Saturday, 31 October 2020


 Had it not been GMS night, I wouldn’t have put my trap out in the middle of Storm Aidan. But I’m glad I did. This moth took me a while to find in the book – from some angles I was even wondering if it was one of those giant micros – but once I found the right page it’s obvious: The Streak, another heathland/moorland species. 


Since we’ve had a few of those (including a Silurian!) land in our non-moorland garden I’m starting to wonder whether our position at a slight pinch point in the Gavenny valley might work like a giant Heligoland trap, concentrating the flow of moths blown down from the hills. 

Note to self: remember to put the trap out when the wind is forecast in the South-West quadrant.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Dingestow Nonpareil at last

20 years ago I would have laughed at the idea of a Clifden Nonpareil appearing at Dingestow, but over the last couple of years it has seemed an inevitability. The species has (re)colonised Britain since c2010, and more and more Gwent moth'ers have seen this spectacular moth, especially in 2020. I shared their excitement, but secretly felt a bit miffed each time Hazel, Wendy or Ian posted a photo of yet another Nonpareil from their garden.

I almost didn't trap on the night of 28th September, because of a heavy cold (thanks kids), but an email from Ian Rabjohns shortly after dusk made me set the MV just in case. Actually seeing a Clifden Nonpareil in the trap at 06:30 this morning was just as thrilling as I had anticipated. Whatever next?!

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Another blow-in

What I need is a Field Guide to the worn macro-moths! Trying to fill in the gaps in this specimen, which can best be described as “experienced”, I came up with lunar underwing, which is still not on our garden list. But Martin reckoned those, no matter how worn, show cross stripes. 

This doesn’t so he suggested – more interestingly – Heath Rustic, which belongs on heather moors, not in gardens. However there are some of those upwind of us in Abergavenny, so there’s a plausible way it might have reached us. And the field guide to fresh macro-moths notes that it shares habitat with True Lovers Knot, which we have had previously. 

We released it close to our heather plants, so hope those weren’t too much of a disappointment.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

A Gem

After a long wait I finally caught Dingestow's third Gem on 14/8/2020 - this moderately common migrant visited Dingestow in 1998 and 2001 but had not reappeared despite regular Vestals etc. Also notable were Dingestow's fourth Sharp-angled Carpet (also last seen in 2001) and a big Phoenix.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Orange Moth at last

6th July

Slade Wood, Highmoor Hill

A good visit to this woodland this evening where I saw over 130 moths (*some to look at properly still), but the species count was really the most I'd experienced for while at 61.* Not huge amounts of any species just a good spread which had a lot of interest. Highest totals went to Common Footman (13) and Fern (9) which I find always records well here. The most exciting for me and one on my wish list turned up in the form of Orange Moth. I stumbled upon a female Orange Moth back in July 2013 near Caerwent but always hoped I would see the vibrant orange of the male with what I call brown iron-filings scattered across the forewings- a spectacular looking moth indeed close up and just about worth the long wait.

It was nice to see a Sharp-angled Carpet again and this was a rare time where I had 2 Elephant hawk-moths turn up in woodland.

Micro's were good too with Zelleria hepariella (Brown Ash Ermine) recorded here again, so doing well here of note, quite rare in Gwent at present. New micro's encountered for me were Chilo pragmitella (Reed Veneer) pictured below, which Sam Bosanquet reports as being a wanderer and the first real inland record away from it's normal wetland habitat on the Gwent Levels. 

Another newly seen was this fabulous micro moth photographed below, was this Ethmia dodecea (Dotted Ermel), which is apparently doing well is this woodland. It's foodplant of Common Gromwell is well established in here at Slade Wood so the future for it looks promising.

late July and early August heatwaves

 Very warm nights and thunderstorms have provided perfect mothing conditions at Dingestow since late July, albeit dodging heavy rain. Highlights at the Dingestow Court MV have been:

29/7: 1 Antler Moth, 1 Dark-barred Twinspot Carpet, 1 Lunar-spotted Pinion, 1 Olive, 1 Narrow-winged Pug, 1 Coleophora argentula and the gelechid Aproaerema anthyllidella (gen det male) new for VC35.

30/7: 1 male Coleophora tamesis (gen det) new for VC35, also 2 Old Lady & 1 Red Underwing at sugar

31/7: 1 Antler Moth, 1 Ear Moth agg, 1 Dark Swordgrass

6/8: 1 Antler Moth, 1 Ear Moth agg., 1 Agriphila selasella

7/8: 1 Brown-veined Wainscot (new for Dingestow), 1 Marbled Green, 1 Dichrorampha acuminatana (new for Dingestow), 1 Mompha epilobiella, 1 Caryocolum fraternella (gen det female), 1 Depressaria ultimella, 1 Red Underwing at sugar

12/8: 1 Small Rufous, 1 Bulrush Wainscot

13/8: 3 Straw Underwing (last seen at Dingestow in 1995!), 2 Endothenia quadrimaculana & 1 Bryotropha domestica (both new for Dingestow), 1 Matilella fusca & 1 Ypsolopha alpella (both 2nd Dingestow records), 1 Caryocolum fraternella, 1 Barred Hooktip

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Coleophora betulella

 Coleophora betulella (White Birch Case-bearer)

St. Pierre's Great Woods, Mounton

4th July 

Not a bad evening's work in this more dense area of the wood at Saint Pierre's Wood today. A total of 92 moths were recorded with the species count of 44 really quite good considering the conditions. Satin Lutestring and Blomer's Rivulet were some of the more important moths amongst the more commonly recorded macros here. 

Several micro's appeared too along with a white Coleophora species which I took an interest in. I had come across another a few years ago nearby but wanted to follow this one through to get an positive ID, so sent it off to Sam. I tend to avoid Coleophora species due to the difficulty in identifying them but this striking white one could be interesting and worth the extra work.

The white Coleophora was a toss-up between C. ibipennella and the closely related C. betulella and given both Oak and Birch trees were close by it really was a situation of dissection I'm afraid.

My thanks for Sam Bosanquet in undertaking this procedure in determining this guy was a localised Coleophora betulella (White Birch Case-bearer).

It is supposedly easier to find the case on Birch to avoid dissection but that is literally easier said than done. I certainly have not found it after looking quite thoroughly on occasion. With Coleophora ibipennella I finally did have some success in finding the case on Oak with two results a few months ago after thorough searches (see earlier posts).