Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Redhouse Barns 2nd September

A lot of moths last night - mostly the usual suspects. It was nice to have 2 Bordered Beauty's and 2 Feathered Gothic's though.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Bedstraw Hawkmoth at Dingestow

In late July 2019 the largest influx of Bedstraw Hawkmoths since 1973 reached Britain. These spectacular moths appear to have originated from Germany/Denmark on strong SE winds, and many of the first arrivals were along the east coast of Britain between Northumberland and Shetland. It is unclear whether 10s of subsequent sightings further south and west in Britain represent moths drifting southwards, reorientating individuals that arrived more widely during the original influx, or further migrants from continental Europe, but the scale of the immigration made this the "chance of a lifetime" (I wasn't born in 1973) to find a Bedstraw Hawkmoth at Dingestow.  Regular checking of our Nicotiana and nightly trapping with MV and Actinic failed until the night of 4th August - at 05:30 on the morning of the 5th there was a Bedstraw Hawkmoth waiting for me in my MV trap. 

Following Gwent records in the influx years of 1870 (Chepstow) and 1973 (Usk), Kevin Hewitt caught the county's third Bedstraw Hawkmoth at Blackwood on the night of 31st July. The male at the Dingestow Court MV on the night of 4th August is therefore the fourth Gwent record.


Aside from this star moth, highlights among 80+ species included a wandering Evergestis pallidata, an unusually pale/plain Dioryctria abietella, single Maiden's Blush and Small Waved Umber, and a remarkable 5 Least Yellow Underwing.

We are the Campions

Continuing excellent weather produced 300+ moths of 90+ species on both 1/8 and 2/8. Numbers of common species seem reassuringly high after the duff years of 2016 and 2017, and wandering wetland/upland species were among the local residents on both nights.
Highlights on 1/8 were another Double Lobed, a wandering Calamotropha paludella and the coastal/migrant Crocidosema plebejana (which may now be resident on our Hollyhocks).


A Campion, new for Dingestow, was star species on 2/8, although a small, grey Dichrorampha montanana was also new. Accompanying them were a Cloaked Carpet (4th Dingestow record) and the first Pyrausta despicata I have caught here since 2006. Late summer moths such as Six-striped Rustic and Canary-shouldered Thorn appeared alongside typical midsummer fare.






Thursday, 1 August 2019

And still they come...

This little wetland moth appeared in the Dingestow Court MV on 31st July. This is the first record for SO40, although Small Rufous is widespread in the south-western part of Gwent. Otherwise it was a relatively forgettable night, with a Slender Brindle and 5 Diamond-backs being perhaps the pick of the bunch.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Two nights, two new

A Double Lobed to MV at Dingestow Court on 27th July was new for the area, and I thought this was going to be star moth of the weekend. However, a mega Pine Hawkmoth was waiting for me in the trap after the night of 28th July. There is only one previous (unverified) Welsh record according to NBN: from Fishguard in Pembrokeshire in June 1982. There was a SW airflow on the night of 28th July 2019 and I suspect my Pine Hawkmoth came from continental Europe rather than England, although it's impossible to be sure.


A rich supporting cast included Narrow-winged Pug (5th Dingestow record and my first since 2007), 3 Slender Pug, 1 Slender Brindle and a Dark Swordgrass on 27/7, and Mocha, Small Waved Umber and Satin Beauty on 28/7.






Saturday, 27 July 2019

Small Mottled Willow and lots of Micros (edited)

A Small Mottled Willow to MV at Dingestow Court on 26th July was a welcome record of this migrant, especially as I missed the February 2019 influx here (though not in Carmarthenshire). None of the other 59 species of Macro were particularly exciting, although 10 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing was a remarkable tally and it's always nice to see Maple Pug. In contrast, the Micros were outstanding, with 45 species including Caryocolum tricolorella, Ypsolopha scabrella, Acrobasis consociella, 2 Nomophila noctuella and 3 Plutella xylostella.

Best of all was a Biselachista that was initially thought to be B. utonella, but which turned out to be a male B. albidella with diagnostic projecting pointed ends to the valvae. The only previous county record of this species - which feeds on Cottongrass and a few other wetland graminoids - was from Cleddon Bog in 1999. It really was an unexpected addition to the Dingestow moth list!


Saturday, 20 July 2019

Catoptria margaritella and other wanderers

The distinctive Pearl-banded Grass-veneer (Catoptria margaritella) made its first Dingestow appearance at MV on 19th July. There are 7 previous Gwent records: four on the coast, one in Rogerstone and two in Usk. So far, nobody has found this bog/heath moth in a likely breeding habitat in VC35, although it is common in wetlands in Carmarthenshire and other parts of Wales. It is possible that the Dingestow individual wandered from Wentwood, as the wind was from the SSW, but the concentration of past records on the Gwent coast suggests that our C. margaritella originate from Exmoor or the Quantock Hills. It was accompanied by a Map-winged Swift and a True Lover's Knot, as well as a gorgeous Endotrichia flammealis.