3 Sept 2013

Grebe chicks, Fungi and Freshwater Surveys

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden
The signs are that this will be a good year for fungi and during the past 3 weeks we have gradually been assembling a fine selection of photos, many of which we are uncertain as to their names.  Last week, above the waterfall in Pont Felin Gat on the section leading up to the bridge were a considerable number of large fungi, but none further down.  Why?  Difficult to decide.  The lower section had less light, but that would hardly seem relevant.
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One of the more interesting events which we have been observing over the past few weeks has been the activities of the Little Grebes, or Dabchicks.  These have built their nest of floating vegetation in the 3rd Lake, Llyn Canol and they have been busy raising their 5 chicks.
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In addition to the fungi, with the help of Swansea Met students, we have been doing some freshwater surveys in Pont Felin Gat.  Amongst the finds were the usual Leaches, Mayflies, Caddis Fly Larva and, thanks to Jan, the discovery of a Freshwater Limpet.  This small limpet barely 8 mm long feeds by scraping algae off the stones and rocks at the bottom of the water body. For this it uses a radula, a strap-like toungue with rows of teeth. The apex is inclined to the back of the animal and so it tends to face up stream for maximum streamlining. It is common on the bottom of all stony and rocky streams and riversthroughout Europe and the UK. Nevertheless it is good to find it in this area.
In the meadow not far from the old farm buildings, the Whorled Caraway was still in flower, though we were told that a few weeks ago the area had been white with it.
And then, in the Great Glasshouse, the Dragon Tree was in flower, something that happens only every 20 years or so. 
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And finally last week David Hardy had kindly put the battery-operated Moth trap up in the Apothecary’s garden and Susan and Marigold spent a happy morning identifying for the rest of us whilst we in Pont Felin Gat.  A very interesting selection of moths and continuing to monitor them will be enable to build a picture of what is happening in the Garden and how the plants and conditions affect them.  But it will be a long term project.
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If you find an injured bird, hedgehog or other wild animal and want help and advice then phone the Gower Bird hospital.
on 01792 371630.
Thanks to John for his photos and leading the group whilst I was away. If any volunteer or member is interested in joining us please  send an email to Colin Miles  – you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested.   If you click on any of the images in these blogs, or anywhere else you will see a larger picture. And if you click on the Wildlife Walks heading on the left-hand side under News you will see a list of the last 10 Wildlife Walk blogs.