Sunday, 28 June 2015

Dog's Vomit with Green Aphid

Walking down the path from the stiles over the railway, a splodge of yellow at the base of an oak caught my eye. I've seen it before at the top of a mountain but not so close to home. I'm almost certain it's Fuligo septica a.k.a. Dog's Vomit slime mold. I'll keep an eye on it to see how it develops over the next few days; should go brown before dispersing its spores.

Dog's Vomit with green aphid. Yummy!
And below is what it looked like 48 hours later.

Below is another specimen found nearby a couple of days later.

Wild Flower Extravaganza

Late June and the coast path around Aberdaron is on fire with flowers of all shapes and colour. 

The sweet scent of trampled white clover, squashed thyme and honeysuckle; smells so blatant that even my insensitive nose could enjoy them.

Back home we compared our photos to those in the Wild Flowers concise guide; Tormentil, Kidney Vetch, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Lady’s Bedstraw. We were unanimous in naming many but opinion was divided on quite a few - should have taken the book with us.

My favourite photo was the ladybird on what I think is Corn Chamomile.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Dragon's Back at Campbell's

No sweat?
Tuesday 23rd June 2015 was day two of the Dragon's Back Race. Over five days the contestants run, walk and if need be crawl the 180 miles from Conwy Castle to South Wales taking in all the main peaks; a mere 50,000 feet of altitude gain.

It was first run in 1992, then again in 2012 and this is the third occasion. Today the contestants set off from Hafod y Llan and were running past Campbell's from about 10am until midday.
After crossing the Rhinogydd I think they were aiming for a campsite in or near Dolgellau.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Redstarts under attack

Yesterday there were 5 Redstart chicks in the nest; today there were only 2 or maybe 3 and a body on the floor. Who's been preying on them? The nest is high up and looks too small for a cuckoo to get into. Could it be a climbing weasel? Or another bird?

Daddy Redstart continues to feed the survivors.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Greek Buffet in Tanygrisiau

With all the news about Greece, austerity and the IMF, it was great to enjoy a Greek buffet at the Tanygrisiau Lakeside CafĂ©. 

At £16 a head, inclusive of a glass of ouzo and unlimited food, it was great value. But the ambience and the sense of occasion made it priceless. Really friendly staff giving a great welcome and fellow diners were really sociable. We walked there and danced all the way back, just making it home without the need for torches; a great occasion.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Blooming Laburnum Arch

Bodnant Gardens in 15 minutes? Yes, I nipped in on my way home from Llandudno just to see the Laburnum Arch. I’d seen it in winter just after two of the gardeners had spent 5 weeks pruning and tying it in. What a contrast!

I’d seen pictures but never the blooming reality; no disappointment. Lots of people were enjoying the spectacle and they all seemed happy. It has an atmosphere or aura that makes you want to smile.

A still photograph can capture an instant but not the movement, the sounds of bees and shifting light. So go and see it if you can; another couple of weeks of glory to go.

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Spider and the Toothbrush

Today I met a spider man, the editor of the newsletter for the British Society of Arachnologists, who told me that Wales was an amazing place for spiders. We walked a few minutes up the path from the foot of the Great Orme, at the Deganwy end, until we were in a spider hotspot. Some of the spiders were very rare indeed, hidden inside crevaces on the cliff face, with tubular cobwebs in which to snare their prey.

He used an electric toothbrush to con the spiders into thinking they’d caught some prey, and this is what it looked like:

Not a tarantula but a house spider.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Beautiful Bluebells

I was trying to make a film in Cwm Idwal today, an idyllic setting on a fine day, but a nightmare in the wind and rain that came with the first day of summer. The prolonged cold weather has also delayed the blooming of many of its arctic alpines.

Back at home, Molly was persistent that she wanted a walk in the woods, whatever the weather. So off we went. The bluebells were looking brilliant, radiant and so much bluer in the wet and grey of the day. There are some benefits to the cold and damp!

Bluebells Maentwrog Nature Reserve 1st June 2015