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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Mynydd Llangyndeyrn - daytime mothing.

Mynydd Llangyndeyrn has been previously mentioned on this blog, it is a high ridge on the northern side of the Gwendraeth Fawr valley, between Crwbin (which itself means `ridge`) and with the village of Pontyberem in the valley below.

Above: looking NE along the ridge top of Mynydd Llangyndeyrn - Mynydd Du & Bannau Sir Gar in the far distance.
                          Above: looking SW towards Mynydd Penbre and Carmarthen Bay.

About twenty years ago, Neil Matthew recorded the forester at this site and I was certainly keeping vigilant in the hope of seeing this day-flying moth, especially after Vaughn`s sighting at Salem a few days ago.
I flushed one only,  in a block of limestone grassland just west of Clos yr ynn, where common sorrel Rumex acetosa grew with some frequency. At first, for a second or so, I `d thought it was one of the common blues that were around, but the very bright iridescent blue-green and the strange, almost pulsatory flight made me quickly realise that it was a forester.

                                         Above: forester at Mynydd Llangyndeyrn.
Above: forester habitat just W of Clos yr ynn - note brownish plants of sorrel (click on photo to enlarge).
On the first two general photos of this blog, the related sheep`s sorrel Rumex acetosella can also be seen - again as brownish-red plants - on the rocky heath areas.

Another interesting moth found on the limestone area of Mynydd Llangyndeyrn (the bulk of the ridge being acidic Millstone Grit quartzite) was Britain`s smallest longhorn - Adela fibulella which can be found on germander speedwell flowers. I`ve had it on Mynydd Llangyndeyrn before and so has Sam Bosanquet.
                                        Above: Adela fibulella. Click to enlarge.

Other moths seen include a mother shipton and a nice banded form of a mottled beauty.
                      Above: mother shipton...note the old hag`s face! and, (below) mottled beauty:
Other lepidoptera noted include common blues, small heaths, large skippers (FFY) and a dingy skipper; also a lead/July belle (photo to be checked later). A vocal cuckoo, and many tree pipits in the `ffridd` habitat all added to the interest. Daytime mothing can be worthwhile!

I also visited the limestone pavement area of Carreg Eidon (the `bullock`s rock`) and was rather dismayed to see that it has not been managed appropriately (Mynydd Llangyndeyrn is SSSI), and with serious scrub invasion. Latterly, the ex-CCW have done an excellent job with the main commonland area of the site, but the pavement area is in really poor condition and requires scrub removal and grazing.                                    

Above: one of the few remaining open areas on the limestone pavement - home to scarce invertebrates such as the snail Helicella itala and the woodlouse Armadillidium pulchellum.

                                        Above: a few feet away - invasion by scrub.


  1. I'm glad you managed to find a forester Ian (and take a good photo too)

  2. Well done on the Forester Ian. That looks like some of the habitat in which I've seen them in Merioneth. I've heard it said they look a bit like lacewings in flight.

    I saw 5 fibulella on one speedwell plant at Pembrey today (two mating pairs and a single)...will blog later about my exploits.

  3. Yes, they were reminiscent of those larger lacewings when flying, or the `staccato` flight you see with those larger grasshoppers etc around the Med.
    I`ve been thinking further about its habitat - from memory, all my earlier records (1980s etc) were from sites with the more robust common sorrel rather than the smaller sheep`s sorrel. It really ought to survive in Glamorgan...more `feet on ground` is required there (as in Carms).