Monday, 24 April 2017

Please look for Eriocrania mines

Now is the prime time to look for the mines of Eriocrania micros - a desperately under-recorded genus in Monmouthshire because they fly so early in the year.  As I said a couple of weeks ago, adult Eriocrania are on the wing in April/May and we have had three records of E. salopiella so far (by Nick Felstead and Richard Clarke as well as my ones from Trellech).  The early season means that some species' larvae are already well-grown, and the distinctive grey E. sangii will only be visible for a couple more weeks: please look for this species on your local birches ASAP!  Some other larvae aren't old enough to identify yet, although the E. salopiella have clearly been laying eggs aplenty. 

The following photos were taken at Redding's Inclosure at lunchtime today (24/4).

Eriocrania sangii has uniquely grey larvae.
Eriocrania salopiella starts its mine in the middle of the leaf, whereas most others start on the edge.

Eriocrania cf semipurpurella starts its mine on the edge, but so do a couple of other species;
I need to return when the larvae are older.

I intend to check birches in NE Monmouthshire several times in the next few weeks to bump up the paltry county records for the genus: chrysolepidella 1 record, unimaculella 2, salopiella 1, cicatricella 2, sangii 1 & semipurpurella 3 prior to this season!

Ian Rabjohns has just sent me this characteristically multi-larva mine of E. cicatricella from Penallt.

Whilst looking for Eriocrania on Birch, it's also worth looking for Coleophora cases, although all I ever seem to manage is the common C. serratella.

A quick stop at the Yew Tree Wood, Penyclawdd on my way home produced more E. sangii and E. cf semipurpurella.  The abundant Greater Stitchwort on the verge held an adult Metriotes lutarea, and some larval spinnings of Caryocolum tricolorella.  


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Prominents aplenty

There were good numbers of Prominents among the 85 moths of 21 species that came to the Dingestow Court MV on 21st April - perfect for showing our holiday guests how gorgeous moths are.  Lunar Marbled Brown always used to be uncommon here when I was trapping 15 years ago, but 8 came to the trap last night.  Lesser Swallow Prominent was less abundant than Swallow Prominent, as is usually the case here at Dingestow (but not at my birch-rich Carmarthenshire trapping site).  V-Pug and Oak-tree Pug accompanied 9 Brindled Pugs, and a Least Black Arches allowed me to explain 'bird poo mimicry' to our guests.

Another Bagworm

Whilst looking at lichens on the parkland oaks at Dingestow Court on 17th April I noticed a Psyche casta case.  This species is present in woodland on the Penyclawdd ridge, just south of Dingestow, usually attached to low herbage.  I hadn't found it in the parkland here before.  Luffia ferchaultella is present on about 50% of the parkland oaks here.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Lower Ochrwyth - 12 April

60 moths of 17 species came to MV.  New for year were: Nut-tree Tussock; Lesser Swallow Prominent; Lunar Marbled Brown; Least Black Arches; V-pug; Spruce Carpet and Caloptilia (betulicola?) - photo of latter follows, I would welcome views on species.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Help fill the gaps initiative

In the latest Newsletter, Martin draws attention to those parts of the Vice County where little or no recording has been done of butterflies or macro-moths.  Further details about this, including recording to date at a 1km x 1km level can be found on a new page on this blog.  A link to the page is located on RHS entitled "Help fill the gaps initiative".

Monday, 10 April 2017

Grey Birch early and netting Birch early

14 species of moth to MV at Dingestow Court on 9th April included single Grey Birch and Scorched Carpet.  Both are quite early, and the former is doubly interesting because it's only my 3rd Dingestow record of the species.

Spurred on by the sunny weather I went looking during my lunch break for Eriocrania at Penyclawdd Wood - the birchiest woodland on my home patch.  This was a total failure; goodness knows why.  On my way back from work I stopped at Trellech Hill Quarry for another try, and this time caught at least 5 purple Eriocrania cf sangii (I've got one to gen det) and a couple of golden E. subpurpurella.  This genus flies very early in the year, and is extremely under-recorded in Gwent: if mine is E. sangii then it's the 2nd county record and if it's the other alternative E. semipurpurella then it's the 3rd.  A better option for recording them is to look for leaf mines in April and May, but I forget most years until it's too late - the mines can only be identified if larvae are still present.  This genus is a top target for me in 2017!

Thursday, 6 April 2017


After watching a bat take an Emperor Moth just inches of me being able to pot it from under the works security lights 2 years ago. I decided to have a go with a pheromone lure this year.

Lure arrived this morning and after just 80 mins of it being out on my patio this Emperor Moth was flying around the garden.

I am well chuffed to of had this beauty in my hand but i do also feel a little guilty that i used a pheromone lure.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

3rd April, Gordon Road, Blackwood - ST171966

I put the 20W actinic out and the best night of the year so far with a total of 40 moths of 10 different species - including the first migrants of 2017 - namely Dark Sword-grass and Rush Veneer, also included in the haul was one of the darkest Clouded Drabs I have had, and my second ever Red Chestnut.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Haisbro Avenue, Newport, 31st March

Sheila and I ran the MV and were rewarded with a bumper catch for the time of year -  15 species, including 40 Common Quakers, 3 Brindled Beauty's, 3 Pine Beauties, 1 Twin-spot Quaker, 1 Oak Nycteoline, 1 Early Thorn, 4 Clouded Drab, 5 Hebrew Character.


This very dark form of Epermenia chaerophyllella was fluttering at 19:00 on 1st April in the Dingestow Court garden.  It hibernates as an adult, but only one of the eight previous Gwent records was from spring.  Most of the individuals I've seen have been paler and better-marked, but the bumps on the back are distinctive even on such a dark individual.