Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Night & day

Evening walks in the Penyclawdd/Cwmcarvan area (under-recorded for Micros) on 29th & 30th May were followed by MV trapping at Dingestow Court.  Both days/nights were pretty good.

Penyclawdd Wood 29/5 held clouds of Glyphipterix simpliciella and Coleophora caespititiella, but also some more notable species such as Cochylis nana (poor photo, 3rd VC35 record), Ancylis diminutana (photo) and Ectoedemia sphendamni.  Tiny round mines of Incurvaria pectinea (mostly excised but three with dead larvae) were new for the Dingestow area (Micro #509 here).

The MV in Dingestow Court garden produced 70 species on 29/5, with Lime Hawkmoth (photo), Orange Footman, 4 Plutella xylostella, 1 Nomophila noctuella, 1 Deltaornix torquilella and 1 Pseudoswamerdamia combinella among the highlights.  Star species was Anania (Opsibotys) fuscalis (photo) new for Dingestow (Micro #510) - a wanderer because Yellow Rattle doesn't grow here.  The origin of this moth is a bit of a mystery, as there are only 10 previous Gwent records and several of them are from good migrant/wanderer years.

An evening walk at GWT's Croes Robert Wood on 30/5 was a bit slow from a micro standpoint because there is little low foliage for tapping.  A couple of Eulia ministrana and the county's third record of Grapholita tenebrosana (photo) were the highlights, but all 13 species I found were new for this nearly blank tetrad.  I then headed to the relatively well-recorded Trellech Hill Quarry, where 8 Micros were new for the site, with Ancylis uncella (photo) the most noteworthy (4th county record).

The Dingestow Court MV was quieter on 30/5, with 50 species.  A May Highflyer (photo) was the star Macro, with 3 Nematopogon metaxella (photo) and a Coleophora mayrella being the best Micros.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Pancalia new for the county

The beautiful orange, black and silver micro Pancalia schwartzella was a surprise county first during an afternoon walk along The Tumble tramroad near Abergavenny yesterday.  Its relative, P. leuwenhoekella has 7 Gwent records from the south-east of the county; this one has a more northern British distribution and lacks white antennal rings.
The walk was pretty productive despite limited time and two children to entertain.  I also swept Ancylis myrtillana (photo) and Pleurota bicostella (photo; 2nd county record) from heathy areas, and netted a Pammene rhediella (photo; 6th county record) over Hawthorn.  Two Micropterix aureatella beaten from Hawthorn were new for western Gwent (bizarrely for a species that is often associated with Bilberry), and a Pyrausta cingulata was the first record from this site for 18 years.  It is now absolute peak season for diurnal Micro hunting, so please go out looking!!!!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Web surprise

On the drive to Hendre Woods yesterday, to look for Drab Looper, I nearly crashed the car when I saw a huge web in a laneside hawthorn hedge. 'Surely Small Eggar' I thought, and sure enough it proved to be. Martin tells me this is the first county record north of Caerleon, except for an adult record from Neil Horton's garden many years ago.

A few yards further along the same hedge, a spindle had been thoroughly webbed by the Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella.

I saw 3 Drab Looper at Hendre, which was a relief after drawing a blank there in 2016.

Monday, 22 May 2017


Mother Shipton & Small Yellow Underwing from rough ground next to work this morning. Both lifers so pleased to find them.

Filling the gaps - ST2289

I had a look yesterday at ST2289 Fwrwm near Machen.  This is a 1x1 km square that has no butterfly or macro moth species recorded.  The habitat was very good sitting alongside the limestone quarry with old grazed pasture and some small copses of mixed deciduous woodland.  There were no spectacular finds but a respectable 7 butterfly species and 2 day flying moths - the best being Mother Shipton.  It was good to have tried somewhere new and now plan on looking at some other "0" species squares - there are a surprising number across the VC .   Have a look at the page "Help fill the gaps initiative" for details of a square near you!

Species recorded: Speckled Wood; Orange Tip x2; Green-veined White x10; Large White; Common Blue x6; Small Copper; Small Tortoiseshell and, the macros Mother Shipton x4, Brown Silver Line.  There was also Crambus pratella.

Sunday, 21 May 2017


Ran the 125w MV at home on the 18th. 45 moths of 21 species topped by this Ash Pug Eupithecia innotata f. fraxinata

Martin tells me it is a 1st record for Gwent.

