6 May 2014

Smuts and Rusts

Colin Miles

On the previous Saturday the Wildlife Trust had done their annual Early Purple Orchid count – in torrential rain – and Bruce was keen to know if we had any in Cae Blaen, or Trawscoed South as it used to be called. So four of us headed there and the rest drove over to Pont Felin Gat. Unfortunately we didn’t find any of these Orchids and there was no sign yet of the Butterfly Orchids in Trawscoed Meadow, also known as Trawscoed North – but we did hear a Greater Spotted Woodpecker drumming away.

Bruce was also keen for us to look out for Rusts and Smuts in Lesser Celandine and Red Campion. Identification of these is difficult and subsequently resulted in a lot of emails, so if any experts read this and have any comments to make we will be happy to hear from them. We did not, unfortunately, see any signs of Rust in Red Campion flowers. And as a result of expert analysis we now know that the ‘Jam tarts’ Rust is actually a Smut!

The year so far has been a splendid growing one which has resulted in splendid displays of Daffodils and Primroses. And they have been followed by even better ones from the Bluebells. In Pont Felin Gat we were greeted by wave after wave of them, as well as Wood Anemones.
As well as the flowers there were lots of Ferns unfurling all over the place and Bruce is keen to know more about what they are, why and where they are, how extensive they are, and which ones appear from the ground first and last. We have managed to name some – see Anne’s list below.

Pairs of Dippers were spotted in Pont Felin Gat and at the entrance to Waun Las, and a Bank Vole posed for us near the bridge entrance to Pont Felin Gat. Once the two groups had met up and discussed their findings we parted company again and us four walkers made our way back via Waun Las. In the process we came across a lot of Dung Beetles busily doing what Dung Beetles do on the Sheep poo. There were also quite a few Green-Veined White Butterflies in the meadows. And back in the Garden beyond the car park the Dock leaves were riddled with holes from the Shiny green Dock Beetles.

This week we were pleased to welcome Peter Williams and Janet Rees and as Peter discovered a wonky hip is no handicap on these walk as the pace is very leisurely! 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.

29 APRIL 2014 Weather – dry with sunny spells

Blackcap, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Chiff Chaff, Dippers – 2 pairs, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Grey Wagtail, Missel Thrush, Nuthatch, Pied Flycatcher, Red Kite, Robin, Song Thrush, Wren

Bluebells, Creeping Buttercup, Dog Violet, Golden Saxifrage, Herb Robert, Lesser Celandine
Lesser Stitchwort, Lords and Ladies, Red Campion, Rosebay Willowherb, Silverweed
Wood Anemone, Wood Avens, Wood Sorrel, Wood Speedwell -Veronica Montana, Yellow Archangel,

Broad Buckler Fern, Hard Fern, Hart’s Tongue Fern, Male Fern?
Polypody on Ash Tree

Smut on Arum leaf – Melanustilospora ari or Uromyces dactylidis?
Smut on Bramble leaf – Gymnoconia peckiana
Smut on Lesser Celandine leaf – Entyloma ficariae

Leaf miner on Lesser Celandine – tube mine caused by fly larva Phytomyza ranunculi

Crane Fly, Sexton Beetle – Nicrophorus vespilloides, Pill Bug, Dung

Buff Tailed Bumble Bee, Mining Bee – Andrena haemorrhoa?

Bank Vole
2 Badger Setts

Garlic Mustard, Dippers – Pair, Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly, Green-Vein Whites.
Dung Beetles

Buttercup – Creeping and Field, Ladies Smock, Lesser Celandine, Blackcap – male seen singing, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green-veined White Butterfly

Green Dock Beetles – Gastrophysa viridula?, Rove Beetle – Staphylinus caesareus?