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An unusual record from Cardiganshire was the discovery of five Purple
Hairstreaks in an area where the species had not previously been recorded.
A. O. Chater writes: "I was grappling for Potamogeton in the River Teifi,
north of Cilgerran Castle near dense oakwoods, and was stung on the thumb
by a wasp. This drew my attention to numerous insects struggling in the
scum by the river bank. As well as many common wasps and various flies I
was surprised to find five Purple Hairstreaks in a small stretch of about 5
yards of river margin where the scum had collected". Also of interest is the
sighting of a Comma butterfly on 28 July and 26 August in the Llechryd
area where they had not been recorded before (F. H. Alderson). No other
records of this butterfly have been received for 1974.
As the summer wore on, the picture changed in most parts of Wales with
a marked deterioration of the weather. Mrs D. Phillips of Walton, near New
Radnor, comments on "an appalling year for Lepidoptera", the Painted
Lady and the larger migrant moths all being absent from her locality. A few
Red Admirals were seen in August and September however and the species
seems to have occured in reasonable numbers in other parts of Wales. A few
were noted in the Bangor area in June and September, but the autumn gales
and persistent heavy rain discouraged most species from taking to the wing.
There were few sunny periods for them to enjoy and not one was seen on a
large clump of Michaelmas daisies in my Tregarth garden during the whole
of September and October. These flowers are always a great attraction to six
or seven species of butterflies, but 1974 autumn weather proved too much
for them.
In Bodorgan, Anglesey, L. S. V. Venables reported the first Red Admiral
on 1 July, and several more from mid-August onwards. No Painted Ladies
were seen and, again, this seems to have been a very scarce species in 1974.
The Silver Y moth was much less abundant than usual, only one being
recorded at Bodorgan (L. S. V. V.) appearing on 11 August, and a total of 4
at Tregarth in September (M. J. M.). T. A. W. Davis describes it as the worst
season for the Silver Y for 20 years, only 2 being recorded in the Dale area,
near Haverfordwest. It is of interest that he found 1974 to be an
exceptionally good year for the Holly Blue which was on the wing between
12 April and 2 May in Pembrokeshire.
1974 additions to the list drawn up by I. K. Morgan (Nature in Wales 14
122-123) are:
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), common and widespread
High Brown Fritillary (Argynnis cydippe), one at Stradey Woods, near
Llanelli, early August.
Purple Hairstreak (Thecla quercus), several at Stradey Woods.
Brown Argus (Aricia agestis), Towyn Burrows
Small Blue (Cupido minimus), July-August, Towyn Burrows.
An interesting beetle found in his house at Dyffryn Ardudwy, Merioneth
by P. Hope Jones, 17 July 1973, proved to be Lagria hirta. It is the only
representative of its family in Britain, a group fairly closely related to the
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