Despite poor weather conditions Monday to Wednesday this week, suitable conditions prevailed on Thursday and Friday allowing me to get outdoors. On Thursday I visited Trecastle Landfill Tip near Llanharry, while on Friday I visited Cwmaman Land Reclamation Site (reclaimed coal tip) near Aberdare. Here are just a small selection of the days finds.
Microdon myrmicae/mutabilis – A scarce hoverfly of wet habitats such as valley mire, wet meadows, and wet heathland and moorland. The slug-like larvae are parasites in the nests of ants.
Xanthogramma citrofasciatum (Barred Ant-hill Hoverfly) – A widespread but localised species strongly associated with grassland and open-structured scrub with ant hills of Lasius flavus. It is believed the that the larvae feed on ant-attended aphids within the nests.
Bombus monticola (Bilberry bumblebee) – A bee of upland moorland areas of northern and western Britain, it requires a landscape mosaic with Bilberry-rich moorland as just one of the components. This is an iconic species of the south Wales valleys and coal tips.
Bombus humilis (Brown-banded carder bee) – Once widespread in lowland Britain, this species suffered a substantial decline during the 20th century. South Wales is one of its national strongholds, and these bees are a familiar site on the coal tips of the south Wales valleys. It exploits a wide variety of different habitats. This queen was observed foraging on invasive Cotoneaster.
Erynnis tages (Dingy skipper) – An iconic butterfly of colliery spoil tips, so much so that you’ll struggle not to find it! The Dingy Skipper is locally distributed throughout Britain but has experienced substantial declines in some areas.