Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Lighthouse Park

Sunday 27th December with the weather forecast of SE 7mph but increasing, 11° & part cloudy. This would be my last chance to trap at home this year. I decided to run the 125w MV on the back patio & the 4x30w actinic in the side garden. With the wind coming over the sea wall increasing i had only potted 1 Dark Chestnut, 1 Rusty-dot Pearl & 1 Acleris schalleriana by midnight.

On checking the traps at 0730 there was no sign of any other moths dropping in over night.

Sam informs me this Acleris schalleriana is the 3rd record for vc35, the two prior to this being for laval records.

Thats it for me this year. Looking forward to the 2016 season and hopefully a surprise or two dropping into the traps.

Hope you all have a moth filled 2016....

Monday, 28 December 2015

Euchromius ocellea at Dingestow

I have dreamt of catching Euchromius ocellea for nearly 20 years, in part because there was a previous VC35 record of this rare southern Pyralid (caught by Dr Neil Horton in 1978).  This wish was enhanced by widespread captures of Euchromius in Britain during various winter immigrations, which I missed out on because of a lack of attention to the weather.  Thanks to Twitter alerts and emails from Ian Morgan in Carmarthenshire, I was well aware of the wonderful southerly airflow over Christmas 2015.  My first attempt at trapping (26th December) produced just 1 Emmelina monodactyla and 2 Winter Moth, accompanied in the MV trap by a large water beetle (Colymbetes fuscus), which was the first Dingestow record of this common species despite me recording water beetles in the ponds and lake over several previous years.

The following night (27th December) seemed perfect, with a warm southerly wind, but we had 20 of my relatives here for supper so I couldn't check the trap as regularly as I hoped.  Nevertheless, at 21:00 I wandered outside with my Christmas cracker hat on, and checked the MV.  Nestling in an eggbox was a perfect Euchromius!  The rest of the night was a bit of a let-down, with a Silver Y being the only other migrant in the trap, but I was well satisfied with my dream moth.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Southerly winds

I'm not sure if anyone reads this Blog in December, but just in case you do - please trap on any mild nights with southerly winds as there are plenty of interesting migrants that might just come our way (Synchopacma polychromella and Euchromius ocellea to name two).  Similar winds, albeit in October, gave Nick Felstead his Etiella zinckenella so these rare migrants can reach us here in Gwent!

Having said that, my MV trap was totally empty last night.  Things were saved slightly by the porch light producing 1 Northern Winter Moth (only my 2nd here in 15+ years) alongside 2 Winter Moth.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

7th December

An unexpectedly productive morning for lepidoptera here at Chepstow given the time of year and the unsettled weather lately.
Encountered 3 more Scarlet Tiger caterpillars and even 4 moths.
The caterpillars were about the town along with single sightings of Light Brown Apple Moth, Winter Moth and an Angle Shades.

The best of the lot was at home when I captured Mompha divisella (Neat Cosmet) indoors.
Classified a Nationally 'Scarce A' moth, I seem to have seen it regularly over the last 3 years, however this year I have recorded it on 6 separate occasions in the months of March, April, May and now for the 1st time in December.
Not entirely sure why this moth has become more common here unless its breeding well, I'm making more of an effort to record micros, or maybe the food plant is more abundant.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Chepstow- 30th November
Beware the Tiger 

With all of this unsettled weather around you would not think too much was about, well your right there isn't really, but thought I would just post this just to keep the interest ticking over.

Went out into garden to check things over after the recent winds and low and behold clinging upon a fence in a protected part of the back garden were some caterpillars- in fact 4 of them.
The distinctive black and yellow Caterpillar is of the Scarlet Tiger Moth.
A Nationally localised moth by all accounts although here they are seen every year as an adult flying around as dusk approaches in June and July or as a caterpillar later in the year.
There appear quite common locally I've found with another site located in the town of Chepstow and also another found just a few miles away near Sedbury in Gloucestershire Vice County.
There are very striking in flight and a delight to see on a summers day with the rich scarlet underwings on show.

Scarlet Tiger caterpillar- Callimorpha dominula

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sprawler at Dingestow

On 5th November I commented that the Abergavenny Sprawler was an excellent record, as I had only seen one in 20 years of trapping at Dingestow.  The next morning I walked out of the front door and found a Sprawler awaiting me under the porch light!

