17 Jun 2015

Moths and Orchids

Colin Miles

June 9th 2015: Last Saturday Richard Pryce led a group from the Carmarthenshire Wildlife Trust on a very enjoyable and informative Wild Flower walk in the Waun Las Hay Meadow. It was still a little early for the Butterfly Orchids to be in flower, but we did see quite a lot of them in bud. And the Purple Orchids, a mixture of Southern Marsh, Common Spotted and hybrids of these, were very much in evidence, more so than last year. However, in Trawscoed Meadow although the Butterfly Orchids still seem to be spreading, the same can’t be said of the Purple ones. I counted only 65 in the section up to the stump compared with over a 100 on June 3rd last year and the stray ones usually found nearer the entrance were absent.

What effect has the weather had? The variations from year to year can cause huge variations in the appearance or non-appearance of many plants animal and insects. This year the warm Easter started everything off, but this was followed by a cool and rather windy May. This has had the effect of extending the flowering of many plants such as Primroses and Bluebells. And this Tuesday was the first time this year that we have had any Moths to look at.

Afterwards we set off to Trawscoed Meadow to count the Orchids. However, although we soon found plenty of Butterfly Orchids they were still mainly in bud, making them more difficult to spot and more likely to be trodden on. So this was abandoned and we headed towards Spring Woods as Michael had reported a possible new Badger set which had appeared there two or three weeks ago. And indeed, he eventually refound it just below the wooden ‘hut’ which might have been an old shooting lodge. Keith examined it and decided that it was probably that of a youngster which had been kicked out of the main set. We will be monitoring the situation to see whether this is permanent or not. They are very destructive creatures as far as Gardens are concerned!

In a blog like this it is not possible to show all the lovely photos that John and Peter take, be it of birds, bees, bugs or flowers. But here is a selection from the past 2 weeks.

Marigold’s Moth list: 6 White Ermine, Peppered Moth, 11 Treble Lines, 2 Lychnis, Pale-shouldered Brocade, Poplar Hawkmoth, Devon Carpet, Silver-ground Carpet (the one that got away!)

Many thanks to John and Peter for their photos and to Anne for her notes. Many thanks as always to them. If any volunteer or member wants to join us please send an email to Jane Down– you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested. 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.