Thursday, 16 August 2018

4th August

Rogiet Moor

A late decision to set a trap up at Rogiet Moor this evening was well worth it.
The evening was fairly quiet weather-wise but it did become damp after midnight.
There were no wading birds on the estuary for the tide was approaching its high point although I did see a flock fly across the waters late evening.
With the moths, a total of 36 species put in an appearance during the time I was there.
Lime-speck Pug, Small Clouded Brindle, Smoky Wainscot and a Small Seraphim were unexpected on the macro side but the micro's drew more interest from my perspective. Some I had only seen once or twice before whilst some were completely new encounters.
Small Seraphim

'Knot-horns' seemed to be flavour of the last 10 days with several turning up at two different sites.
Here three species of Knot-horn were seen including Acrobasis advenella (Grey Knot-horn), a very nice Homoesoma sinuella (Twin-barred Knot-horn), (new to me) and my second encounter with the localised Nephopterix angustella (Spindle Knot-horn). This was really unexpected but there most be spindle in and around the hedges here somewhere.
Homoesoma sinuella (Twin-barred Knot-horn)

A second encounter within 3 weeks of the Scarce B categorised micro Gynnidomorpha alismana (Water-plantain Conch) was great as it backs-up its presence here at this site. This individual was much better marked than the first.
Gynnidomorpha alismana (Water-plantain Conch)

The best of the lot was a micro that nearly got thrown into the re-cycle bin on my computer as I had not much idea. I had a think about it and ultimately decided to have a play with light levels on the photograph to reveal better detail, Thankfully enough detail came through for me to put forward a suggestion. Suffice to say my suggestion wasn't correct but in a way I'm glad it wasn't, for Sam got in touch to inform me that it was Phalonidia affinitana (Large Saltmarsh Conch).
The second line of the mail was rather interesting...Only one other sighting at Peterstone in 1998 by Sam himself, so nearly a generation has come and gone before anybody has seen it again.
A very productive and rewarding night all in all with a rarely seen micro in Gwent the icing on the cake.  
Phalonidia affinitana (Large Saltmarsh Conch) 
2nd ever sighting in Vice county 35 with a 20 year gap in the records database. 

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Two gen dets

I have never dissected a Common Rustic agg. from Dingestow before, but the appearance of a tiny black individual with strongly white stigmas at MV last night (8/8) tempted me to try for Lesser Common Rustic.  Sure enough, its Clavus was weakly sclerotized, with no sign of teeth at all.  There appear to be just 1 or 2 previous gen. det. records of this species from VC35, although I don't think that anyone else is checking Common Rustics.


More genuinely notable was a Caryocolum that came to actinic at Dingestow Court on 26/7.  I wasn't sure which member of this tricky genus it would be, but dissection revealed the very distinctive male genitalia of C. fraternella.  Although this is a common species in much of England, it has very few Welsh records and was new for VC35.

Pretty than either was my first Orange Swift of the year.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Jersey Tiger at Dingestow

I ran the MV at Dingestow Court on 3rd August, which produced a reasonable range of 65 late summer moth species including my first Olive here since 2007 (no Double Kidney since 1999) and first Wax Moth (also) since 2007, plus Slender Pug, White-spotted Pug, Figure-of-80, 2 Poplar Hawkmoth, Dark Sword-grass Caloptilia robustella and Dichrorampha petiverella
This was good, but things got much better when I noticed a black and white striped shape inside the greenhouse (the other side of the house from the MV, so nothing to do with my trapping) mid-morning.  I have been hoping for a Jersey Tiger at Dingestow since the species started appearing in south Wales, but I really wasn't expecting one so soon.  Just like the Hornet Clearwing that was my last new Macro for Dingestow, this was a life first as well as a home patch first!  The Dingestow list moves on to 397 Macro; 926 Moths.


Thursday, 2 August 2018

Marsh Mallows at Goldcliff

Recent discoveries of larvae of the Gelechid Pexicopia malvella in seedheads of Marsh Mallow on Gower and near Llanelli led me to check the strong colony of Marsh Mallows at Goldcliff Pill.  Finding the larvae was remarkably easy: many unripe seedheads had a brown spot on them (on the seedhead in the photo it's at 10 o'clock from the middle), and opening them with my fingernails revealed a plump, pink-dotted larva.  Job done, I thought, but Steve Palmer from the Gelechid Recording Scheme pointed out that things are not so straightforward.  Another Gelechid, Platyedra subcinerea, feeds in the seedheads of other Mallows, and its larvae should be mature now, whereas those of Pexicopia should not begin feeding until late August.  Either species would be new for Gwent, but which one is present at Goldcliff?  Solutions include collecting some affected Marsh Mallow shoots and breeding on some larvae to adulthood, or attempting to catch adult moths with a Heath Trap among the Mallows, neither of which is entirely easy.

My visit to Goldcliff produced a few other Micros: 3 Phyllocnistis saligna from a Crack Willow, mines of Stigmella speciosa on Sycamore, Argyresthia pruniella from Cherry and Yponomeuta rorella from Willow.  Sweeping the saltmarsh was extraordinarily unproductive, but I eventually caught a Bucculatrix maritima.


Finally, this is presumably a dark Cydia splendana beaten from Willow, but given the paucity of Oaks at Goldcliff I am slightly confused.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Squash stops

Quick stops in the late afternoon after squash lessons in Coleford produced a couple of good VC35 Micros.  First, at Dixton Embankment on 23/7 I netted a male Dichrorampha flavidorsana (gen det, but note the short costal fold compared with D. alpinana), then at the Kymin on 30/7 I beat an Argyresthia semitestacella from a Beech tree.  Both have 4 previous Gwent records.

Monday, 30 July 2018

What were the Coppers doing?

There were 16 Svensson's Copper Underwings on one parkland Oak trunk at Dingestow Court at 10:30pm last week; checking several other trees revealed just one other single SCU.  There were no obvious sap weeps to attract the moths, so I have no idea what they were doing.  The only unusual thing about the tree was a large nest of the ant Lasius bruneus in a hole on one side, and I wonder whether the ants scurrying up the tree left sweet trails on the bark which the moths were then feeding on.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Blorenge NW slopes

Hopes that the warm weather might encourage heathland and limestone moths to fly in the late afternoon of 26/7 weren't realised, but a birch in the shady part of Cwm Ifor produced 2 Phyllonorycter cavella (3rd Gwent record) and 2 different forms of Epinotia ramella, as well as Argyresthia brockeella and A. goedartellaAgriphila inquinatella were plentiful on the dry grassland, and I disturbed several Silver Y and 3 Diamond-back Moths from the heather.  Sweeping produced a Teleiopsis diffinis and a young larva of Beautiful Yellow Underwing Just 3 additions to the tetrad, but not a complete waste of time!