Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Penrhyngwyn, Machynys

Went to `stretch my legs` by walking to the Penrhyngwyn (`white, ie pale, headland`) shingle beach this afternoon. This locality, which overlooks the Burry Estuary at the southernmost tip of Machynys, Llanelli is a great site for wildlife, with good birdwatching and rare invertebrates. Today, I was after diurnal moths, but only a very few common species were to be seen - the summer days of flushing or sweeping tortricids and others seems to be over.

Above: views across the estuary towards Whiteford, Gower. Further afield, but not in this photo, Tenby and Caldy Island were visible.

So, instead, I just enjoyed the walk and `kept an eye out` for any interesting leaf mines on the many areas of tree planting along the coast path. Nothing particularly interesting was noted however,  but I did find the hawk-moth caterpillar shown below, busily munching away at an alder leaf. Checking my  photos of it later at home, I first thought that it may be a lime hawk-moth, which is the only one said to feed on alder (as well as lime, English elm and birch), but then started to doubt myself! It seems to fit the description in Jim Porter`s `Caterpillars of the British Isles`: `Body yellowish-green dorsally and bluish green on the sides, with oblique yellow lateral stripes and a slightly curved blue horn that is coloured pale yellow and red beneath`.  Paul Sperinck (who has bred this species in the past) has since been in touch and he suggests that it actually is a lime hawk-moth.
                                             Above: the hawk-moth caterpillar on alder.

I also noted a caterpillar (presumably a sawfly?) making a tent-type `feeding nest` on Salix purpurea and a geometrid caterpillar on tansy. If anyone has an suggestions regarding these, they`ll be welcomed.

Postscript: while sorting out some garden plants, I noticed lots of vanessids (red admirals, small tortoiseshells, a peacock and a comma) and bumblebees on my Eupatorium purpureum, and also one rather boozy red admiral (it was flying erratically) on some decaying apples, where it had been `on the pop`, drinking fermenting and alcoholic juices....hence allowing the close approach by my camera! It had better watch out for the `butterfly police`, or it`ll lose its flying licence!


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