21 Sept 2014

The Boat

Colin Miles

Sep 9th 2014 – Another glorious, sunny day!

This week we decided to use the boat to try to reach the little island in the far corner of Llyn Uchaf. So Huw transported the boat from the old farm buildings to a section of the lake where we were able to actually get into it. Unfortunately that was some way away from our intended destination and we soon discovered that the recent combination of warmth and dry weather had resulted in a massive increase in weeds. Indeed, after 5 minutes and getting no more than a few feet we were forced to abandon that attempt. So we manhandled the boat, 6 of us and moved it much closer to the island. From there we were able oar ourselves across and land on that small stretch of land, probably the first humans there for many years!

Not much to report apart from the remains of a nest which we think was Canada Geese. But it could be an ideal place to build an otter holt though whether they would remain there, given the possible disturbance that will occur when the big lake is restored, is doubtful.

Later on Michael, Jan and John did a little bit of sampling to see what was in the lake.  However, the  weeds made all of this very difficult, although they did find a few interesting specimens, including a Leech. Freshwater Shrimp and a fascinating red-blooded Ramshorn Snail. As it turned out it was just as well that we did all this when we did as by the following week the lake was at least a foot lower and it would probably been impossible to boat across, though we might have been able to walk, carefully, at the narrowest section. [nggallery id = 630]

Apart from the boat Marigold was doing her fortnightly Moth trapping. However, although the weather has been very kind, at least to us humans, the chilly nights haven’t attracted the Moths and there were only two in the trap. However, she did find a very interesting white larva on an Alder leaf and eventually identified it as the Sawfly larve (Eriocampa ovata). They are normally found on Common Alder or Grey Alder whilst Craesus septentrionalis is the larva in the other photo, where several of them are looped in their defensive position, but not named on the photo.  This is sometimes known as Birch Sawfly, and is the one that is definitely not specific to Alders and found on a wide variety of deciduous trees. And as you can see below, there were some rather beautiful Dragon Flies. [nggallery id = 631]

Thanks to John and Peter for the splendid photos, and if any volunteer or member is interested in joining us please send an email to Jane Down– you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested. 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.