I ran the MV on the next two nights, but despite mild conditions and a southerly airflow had pretty limited returns.  A Grey Shoulder-knot on 6th and a December Moth on 7th were probably the highlights, among a rag-tag of somewhat worn autumn species such as Brick, Yellow- and Red-line Quakers and Beaded Chestnut.

Friday, 6 November 2015

5th November- New update

Had a little walk around the garden this morning and disturbed a micro from one of the garden plants.
I followed it as it flew off and luckily it stayed within the garden boundary eventually settling upon the edge of the summerhouse roof. Typically I was unprepared, but conveniently it stayed there long enough to allow me to capture it to have a closer look.
It was rather fidgety and difficult to picture especially in the poor light hence the picture is slightly out of focus.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure its a Leek Moth- Acrolepiopsis assectella.

New update
Sam Bosanquet informs me that the micro pictured below is
Acrolepia autumnitella (Bittersweet Smudge), and not Acrolepiopsis assectella (Leek Moth) as previous thought by myself.
He went on to say that having both Glyphipterigidae species recorded on site is a little unusual given they depend on completely different food plants.
It could well be that both food plants reside nearby possibly in neighbouring gardens and both were attracted in on site.
The Leek Moth that was recorded here at Chepstow in August feeds on Leek, Onion and Garlic, whilst the Bittersweet Smudge feeds on Bittersweet, Deadly Nightshade or Tomato. Both are Nationally 'localised' moths and both hibernate as adults.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Abergavenny 31st October 2015

Ran the MV for macros on 31st October and trapped only 4 moths, of which 2 were new to us. Very pleased to see the lovely Merveille du Jour and also a nice specimen of Sprawler which is apparently not very common in Gwent.

Blair's Shoulder-knot x 1; Merveille du Jour x 1; November Moth agg. x 1; Sprawler x 1

Mike & Val
Merveille du Jour


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A mine mystery solved

A few weeks ago I noticed this mine on Hawthorn by Dingestow Court Lake:

The rings of frass made me think of Leucoptera malifoliella, which had just one previous VC35 record, although they didn't look quite right.  Today an incoming phone call while I was driving led to me parking by Jingle Street, and I noticed identical mines on several Hawthorn leaves by the car, accompanied by similar-looking mines with the upper surface creased like a Phyllonorycter.  I collected several for checking and found that they match P. corylifoliella perfectly.  This is a scarce Micro in Wales - there are just 5 previous Monmouthshire records - and is a species I have only seen once before as a mine.  It's satisfying to know what these silvery mines with rings of black speckles are.

The same layby area held various other mines, including Cameraria on Horse Chestnut, Phyllonorycter acerifoliella on Field Maple, and a range of Stigmella species on Beech, Hazel and Hawthorn.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Mining near Llangua

A brief stop in a layby near Llangua produced 9 Lepidoptera leafmines, all of which were new for the VC35 part of hectad SO32.  This is a pathetically under-recorded square, with just 24 species of Micro recorded, mostly from Cwmyoy - I need to stop a few times this autumn for miners and then over next year for other Micros.  They were: Stigmella lemniscella (photo, on Elm), S. floslactella (Hazel), Phyllonorycter acerifoliella (Field Maple), S. aurella (photo, on Agrimony and S. splendidisimella not entirely ruled out), Lyonetia clerkella (Cherry), Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella (Birch), S. oxyacanthella (Hawthorn), S. hybnerella (Hawthorn) & Parornix anglicella (Hawthorn). 

There are still many common species on common host trees to find in this square, and then there's the even more pathetically under-recorded SO42 (18 species of Micro) and the fairly hopeless SO31 (60 species of Micro): I/we have an awful lot still to do in NE Gwent!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

ABERGAVENNY October 2015

Ran our MV 3 times recently, for macros.  Smallish catches compared to some in the south of the County, but pleasing to still be getting new ones for us as we are coming up to two years of trapping.

