Thursday, 26 July 2012

Nights with White Satin

On 24th July I ran 3 traps at Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve. I ran an 80watt Robinson trap on the rear veranda of the Visitor Centre, Uskmouth Reedbeds. Only 25 species, but sometimes its quality not quantity that you want. The 'best' moth was a stunning, white satin:

White Satin Moth

This is only the second one I have ever seen in 18 years of mothing. It is also a Newport Wetlands 1st and only the 2nd one for Newport. The 1st time I saw this moth was in July 2003 at Pencoed Reen, Duffryn, Newport. When I checked the date with Roger James, Newport Moth Recorder, I was amazed that it was 9 years ago that he and I trapped this moth together. I would have sworn that it was 4 or 5 years ago.
Other notable moths were: silky wainscot (2), brown-veined wainscot (2), small wainscot, pinion streaked snout and round-winged muslin. There were also 9 drinker, including one female.
At Redhouse Barns I ran the usual 125watt Robinson and  recorded 40 species, including Elephant Hawk (2), lunar-spotted pinion, brown-tail (2), coronet, short-cloaked (3) and sharp-angled carpet (2). Perhaps the most significant of these are the 2 brown-tail. I first recorded this species in VC35 in 2010 with a single adult. A larval web was found the next year on the Gwent Levels to confirm breeding.


The final trap was a 15watt, Skinner type Actinic trap which was set up in bird-ringers ride in one of the reedbeds. Only 7 species: drinker (13), silky wainscot (12), dark arches, Agapeta hamana, southern wainscot (7), smokey wainscot (2) and brown-veined wainscot. There were a few drinker eggs on the egg boxes, which seemed strange as there was no female drinker. It wasn't until I took the trap apart that a female drinker flopped down from where she had been hanging under-neath the wooden batton that supports the Actinic tube.
The whole point of running the 3 traps (although I probably would have run 2 anyway) was to show people the moths at the "Moths in the morning" event on the 25th. 12 people turned up and again, it was quality not quantity that counted. They were all really interested, enthusiatic people. On the walk which was part of the event, we only caught 3 moths, but none of these had come to any of the 3 traps the night before. They were: 6-spot burnet, shaded-broad bar and a latticed heath. We also saw some cinnabar caterpillars.

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