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Letter to the Welsh Government

If you’ve met me in person, you will know already that I can be rather opinionated. Particularly if the topic is concerning nature, feminism or cakes vs biscuits. Since my blog is about nature, I tend to only comment on the former here. Although I am willing to respond to queries about my thoughts on the latter two topics as well.

I am all for calling on the government and organisations to sort themselves out when it comes to wildlife and environmental protection, so when I head about the proposal to build a 6-lane motorway through the Gwent Levels, I was horrified – and relieved that there is an opportunity to let the government know my opinions on the plan.

I have personalised my response (see below), as I lived in south Wales for a year and I know how wonderful this wildlife is. Send your response too!

Re: M4 Corridor around Newport. Formal objection to draft orders – please forward to the Welsh Government.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to strongly oppose the Welsh Government’s proposal to divert the M4 motorway through the beautiful Gwent Levels.

A few years ago, I lived in south Wales and it was one of the best years of my life. I discovered the beauty of British wildlife there, from the humble cuckooflower to the majesty of red deer. I wouldn’t be the naturalist and conservationist that I am today if it hadn’t been for that year.

During this year, I worked as in environmental education, helping local children to discover the beautiful and special wildlife on their doorstep. The beautiful and special wildlife that you are proposing to destroy with this motorway. It breaks my heart to think of all the animals and plants that will be affected by this plan. I understand that something needs to be done about the M4, but this motorway through the Gwent Levels cannot be the answer.

I urge you to respect the protected environment and wildlife of the Gwent Levels and stop this new road from being built.

We need investment in a Wales that is fit for future generations, not one where our health, well-being and environment are put at risk.

Please ensure the Welsh Government receives this email so my objection will be considered and counted.

Yours sincerely,

Ms M Shersby

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Some people do cuticle care …

… but I do caterpillar care!

What with this year being quite poor for moths so far, I have been since been focussing on learning more about caterpillars. After all, they are still moths … albeit young’uns. One of the best ways to do so is to raise them up into adults at home. Additionally, by looking after caterpillars, I am also learning about (and improving my) plant identification as they can be quite specific about what they feed upon. Below is an update on each of the caterpillars in my care.

  • Green unidentified (aka Jade): unfortunately died, no known cause.
  • Small brown unidentified (aka Fusspot): also died – appearance of small insects suggests it had been parasitised before it came into my care.
  • Garden Tigers (aka Fluffies 1, 2, 3): after a period of eating (and pooping) energetically, they have recently gone very sluggish. I hope that they are about to pupate.
  • Brown-tail (aka Arnold): was sluggish for a while, and spun itself a cocoon earlier this week.

I also have some recent additions to the family.

  • Lackey (currently no name): found on Thursday evening at Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve. It was evidently good timing as it then spun itself a cocoon overnight on Friday. Interesting to note, in some text I was reading about this species, it says that the caterpillars are gregarious (i.e. hang out together) and on plants such as blackthorn/hawthorn. Whereas this individual was found by itself, on oak!
  • Emperors (x12, no names): given to me by a wonderfully inspiring couple in Herefordshire – their adults had managed to hatch and mate without them noticing, resulting in many eggs! So they have given me some early instar caterpillars (an instar is a stage in a caterpillar’s growth).

In other news:

  • I was interviewed on BBC Dorset about the kestrels at Lorton Meadows.
  • Still no further responses from Red Magazine or the Radio Times.
  • I visited the Gloucester motorway services this weekend. This is actually more interesting than it sounds, as the services have been built with the local landscape in mind – read more about them here. Plus, the services have farmshops, which was extra pleasing as I found a cheese in there that I love but have only ever found at one other deli (all the way back in London).
  • My participation in the 30 Days Wild challenge has been going well I think. I’ve definitely been enjoying it!
  • My South African wildlife ID quiz for the A Focus On Nature Facebook page didn’t go down well – in hindsight, I’ve realised that it was uni exam season, so I shall repost it another time.
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Day Seven of Megan & Matt Go Wild!

day 7

Welcome to our joint-blogging series for the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild Challenge – you can read more about the campaign and ourselves in our introduction page.

(Megan, mid-Wales)

Phew, now I can breathe a sigh of relief! Today was the day for my bioblitz, an event that had originally been thought of back when I was still working for Radnorshire Wildlife Trust, and I had been anxiously worrying about ever since.

