Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Summer slips to a close

The last few days of August ('summer') have been relatively warm, but clear skies have led to cold nights.  Dingestow Court MV catches of 35 species on 29/8 and 50 species on 30/8 were pretty typical late summer fare, with plenty of Brimstone, Large YU, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Small Square-spot and Flounced Rustic, plus increasing numbers of Square-spot Rustic.  There have been a few species of interest though:

the basal band of this Treble-bar looked a bit angled, but its very long claspers ruled out Lesser Treble-bar

Pale Eggar - 3 on 29/8 and 2 on 30/8, which is welcome news for this declining species
Blood-vein - 1 on 29/8 and 3 on 30/8
Treble-bar - 1 on 30/8 was only the 2nd Dingestow record
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing - singles on 29/8 & 30/8
Feathered Gothic - singles on 29/8 & 30/8
Centre-barred Sallow - 1 on 30/8
Lunar Underwing - 1 on 30/8 was the earliest Dingestow record by 8 days

light veins on a dark background: Feathered Gothic and Lunar Underwing

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Carnage at the moth trap, Haisbro Ave, Newport, 27th August

Sheila and I ran the MV over-night. In the morning we recorded 28 species. Number of species have gone down, but numbers had gone up eg.70 Large Yellow Underwings, 39 Brimstone and 27 Square-spot Rustics. The first Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing of the year for this site and 2 Cypress Pugs were the only high-lights.

Whilst searching the fence near the trap for moths I spotted a Large Yellow Underwing in a spiders' web.

A few minutes later I was searching the parasol above the trap when a wasp flew up to a Willow Beauty, grabbed it and landed on the table in front of me. It then bit 3 of its wings off before flying off with it. There were about 4 wasps in the trap, but they were docile and not killing any moths. When I've seen moth wings before, near or in a trap, I've assumed it was bats or birds, but now I know it could be wasps.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Like the good old days (but with a Grey Chi)!

It was hugely encouraging to find the MV bouncing with moths this morning, after the warm, showery night of 25th August.  Totals of 441 of 44 species of Macro and 81 of 19 species of Micro (522 of 63 species) were like the good nights I remember from 15+ years ago!  These included 134 Large Yellow Underwing, 68 Flame Shoulder, 59 Setaceous Hebrew-character and 48 Brimstone, but many other species appeared as multiples, including 3 Svensson's Copper Underwing, 3 Peach Blossom and 2 Yellow-barred Brindle.


Dingestow's first ever Grey Chi was star of the show: the book says it's 'Common' nationally but it is very much restricted to the hilly areas of Monmouthshire and I was thrilled to see one (my first totally new moth in Britain for many years).  3 Vestals indicated a bit of migration and were my first of 2016.  An August Thorn was also new for the year, and I'd forgotten how distinctive they are after a lot of staring at September Thorns (the very flat resting posture of August is a good first pointer).

Nephopterix angustella and 3 Ypsolopha scabrella were pick of the Micros.  Most of the 10 previous VC35 records of Nephopterix came in the excellent migrant year of 2006, and I suspect that several of the other records coincide with periods of migration.  I'm not sure whether that means this species is a migrant, a wanderer from resident populations in England, or a local breeder.  The same pattern is visible in Carmarthenshire.


Thursday, 25 August 2016

Redhouse Barns, 23rd August

I ran the MV over-night and in the morning recorded 38 species. High-lights were: 2 peach blossom, 1 feathered gothic, 1 poplar hawkmoth, 2 blood-vein, 1 rush veneer, 1 Calamatropha paludella and 1 horse chestnut (1st VC record for Monmouthshire).

Feathered Gothic

Peach Blossom

Horse Chestnut

Horse chestnut caterpillars feed on heather. Its likely this one came in on the southerly winds from south west England.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Cydia amplana at Undy

Keith Jones has just emailed me this photo of a Cydia amplana that he caught this week in Undy.  This is only the second VC35 record of this scarce migrant Tortricid (the Vagrant Piercer) following one that Martin Anthoney caught in August 2005.  Several others have been caught in SW England over the last few days, so Keith's record fits the overall pattern of arrivals on the recent southerly airflow.  Well done Keith!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Marbled Green new for Dingestow

A Marbled Green was pick of the moths at the Dingestow Court MV on 22/8: this was the 380th Macro for Dingestow and appears to be new for the SO40 10km square.  Other Macro highlights of the night included the first Pale Eggar I've caught here since 2007, a Cloaked Minor, and another Orange Swift.

