Monday, 30 May 2016

An ascent of The Skirrid

Inspired by the Swallows & Amazons' ascent of Kanchenjunga, Bea and Johnny were keen to climb a real mountain.  I opted for The Skirrid, partly because it's a relatively easy climb but mostly because it's in Gwent so any moths 'counted'.  The only previous records of Micros from the mountain came from a June 2007 walk at the south end, which produced 21 species including Pempeliella, Neosphaleroptera, Agonopterix purpurea and Paraswammerdamia nebulella.  The 15 species noted on 28th May 2016 included just one overlap with that previous trip, so it was very worthwhile!
 

 

Highlight was the distinctively marked Gelechid Teleiopsis diffinis, which has a characteristic dark, curved mark near the wing base.  Nick Felstead made the only modern Gwent record of this species in the SE last year, and Horton reports only two other sites.

 
The abundance of Glyphipterix simpliciella on the heathy ridge was remarkable, and this tiny moth was present all the way to the summit.  Other species noted included G. fuscoviridella, Coleophora otidipenella, Pyrausta despicata and a Nematopogon that I should have brought home to gen check for N. pilella.  The only Macros we saw were a single Common Heath and a very odd-looking carpet (below) which seems to be a (Not Very) Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, but a Red Admiral was basking near the summit.

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