Our mainland home is a characterful little cottage nestled into the eastern hillside of Mynydd Rhiw, towards the tip of Pen Llyn. Overlooking Porth Neigwl from a picturesque vantage point, we’re pretty spoilt for views between our Bardsey house and mainland cottage! Tan Y Garn is also endowed with a super little garden of varying habitats, a nearby meadow, hedges brimming with sedges and flowers, and the nearby woodlands of Plas Yn Rhiw. I haven’t been around the surrounds in early summer before, so I was keen to make the most of our pre-holiday hiatus and see what wildlife could be found.
A nagging west-south-westerly wind and accompanying drizzle hung over the mountain for most of the morning, but this didn’t stop a diverse array of insects showing themselves. Best of all was a number of stunning Scarlet Tiger moths: I noted plenty of caterpillars feeding on the Green Alkanet in our garden back in April, so it was great to see the vivid adult moths flying about.
I stuck my heath moth trap out overnight, but despite the ideal ‘mothing’ conditions (new moon, low cloud cover and relatively mild temperatures), there were only a handful of white and buff ermines, a foxglove pug, poplar hawkmoth, large yellow underwings and a map-winged swift.
The mix of herbage overflowing from the hedgerows nearby was bustling with insects: from mating pairs of bloody-nosed beetles on cleavers, to the bizarre male scorpion flies; from the tiny nymphs of shieldbugs to the busy towerblocks of foxgloves welcoming common carder, early and garden bumblebees; a number of Labyrinth Spider webs laced the walls, with a wide net of webbing leading into a dark tunnel where the silhouette of the owner lay in wait for its victims.
It was brilliant to hear a male Yellowhammer’s distinctive song ringing out from the hillside; to see displaying Greenfinches, yaffling Green Woodpeckers, and chirping House Martins overhead; a variety of fledgling were aplenty too, including Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robins, Dunnocks, Mistle Thrushes and Linnets. All something of a contrast to the selection of species and sounds on offer over on Enlli. I wonder how Ireland will compare…