|Dawn as seen from the cottage
We set off mid-morning in bright sunshine and climbed the ridge behind the cottage. Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Linnets were singing to proclaim their territories as we made our way along the side of Ryer's Down. Slowly descending into the next valley, it was apparent that the warm temperatures were encouraging many invertebrates out into the open. In quick succession we spotted...
|Green Tiger Beetle, Cicindela campestris
|Oil beetle, Meloe proscarabaeus**
After passing through Cheriton, a short section of road brought us to the village of Llanmadoc, where we enjoyed a long Sunday lunch at the Britannia Inn.
It's fair to say that we were in something of a postprandial stupor, as we began the afternoon's stroll. I hadn't even unpacked my camera from its rucksack, which, as it turned out, was a shame. Walking down a track towards Cwm Ivy Marsh, we saw a Buzzard just across the other side of the valley. It glided effortlessly along the edge of the hill and landed on a fence post. The cry of another bird made us look up and a second Buzzard dived towards the first out of the clear blue sky. Before we could even wonder whether this was a territorial dispute, it became immediately apparent that it wasn't, as they mated on the fence post and then soared up into the air again. I looked from the birds to my empty hands and then back to the birds again. It wouldn't have been a great photo, they were at least 200m away, but as pornithology goes, Buzzards would've been quite special.
With camera now unpacked, we made our way across the marsh to the sand dunes of Whiteford Burrows National Nature Reserve (our route differed from the attached map - from the Public House bottom centre, we made our way north to Point 6 and then Point 5 before returning the same way).
After a bit of a snooze in the sand dunes, we discovered that we were laid next to several orchid rosettes. It'll be a while before they put up shoots and reveal their identity, but it was good to know that they were there. At the edges of the sandy track, I noticed more inverts. They were black and orange in colour, but, due to their constant movement, they were difficult to photograph.
|I think this is a spider-hunting wasp, possibly Anoplius viaticus
|At least we can agree it's a spider. Perhaps Dysdera crocota?
** PS 12/05/12 Thanks to Katie from Nature ID for the correct identification of the oil beetle (and not Devil's Coach Horse as I presumed). Note to self - always check!