Sunday, 31 July 2016

Uskmouth Butterfly Transect, 31st July

Sheila did the transect today and I followed behind getting a few photos  (and cutting brambles back). She recorded 96 butterflies of 9 species: 38 Gatekeepers, 17 Green-veined Whites, 19 Meadow Browns, 12 Speckled Woods, 3 Red Admirals, 1 Comma, 4 Peacocks, 1 Holly Blue and 1 Large White. Also 6 Shaded Broad-bars, and 2 Common Waves.

A pair of Gatekeepers

Male Common Blue

Female Meadow Brown

Haisbro Avenue, 30th July

Sheila and I ran the MV over-night and this morning recorded just 64 moths of just 28 species. High-lights were 5 Brown-veined Wainscots, 1 Twin-spotted Wainscot, one Sallow Kitten and a Small Blood-vein. The number of Wainscots is surprising as the nearest reedbed is approx 500m away at the Moorings. Wind obviously in the right direction? 

 Brown-veined Wainscot

 Twin-spotted Wainscot

Sallow Kitten

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

First post from a newbe

Thanks to Richard for the invite to contribute to the blog.

Here are a few of my observations from the last couple of weeks. 

Aberrant Ringlets

The first example was seen in my Gilwern garden on Friday (22/07/16). 
I wouldn't normally photograph a butterfly as worn as this, but it attracted my attention because of its very unusual wing markings, which are reduced to small white points with no encircling gold rings.

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus ab. arete (Muller 1764)) 

Last Tuesday (19/07/16) at Kenfig, a spotted a second aberrant individual with some pear-shaped enlarged spots on its underwing, bearing some resemblance to ab. lanceolata.

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus ab. nov)

Yesterday afternoon (Monday, 25/07/16), 
I spent a couple of hours on the footpaths near the National Trust car park on the lookout for bugs. I was particularly seeking purple hairstreak which I'd photographed here in August, 2013. There were plenty of small skipper, meadow brown, gatekeeper, small white, plus a few red admiral and comma, but alas no purple hairstreak. There were a few white-legged damselflies, banded demoiselles and a conopid fly (Physocephala rufipes) to keep me happy. In the small field next to the carpark, managed to capture this moth, giving me an opportunity to use my brand new copy of the micro-moth field guide.

Chequered Pearl moth (Evergestis pallidata (Hufnagel, 1767))

Rogiet Poor Lands

Earlier this month I made my first visit to the excellent RPL's and Lower Minnets Field. Lots of meadow browns, gatekeepers, ringlets, small skippers, six-spot burnet moths, nettle taps, plus some new insects, including what I think is a Small Fan-footed Wave (Idaea biselata), lots of Tansy Leaf Beetle (Galeruca tanaceti) and Long-winged Cone-head (Conocephalus discolor). Also, after seeing many over the years, this time I had my camera handy:

Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia), late instar larva

I'm a retired Field Ecology/Biology teacher, still keen to expand my experience and knowledge of wildlife. If you're interested, more of my images can be found in my Flickr photostream:

'till the next time

Allan Hopkins

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Lower Ochrwyth

On 18th a glorious warm night and a catch of 49 macro and 15 micro species, including: Clouded Magpie. Satin Lutestring, Rosy Footman, Scallop Shell, Buff Footman, White-spotted Pug and August Thorn.


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A productive heatwave

The Dingestow Court MV produced good numbers of moths on the last night of the heatwave: 47 species of Macro and 51 species of Micro on 19th July.  Macro highlights were 3 Leopard Moth, 4 Rosy Footman, 2 True Lover's-knot, 1 Miller, 1 White-spotted Pug, whilst the Micros included 1 Phyllonorycter platanoidella, 2 Batia lunaris, 1 Rhyacionia pinicolana, 1 Helcystogramma rufescens and 1 Blastodacna hellerella.  The previous night had included Endothenia marginana, Coleophora deauratella and Synchopacma taeniolella, as well as 2 Blue-bordered Carpet and a Slender Brindle.  Numbers still aren't what they were 15 years ago, but it's really encouraging that a warm night will still produce a decent selection of moths.




Sunday, 17 July 2016

Assara terebrella

Steph Tyler caught this Assara terebrella - a Spruce-feeding Pyralid - at Penallt in early July 2016.  It's only the second record for VC35, following one caught by Ian Rabjohn in the same area in 2012, and there are very few other Welsh records full-stop.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Wales Coast Path, Uskmouth 14th July

Emperor Moth larva and Drinker today on Wales Coast Path. Quite late for Drinker.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016


The work security lights have been turning up a few moths this week while i have been on the night shift. As is the norm all my teabreaks when on nights are spent checking under the 30+ security lights around the factory.

Last night 13/7/16  I potted 11 species and one of them was a lifer for me in the shape of this Small Ranunculus.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Best numbers of 2016 so far

Warm winds and overcast conditions led to a catch of 81 species to MV at Dingestow on 8th July.  Micros figured large, with 32 species including a particularly wide range of Tortricids.  There wasn't anything very rare though: the best Macros were Small Emerald, Scarce Silver-lines and True Lover's-knot, although Wood Carpet would be better (2nd Dingestow record) if correct.  I find this species rather troubling because almost all on-line photos have a grey line along the white bands, but that is meant to be a feature of Common Carpet.  I think/hope mine is Wood, but would appreciate other people's expert opinions.

