Tuesday, 27 July 2010

We have seen so far;
Common or Viviparous Lizard
Adder or Viper
Grass Snake

Common Lizard certainly lives up to its name, as it’s seen in just about any suitable habitat on Pen Llyn. Most clawdds have common lizards basking on sunny days, so it’s just a matter of quietly walking up to the clawdds and looking on sunny bare spots near to some vegetation that lizards can quickly scuttle back into. In late summer its possible to see a while size range of lizards from tiny 1 inch long babies to full size adults and all sizes in-between.

Slow-worms are much harder to spot as they tend to hide in thicker vegetation when basking so you need to be very patient to see these. Most of our sightings of this species have been on quiet country lanes as the slow-worm was crossing the lane. Later in the year from August through to late September we often spot young Slow-worms and quite often rescue these from being squashed on lanes. The two adult slow-worms shown in the photo were spotted this week basking on a Clawdd on our local lane. We only spotted one of the lizards and did not realise two were in the photo until we put in on the computer to save !

The two snake species on the peninsula are much easier to see early in the year after they emerge from hibernation and the vegetation is not so thick on the clawdds. We walk up a lane near out home in Edern most mornings and can usually guarantee to spot at least one Adder basking early morning in April and May. We spotted a huge female Grass snake in April that we estimate was well over 1.5 mtrs in length ( see photos)

Reptiles seen this yea

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)

Sue and I had a trip up to the man made pond in the quarries above Trevor previously shown on the blog to what if anything was around on a lovely summer afternoon. We spotted a few adult Dragonflies flying around the pond and closer inspection of the emergent vegetation showed several empty larval skins and a couple of dragonflies emerging and drying their wings. On our return Sue identified the adults and exuviae as belonging to Southern Hawker a new species to both of us .

Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)

Sue and I were coming back from a visit to the pond in the quarry above Trefor on Friday afternoon just above Nant Gwrtheyrn when we spotted a largish orange looking butterfly pass on the slopes below us. Knowing that Dark Green Fritillary was supposed to be on the wing at the moment we set off in pursuit. Sure enough as we got nearer and got the bins on the butterfly we realised it was indeed this species, out first ever sighting of this magnificent butterfly.

The butterfly was a female and appeared to be drinking from boggy areas and sunbathing rather than actively feeding of looking for egg laying sites on Violets which as far as we are aware do not occur on these slopes despite being very common in parts of the peninsula. After our views of Southern Hawker dragonflies emerging and flying around the pond for the first time and a new species to both of us it turned out to be a memorable nature watching afternoon in beautiful surroundings.

UPDATE: On closer inspection of the photos shown I noticed that the next to bottom photo shows the female actually egg laying on Marsh Violet. If you look closely you can see the tiny flower of this plant and the females abdomen curving under the plant to lay an egg. We are going back to the place to check for more violets and ova if possible on the next sunny day (assuming we get one of course this July !)

Monday, 12 July 2010

Unusual Pond

Sue and I found a superb artificial pond whilst exploring the slopes on the quarries above Trefor. The “pond” looks like it was originally built to store water for some part of the quarrying production. The pond is around 18 metres in length by 5 metres in width. Depth does not appear to be more than about 1.5 metres maximum and most of the pond much shallower than this with sparse vegetation mainly at one end of the pond. What immediately drew out attention were the huge number of Smooth Newts in the pond in May, we counted over 50 surfacing to breath in a 5 minute period so estimate the pond must contain hundreds of adult newts. Dragonfly larvae were seen resting head down on the vegetation waiting to grab any unwary Common Frog tadpoles of which there were hundreds seen.

We intend to investigate the pond more fully come the summer holidays when we will have time to net the pond to see what other invertebrates we can find and identify.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Butterflies in 2010

A much better year for Butterfly sightings this year compared to 2008 and 2009. The dry sunny conditions have given Sue and I the chance to see far more numbers and species this year so far up to July. Small Heath in particular has been around in huge numbers especially on the slopes around the Rivals above Nant Gwrtheyrn


Large Skipper
Small Skipper


Large White
Small White
Green Veined White
Orange Tip


Small Copper
Common Blue


Small Tortoisehell
Painted Lady
Meadow Brown
Small Heath
Speckled Wood