There were as many species of Micro as Macro at the trap: 25 of each.  These included the 2nd Dingestow individual of Eudonia pallida - a pristine moth that shows this species has its own distinct character (I do worry that the increase in claims of E. pallida towards the end of the summer reflects some misrecording of worn Eudonia/Scoparia) - and the migrants Nomophila noctuella, Udea ferrugalis and Plutella xylostella.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Clavigesta purdeyi new for Gwent tops the bill

The first VC35 record of the increasing, Pine-feeding Tortricid Clavigesta purdeyi was highlight of a good haul of moths at Dingestow Court on 17/8.  The warm, overcast conditions were ideal for Micros, and Clavigesta was one of 29 species of Micro recorded.  Another increasing Tortricid, Crocidosema plebejana was another exciting catch: new for Dingestow and the 4th county record.

Winds seem to have come from nearby Maple trees, as both Small Yellow Wave and 3 Maple Pugs appeared.  The latter accompanied by an equally tiny Haworth's Pug.  Other notables among 42 species of Macro were 1 Least Yellow Underwing, 2 Phoenix, 1 Bloodvein and 1 Svensson's Copper Underwing.  4 nights of trapping - with better numbers each night as the weather has improved - have left me hoping for a wet night and a chance to sleep.

Maple Pug with a chequered border, yellowish tones, a slight discal spot, and an angled fascia
vs Haworth's Pug with very plain, rather greyish wings, no discal spot, a rounded fascia and an orange abdomen base



Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Warm days but chilly nights

The drab moths of autumn have emerged: Square-spot Rustic, Flounced Rustic, Six-striped Rustic and Small Square-spot coloured the Dingestow catch brown on 15/8, although a Gold-spot (5th Dingestow record), 2 Orange Swift and a Tawny-barred Angle brightened things up a little.

Micros were almost as abundant as Macros in the catch, with 18 spp of Micro and 22 spp of Macro at MV.  Crambids dominated, and it took a bit of searching through 35+ Agriphila tristella to find anything else, but I did notice 8 A. straminella, 1 Catoptria falsella and my first Agriphila geniculea of the year.  5 sad little Acentria ephemerella were fluttering pathetically on the sheet as well.

14/8 was hopelessly cold: just 14 species came to MV.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Keep looking for those Micros

It's worth tapping trees this month for 2nd generation Phyllonorycter and other Micros.  Most trees I swept this afternoon produced at least one Phyllo, and the Alders held 10s of Argyresthia goedartella as well.  Highlights of a walk around Dingestow Court Lake were 3 Bohemania quadrimaculella from Alder, a Phyllonorycter stettinensis mine on Alder, 1 Bucculatrix ulmella and 1 Caloptilia robustella from Oak, and another host Oak for Yellow-legged Clearwing with 1 exuvia found.  Supporting cast included many Phyllonorycter harrisella from Oak and P. rajella from Alder, and several Cameraria ohridella from Horse Chestnut.  A Mompha langiella from a twiggy Oak trunk is the 3rd time this year I have beaten this scarce Enchanters Nightshade-feeding Micro from Oak at Dingestow...

Bohemannia quadrimaculella - a relatively large member of the Nepticulidae

Bucculatrix ulmella - an obscurely-marked Oak feeder

Caloptilia robustella - a clean-cut costal blotch, no tornal spot, and non-contrasting tegulae all suggest this species

A Yellow-legged Clearwing exuvia

A Phyllonorycter stettinensis mine (with exuvia) on Alder
nb upperside mine (others on Alder are underside) and crease along mine 

Haisbro Avenue, Newport, 13th August

We ran the MV over-night and recorded just 18 species. High-lights were a Magpie and a Coxcomb Prominent. I used to trap this species regularly, but I hadn't seen one for many years.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

6th August

Near Shirenewton

A threat of rain loomed this Saturday evening the 6th August at the chosen site.
It was expected to be patchy, fragmented into the early hours of the following morning.
There was warmish breeze blowing but I had hoped the direction and strength would not provide too much of a problem.
The rain never arrived apart from a few spots but the wind increased to such an extent due the exposure of the site that I had to abandon the trap just before 12 midnight due to equipment getting displaced.