Organised by myself, group of us when over to Llanbwchllyn Lake, an oasis of wildlife in the middle of (what feels like) nowhere. The plan for the day was to record as many species as possible, which will then feed into the management plan of the reserve – particularly if we had found anything rare. We had a couple of target groups – mammals, plants, birds, moths and other insects (albeit not really flies … they’re difficult!). I will be collating the records from the county recorders into one spreadsheet, but I believe we got a decent number of records (Matt proved himself very useful for the birds list!). Unfortunately the night was quite cool and we got a very poor catch of moths.

I would say my highlights were probably hearing my first Spotted Flycatcher and peering at the lake invertebrates. For the latter, the invertebrate county recorder had brought along some dipping equipment – it was great to learn even more about underwater creatures! I hope to remember enough to pass onto schoolchildren when we go pond dipping at Lorton Meadows.

Phil Ward and I examining lake invertebrates

On another note, it was lovely to return to Wales – although a little cold there, and to see some of my old work colleagues and friends again. We had a good catch up on life, the universe and everything whilst peering at various species.

I have made notes on how to run a bioblitz differently in the future, but at least I have organised one now! It did work well enough today, but I think it is a start to be improved upon. Which happens to tick off another of my 2015 Wildlife Resolutions!

(Matt, mid-Wales)

Today was the wildest day yet. I took part in my first ever bioblitz – an activity that involves searching for, identifying and recording every possible species of every kind in an area.

We were at a Radnorshire Wildlife Trust reserve in mid-Wales, beautiful mixed woodland and flower meadows surrounding a large lake.

A team of ten of us or so set off to check the previous night’s mammal and moth traps, to sweep our nets among the vegetation, dip our trays in the lake’s edge, forage for beetles among the shorter plants and scan the sky with our binoculars.

My day was filled with amazing wildlife, and brought back to me was that sense of pride I remember from childhood, the one that comes with being able to interpret the language that the natural world speaks and so many people these days don’t.

I saw lacewings and saw flies, pied flycatchers and house martins, tadpoles and centuries-old creeping buttercup plants. I learned (and forgot) a vast number of scientific names.

But best of all were the other people. The experts who came were walking encyclopaedias of knowledge about wildlife and the local area. They were pioneers in innovative farming methods in the Welsh uplands to help nature and passionate conservationists. And they were young children who knew how to identify species that are still a mystery to me.

A bioblitz is a fantastic way to get lost in nature and to learn at high intensity. And today’s was all organised by Megan. She gave a whole group of people a chance to connect with nature and each other and to learn. She deserves no end of credit for that and I think it’s just the start of things to come.

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Day Six of Megan & Matt Go Wild!

Welcome to our joint-blogging series for the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild Challenge – you can read more about the campaign and ourselves in our introduction page.

(Matt, Worcestershire & Wales)

After yesterday’s epic journey from western Germany to western England, travelling from Malvern to mid-Wales today felt like a doddle. I’m with Megan on our way to a bioblitz she’s running for A Focus on Nature and Radnorshire Wildlife Trust tomorrow at one of their reserves.

The day began with a visit to my friends Tim and Helen, whose home is always a curio-cavern of wildlife, artefacts and identification books. We spent some time trying to identify the bees in the front garden.

After midday we headed across the border into Wales, permitting ourselves to be distracted by cream tea at a tea rooms where a swirling swallow veered away from my face with inches to spare.

When we finally reached Wales, the first time I have been in a long time, I was greeted by the wildlife that makes this part of Great Britain very close to my heart.

We went and put moth traps out at the site ready for tomorrow’s event. And buzzards and ravens flew past overhead, creeing and croaking away.

As we drove along Wales’s winding lanes, flashes of red arse darting away from us alerted us to redstarts, darting from branch to fence post, playing a game of tag with the car.

Having seen black redstart in Germany earlier this week, it was lovely to see their brighter coloured cousins today.

I’m going to stop there, as it’s 9.30pm and we’ve only just arrived at our B&B. I also want to save the best for tomorrow, when, thanks to Megan, I’ll be taking part in my first ever bioblitz, trying to record as many species as possible at the reserve.

Bring on the wildlife!

Oh and here's a toad I rescued

(Megan, Worcestershire & Wales)

Gosh, what haven’t I done today? I have: admired landscapes, watched the clouds, counted the spots on a ladybird, got excited over moth caterpillars (more to come on this in my weekly blog round-up – SO EXCITING!), listened to birdsong and seen a variety of birds, examined creatures in a pond, performed a tadpole rescue, found otter spraint, watched bumblebees, admired flowers, and more! So much connecting with nature! It has been truly glorious, and (warning: much cuteness / romance ahead) it was all with Matt so even better!

