Friday, 22 June 2018

Highmeadow Woods

I had an interesting time surveying in the Wye Valley with Mike Howe and Rob Bacon (both NRW) yesterday. Thanks to Sam for reminding me about Caloptilia semifascia leaf cones on Field Maple. We saw quite a few of these near the river.
The most pleasing sightings of the day were two Wood Whites (in SO5414 & SO5415). We also saw nine Drab Loopers in this area, which was a bit of a surprise as I thought they'd be going over by now.
Micros were generally in short supply though I did beat Psychoides verhuella from tree foliage and we saw several Olindia schumacherana.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Ancylis obtusana (like london buses)

There were just 4 records of the Buckthorn-feeding Tortricid Ancylis obtusana from VC35 until this year: 1976 Hael Wood, 1982 Hendre Wood, 1986 Hael Wood and 2006 Llandogo.  I therefore got rather excited when Steve Nash emailed me a photo of one from his Mum's trap in Tintern.  I had still never seen my own individual of this species, so one that I netted during a quick stop at Dixton Embankment this morning was mighty nice.  Four other additions to that site's Micro list take it over the 100 mark, with mines and spinnings of Caloptilia semifascia on Field Maple being the most interesting of these extras.  It's another useful stop on my way back from school, so I'll be pausing there again.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Rarities in Abergavenny

We’ve been running a 30W actinic Skinner trap in our Abergavenny garden for just over a year, building up a list of 130, mostly attractive but unremarkable, species. This week, the trap has clearly decided that we've now completed our apprenticeship and it can get on to real mothing.

The first surprise, on Thursday night, didn't actually make it into the trap at all. While sleepily covering the box with a cloth at 5am, I spotted a small pale moth clinging to a grass stem nearby. Rather than leave it to become robin-food I popped it into a pot and into the fridge. When we looked again at a more civilised hour, we realised we had added a Nationally Scarce B to our list: a Mocha. From the current distribution maps, it seems this is the furthest north-west these have been seen in Gwent, so we were very happy.

Then on Monday morning, a battered and worn example of a rather dull brown species was down in the egg-boxes. We looked through the field guide several times, not believing what it was telling us. A tweet confirmed – with many thanks to @mothIDUK – that we now had something seriously exciting: an RDB Silurian! OK, the UK distribution for these is centred on Abergavenny, but they belong 400m higher up, among the bilberries. I can only guess that Sunday night’s wind had blown this one down off the Blorenge.

Fortunately I don’t think "quit while you’re ahead" applies to mothing, so this won't be the trap's last outing.

Last night in Tintern

71 species were recorded at light, in mum's garden in Tintern last night. Highlights included Eudonia delunella, Dioryctria abietella, Beautiful Carpet, Cloaked Carpet, Little Thorn, 15 Elephant Hawk, Leopard Moth, 2 Red-necked Footman & Green Arches. Also, this rather nice aberration of Blood-vein. 

Friday, 15 June 2018

Psychid Hotspot in The Buckholt

Another 10 minute stop at the Buckholt on my way back from the school run produced the Psychid Diplodoma laichartingella fluttering in the morning sunshine: the 3rd county record following singles at Coed-y-cerrig and Dingestow.  Other additions to the site list included Tischeria ekebladella and Olindia schumacheriana.  This Psychid Hotspot (the Psyche casta earlier in the week is also in the Psychidae) is building up quite a Micro list, pushing 50 species, although I suspect that almost any area of Monmouthshire would produce 200-300 Micros if someone was looking (to date, only 7 tetrads have topped the 200 mark).

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Denisia albimaculea new at the Buckholt

I made a 15 minute stop at the SE entrance to the Buckholt Wood, Monmouth before starting work today, hoping to find a few moths.  I netted a couple of Micros that were fluttering in the morning sunshine over the ride, and was amazed to find a Psyche casta and my first ever Denisia albimaculea sharing the net.  The latter is a really uncommon deadwood-feeding micro, with one questionable record from Glamorgan* the only one I can find for Wales.  A very worn Spatalistis bifasciana swept from grasses by the ride capped off a really worthwhile visit, as it was only the 4th county record.

*Denisia augustella and D. albimaculea were split into separate species in the late 1970s, and there is only one confirmed and localised British record of the former. MBGBI 4(1) shows VC41 as one of 10 counties with a confirmed record of D. albimaculea, but Moths of Glamorgan states that there is no specimen to cover the only county record and that it cannot therefore be identified to either species.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Tapping hedges

I stopped briefly on the way back from school this morning to sweep/tap some hedges near Llangattock-Vibon-Avel (NE Monmouthshire).  They were hard work, as is often the case early in the morning, but a couple of Udea olivalis and Tortrix viridana flew out, as did a White Plume.  Slightly better was a Wood Carpet, but surprise find was a Celypha rivulana.  It's easy enough to overlook this species and its lookalike C. cespitana among the commonplace C. lacunana, but the lack of a pale patch on the central band is distinctive.  I'm 99% certain it's C. rivulana, with relatively broad wings, but as it would be new for VC35 I will need to gen det it.

A couple of days earlier I tapped a dusky little Grapholita tenebrosana from a hedge at Dingestow - only the 5th county record.  Please get out and tap those hedges!