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Saturday, 18 April 2015

More Ffos Las butterflies and other sightings

Saw my first wall brown of the year this afternoon ( Sat 18th) on Ffos Las and my first (holly?) blues at home in Trimsaran.  Not so many total sightings of butterflies as despite the glorious sun, the wind was very cold and much of Ffos Las is quite exposed.

I was very excited a couple of days ago to see my first ever grasshopper warbler on Ffos Las.  I'm pretty sure that I heard it several times last year, but wasn't confident enough at the time that I wasn't hearing a grasshopper.  However, on Thursday morning I saw it through my binoculars singing on a fence post so am now positive of my identification.  Unfortunately, it took off as I tried to photograph it, but the orange legs, faintly speckled underbelly and brown tail can clearly be seen whilst the wings are a blur and the head is behind a post!!  Is this bird common in this area, does anyone know?


  1. Good that you have seen a wall brown - it`s become strangely scarce compared to what I remember some 40 years ago, when it was quite frequent on sunny hedgebanks etc. I suspect that your common blue was a holly blue, as the latter is out at present whilst it`s a bit early for common blues. Gardens are a typical habitat for holly blues, esp if holly and ivy grow in the vicinity.
    The song of a grasshopper warbler is unmistakable - like a free-spinning bicycle wheel.

  2. PS. ...I forgot to say....the grasshopper warbler has a relative stronghold in the rushy pastures of the Lower Gwendraeth and elsewhere on the Coalfield.

  3. Thanks for the info, Ian. I admit to the cardinal sin of making an assumption re the blue butterfly as I have seen many common blues on Ffos Las, but have never knowingly seen a holly blue. There is plenty of holly and ivy near my home as it borders on to wood and scrubland, so it probably was a holly blue. I didn't get a clear look, but it was definitely very blue!!

    There is plenty of rank grassland, rushes and bramble on Ffos Las which my bird ID book says that the grasshopper warbler likes and it is in the area you say it has a stronghold. As you say, the song is unmistakeable, but not melodious.