It is difficult to choose a highlight … well, not really. It has to be the moth caterpillars, but as previously mentioned, I shall talk more about them at another point. I suppose, my tadpole rescue was particularly exciting. We were at a pond in mid-Wales (not on a reserve but elsewhere) and the water level had evidently dropped quite recently as a few tadpoles were stuck in a very small pool, cut off from the pond. I decided to be a good Samaritan and transfer them to the main pond.

Whilst doing so, I came across a couple of frogs that had become froglets (i.e. tadpoles with legs!). It’s such a wonderful stage of the life cycle to see, I couldn’t resist taking a photo. However, I was scooping them up along with some of the water, and ended up with some mud too, resulting in the rather amusing photo below!

A little froglet amongst the mud!

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Let’s go to the beach

This week didn’t kick off with a bang, but rather some very heavy frost. It took me twenty minutes to get into my car on Monday morning it was so iced up! And freezing weather for the rest of the day is obviously the best weather for heading out to a nature reserve. Actually, it was a good idea because 1) the reserve looked awesome in the frost, 2) I got some nice close-up photos of frozen leaves / lichens / etc, and 3) it was actually sunny so the light was good. This was a new reserve to me, Abercamlo Bog, which is quite near to Llandrindod Wells. I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty chuffed with the last photo, of the fungi. Most fungi photos I take end up looking blurry (unless I use the flash), because the fungi I’ve come across so far seem to not have sharp edges / patterns.

The middle of the week saw me driving south-east back to Dorset. I was visiting the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre for a job interview (I didn’t get it, but I enjoyed my visit and was chuffed enough to have got an interview). I got there super early, so had a lovely (albeit damp) walk along the beach.

At the weekend, I took part in the RSPB’s Garden Birdwatch – a long term citizen science project. I did it twice, first at Radnorshire Wildlife Trust‘s offices in Llandrindod Wells (you can see the results at the Facebook page). Then back at house, where the highlight was 11 Long-tailed Tits at the end of the hour.

After doing the Birdwatch, I went for a walk in the garden. Suddenly above, there appeared 10 red kites, followed not long after by about 100 crows. Evidently, the crows had spotted the kites as they were flying straight towards them and cawing away. Down by the river, I checked the usual rock for otter spraint, no luck. I had been eye-ing up another rock by the river, and managed to find a way down to it. My instinct was right, and there I found some spraint! Relatively fresh as still dark in colour and still whiffy with that distinctive musky smell – a mix of jasmine and fish (as odd as that sounds, that’s what it is!).

And lastly, a rare nice photo of me, taken by one of my line managers last week when we went to Gilfach (as described in last week’s blog post).

*I know that I said that my posts would be fortnightly now, but I underestimated the amount of wildlife I would see during winter!


Wild Winter Days

Brr, what a cold couple of weeks it has been! Not all that surprising mind, since it is mid-winter in central Wales! We’ve even had snow, which was very exciting indeed! Just below are my photos from the offices in Llandrindod Wells when the snowfall began. The last one looks a bit Narnia-esque with the falling snow and that lantern! If there was more grass / trees, it could almost be Lantern Waste (not far from the Land of Spare ‘Oom!).

The snow started falling a bit heavier, so I decided to make a dash for it. Where I’m living currently is very definitely in the middle of nowhere and any sort of snow / ice makes travel a little difficult! Actually scrap that, living in the middle of the Welsh hills means driving through the little Welsh country lanes, which is always difficult – whether you’re turning a corner to suddenly being faced with a large lorry taking up the whole road, or a Tak-tak (how I pronounced tractor as a child) rumbling towards you, or a confused block of sheep bleating everywhere. That’s not taking into account the potholes / puddles that are dotting the road, or the occasional open field gate, or ALL the mud and / or hay strewn across the road.

Nonetheless, I enjoy the commute – it takes me up over one of the big local hills and shows off some fantastic views, which are even more spectacular when in the snow! I did love this drive, as the altitude increased, I could see the snow level also increasing. I absolutely had to stop and take some photographs, but I couldn’t stop for long. With the darkness rolling in and some heavy snow clouds rumbling up and over the hills behind me, I had to get myself back to the house before it got dangerous.

