Dotted Bee-fly (Bombylius discolor), Bloody Nosed Beetle and more

Tuesday, April 05, 2011 Adam Tilt 2 Comments


24134 - Rhossili Beach, Gower

At Rhossili Spring was in full flow on Saturday with more newly arrived migrants present. We had barely stepped out of the car when our first two Swallows of the year shot overhead travelling west. Out on the headland a flock of at least fifteen Sand Martins arrived right before our eyes and spent a couple of minutes flying around us at close quarters before moving on. I love being surrounded by these birds as they often come within touching distance and seem to be staring straight back at you. In the same area we also spotted a couple of Chiffchaffs that led me on a merry chase as I tried to get them in the cameras viewfinder. Needless to say they won once again. Further along the coast at Tears Point there were several Linnets and I'm very happy to say three Stonechats. It's been such a quiet place without them during the harsh winter so it's nice to see some returning to Gower. The posiest birds though were once again the Dunnocks, although I'm not sure I'd want to be standing on those spikes.

24127 - Dunnock, Rhossili, Gower

The birds weren't the only signs of Spring with numerous insects now out and about. The first was an absolute beauty and something that I have wanted to see for several years now - a Bee-Fly. I got a really clear picture which upon closer inspection revealed that the individual we had found was in fact the much rarer Dotted Bee-Fly (Bombylius discolor). The standard Bee-Fly has a darker area on the leading edge of the wing which this one is lacking, replaced instead by several spots that gives it its name.

24124 - Dotted Bee-fly (Bombylius discolor)

In the same area we found two Oil Beetles and this Bloody Nosed Beetle, so called because of the way it excretes a foul tasting red liquid when threatened.

24126 - Bloody Nosed Beetle, Rhossili, Gower
24123 - Bloody Nosed Beetle, Rhossili, Gower

The mini-beast safari continued on Sunday when I was exploring the highest point in Swansea, Mynydd y Betws, and found a couple of Drinker Moth caterpillars.

24132 - Drinker Moth Caterpillar (Euthrix potatoria)
24133 - Drinker Moth Caterpillar (Euthrix potatoria)

At 374m high this was the last place I had expected to find caterpillars but there they were. My original target for the area had been Ring Ouzels but all we saw were lots and lots of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and a solitary Buzzard. It's a fantastically remote area though and a great place to escape to.

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