We ended our 2009 Biodiversity Blitz season on 22nd August, with a much anticipated event at Atlantic College, based in St Donat’s Castle, Llantwit Major (SS934681). Falling on a rare sunny day in August, this was the most popular of the blitzes, attracting over 40 attendees, including staff and pupils from Atlantic College itself. The College grounds are not open to public access, so many recorders were eager to discover the diversity of species that have colonised the majestic environs of St Donat’s castle, which include an array of habitats from woodland to rocky shore to ancient walled gardens. We weren’t disappointed at the range of biodiversity that was present: an impressive 446 species were seen, of which 287 had not previously been recorded at SEWBReC.
One of the highlights of the day for many was the opportunity to see Adiantum capillus-veneris, aka maidenhair fern (see photograph). This species is listed on the Vale of Glamorgan Local Biodiversity Action Plan, so its protection is a priority in this area. A. capillis-veneris is present in the walled gardens of the college, and one plant was also recorded on the sea cliffs to the east side of St Donat’s Bay. The most interesting moth record of the day came in the form of a leaf mine on enchanter’s nightshade, which proved to be the first Glamorgan record of Mompha terminella.
We also took the opportunity to hold a moth trapping session on the evening prior to the main event. This was a success, recording 31 species in all, including two species listed in the UK wide Biodiversity Action Plan which had not previously been recorded at this site: Ennomos fuscantaria (dusky thorn) and Hydraecia micacea (rosy rustic).
Thanks to all who joined our recording efforts on the day.
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