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Monday, 2 September 2013

Good value at Lidl`s!

Behind the Lidl store at Machynys, Llanelli is an area of so-called `wasteground` (aka `brownfield`) and I led a Llanelli Naturalists` field meeting there yesterday (1st September). Of course, the meeting was n`t confined to lepidoptera and we also botanised, looking at many naturalised plants as well as native species. There were plenty of common blue butterflies to be seen, augmented by small tortoiseshells, red admirals and a single painted lady, but that was it as far as butterflies and moths were concerned.
These flower-rich urban brownfield sites, with a varied vertical structure, open and sunny areas as well as shade can be great for wildlife and this `Lidl`s site` is no exception. In addition to the stoney coarse limestone substrate covered areas with `dry ground` plants, there is a waterlogged area dominated by sea club-rush (what used to be called Scirpus maritimus) and here there were plenty of short-winged coneheads Conocephalus dorsalis, an endearing bush cricket that typifies that habitat. It can be seen all around our estuaries in club-rush stands in late summer and also at places such Ffrwd Fen, Pembrey. A photo of a female, with its sword-like ovipositor is given below.
A relative, the oak bush cricket Meconema thalassinum, sometimes comes to the light of moth traps and I`d certainly like to hear of any seen by Carmarthenshire moth`ers, as we are approaching the last year (2014) of the Orthoptera Atlas and I am keen to ensure decent coverage for our county. The Orthoptera are a very easy group to do, with only a small number of British species (and less in west Wales) that are very easy to identify. Look out too, for dark bush crickets Pholidoptera griseoaptera (dark brown) and speckled bush crickets Leptophyes punctatissima (speckled green) in your gardens.
The Glamorgan Moth Recording Group successfully promoted the recording of Orthoptera in their county and I`m hoping to do the same! If anyone is interested, please get in touch - they really are an easy group!
Finally, two photos of the brownfield area behind the Machynys Lidl store, with the marsh and a drier area.
Had my first sallow (centre-barred) in my Pwll home trap last night, but only rather small numbers of most species. I`m hoping to do some `away from home` traps this week though - fingers crossed!

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