Last week, the Conservation team completed varied tasks.
- The third round of nest box surveying has started. Pied-Flycatcher chicks now have long feathers as you can see on the photo below. A bit more patience and soon we will know the overall numbers of nesting birds in the nest boxes for this season, in terms of species and productivity.
Pied Flycatcher chicks (Ficedula hypoleuca)
- Due to poor weather conditions, the weekly butterfly transect did not gather an incredible diversity of species. However, it is worth noting that the brown butterflies have not hatched yet and we are seeing the end of the first brood of many butterflies. Low diversity at this time of the year is thus natural. Despite this fact, we managed to observe some Common Blues, Brimstones, Peacocks, Speckled Woods and a Large White.
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
- The Interns and Volunteers also had a try at the Cobweb app in the Saltmarsh. In the context of the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve, an app has been recently put in place to allow citizens to carry out surveys. This app is still work in progress and we were asked to try it and give some feedback. This survey is important to see how fast the pastures are reverting back to saltmarsh. Indeed, Marian Mawr field used to be protected from the tide by sea walls and the sward was characteristic of a wet grassland. To allow this habitat to revert back to its natural state, the sea wall was destroyed. Now the vegetation is becoming slowly more and more typical of saltmarsh.
- Other sightings for this week included the following:
The English Stonecrop (Sedum anglicum) is blooming
This last week the volunteers mainly worked on the estate maintenance. We however managed to spot some great wild life :
Wet grassland – Penrhyn Gerwen
Yellow-rattle is flowering. Some fields are displaying yellow flashes. The Yellow-rattle is an indicator of unimproved grassland. As it is semi-parasitic onto grasses, it promotes broader-leaved grasses diversity.
Yellow-rattle (Rhinanthus minor)
The raised bog - Covert Coch-
Bog Rosemary flowers are just starting to bloom in the bog. This typical plant of bogs is closely related to Heathers. Raised bogs are a priority habitat under the EU Habitats Directive as they are now very rare. They act as carbon carbon stores and thus play a capital role in reducing green house effect.
Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifolia)
The Bird Life
Chicks are definitely growing bigger. Juvenile birds have been seen in trees and bushes. Blue and Great tits were observed. This new week the volunteers will start the third round of nest box survey. Many of the Blue and Great Tits will have fledged by now. The Oystercatcher however is still on the nest in Domen Las. The Redshanks are seen alarm calling their young in Lodge Farm.
Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)
- Round number two of the nest box survey is over. The Blue and Great Tits are growing up. Most of them now have long feathers although some younger ones in pins have been observed.
Great Tit (Parus major) chicks
Important information has been collected during this second round of nest box surveys: Redstarts are nesting! A female has been spotted flying out of a box with eggs in it. We will have to wait a bit longer to get to see the chicks…
- In the Insect world, two new seasonal species for this year have been observed on the reserve. The Wall Brown and the Azure Damselfly.
Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)
The Azure Damselfly is a common species in the reserve along with the Common Blue Damselfly. They both are blue and can be distinguished from each other thanks to the pattern on the abdomen. The Azure Damselfly has a black “U” whereas the Common Blue Damselfly has a dot.
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
- In the plant world, elegant flowers started to bloom this week. The Yellow Flags are showing flashes of yellow. You could see it along the newly raised path and on other places on the Red trail (also called the Wetland trail).
A smaller yet exquisite flower has been seen on the reserve: an Eyebright sp. This genus is particularly difficult to identify and thus will not give here the species. Does anybody have an idea?
Eyebright sp. (Euphrasia sp.)