I went to sleep quite excited, I knew that heavy snowfall was due overnight. And what a vista I woke up to – a thick blanket of snow sparkling in the mid-winter sun. I chucked on the wellies and waterproofs and got out there, chasing the dogs through the snow, hurtling down the slopes on a sledge (slightly worrying since there is a stream and trees at the bottom of the slope) and generally having a wonderful time! I did get round to doing some work in the end of course.

A couple of days I was back at certain reserve, can you guess which one? Gilfach of course! As usual, it was absolutely stunning!

I also had a look at some lichens down by the river. Whilst I have no idea what they are, some helpful people on Twitter gave me some insights to the world of lichens – C.coniocraea, C.chlorophaea, U.florida, and P.membranacea/hymenina.

A last couple of photos from the day. My line manager’s awesome wizard-like stick, where the swirls were caused by honeysuckle. A hailstone caught in some moss. And being in the back of a little truck briefly when we were on a farm – it’s was like being back in South Africa and going round in the back of the bakkie (truck!), except for the temperature!

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People and Places of 2014

I know, I know, I’ve already written a blog post about the wonderful wildlife that I’ve seen in 2014. But none of it would’ve been possible if not for fantastic people and amazing places.

Location, Location, Location

I’ve actually already blogged about two amazing places earlier this month as part of AFON’s Advent Blog Posts. I couldn’t pick between them, so I wrote about both Chesil Beach and Gilfach Reserve because they are both just absolutely stunning and have played a really big part in me seeing so much wildlife.

Naturally, I have also visited a variety of other natural areas across the country – from Yorkshire over to a number of spots in Wales, across to London, down south in Dorset, and back east to Sussex. It’s hard to pick highlights, they were all great in their different ways, but I guess the following are probably the ones below:

  • Brownsea Island (Dorset) – persuading the warden to put out the moth trap early, seeing a ridiculous number of new species across a variety of taxa!
  • Anglesey (North Wales) – incredibly blustery, with family, saw butterflies, bumblebees and a red squirrel!
  • Portland (Dorset) in general – rare and/or migratory moths, looking for Lulworth Skipper butterfly, seeing my first wild Barn Owls, I have a lot of love for the Isle of Portland!
  • Slimbridge (Glos) – AFON Christmas Catch-up which was just amazing!!!!


Where to start? I have met so many brilliant / fantastic / inspiring naturalists this year. Every single person deserves a big thank you and a hug for being amazing. I’ll try to list them … but I may miss someone out, in which case I’m really sorry, but you’re still awesome!

  • Dorset:
    • Fellow trainees who have been such fantastic friends and fellow conservationists. I may not have seen you in months, but you still continue to inspire me!
    • Staff and volunteers at Dorset Wildlife Trust, but a few in particular: my traineeship mentor Emily, the traineeship manager Steve, Marc at Chesil, everyone who helped at my Big Wild Chesil Event (ah the stress!)
    • Angela and Rowan for being amazing
    • All the Portland naturalists, but especially Sean and Debbie who were patient with my slow progress in learning bird and moth identification!
    • Particular thanks to other Dorset naturalists, Phil and Steve who taught me so much about moths and birds respectively.
  • Wales:
    • Staff at Radnorshire Wildlife Trust for taking me on, and for putting up with my obsession with moths.
    • Rupert at Aber Uni for hearing out my ideas for a new project (soon to be launched!)
  • Groups – this year wouldn’t be anywhere near as awesome if it weren’t for the young conservationists groups that I have joined, it’s been fantastic and I can’t wait to see what we get up to next year!
    • A Focus On Nature
    • Next Generation Birders
    • The Minors (whoo, moths!)
  • And of course, my family and friends who allow me to talk to them on how cool wildlife is

And so whilst finishing this post off, I feel slightly overwhelmed. 2014 has been such an epic year – beautiful places, lovely people, stunning wildlife. Can 2015 compete? Well, I shall shortly be setting myself some Wildlife Resolutions for the new year, and I’ve got an upcoming exciting project. I’m going to be giving it my best shot, that’s for sure!

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Round and about the place

Winter has set into place in mid-Wales, with some heavy frosts providing some slightly scary commutes (mainly getting out of a very icy driveway!) and even the first snows being reported (and then remaining in place on the very tops of those looming hills).

