28 Mar 2023

Conservation Volunteers’ Observations – diving mallards, flowering hazel and a Hebrew Character

Conservation Volunteers

March 7th.

Another cold (4C), dull and slightly damp day.

Colin, Gary, Michael and Fred – We went along the ‘usual’ walk through Cae Trawscoed up to the main waterfall in Pont Felin Gat.  The mole activity in the meadow seems to have come to an end.  On Llyn Mawr the usual Mallards but just two Canada Geese – perhaps the others are starting to nest. Up beyond the first waterfall Fred spotted some Golden Saxifrage which was just flowering and whilst they were looking at this Colin moved up to the large waterfall and was rewarded by the sight of two Dippers flitting around near where they had nested in previous years. And further on we spotted the rather spectacular Blushing Bracket Fungus.

On the way back we were most intrigued to see a pair of Mallards diving.   This is very unusual according to Google – see quote below – and both the male and the female did it several times and they certainly weren’t wounded or being pursued.

The mallard is not a diving duck and ordinarily does not go below the surface of the water; when wounded, however, it is skillful in avoiding capture by swimming under water or hiding among the rushes, with only its bill protruding; it has even been known to hide under a lily pad, lifting the leaf above the surface.

Peter – Saw what was thought to be a Badger set in Hazel Wood beyond the Ice House.  But it turns out to be a large rabbit hole, part of a warren which has several other holes nearby.

Maud, Gilly, Frances & Hazel – Four moths found in the moth trap:  Hebrew Character, Dotted Border, Clouded Drab and a March Moth on the wall above the trap.

Maud spotted a thrush on one of the molehills behind the cherry trees. We couldn’t make out which kind.

The frogspawn in the Bog Garden is much reduced in size and doesn’t look too healthy. It has almost disappeared from the right side of the bridge, but there is no sign of tadpoles either side.

New ivy growing from the base of the Alder – glossy dark green with light green veins and lying flat against the bark.

Lots of celandine and daffodils coming out under the oak tree.

Fresh Green Shield lichen on the trees opposite the rocks on the Broadwalk.

None of our specimen trees had any bud burst except that Frances found bud burst on the Pear tree..