3rd October
LYU x 8;  Black Rustic x 1;  Rustic x 1;  Silver Y x 1; Sallow x 1 (new to us); Brown-spot Pinion x 1;  Common Marbled Carpet x 5;  Red-green Carpet x 2;  Red Underwing x 1.      TOTAL 21

14th October
Common Marbled Carpet 2;  LYU x 1; Beaded Chestnut x 2 (new to us); Blair's Shoulder-knot x 3;  Black Rustic x 1;  Red-line Quaker x 1 (new to us).    TOTAL 10

19th October
LYU x 1;  Red-line Quaker x 3;  Beaded Chestnut x 3;  Common Marbled Carpet x 2;  Lesser Yellow Underwing x 1;  Sallow x 1; Grey Shoulder-knot x 1 (new to us); Green-brindled Crescent x 1 (new to us); Red-green Carpet x 2   TOTAL 15

Val & Mike
Green-brindled Crescent

Grey Shoulder-knot

Sunday 18th October

Black Rock, Portskewett

Rather some interesting characters around at Black Rock on Sunday evening, some of the human kind and more interestingly of the lepidoptera kind.
Many of the younger generation seemed to have a meet here this evening, with a humm and rev of car engines, plenty of talking and chuckling, probably induced by something a few of them were smoking, still, they were harmless enough and did not bother me.
With the trap it was a last minute decision to go to Black Rock because Wentwood was the original destination.
The change of mind was forced upon me due to me forgetting a piece of kit, of all things the blasted Battery!! Had to race back to get it and set up in the complete darkness.
Things work in mysterious ways at times and it proved to be a good move as 32 moths of 16 species arrived at the trap.
The best of the bunch were two L-album Wainscots and Feathered Ranunculus.
Full list of species at bottom of post.

Feathered Ranunculus 
L-album Wainscot 
Figure of Eight 
Barred Sallow 
Black Rustic 
Feathered Thorn

Macros recorded were:
LYU-7, Willow Beauty-1, Barred Sallow-4, Light Emerald-1, Figure of Eight-1, L-album Wainscot-2, Feathered Thorn-1, Black Rustic-1, November Moth agg.-3, Snout-2, Common Marbled Carpet-4, Spruce Carpet-1, Beautiful Hook-tip-1 and Feathered Ranunculus-1.

1 each of Micros recorded were:
Narrow-winged Grey (Eudonia angustea) and Ashy button (Acleris sparsana).
The latter micro Sam Bosanquet informs me has less than 20 records and is a new site here.  

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Redhouse Barns and Uskmouth, 19th October 2015

I ran the MV at Redhouse and the Skinner actinic in the Reedbeds at Uskmouth.
In the Ringer's Ride at Uskmouth I found 32 moths of just 2 species! 31 of them were Large Wainscots! The other moth was a tiny Willow Beauty. 

Some of the 31 Large Wainscots

Back at Redhouse Barns there were 46 moths of 14 species: Beaded Chestnut 13, LargeYellow Underwing 8, November Moth agg. 6, Setaceous Hebrew Character 5, Lunar Underwing 4, Red-line Quaker 2, Blaire's Shoulder Knot, Brimstone, Figure of Eight, Black Rustic, E. monodactylus, a 2nd generation Pinion-streaked Snout, Green Brindled Crescent and a female Large Wainscot.

Pinion-streaked Snout

Female Large Wainscot

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Lighthouse Park

Ran the MV Sat 17th at home slightly less wind than Friday night. Still NNE cloudy & 10°. 26 moths of 13 macro & 1 micro species dropped in. Barred Sallow was NFY & Figure of Eight was a lifer for me :-

LYU x 5
Barred Sallow x1
Large Wainscot x 4
Common Marbled Carpet x 1
Figure of Eight x 2
Blair's Shoulder-knot x 2
Lesser YU x 1
Pink Barred Sallow x 1
Beaded Chestnut x 2
Setaceous Hebrew Character x 3
Sallow x 2
Common Wainscot x 1
Black Rustic x 1
Emmelina monodactyla x 1

All common moths i know but it beats an empty trap & it will soon be time for a few of those.

                                   Figure of Eight

Friday, 16 October 2015

Lighthouse Park

Fired up the MV last night 15th at home. NNE 9mph part cloudy and around 10°.
Just 15 macro moths of 11 species awaited me when i checked the trap in the morning at 0530 before leaving for work. Trap contents were as follows

November Moth agg x 2
Blair's Shoulder-knot x 1
Red-green Carpet x 1
Merveille du Jour x 1
LYU x 4
Setaceous Hebrew Character x 1
Green-brindled Crescent x 1
Large Wainscot x 1
Silver Y x 1
Common Marbled Carpet x 1
Delicate x 1


