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Friday, 24 July 2015

Cwm Clydach, Mynydd Du

Weekly `jollies` have been reduced in frequency this year, due to a lack of time (there`s always a list of `to-do`s`) and inclement weather, but Nigel Stringer and I ventured up Cwm Clydach (SN74-19- etc) yesterday, primarily to botanise but also - of course - to simultaneously look out for daytime moths. In the event, the moths were rather poor, with records made of just five common species - Glyphipterix thrasonella (a few in wet, rushy flushes), a solitary 5-spot burnet, Bactra lancealana (1) and the `grass moths` Agriphila straminella (abundant) and a very few Crambus pascuella. I also was not `on form` and missed/lost three other micro species!
Above: the sole 5-spot burnet seen - compare it with the 6-spot in the previous (North Dock) blog.
Above: some small skippers were seen in the same area as the 5-spot burnet. This male (see black dash on wing) is on a white-flowered marsh thistle.

`Here endeth the moths` - don`t read on if not interested in plants!

Above: just three of the many minor waterfalls you pass as an ascent of the `cwm` is made. The upper right-hand ledges of the last photo had one of the plants we were searching for - stone bramble, see below.

Above: rather unspectacular but distinctive - stone bramble Rubus saxatilis, a once `lost` Carmarthenshire plant that I refound here almost twenty-five years ago. It looks a bit like a giant strawberry with its stoloniferous `runners`.
Above: maidenhair spleenwort - not the common urban wall type but rather the upland sub-species Asplenium trichomanes subsp. trichomanes, with the fronds growing away from, rather than being adpressed to, the rock surface.
Above: the last plant photo (after all, this is a moth blog - sorry!) - beech fern Phegopteris connectilis. It grows usually in upland rocks or cwms - note the arrow-head `look` to the individual frond. Needless to say, the bryophyte community on these upland rock outcrops is also rich, but I know that Sam and/or Graham Motley would have surveyed this site in the past.

Above: the last, upper waterfall. I have fond memories of watching ring ouzels here in the early/mid 1980s, including a male singing from atop this very waterfall. I also caught, nearby, the scarce upland soldier beetle Ancistronycha (Cantharis) abdominalis, a large, handsome species with dark blue elytra. I`ve also had it (once only) further NE at Cwm Mihertach, in the Carms part of the BBNP.
Above: looking back down the cwm. Of course, this is within the general territory of our resident `moth wizard`, Steve Clarke, and I had hoped to find something `good` in his patch - but I did n`t!


  1. Excellent post as usual Ian! I have had numerous 5-spot Burnets here this year - more than I have ever seen before so my management techniques must be working! At least I think they are 5-spot Burnets and not Narrow-bordered as the dark border on the hindwing is quite thick but spots o some large and well diffused! It seems the two species are hard to tell apart so if anyone has any tips these would be appreciated. I have several photos.

  2. I think the best chance is to get the very long-haired caterpillars for the safest i/d of narrow-bordered burnets. You may recall that I tried to `make` one of my caterpillars into it earlier this spring. It was from a very dry site (not the damp areas frequented by 5-spots) and it did have long hairs, but it was not 100% convincing, so a `non-record`.