On one of these oh-so-frosty-and-blimey-it’s-cold(!) days, I headed over to Pant-y-dwr for their Christmas Fayre with a stall for work. It was lovely to meet local people and chat about local wildlife and nature reserves, with a small quiz to test their ID skills. Naturally, I included some moths – two of my favourites, the Canary-shouldered Thorn (which can be seen in this blog post) and the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (which can be seen in this blog post). A number of people were surprised that they could be moths, after all, moths are viewed as stereotypically being brown, dull and boring! So I have converted a few more people to my Moth Appreciation cause!

To drive there, I went through Gilfach Reserve (what a fab commute hey!). As previously mentioned, it was very frosty! I absolutely had to stop the car and take a few photos because it was just stunning! There is something about frost and nature that is just fantastic. Wait, erase that … nature is always fantastic, no matter the weather!

Later on, I joined the volunteer work party at one of the reserves – Llanbwychllan Lake (which I have previously visited, you can read about my visit here). They were cutting down trees in order to help the wetland grass area – it was very boggy (since I’ve just said wetland, that’s kind of obvious) so I got to wear my fantastic wellies that I got when I was with Dorset Wildlife Trust, they’re so comfy and warm! Due to so much being cut down, a lot of the wood was being burnt in bonfires, which my inner pyromaniac was loving! Fire is just so entrancing, and there is something magical about the wood being burnt.

Oooh, pretty fire

Oooh, pretty fire

As I write, I’m back in London, and have visited my local park. I’m not going to lie, it’s nothing special (as far as I’ve found out anyway) but it is lovely there, and I’ll pretty much always approve of big green spaces that are used by local people. There are a group of ring-necked parakeets living there, and boy do they make a racket sometimes! I didn’t manage to get a decent photo, but the photo below gives you the gist of what one looks like. I also saw a decent sized flock of goldfinches, plenty of starlings, magpies and crows, and very excitingly – a great spotted woodpecker! Although I didn’t get a photo of it (grr!). My dog helped me out with finding wildlife, obligingly picking up a stick that had some interesting slimy stuff on it. Naturally, I photographed it and tweeted it – current suggestion is a Crystal Brain Fungus (thanks Sean Foote and Ryan Clark!).

On a slightly related note, my Caymanian relatives have also found some interesting wildlife recently – one photo of which was put on Facebook and I was tagged because it was of two moths, and everyone knows how much I love moths! Their photos reminded me of some of the wildlife I had seen when visiting them, and I thought I would add in a butterfly photo of mine from Grand Cayman.

And to end, an urban sunset photo.Sunset across the roofs of London


PS – My writing is been spreading out from this blog, including this recent post on the A Focus On Nature blog, where I wrote about Chesil Beach and Gilfach. There is a post every day during the Advent period by members of AFON, on the theme of their favourite reserve / patch. I couldn’t decide, so went for both places!

PS #2 – I’m thinking of doing another species / taxon group profile blog post soon, do let me know what you would like me to write about! Perhaps a certain moth? Or maybe a group such as newts or dragonflies?

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A Quiet Appreciation For Nature

Now that winter is upon us, I am changing to posting on this blog once a fortnight as I won’t be seeing quite the variety of wildlife that the British summer provides, especially when combined with the increased hours of darkness. Whilst this is saddening in itself, the spare time provided by winter evenings will enable me to sort through various records (moths and otherwise) and submit them to county recorders, catch up on my reading (I’ve got some great magazines and books to sink into), and watch nature documentaries (including catching up on the fantastic new Attenborough series).

So the last two weeks – not a great variety of wildlife, and not too much different from my last blog post. I spent the weekend up at Gilfach Nature Reserve again, becoming mesmerised by the waterfall until being dislodged from my daydreams by the sudden flash of salmon leaping out of the water.

My first new species of this blog post is the Western Conifer Seed Bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis. An interesting insect, but not a good one to find as it is an invasive species, originally from America, imported to Europe on timber. As an invasive, there is a recording scheme in place, so if you spot one, do let the scheme know! When I saw it, it was actually on the sleeve of a visitor to the centre, and I initially thought that it may have been a type of shieldbug. However, as soon as I saw it, I knew that it was the Western Conifer Seed Bug despite never finding this species before. This is because I had seen photos of it in a couple of the insect-related Facebook groups that I’m part of. Social media is very useful sometimes.

I should add, my finding of this insect caused much excitement when I got back to the office. One of my colleagues is the invertebrate county recorder, and it turns out that there have been only 4 other recordings of this species in the vice-county, AND he had never seen one. So he was thrilled when I turned up with my specimen.