Monday, 12 October 2015

Stigmella aceris

Please check your local Norway Maple leaves for the linear mines of Stigmella aceris, which is spreading rapidly NW through Britain and has just reached Monmouth, and the tentiform mines of Phyllonorycter platanoidella, which arrived here at least a decade ago.  If you're feeling really keen you can also examine their keys for Ectoedemia sericopeza, which was added to the county list in Newport in 2011 but is rather tricky to spot.  There are equivalent leaf and key mines made by other Micros on Field Maple and Sycamore, all of which are very under-recorded here.  [for the non-botanist, Norway Maple looks quite a lot like Sycamore but has very much sharper points to its leaf teeth, and is commonly planted in urban areas]


Micros, mines etc

I haven't had much time for Gwent moth recording in recent months, but a few sessions with the MV at Dingestow and recording a few mines during the daytime have tempted me to join this Blog as well as the Carmarthenshire one (where I'm ashamed to say I have posted a few Gwent sightings).  Recent highlights have included Orange Sallow to MV (2nd Dingestow record), mines of Bucculatrix cidarella on Alder by Dingestow Court Lake (amazingly only the 2nd VC35 record), mines of Stigmella tiliae on Tilia vulgaris at Dingestow Court (5th VC35 record) and mines of Stigmella aceris on Norway Maple at Hadnock Road new for Wales (see Carmarthenshire Blog posting and my Twitter account).  I'll try to post more regularly as autumn progresses.

Please can Gwent moth'ers continue to trap whenever possible as there are still good late migrants to be recorded.  I haven't caught many here yet, but did enjoy this well-marked Pearly Underwing on 3rd October.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

9th October

A poor turn out -however
The original forecast for this evening was for quite extensive cloud cover, however the expected cloud never really arrived until after 3.30am when a temperature rise started to take place. Before hand cool clear skies must have restricted the catch, so by dawn just 6 moths of 6 species turned up.
A dreadful night you might say, apart from this immigrant/resident, a L-album Wainscot.
This was a very pleasing first for me here. Who cares about numbers when you get moths like this turn up!
Martin Anthoney kindly informs me that it has become established in South Wales. Sightings in Vice County 35 recently, have been made in 2011 and 2013 at Newport Wetlands and Portskewett.
I read the moth likes slightly salty ditches and caterpillars feed on grasses. I suppose plenty of both appear in around the coastline of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary- a favourable habitat for it to thrive perhaps?

L-album Wainscot (Mythimna l-album)

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Lighthouse Park

Ran the MV out on the patio for a few hours Thur 8/10 just 21 moths of 15 macro & 2 micro species dropped in. NFY was a worn Merveille du Jour. Ran the MV again Fri 9/10 26 moths of 15 macro & 2 micro species dropped in Red-line Quaker was NFY also had another Merveille du Jour this one a much fresher specemen.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

September 19th
A belated post due to technology- e-mails not going where they should!
On Saturday 19th Barry Catlin and I decided we would take our two traps to Wentwood for an evening.
The temperature dropped away but we managed to record a few moths totalling 24 of 13 species.
Barry's trap was placed a distance away in what we thought might be a favourable area but only managed to pull in two moths unfortunately, a Black Rustic and LYU.
The most likely outcome to this situation was our encounters with 2 bats which flew around our traps quite regularly and as Barry's trap was a distance away and left unattended for a time it may well be that bats had a three course meal. I was frequently distracting bats away from my trap and sure more moths would have been caught otherwise.
Still, we ended up trapping:
Silver Y-1, Square-spot Rustic-1, Green Carpet -3, Black Rustic-3, Autumnal Rustic-7, Dingy Footman-1, LYU- 2, Brimstone Moth-1, Canary-shouldered Thorn-1, Frosted Orange-1, Common Wainscot-1.

With 1 micro each of Agonopterix arenella (Brindled Flat-body)
and Nationally localised Pyla Fusca (Brown Knot-horn)

As far as I know according to the online micro maps of V35 listed on this site, there are no records of Pyla Fusca being seen in the county for some time. i.e. Only Pre-2000 records exist.

 Frosted Orange
Agonopterix arenella (Brindled Flat-body)
Pyla Fusca (Brown Knot-horn)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Coleophoras at Lamby Lake

I nipped down to Lamby Lake this morning to look for Coleophora artemisicolella larval cases on Mugwort. I found some of these a couple of weeks ago just across the Rhymney in VC41, so there seemed a good chance they'd be on the VC35 side of the river too. There was plenty of Mugwort and I managed to locate a couple of cases, which are made from a hollowed out seed head and usually seen attached to another seed head, as in the photo below. If I saw two there were probably lots more I didn't spot! I think this is the first Monmouthshire record.

