May and June 2023

It has continued very hot and dry, but the new pond has held some water and there were hundreds of tiny frogs and toads emerging from their watering beginnings.  Towards the end of June, the weather turned cooler with a few welcome showers. The flowers have all bloomed well and the red campion added welcome colour to the mainly white tree blossom. Butterfly OrchidThe butterfly orchid was back, and we also found a solitary southern marsh orchid along one of the paths. Southern March OrchidBirds seen or heard, in addition to the more common species, included garden warbler, goldcrest, siskin, blackcap, song thrush and bullfinch. The highlight though was going past the burial ground in the car just after midnight on the 31 June following a barn owl. We were able to get a very good view of the bird before it flew up high and over the hedge into the nature reserve fields.


A mating pair of meadow browns settled on Sally’s blouse.

Meadow brownThis was the most abundant butterfly here, followed by speckled woods, small white, green-veined white, large skipper, ringlet, peacock, comma, silver washed fritillary and small copper. Cocksfoot micros included a solitary Cauchas fibulella flitting amongst the Germander speedwell. We had extensive patches of this flower species again this year. Cauchas fibulella is a tiny micro – just 5mm long. It is rarely seen. The pale roundish blotches on its wings are just about visible to the naked eye. It is a long horn species and has very long antennae but not as long as some of the other moths in this group. Other day flying moths seen included the silver Y, the silver-ground carpet, five spot burnets, yellow shell and hundreds of tiny garden grass veneers.

Pink hawthorne


The hawthorn blossom was very abundant this year. One had very pink flowers.A fine male fox crossed in front of us whilst we were working. Not so welcome were five heifers that decided to break out from an adjoining field! Beautiful beasts but not fussy about where they trample. Thankfully we were made aware of their presence and the farmer put them back in their field and repaired the fence!


We came across a female wolf spider with baby spiders covering her back. She carries her egg sac in a uniqueWOLF SPIDER1 way: She attaches it to her spinnerets at the bottom rear of her abdomen. When the eggs hatch, she carries her babies until they are able to fend for themselves.


Alt-y-garreg is a 20-acre nature reserve created in 2010 from four fields that had been improved pasture. There are areas of new woodland (over eighteen thousand trees of eighteen native species), wildflower meadows, scrub and ancient hedgerows. Two of the fields are now a natural burial site. The area is teeming with wildlife. A list of species we have seen on the site can be found here.