by Webmaster, 20th October 2021
Sneak a peek at Iolo's upcoming column in the Winter 21 issue of Welsh Border Life
BBC's Autumnwatch returns to our screens in late October. But fans of Welsh Border Life columnist Iolo Williams will be disappointed to hear that Wales' favourite naturalist won't be appearing live on this year's programme.
A late change to the programme's broadcast dates means Iolo will be involved in a week's guiding on the Isle of Mull instead, although he will be back with the 'Watch' team for Winterwatch early next year.
For all you Iolo fans suffering from withdrawal symptoms as a result, here's a sneak preview of his column that'll be appearing in the winter issue of Welsh Border Life, due to hit the virtual newsstands next month...
A STING IN THE TALE
Despite it having been a poor spring and summer for butterflies, the warm weather throughout September encouraged a good late showing by several species. Throughout much of the month, the late-flowering hedgerow plants and the bUddleia in my garden were alive with small tortoiseshells, red admirals, peacocks and a handful of migrant painted ladies.
Comma butterflies were also notably conspicuous in the autumn sunshine. These stunning orange-brown insects are named after the white comma on the underwing, but I prefer the descriptive Welsh name of ‘adain garpiog’, or raggedy wing.
On the subject of insects, it’s pleasing to note that the European hornet is spreading northwards in Wales. As a child we never saw these large, brown and yellow, wasp-like creatures in mid Wales, but these days they're fairly widespread. Earlier in the spring, I released a large queen from our house and in the summer I found two nests along the Montgomery Canal between Newtown and Welshpool.
Normally quite placid creatures, I thought I’d try to get a photo of a nest I'd found in a blue tit nestbox. The hornets had filled the nest itself and were in the process of enveloping the whole box within their beautiful paper structure. Unfortunately, I chose the hottest autumn day when the hornets were particularly active and as I slowly approached to within about five metres of the nest, one of the workers flew straight at me and stung me on the cheek. Ouch!!! I’d forgotten just how much a hornet sting hurts but it has taught me a valuable lesson. Stay well away from hornet nests!
To read the full-length article from Iolo, be sure to download the Winter 21 issue of Welsh Border Life due out in November. For early alerts of publication dates and much more, subscribe to the free walesandborders.com newsletter by clicling here...