18 Apr 2014

Mating Beetles

Colin Miles

The 25th November 2012 saw the start of the creation of the Diamond Wood , in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee.  And on a very wet and muddy area by Woods of the World over 2000 native trees were planted, Wild Cherry, Rowan, Hazel, Birch, Oak and others – but sadly no Ash due to the recent disease scare.

Last year we had visited the plantation to see how the trees had taken and were pleased to find that virtually all had.   So to follow that up we headed that way this year.  However, on the way there were many things to observe and comment on and it took us well over an hour to reach there.  And one of the first things that we looked at were the Apple trees planted in the Heritage orchard.  Mainly Welsh varieties they had unfortunately suffered the attentions of a Fallow deer at the beginning of last year.  But they are still alive and with care should begin to develop this year.

Passing through the Double-Walled garden we admired a pair of Mallards, the female standing determinedly on one leg.  But of greater interest was the Tree Creeper that Michael spotted.  Beyond that and a look at our Hedgehog house which had not been used at all and out to admire the beautiful tree blossom of the Paeonia Lutea.  [nggallery id = 554] And in the copse beyond that a Goldcrest flitting around and below the Dog Violets and Primroses.

On beyond Llyn Uchaf we eventually reached the Woods of the World with a pair of Buzzards circling overhead.  Here we first went into the China section where we noticed lots of canes with nothing growing next to them – perhaps the wet Welsh climate isn’t really that suitable.  There was also evidence of wind blow on some of the evergreens, the result, no doubt of the February storms.

Outside in the Diamond Wood most of the trees still seem to be alive though there isn’t much evidence of growth.  Whether this is due to Deer predation or the wet weather, or simply that it will take time for these young saplings to establish themselves is difficult to say.  What was very much in evidence in a number of areas was the amount of Rush was had established itself.  But elsewhere it was good to see Lady’s Smock and Dandelions whilst a couple of Green-Veined White Butterflies flitted around.

A real find later on below Diamond Wood hiding at the base of the old decaying tree was a young Common Lizard.  Rather dozy to start with, there was quite a chilly breeze, it soon livened up when placed on a nice warm hand, whilst in amongst the long grass where innumerable Wolf Spiders scurrying around. [nggallery id = 555]

Later on Michael spotted some shiny Dock Beetles and then discovered a pair of them mating.   Back along the Broadwalk many Snakes Head Fritillaries were blooming and as well as the usual White and Buff Tail Bumblebees we saw our first Red Tail Bumblebee – a black bee with a distinctive red tail. Thanks to John for the photos and to Anne for the notes which are shown below.  

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 Survey blogs. 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.

8 April 2014         Cloud, occasional sun, chill wind   Stream on left near entrance: Dipper   Around Stable Block: Goldfinch, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Robin, Carrion Crow.   Silver Birch Avenue: 4 Starling, 3 Herring Gull, Pr Pied Wagtails   Walled Garden: Treecreeper, Wren   Japanese Garden: Blackbird, Blue Tit, Pr Goldfinches, Nuthatch   Buzzard flying over   Spring Woods: Pr Blackbird, Chaffinch   Small Copse: Blue Tit, Great Tit   Woods by Labs: Willow Warbler   Lake Uchaf: Pr Canada Geese nesting, Moorhen, Mallard, Path by Lake: Blue Tit, Wren singing from prominent position top of small tree, Pr Robins. Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Goldcrest Violets, Marsh Marigolds, Primroses   Woods of the World: Pr circling Buzzards, Pr Mallard flew over, Meadow Pipit? Wood Pigeon Lesser Celandine, Ladies Smock/Cuckoo Flower/Milkmaid, Hairy Bittercress, Docks Many young planted trees have died in China section, other planted shrubs and conifers have suffered from possible wind damage.   2 Green-veined White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell Seven-spot Ladybird, Shiny Dock Leaf Beetles-1 pr mating. Cold Buff-tailed Bumble Bee which revived and flew away after warming on hand. Numerous wolf spiders running through grass Foot of rotting tree stump-young Common Lizard   By Stream running into Lake Uchaf: Raspberry canes, Opposite leaved Golden Saxifrage   Dipping Ponds: Pond Skaters, Ramshorn Snail, Infertile Frog Spawn   Broadwalk: Snakeshead Fritillary-Grassed Area to right of Broadwalk 2 Queen Red-tailed Bumblebee