Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Winter Highlights from Tintern

Moth-trapping highlights from my mother's (Hazel Mitchell) Tintern garden in January and February were the first county record (and possibly the 2nd Welsh record - thanks Sam) of the impressive Tortricid Acleris logiana on 25th January, and an immigrant Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua on 16th February. The very local Small Brindled Beauty Apocheima hispidaria also appears to be having a good year at this site, with 5 recorded so far this year.

 Acleris longiana
 Small Mottled Willow (Spodoptera exigua)
Small Brindled Beauty (Apocheima hispidaria

Saturday, 9 February 2019

13th-20th January

Chepstow Town

2nd Vice County record of Ectoedemia heringella.

Whilst browsing the internet moth sites I came across a leaf-mine sighting that intrigued me especially as it was only made just a few days ago.
As the moth season is rather quiet at the moment and I had time on my hands I felt I had to go and look into this. The first part of the puzzle was to find Holm Oak trees, a tree I had never heard of let alone seen.
Holm Oak leaves and acorns

Stigmella suberivora mine

They are evergreen so this was a good starting point. Racking my brains I remembered that there are several 'evergreens' about the town with one in the small bandstand park near the River Wye so maybe I had seen it inadvertently.
Strangely I remembered looking at this young tree often over the last few years but always thought it non-native to the UK and so did not warrant any investigation. Today the 13th January I looked over it and almost immediately picked up on what I thought were a couple of leaf mines.

 Stigmella suberivora mine close up

4 mines were located towards the leaf edge quite broad and slightly 'whitish'. These turned out to be a bonus as Sam Bosanquet agreed that they were Stigmella suberivora, another species that feeds on the Holm Oak tree. I was glad to have found this moth but it was not the one I had set out looking for however, one leaf had a small twisting mine that was central suggesting that Ectoedemia heringella was present also, in the town. Sam again confirmed the sighting stating it was only the 2nd Vice County record not long after a sighting made by Dave Slade as recently as 2018.

Ectoedemia heringella mines

Seven days later on the 20th my good lady and I had to pay a visit to the town. Parking in the Castle Dell car park I immediately spotted another evergreen tree in front of me, this one large, mature, with prominent standing, it was clear it had been there decades.
I shot across to it and soon discovered many mines dotted at regular intervals of both Stigmella suberivora and Ectoedemia heringella. I also found amongst these Phyllonorycter messianella which also occasionally mines the leaves of Holm Oak. Given the near proximity -about 300 yards- of this larger tree to the one in the park, it is most likely this is primary source for these leaf miners.    

   Ectoedemia heringella mines containing several pale larvae

Monday, 28 January 2019

16th January


New site for the scarce Acleris umbrana

An unexpected micro moth caught my eye at Llandevenny today under spotlights.
It's easy to forget that a few limited moths do hibernate through the winter moths as adults so this was a nice surprise for a winters day.
I initially thought it might be Acleris hastiana as I had found it here not too long ago but the markings reminded me of something else I had found over the last year or so.
So I took it back and photographed in daylight and it then struck me that it was a well marked Dark-streaked Button, Acleris umbrana.

Sam Bosanquet quickly confirmed the 'Scarce A' status micro moth.
I had found two about a year ago in Chepstow during the winter months of December 2017 and January 2018 so proving it is active at this time when conditions are right.
It now joins up dots on the Vice County 35 map where shaded tetrad squares at Newport and Chepstow are now bisected at Llandevenny in between forming a interesting coastal link to the south and south-east of the county.

 Note the characteristic 'tufted scales' at one third

Monday, 31 December 2018

Very Early Oak Beauty

A ridiculously early Oak Beauty (Biston strataria), taken at light in the garden MV light trap, in Glyn Wood, Tintern on 30th December. Hazel Mitchell

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Ypsolopha mucronella

A lovely Ypsolopha mucronella in the Dingestow MV on 21st December was just the 7th record of this distinctive Micro for VC35, following two in Usk in the 1970s, three at Dingestow in 1999 and 2017, and one in Monmouth in 2002.  The Mothscount map shows this species has not been recorded from any other Welsh counties, so this is a notable Welsh record too.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Scarce Umber - new for Dingestow

After all the excitement of recent migrant near misses, I figured last month's Delicate and Streak were the final firsts for Dingestow of 2018.  However, a mild(ish) night on 24th November combined with friends staying to persuade me to put the MV out.  The 5 species that appeared included a gorgeous Scarce Umber, which I was excited about as I've only seen one or two in my life.  What I didn't realise was that none of my previous sightings came from Dingestow - later checking revealed Scarce Umber to be new, and the 403rd Macro for the site.  This seems to be a genuinely scarce moth in Gwent/Wales, with a south-easterly distribution.  It is surely the last addition for the year, although forecast southerlies midweek may produce another migrant...

Saturday, 17 November 2018

November (lack of) migrants


The nights of 15th and 16th November 2018 delivered Sahara Dust to Britain and plentiful migrants to many moth'ers (including some in Gwent, I hope). Numbers to MV at Dingestow were pretty good, with 30 species on 15th and 15 on 16th, but migrants on 15th were limited to 5 Dark Swordgrass, 4 Silver Y, 2 Plutella xylostella and 1 Udea ferugalis, with singles of the first three of these on 16th.  I was a tad disappointed!  Highlights were 2 Dark Arches and 1 Brimstone, neither seen previously here in November, plus a couple of Sprawlers.