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Western Conifer Seed Bug

Naturally, I also put out the moth trap overnight. I didn’t quite catch the ridiculous number (61!!!) of December Moths that I caught the weekend before – but still a decent number at 14. I took this opportunity of calm weather to hold up one of the December Moths up against the light. You can see it in the middle of the photos below, showing the translucence of its wing. I also caught a new species for me – the Mottled Umber Moth, and another species that I had seen before but not caught myself, the Satellite moth.

This weekend, I decided that I’d not seen enough birds recently so headed over to RSPB’s Ynys-hir Nature Reserve. Whilst I didn’t see anything particularly spectacular, I had such a lovely afternoon, which is what the title of this blog post relates to. I had a relaxed walk around part of the reserve, all in beautiful light. I took the time to appreciate some of our more normal birds, watching and photographing a robin and a blackbird for a while.

Further down the reserve, I spend some time sitting a couple of the hides looking out across the landscape. It was stunning and a calming way to spend a couple of hours.

Upon spotting water, I immediately thought otter and started looking for spraint. Remembering that they spraint in obvious spots, I searched the mounds of grass and soon found some. Of course, I had to double-check so got my nose in close for a good whiff. Definitely otter! Naturally this was the point at which another person appeared in view, I felt I needed to explain what I was up to! I also saw two new bird species for me – Lapwing and Barnacle Goose, as well as Oystercatcher, Meadow Pipit and more.

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A Weekend of Firsts

This weekend has been one of those really great couple of days, there’s been fantastic wildlife, half-decent weather and some lovely people (and dogs). I spent it working up at Gilfach – the visitor centre is opened up at the weekends when the salmon are leaping so that people can warm themselves up after watching out for them. On either side of manning the centre, I went down to the viewing platform to see if I could see the salmon myself, and I did indeed! There were some impressive leaps, it’s really quite spectacular. I only got one photo, it is really blurry!

Watching the salmon is quite funny, there’s a little bit of a trick to it. You need to be really patient – they’re typical wildlife in that they make you wait around a bit. And since it’s mid-November, it’s important to layer up so that you don’t get cold. Then it’s a case of just watching the falls. I find myself getting quite mesmerized, going into a bit of a trance. Normally, I’m in the middle of daydreaming, when suddenly a salmon leaps and I get startled, almost like I’ve forgotten why I was there!

A very blurry salmon

A very blurry salmon

I commented to someone there, that it is a bit like cheering on someone in a race, because you’re going “oooh, go on, you can do it!!”, but they don’t always make it and sometimes end up being washed downstream again. I honestly don’t know how they do it, the water is really flowing fast down the River Marteg, crashing down over and between the rocks. It’s not quite loud enough to drown out your thoughts, but it isn’t far off!

My commute in this morning was intriguing, it felt a bit like the valley was on fire – the trees were yellow / orange / red in colour, and the mist was down across valleys. The photo below is at Gilfach, when the mist has lifted a bit, and the trees aren’t so bright, but you get the gist. Whilst driving through the reserve, I also saw a Green Woodpecker which was fantastic. I’ve seen Greater Spotted Woodpecker, but I’m not sure if I’ve actually seen a Green before. But now I can definitely say I have!

With spending two days in a row at the reserve, I was not going to miss the chance to put my moth trap out! I put out the work one, which has a MV (Mercury Vapour) bulb (i.e. really bright). I wasn’t expecting too much, it was a bit chilly overnight and it’s quite late in the season. I was thinking maybe between 5-10 individuals, from maybe 2 or 3 species. Boy was I surprised when I open up my moth trap, it was one of my highest catches for individuals. Better yet, there were 4 new species for me – December Moth (P.populi), Winter Moth (O.brumata), Red-green Carpet (C.siterata) and Scarce Umber (A.aurantiaria).

Even more exciting, the number of December moths was really rather extraordinary! I counted at least 61 individuals, and talking to a few moth-ers, anecdotal records seems to be that only a few are caught usually. So 61 does seem pretty amazing! I’m hoping to get in touch with Butterfly Conservation and find out what the highest amount of these moths caught in one night is, maybe I have a new record (unlikely, exciting stuff like that doesn’t happen for me!).

Talking of species, I’m thinking of becoming a pan-species lister. This involves keeping a record of EVERY species that I see in the UK (there are a few rules, but it’s not strict and people can pick and choose which ones they follow). I’m probably quite low in numbers currently, because I’ve not been keeping exact records for most things (particularly botanical!), so I will probably have seen more than my total will add up to.