This weekend got off to a busy start, but Day 8 finished with a walk through my local park surrounded by butterflies, Cinnabar moths dancing, and common skipper moths standing their ground in prominent places waiting for their future partners- so I could record them! It was after a warm day following rain showers, so I’m assuming they appreciated the weather!
Day 9 me and my girlfriend took a drive over to Parc Slip Nature Reserve which is just outside Bridgend, a 30ish minute drive from Cardiff. We went earlier in the day to avoid the heat but it soon warmed up to around 20 degrees pretty quickly! I had luckily applied sun lotion but not bug repellent so you can guess what my arms and legs look like right now.
It was great to see so many wildflowers undisturbed and in bloom there, a real show of what a place can achieve with careful management of verges and grassy areas. Common Spotted Orchids dotted through the oxeye daisies, with dog rose hedging providing a background hum with all the bees and flies busily collecting pollen.
It was great to see a few different species of butterfly out and about too, often in my local parks I see the odd Wood Speckled but it’s been a quiet year so far for butterflies in my patch. I found at least 3 species, and missed a few more, including red admiral, small white and wood speckled. It really shows what impact having more space for wildflower does to the local biodiversity.
I also ticked a bird off my list for this year, the little egret, always heard but never seen when I’m around! I got a distant photo which was enough for me – a small waterbird with a medium sharp beak and black/red plumage. Whilst wandering around I also got serenaded to by a relentless chiffchaff, one of the warbler family, who hopped from tree top to treetop singing away. One of my very few birds I spotted today! You can tell chiffchaffs apart from the rest of their family by the dark legs, small pointed beak and pale belly.
Finally one of my favourite spots was this 4 spotted chaser. I’d never really noticed these huge flies before, maybe I just hadn’t been in the right places! You could hear their wings through the reeds and the snap of them having battles with each other. I also spotted blue ones, possibly broad-bodied chasers, but I struggled to photograph those. So fast!
Overall a really great immersive day in nature, I’d recommend anyone from Cardiff or the surrounding areas to switch off their phones and wander through the reserve. I’m hoping to visit again and spot some lapwings which are known to be at the reserve. Fingers crossed!