Friday, 15 May 2020

Phycitodes maritima - New to VC35

On the night of 7th May, my mother, Hazel Mitchell took a Phycitine (Pyralidae) at 125w MV light that was unfamiliar to her. After reviewing the images of the moth and establishing that the specimen was smaller than Phycitodes binaevella, and with less distinct discal spots, I tentatively identified the moth as P. maritima, on the basis that it looked more robust than P. saxicola (it's closest relative) and with a more rounded costa.

As the two species can only reliably be separated by dissection, Hazel sent the specimen to Sam Bosanquet for confirmation. Sam kindly confirmed the moth as a male Phycitodes maritima - the first confirmed record for Monmouthshire.

It is quite likely that both P. maritima and P. saxicola (only one county record) are overlooked residents in the county, therefore it's well worth keeping hold of any smaller or poorly marked Phycitines for confirmation.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

26th April

Rare Oecophora bractella at Chepstow Town

All appeared normal this early morning. Came down stairs for my usual cup-of-tea, however as I did so a small micro flew out in front of me. I thought it was another White shouldered House Moth, as I've had a few already this year, but, as it landed a bright yellow hue caught my eye.
It was vaguely familiar from somewhere but I couldn't quite figure it out at first.

I managed to capture it on the second attempt and it suddenly dawned on me that it was an exciting find of Oecophora bractella (Gold-base Tubic).
I have been despairingly trying to look for this moth again for years at several locations at different times within their flight period, but to no avail!
After my first and only previous find at Grondra Great Wood on 6th August 2016 when I saw 2, I had hoped to find more, however life does not work like that for this micro it appears. It appears when you least expect it and in the most unlikely of places.
After all the excitement, the question now is how it came be here in my house?
Trying to apply some sort of logic I have come with a few facts that could help.
Firstly I believe it was found to the NNE at Wyndcliff  before (correct me if I'm wrong Sam), which is 2.4 miles away which oddly is equidistant to Grondra Great Wood, bearing WNW.

With April being a warm month the moth could have appeared early, but the one thing that I did find out was the wind direction had been blowing for several days in an North-North-Easterly direction to my site which could explain possibly why it could have came from the nearby Wye Valley perhaps.
We had left windows ajar overnight so it had flew in and rested up.
I suppose I shouldn't dismiss the fact it could be here at Chepstow either, given that the moth feeds on dead wood or Fungus, there's plenty of it around here.

Whatever the real answer is, I'm pretty grateful for the 'Mothing Gods' to allow me to see this rare and stunning micro again. Thank you.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Friday 24th April

Chepstow Town

A warmer night and a better return here in that 46 moths of 17 species turned up.
A large portion were Brindled Pug which numbered 19; probably the most I've had here.

Others included Pebble Hook-tip, Lime Hawk-moth the first of many Common Marbled Carpet and a nice Alder Kitten.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

22 April, Chepstow

Puss Moth, still here

Not huge numbers around my garden trap yet but importantly I'm re-discovering what is frequenting the area after years out in the wilderness, the woodlands, etc.
I've neglected my home site somewhat and only done the odd trap over the last 4-5 years.

After inspecting the area around the trap this morning I decided to do a wander and immediately found a Tachystola acroxantha (Ruddy Streak) siting on the fence.
I first encountered it in the garden in 2015- one week after finding it at Black Rock with Kevin and Richard. It's a regular here, and it turns up with or without a light-trap and occasionally by day or even sometimes inside the house in autumn.
It's reportedly becoming common along the south coast, and is rapidly expanding its range. It's status as 'Local' could change in the near future I suspect.

After this, a further look around took me to the upper tier of the garden. I then saw a large moth 'parked up' on the garden shed, several feet away from the actually trap. It was a Puss Moth.
It was only my second sighting with the first 6 years ago, again in the garden.

Really pleased to know it is still around here, and given that it feeds on Poplars and Willows it fits in well within the habitat here. Never seen the fearsome caterpillar yet though!

Friday, 24 April 2020


Our catches at home in Abergavenny so far this year have been pretty dismal: we’ve not made it to double figures of moths on any night yet. So we’ve been looking particularly intently at the fence around the trap, and this week that bore fruit. A glowing macro – even to my bleary eyes at 530am – turned out to be a dotted chestnut...

and a smaller but distinctively-marked micro has the even more distinctive name of Semiopsis steinkelleriana.

Both seem to be well west of their previously recorded range in Gwent. We hope it’s a sign of better things to come.
April at Chepstow part 2

Yet more new Macro's to site

After going through some photographs I took on the 10th/11th of this month, I have now found out I have 2 more macro's to add to the list of visitor's to my site here.

I had not realised that both Water Carpet and Pebble Prominent had not been seen here before.
The month of April has proved fruitful on site, with 5 new macro additions …….so far. Here's hoping for more to come.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

April at Chepstow

Adverse Virus restrictions prove positive

3 completely New Species have turned up at the site this April so far which did surprise me.
Admittedly I have not properly trapped regularly at home for some years, 2014/2015 was really the time that I seriously looked at what I had here. I conducted the odd sporadic trap session since but it's quite likely there will more to encounter hopefully.
It's pretty much urban where I am, although there is a small wooded area nearby and the River Wye and Severn Estuary are not a 'stone's throw' away admittedly which could bring in more interesting species.
The three moths that turned up, I had down as more predominantly woodland species than urban because I've frequently found them in and about woodlands habitats.
The wind direction could have been favourable those evenings perhaps or it's just timing or setting up the trap on site a few more times than I would have in the past due to the current Virus restrictions.

The generally more frequently found, March Moth turned up on the 10th April.

A localised Least Black Arches then arrived on 15th April.

Found hiding under the ground sheet was this fabulous Frosted Green on the 16th April.

Ultimately, one could say the restrictions have proved positive for me because trapping at home has added to my/our knowledgebase to this square around Chepstow.
From the negative, there always is a positive side I say!