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