Friday, 12 May 2017

30th April

Chepstow Town (south)

Went out food shopping this morning. Nothing surprising about that, a normal weeks routine you say and quite right, but things are just not that simple as that.
I'm not sure about anybody else out there but I tend to take my camera with me the majority of the time in case you might see something.
It proved a good idea today for just as I was coming out of the store perched on the floor was a Lime Hawk-moth.
I immediately went back to car and got a moth pot and rescued it from potential trampling feet because it was near the exit door.
It had obviously got attracted to the overnight store lights. Maybe upon the store opening up it had been on the main door and got displaced onto the ground and remained there ever since.

Lime Hawk-moth

It is a nationally common moth supposedly but I'm finding it quite elusive even though I'm surrounded by suitable habitat for it, just two sightings in the last few years.
Would be interested in finding out if many of you moth'ers out there see them often?

Waiting for control tower to OK take off
27th April

Broad Meend, Cleddon
- always expect the unexpected

An early morning look for Birch leaf mines was productive producing three different Eriocrania micros at the site including E. Semipurpurella (Early Purple), E.sangii (Large Birch Purple) and E. cicatricella (Washed Purple). This was to aid and boost records for the Eriocrania micro species from Sam's earlier post.

After photographing the leaf mines my hands were tingling for it had been a chilly night on the heath with a possible touch of ground frost, however the early morning sunshine was very quickly warming up the bracken and bare ground and out popped a few Common Heath moths from there protective hideouts.

Encouraged by this sightings I began rummaging around for more leaf mines and disturbed a micro. A tricky customer this one for I had to chase this one down a couple of times to get a few photographs but it all was worth it in the end.
Sam Bosanquet confirmed it as Ancylis uncella (Bridge Roller), a seemingly rarely seen micro in Gwent Vice county. I believe he was the only person to have seen it up until now. His sightings occurred some 18 years ago in 1999, so a considerable gap indeed, but it's 'great to know it is still in the county' he said.

 Bridge Roller- Ancylis uncella on Birch leaf

Thursday, 11 May 2017

In Gwent this week...

I spent a couple of sunny days in VC35 carrying out surveys for Drab Looper, among other things, on Monday and Tuesday.

At Slade Wood on Monday I failed to find any Drab Loopers, but I did find 5 larvae of Barred Tooth-striped on privet in the quarry area. This is the same area where the larvae were found last year, and again I couldn't find any in the eastern part of the wood despite abundant privet.

In the afternoon I visited CADW's Llanmelin Hillfort and was impressed by the number of Drab Looper flying - I counted 18 in 23 minutes. This is more than were seen at any of the Welsh sites in 2016, and it is still early in the season. There were many micro-moths flying at the site including Micropterix tunbergella (also seen at Slade Wood), Cauchas rufimitrella and the tiny plume Adaina microdactyla.

There was also a vacated mine of the scarce Eriocrania chrysolepidella on hazel.

On Tuesday I joined Martin and Roger at MoD Caerwent for a few hours. We saw several Drab Looper and good numbers of Grizzled and Dingy Skipper, as well as Pyrausta nigrata at its only known site in the county.

George (Butterfly Conservation Wales)

Saturday, 6 May 2017

News: Macro-moth Atlas and Bee Friendly Newport

Macro-moth Atlas - Butterfly Conservation plans to publish a macro-moth atlas in 2018 and has launched a sponsorship scheme to raise money for the publication. Martin has reserved sponsorship of Silurian, Scarce Hook-tip, Small Ranunculus, Scarlet Tiger, Red Sword-grass and Grey Chi for MMBG to gain some publicity for the MMBG and dedicate species to Rod Morris and Bill Jones who sadly passed away in the past few months. If anyone wants to sponsor species, information is available at

Bee Friendly Newport - a new project is being launched to make Newport the first official ‘Bee Friendly’ city in Wales with a launch event on Tuesday 16th May at 7.30p.m at The Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport.

In September 2016 the Welsh Government launched a new nationwide scheme for towns, communities, schools, businesses, universities, public bodies and places of worship to encourage action around pollinators under the title Bee Friendly / Caru Gwenyn ( ). The scheme asks participating groups to complete “tasks” under the headings of habitat, forage, pesticides and community involvement.   We would like to make Newport the first city in Wales to achieve this accreditation as an official 'Bee Friendly' city, so we are starting this new project with a special launch event involving a talk and free film showing.

If you would like to get involved with Bee Friendly Newport please do join us on

Tuesday 16th May
The Riverfront
NP20 1HG

Doors open 7.00 p.m
Film starts 7.30 p.m

For more information contact:
Suzannah Evans