cybi mostly pulling ragwort and bruising the bracken that is determined to invade the SSSI grassland. We did however spend a lovely sunny day walking through the meadows counting the greater butterfly orchids, all 912 of them! This is another record count for the site (624 last year) and for the first time we found them in all four fields.

The majority are in one end of one field but there are nearly 100 in one of the others and just a couple in the top two fields. There doesn’t seem to be so much ragwort this year but we did find a very small patch of Himalayan balsam along the bottom boundary that has spread up from the road. The betony is looking really lovely too.

We have also strimmed the paths through the meadows at Coed Maidie B Goddard to make walking through the reserve easier- the vegetation gets very long and dense. We also did a bit of work on one of the old woodland paths. The ponds are doing really well too and have already got a good number of dragonflies and damselflies on them including azure blue, blue tailed and large red damselflies, broadbodied chasers and common darters.

Thank you very much to everyone who has helped this month. If you would like to volunteer with us in Ceredigion there are work parties twice a week out on the reserves, year round, contact Em on 07980932332 or e.foot@welshwildlife.org. More information about the Ceredigion reserves is also available