Coleophora artemisicolella larval case (centre) on Mugwort

I also found quite a number of larval cases of Coleophora argentula on Yarrow, these being made from silk and much easier to spot.

Coleophora argentula larval case on Yarrow seed head
Finally, a couple of the elongated silken cases of Coleophora beribenanderi were found on the leaves of Creeping Thistle.
Coleophora peribenanderi larval case on Creeping Thistle

All in all, a good morning for Coleophoras. Sorry for the poor photos - I blame bad light!


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Elephant Hawkmoth - Ochrwyth

Only just avoided treading on this caterpillar.  It was sunning itself and only started to move when I blocked off the rays to take this photograph.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Lighthouse Park

After sitting out on the patio with the MV every night this week and recording quite low numbers of moths tonights forecast of NNE5mph clear skies and temps dropping out around 9° plus a very large bright moon. I knew it would be another hard going session around the trap. The first couple of hours saw just 12 moths land in, on or around the MV.. I started to question myself as to how long i would sit out when this Mallow dropped in.

2 days ahead of my last years record of the species.

Monday, 21 September 2015

17th September

Had trouble sleeping overnight to the point where I just had to get up. Decided I would take a casual walk through the town very early this morning.
A few moths were still around including this one.
I mistook it to be Acrobasis advenella at first, a faded one at that.
After downloading my camera onto the computer when I had got back from my walk I started to realise it was something else entirely.
A quick look through the micro book I have and Nephopterix angustella looked favourite.
The raised set of blackened scales seems to be a good pointer.

Sent off a few pictures to Sam Bosanquet and he agreed.
He also added 'just a handful of records' exists for this micro in Vice county 35.
Having a look at the on-line MMBG micro maps for this species, shows only 2 squares have been shaded.

Just been on the NBN Gateway map for this species and I could not see hardly any recorded 'red dots' for the whole of Wales.
Does anyone know if many records exist for species in Wales at all?

1465 Nephopterix angustella -Spindle Knot-horn

Saturday, 12 September 2015

National Moth Night, 11th September 2015

Fiona Illing, Sheila Dupe and myself went to Parc Tredelerch, Cardiff, Monmouthshire last night. We ran a microphone stand MV on a white sheet and did some sugaring. A fisherman asked if we were after the hawkmoths that like the tobacco plants? He had read about NMN in the paper. I said we would be very lucky to catch a Convolvulus Hawkmoth! We knew the rain was coming and only had a hour or two trapping.
We recorded 34 moths of 13 species to MV: Square spot Rustic 7, Large YUW 6, Small Square Spot 4, Dusky Thorn 3, Willow Beauty 1, Setaceous Hebrew Character 3, Lesser YUW 2, Broad Borderd YUW 1, Angle Shades 1, Vine's Rustic 3, Brimstone 2, Dark Arches 1 and Light Emerald 1. In addition there were 1 Angle Shades, 2 Square Spot Rustics and 1 Small Square Spot to the sugar.
The rain became more persistant at 9.30hrs so we packed up.
I also ran the MV at Redhouse Barns on a timer switch. This morning I recorded 69 moths of just 11 species - all the usual suspects, but as I was putting the egg trays back in the trap I noticed a small Geometer on it's back at the bottom. I flipped in over and was delighted to see a Mocha. This is the 1st one I've ever seen in 20 years of moth trapping!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Oblique Carpet in Blackwood

A nice surprise in this morning's trap in Blackwood ST171966 was this, my first Oblique Carpet, which Martin reliably informs me is the 21st record for VC35, along with at least 4 Small Phoenix (a record number in one trap for me). It makes a nice change from the hords of Large Yellow Underwings (I had a record 251 of those in the trap last Saturday morning!!).
In fact, come to think of it,  I haven't been recording as many Carpet species and numbers this year compared to last, is this the case elsewhere in VC35?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Lighthouse Park

Ran the MV at home last night 27th. 97 moths of 21 macro & 7 micro species. Best by far & a lifer for me was this Jersey Tiger. Also of note was a Cochylis molliculana.