Among the Micros were a couple of metallic Coleophora with white antenna tips (these would previously have been called C. frischella but are almost certainly C. alcyonipenella, an ID that needs gen. det.), a B&W Recurvaria leucatella, a gorgeous Lozotaenioides formosanus, and a worn Metzneria metzneriella.  A Diamond-back Moth may indicate local breeding, although I hope not for the garden's sake.



Ran the 125w MV at home on the 8/7/16

Recorded 35 macro species along with 12 micro species.

Had a lifer in the shape of this micro Anania perlucidalis. Only one other record been recorded for vc35 so Sam tells me.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Leopard at Redhouse Barns, 8th July 2016

I ran the MV over-night and this morning recorded 37 species including 3 Elephant Hawkmoths, 1 Poplar Hawkmoth and a Leopard Moth - a species I haven't seen for quite a few years.

Friday, 8 July 2016

A nice longhorn

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the metallic longhorn moth Nemophora cupriacella sitting on a developing teasel head near Lamby tip yesterday. And then, just a few metres away, another one. I thought this species only occurred on scabious species but the books mention that it can also be found on teasel. Certainly one to look out for on waste ground.

Sam has confirmed that this is the first definite VC35 record of this natioonally scarce moth, though he has a probable record from Dingestow back in 1999.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Crambid surprise - Crambus pratella at Dingestow

Warm overnight conditions on 4th July encouraged me to trap mid-week, and yielded over 70 moth species.  There didn't seem to be anything particularly special, but plenty of nice colourful species to show two visitors to the Old Lands holiday cottages: lots of Buff-tip, some Elephants, a Scarce Silver-lines etc.  My first Udea ferrugalis Rusty-dot Pearl of the year indicated there was a little bit of migration going on, but when I potted up a white-streaked Crambid from among the 80+ Chrysoteuchia culmella in the trap I assumed it would be a Dingestow resident needing just a quick check.

It wasn't - the white-edged costa indicated either C. lathoniellus or C. pratella, and the relatively broad central white stripe suggested the latter.  The key character lies in this central white stripe, which has an angle on its costal edge and is straight-edged in C. lathoniellus.  I have arrowed this feature on one of my photos, because it's not immediately understandable when read about in the books, and have included a similarly arrowed photo of C. lathoniellus for comparison (thanks to Ian Morgan for his image, as I didn't have one of my own.

Crambus pratella from Dingestow and Crambus lathoniellus from Llanelli
arrows show angle on costal edge of the white streak on the C. pratella 
and the straight equivalent in C. lathoniellus
There are two confirmed VC35 records of Crambus pratella: both made by Richard Clarke at Ochrwyth in summer 2013.  There isn't really any suitable habitat - unimproved, short dry grassland - at Dingestow and I'm sure this individual has wandered from further afield. The Micros book suggests that some/most southern British records are migrants from Europe, and my Udea ferrugalis indicates there was migration going on last night, but I wouldn't be surprised if its origin was somewhere in SE or SW Gwent.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Infurcitinea argentimaculella

A full morning looking for insects in the Dingestow fields was a bit of a luxury, thanks to Clare taking the kids away for the weekend.  Highlight, and the 491st Dingestow Micro, was Infurcitinea argentimaculella, though it didn't come from my searching: it was waiting on the outside of the kitchen window when I returned at lunchtime.


Otherwise, it was quite hard work finding any Lepidoptera despite the sunshine and nice habitats.  2 Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet and 3 Six-spot Burnet were pleasing, and a Marbled White was my first here since 1999 (though I haven't looked that often).  An Ochsenheimeria vacculella swept from grassland was the 2nd Dingestow and 3rd Gwent record of this obscure Micro.  Cydia nigricana were locally plentiful on Tares in one field, and the similar-looking Grapholita tenebrosana was beaten from a hedge.  3 more Stathmopoda pedella (from 2 different areas) suggest this species is having a good year.


The Longhorn Beetle Leiopus nebulosus was new for the site - the 16th species here.


Saturday, 2 July 2016

Pretty in black & white

Two Carpets with broadly the same colour scheme were highlights of an afternoon at Dingestow searching for Micros and cursing the wind and heavy showers.  A Blue-bordered Carpet came from alder by the lake, along with a Dingy Shell, another Stathmopoda pedella, and lots of Argyresthia goedartella; a Pretty Chalk Carpet was tapped from garden Clematis on a wall.

A couple of Batia unitella were encountered during the afternoon: one flying on a woodland edge at 15:30 and one disturbed from a dead Lime tree.  It's very much Argyresthia season, and as well as the A. goedartella by the lake I swept the uncommon A. glaucinella (poor record photo) from an Oak trunk and beat A. pruniella from Cherry, A. bonnetella from Hawthorn and A. retinella from Birch.


A Borkhausenia fuscescens was flying near the house at 17:30, demonstrating just how tiny this species is (if you have to puzzle over a moth, wondering whether it's a small Brown House-moth or a Borkhausensia, then it's the former!).  Large Tabby and Small Dusty Wave were nearby, completing a trio of moths of grubby places.

Finally, a check of the Yellow-legged Clearwing oaks revealed one more exuvia, which had emerged since I last checked the trees on 23rd June.