Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Late October MV trapping


Two nights with the MV at Dingestow Court showed that moths are still around in reasonable numbers so long as it isn't too cold.  A female Autumnal Moth was the moth highlight of the 13 species caught on the drizzly night of 24th October, although a calling flyover Dunlin at 07:18 was new for Dingestow and much more exciting!  Southerly winds on the 25th October didn't produce any migrants, but they boosted the count to 20 species, with a male Vapourer the stand-out.  Supporting cast included Blair's Shoulder-knot, Merveille du Jour, BrickSallow f flavescens (when you see something so uniformly pale on a southerly airflow in late autumn your mind whirs through various rare Mythimna spp., but sadly this was just a Sallow!) and Hypsopygia costalis.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Ectoedemia argyropeza

It is a good time to look for the uncommon Micro Ectoedemia argyropeza, as fallen brown Aspen leaves may hold 'green islands' caused by the mines of this species.  Today I found it at the Yew Tree Wood - the 4th record for VC35 and the 500th Micro for my Dingestow recording area.  Spotting this species earlier in the year is very difficult, because it mines the leaf stalk of Aspen forming a small frass-filled gall.  It is even difficult in early autumn when the larva moves to the leaf base, because the mine is small.  Luckily the mining causes part of the leaf to stay green when the rest goes brown; this 'green island' is very easy to spot.  Keep your eyes peeled!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Vapourer eggs at Uskmouth

Tara from RSPB pointed this Vapourer cocoon covered in eggs to me. Its on an NNR sign at 

Uskmouth. She spotted the wingless female and a male mating on the cocoon a couple of weeks ago. The sign is approx 15m away from the nearest potential food-plant, a sallow, so the newly hatched caterpillars  will have quite a trek to make when they hatch in the spring.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Autumn brightness

Cloud cover and light winds, albeit from the north, produced a good, warm night on 7th October, and the Dingestow Court MV was suitably productive.  70+ moths of 27 species appeared, including a nice array of autumn's brightly-coloured species.  Highlight was Dingestow's 3rd Large Wainscot (previously recorded here in September 2004 & 2005), which must have wandered a good distance because of the lack of local reedbeds.  Dark Swordgrass finally made a 2016 debut, and there were 3 Plutella xylostella.  Nice-looking resident species included Barred Sallow x3, Merveille du Jour x3 and Grey Shoulder-knot x1.  Both Willow Beauty and Pale Mottled Willow were carefully checked in case either was something more notable.



Thursday, 6 October 2016


Not a lot of moth activity under the works security lights while working the night shifts this week.

Highlights were these two from Tuesday & Wednesday nights, The Delicate & a Dusky-lemon Sallow.

                             The Delicate
Dusky-lemon Sallow

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sorbus mines at the Wyndcliff

A day GPS-ing the Wyndcliff Whitebeams on Friday gave me a chance to look for mines on these scarce trees.  One tree held mines of Phyllonorycter mespilella and another had what I guess is Stigmella mespilicola, each of which has single previous VC35 records, both from the Wyndcliff in the past.  The Wild Service Tree near the carpark also had presumed S. mespilicola mines.

Madder Pearl damage?

The larvae of the Pyralid Mecyna asinalis (Madder Pearl) feeds on Rubia peregrina (Wild Madder), forming windows on the leaves.  I'm pretty certain this is the feeding damage observed at Wyndcliff on Friday.  Surprisingly, I can only find one previous VC35 record of this species, from Caerwent, although I have a nagging doubt someone else has reported it here.  Wyndcliff is really regularly trapped, so it would be odd for this distinctive moth to have been overlooked there.  All in all, a bit of a mystery.