I took a walk around the Rhiwledyn Nature Reserve on the Little Orme this afternoon to seek out some late-summer insects; I was hoping for a Small Copper butterfly and maybe another Comma, but a Small Tortoiseshell was top of the list and to my surprise and delight I spotted one almost straightaway. Beautifully bright coloured it was a pristine specimen that rested on the ground, wings outstretched.
It was a sunny but windy afternoon, so I headed away from the exposed cliff top to explore the more sheltered area of scrubby ground at the opposite end of the site. I spotted some yellow-green flowers that I think were those of fennel and found a Common Wasp feeding there.
Nearby there were also a number of attractive little Potter Wasps busy on Knapweed flowers. Although being coloured and striped in yellow and black, a closer look soon reveals them to be very different in size and shape to the Common Wasp.
Several Large White butterflies fluttering around a bramble attracted my attention and moving closer I saw that a single female was the draw for several males that were competing to mate with her. I took the opportunity to photograph a male resting with its wings open.
On Ragwort flowers I spotted a hoverfly, black with interrupted white stripes which is a new-to-me species to add to my collection later identified as a Pied Hoverfly – Scaeva pyrastri. I only managed to get one photograph which unfortunately is a bit blurred as the wind was blowing the plant around and the insect didn’t stay there for long.
Many plants are now bearing seeds or fruits; blackberries are ripening and watching a Bluebottle fly feasting on them I was reminded why it’s probably best not to pick them and eat them without washing or cooking them first!
Late-blooming wildflowers I photographed today included Burdock, Yarrow and Toadflax. Ragwort is still flowering although some plants are going to seed. Knapweed is also still blooming and there are still a few fresh thistle flowers, although most are seeded.
Linaria vulgaris (Common Toadflax, Yellow Toadflax, or Butter-and-eggs) is a species of toadflax (Linaria), native to most of Europe and northern Asia, from the United Kingdom south to Spain in the west, and east to eastern Siberia and western China.
The noisy presence of a bright yellow RAF Air-Sea Rescue helicopter is not an uncommon sight around the cliffs of the Little Orme as this is one of the practice sites for those based on Anglesey. However,today’s mission was real and assistance was required by a person that had injured themselves and were inaccessible to an ambulance, so the helicopter actually landed. A crowd quickly gathered to watch the proceedings, but from what I gathered from speaking to a few different people, this was not out of concern for the injured person, but rather to try to spot if it may be Prince William flying the helicopter! It wasn’t, but as there are only three craft based in Anglesey, it was a possibility it could have been.
I have walked up the steep grassy pathway on the hillside several times, but had never ventured further on along the ridge, so I thought I would rectify that today. This area is grazed by sheep and edged by shrubby vegetation and small trees,adding yet another dimension to the reserve as habitat for woodland birds. It was a little too late to venture far, but a good time to catch quite a few birds out and about foraging for their supper, including Blackbirds, Robin and Chaffinch.