Thursday, 1 June 2017

A visit to Caerwent

I have never been to Slade Woods and have never seen its special micros - Anania funebris, Ethmia dodecea and Eucosma aspidiscana - anywhere.  After a day working at the computer I thought it was time to correct these omissions and headed down to this significant moth hotspot.  Now I have been to Slade Woods, but I still haven't seen any of its special micros!  Luckily there were other things to see, especially in the quarry - Pancalia leuwenhoekella (photo, with white antenna bands to contrast with the other day's P. schwartzella), Heliozela hammoniella around birches, the brightly coloured Tortricid Lobesia reliquana (photo), Olindia schumacheriana and best of all Elachista gangabella (photo) new for Monmouthshire.  The Elachista was swept from a ride verge, but sweeping was otherwise rather unproductive and the majority of the micros that I encountered were netted in flight.

After Slade Woods I tried Brockwells Meadows SSSI, but this was very disappointing, with no real highlights in half an hour.  The same was true at New Grove Meadows last year, and I wonder whether haymeadow management might be good for flowers but bad for moths.  Luckily the day ended well, as I found a footpath along the top of Caerwent Quarry (ST472896), where Homoeosoma sinuella, Dichrorampha aeratana (male gen det, 4th Gwent record) and Endothenia ustulana (photo, new for Gwent) were netted in flight, and an Isotrichas rectifasciana (photo, new for Gwent) was spotted on a Hazel leaf.  The path edges with Marjoram and other flowers look perfect for diurnal Micro recording, and this site definitely needs more visits.

There are still loads of Micros that have been recorded in adjacent counties but not in VC35, and diurnal searching is an enjoyable way to find new things.


  1. Wow, some great records there! I've not seen any of those NVCRs.

    I hadn't realised Anania was known from Slade Wood...presumably a long time ago. There is so much golden-rod there I'm surprised I've not seen it on my many visits to the site.

  2. PS I've seen the Pancalia in the quarry a couple of times.

  3. I nearly listed the Pancalia as a speciality, but I've seen it before at Caerwent and I suspect it's elsewhere on the south-eastern limestone. Having said that, there is precious little good open habitat remaining on the limestone, and my meadows experience isn't a good one. I'm sure that more diurnal recording at Caerwent would produce a tonne of new Micros.

    The Anania record is an old one; I'd love to see one some time, but hope I'll find my own.


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