Monday, 18 March 2019

Mid February to Mid March

Emerging Hibernators 

Over the past weeks traveling and trapping around a couple of woodlands a few overwintering micro's have emerged. Some were out of hibernation even before the unusual warm spell encountered towards the end of February.
I have seen them in low numbers admittedly but at least they are out there.
The best of the lot for me was this Red-letter Flat-body- Agonopterix ocellana which I've never seen before at central southern Wentwood. This may be a new site for it possibly, who knows.

Agonopterix heraclina

 Ypsolopha ustella

Agonopterix ocellana

With the Red-letter Flat-body- Agonopterix ocellana feeding on various Salix trees; Willows, I would have thought it would have been more commonly recorded especially around coastal areas and indeed inland, around water courses. 

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Updated Maps and Lists

At the AGM, Martin Anthony made available CDs containing up-to-date Species Lists, Distribution Maps, Phenology (Flight Time) charts etc for Gwent lepidoptera.   These documents have now been uploaded to this blog and a link can be found on the RHS.  If anyone who could not make the meeting would like a copy of the CD, please contact Martin with your address and he will post one to you.

The latest Newsletter (No. 149 February 2019) has also be uploaded to the blog - again, see link on RHS.

Always early to emerge 

Totricodes alternella

One of the first of the micro world to emerge through the latter winter months is the Winter Shade (Totricodes alternella).

I frequently encounter it when travelling around some of the woods in Monmouthshire of a quieter evening from mid February when it seems unlikely much activity would occur at this time of year.
It tends to turn up in reasonable numbers if Oak trees are in the vicinity of your trap. I say Oak because it's other main foodplant is Hornbeam and I don't see this tree too frequently on or about the trap sites I've chosen so far. Other trees do include Hazel which is widespread but I mainly find it close to Oak.

It's quite variable in colour and design and every year when it turns up at the trap it makes me reach for my micro book just to make sure I am looking at this species for they can be quite vivid when freshly emerged leading to doubts in one's mind.
This season for this micro moth is coming to an end possibly, due to a warm end to February perhaps, although I did see one 2 days ago, so they could still be on the wing.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Hendre Woods work party

Just a quick note to let people know that the joint work party at Hendre Woods between MMBG & BC South Wales, scheduled for this Sunday (17th March), has been postponed.

We plan to go ahead with the work party on a week day -  depeneding on availability this will probably be the following week (18-22 March). If you'd like to come please get in touch and let me know which day(s) you are free. We'll be clearing scrub to improve habitat for the Drab Looper moth.

07794 521017

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Monmouthshire Moth & Butterfly Group Annual Meeting

You are cordially invited to our AGM and Members’ Evening: Tuesday 12th March 2019 Royal British Legion Club, Old Market Street, Usk, NP15 1AL 7.30pm - 9.30pm 

Our speaker will be Norman Lowe, the Brecknock Moth Recorder, who also runs the Wales Garden Moth Scheme. Members and non-members are welcome. Papers for the meeting are at the end of the January newsletter.

We look forward to seeing you there.

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