The evening was still productive with 50 moths of 28 species.
Macro highlights were Clouded Magpie, Scorched Carpet, Buff Footman and Black Arches.
Two particular micro's I had never seen before however, stole the show.

Copper Ermel (Roeslerstammia erxlebella) and beautifully marked Gold-base Tubic (Oecophora bractella) dropped in despite the breezy conditions.
Sam Bosanquet described O. bracatella as 'stunning' and I have to agree the more I look at it the better it gets, a very striking, and eye-catching micro with a great colour choice of yellow, black and iridescent blue.
I must admit even the R. erxelebella catches the eye when in the correct light with its shiny copper exterior.

Roeslerstammia erxlebella
Oecophora bractella (above and below)

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

6th August

Took a little trip to Wentwood over the weekend to take a step back from moth trapping to take a leisurely look for some butterflies.

Turned up common species like Speckled Wood, the 'whites' Green-veined, Large and Small, Small Skippers a few tatty Ringlets which were hanging on, plus Meadow Browns, Red Admirals and Painted Lady's.

I found to my surprise a couple of Silver-washed Fritillary's.
These were very 'flighty' and restless landing only briefly for a few seconds at a time, but I did manage to get a couple of pictures.

I also saw a few dragonflies of which I've included in this post. I have no idea what they are but appreciate their beauty and design none the less.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Uskmouth Reedbeds, 6th August

Fiona, Sheila and myself ran an MV on Saturday night from 8.40pm til 10.45pm. We packed up early because we could see heavy rain was heading straight towards us off the estuary. We attracted 8 Southern Wainscot, 7 Twin-spotted Wainscot, 1 Small Rufous, a female Drinker, 5 Ruby Tiger, 3 Brimstone, 3 Shaded Broad-bar,  2 Flame Shoulder and 5 Chilo phragmitella (4 female and 1 male). When I run an actinic here I only ever get male Chilo phragmitella. I had been hoping to catch a Brown-veined Wainscot by using an MV rather than actinic light, but to no avail. We had another Brown-veined Wainscot that night at Haisbro Avenue!

Female Chilo phragmitella

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Late July at Llandevenny


Been meaning to put this post up for some but have been very busy.
Took my moth trapping equipment with me and set up straight after work on the 29th July.
I had promised myself I would try this area during the summer months last year and also to take an opportunity to try out a completely different habitat to what I'm used to.
I was a bit out my comfort zone but thought I would embrace anything that arrived with Wainscot species highly likely on my list.
Agapeta zoegana f. ferrugana

Indeed wainscots arrived on this relatively calm evening in the form of 'Smoky' and a single 'Southern'.
An unusual form of Agapeta zoegana (Knapweed Conch) as Sam mentioned in the previous post turned up here.
Other new and exciting encounters included Coronet, Round-winged Muslin, Double Kidney on the macro front.
Round-winged Muslin
Double Kidney

On the micro front, Cataclysta lemnata (Small China-mark) and  Paraponyx stratioata (Ringed China-mark) were nice to see but the best and most striking micro was thought to have been a Schenobius gigantella (Giant Water Veneer). Kevin Dupe suggested that we had possibly a Donacaula forficella (Pale Water-veneer) instead.
After some further investigative work by Sam Bosanquet it indeed turns out that we have Donacaula forficella.
So, my thanks go to Kevin for bringing this up and to Sam for his time in confirming Kevin's thoughts. Well done both!

Ringed China-mark
Pale Water-veneer (Female)

Even though this wasn't  S. gigantella I'm still extremely pleased to have encountered the Nationally 'Localised' Donacauta forficella for the first time that evening marking a very productive trap.