Monday, 31 July 2017

24th July

Chepstow Town- central.

Went for an early morning stroll in the town around 7.30 GMT today.
Nice and quiet not many people around and found this beauty, a Garden Tiger perched upon a window sill looking very fresh.
This moth can be found around urban habitats apparently, as in the case of this one.
The plants it feeds on include herbs, nettles, Docks and Burdocks which are often found throughout the countryside so maybe it should be found frequently elsewhere.
It is supposed to be classified common throughout the UK in my moth book but I find that hard to believe. It is now a moth of concern however and this probably is more of a realistic situation because many vice counties are reporting drastic declines in moth numbers in recent years.

As always if you don't trap in the correct places at the right time you can miss anything but I have trapped in various places at different times but not seen it. It flies late into the night so this could be a reason to have missed it possibly.

Its taken me 4 years to the day to have seen an adult once again. I'm extremely pleased to have encountered it once again because its a beautifully marked moth both on the fore and hind wings.
Hopefully Kevin Dupe will remember four years ago when I came down to Newport Wetlands to see what he had trapped in the reed beds and he picked up an egg box to reveal a lovely Garden Tiger. I managed to take some really nice pictures then and I ended up taking plenty of pictures once again because its so photogenic. A beautiful moth indeed and a pleasure to photograph.
Hopefully it will not take so long to see another one in the future!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

14th July

Chepstow Park Wood, near Devauden

A breeze was blowing here this evening from the south-west. It was from a mild direction though and was not to last dying down as the evening progressed.
I did not expect much at this site I had chosen but was optimistic none the less because you just do not know until you try.
A bit of an unknown site as I said but pleased to encounter a good 49 species from 86 moths.
Many varieties of moth, most of which were common nationally. A few moths shone out amongst the crowd including an unexpected Black Arches (2), and Buff Footman (3). Rosy Footman did best if we did not included grass micros with 7 in total.

Micros were in reasonable numbers but mainly in singles.
The four photographs I've included in this post were all new encounters to me and I particularly like the close up I obtained of Ysolopha nemorella, hope you agree!

 Brown-barred Tortrix (Epagoge grotiana)
 Larch-bud Moth (Spilonota laricana)
 Rush Marble (Bactra lancealana)
Hooked Smudge (Ypsolopha nemorella)

9th July

Fryth Wood, Howick

A belated post due to computer issues and a backlog of paperwork.
A trip to one of the local woods near me was very productive with 120 moths containing 51 species over the course of approximately two and three quarter hours.

15 nationally 'localised' species of moth turned up with one 'Scarce B'.
Of the macros Blomer's Rivulet, Coronet, Black Arches, Rosy Footman, a nice addition Satin Lutestring, Clouded Magpie, Scorched Carpet, Clay Triple-lines, an eye-catching Scallop Shell (pictured above) plus a surprise Small Emerald (pictured below).

If fact 4 types of 'Emerald' were here that night. Small Emerald, Common Emerald, Light Emerald and a trap-shy Large Emerald which kept flirting around the light-trap.

Micro's were equalling interesting, in fact even more so, with some new additions to me.
I've featured some here below with names underneath.

 Cochlis roseana (Rosy Conch)
 Aethes rubigana (Burdock Conch)
 Yponomeuta sedella (Grey Ermine)
Yponomeuta cagnagella (Spindle Ermine)
Eana incanana (Bluebell Shade)
Morophaga choragella (Large Clothes Moth)

All six micros above I've never seen before apart from Bluebell Shade. The micro also resides in a wood nearby but appears to be seemingly quite rare considering the amount of woods I've been in so far. It could be possibly I've just missed it.

The last featured micro Morophaga choragella is certainly a bit of a rarity.
Sam Bosaquet said 'he had never seen it' which is a surprise in itself. He went on to say that it had been seen only twice in the county, 1979 and 2006.  
When I saw it under torchlight that evening it appeared to be in its latter part of its life with what looked like broken scales, faded colours. Never the less it looked windswept and interesting so I had to take it back to get a closer look. My moth book describes it as 'dirty whitish', 'sandy brown' and indeed that is just how it is under daylight. The moth feeds on Bracket fungi of which there must be a few places in this wood where it grows.


Friday, 28 July 2017

Black Mountains Micros

Monmouthshire's northernmost hectads - SO22 and SO23 - are woefully under-recorded for Micros.  SO22 had 49 recorded species and SO23 had just 4 (although only a small part of the hectad is in VC35).  After a day's work in Radnorshire I returned home via the Llanthony Valley, and stopped at three places to beat the hedges for Micros.  The first, near Capel-y-ffin, produced 13 species of Micro, all new for SO23 but all mundane.  The second, north of Llanthony, also held 14, with 12 new for SO22 and 4 Caryocolum blandella (new for Monmouthshire) disturbed from the hedge bank.  The third, in forestry south of Llanthony, produced 22 species including 8 additions for SO22; the distinctive orange Zelleria hepariella was pick of the bunch there.

There are still a lot of under-recorded hectads, especially towards the edges of the Vice-county, and diurnal micro recording can add a lot to these totals even if trapping is impractical.  Micro totals in two formats follow:

SO10 93 ST18 16
SO11 29 ST19 158
SO20 101 ST27 55
SO21 151 ST28 241
SO22 49 ST29 166
SO23 4 ST38 188
SO30 304 ST39 174
SO31 89 ST48 310
SO32 61 ST49 175
SO40 528 ST58 30
SO41 291 ST59 356
SO42 39
SO50 398
SO51 275


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Penyclawdd Wood revisited

I spent a lot of time mothing in Penyclawdd Wood in the early 2000s but haven't been there much at night recently.  A torch-lit check of the former Glow-worm colony (seemingly now gone) produced a reasonable range of moths, with good numbers nectaring on Hemp Agrimony flowers (eg 30+ Small Fan-footed Wave, 20+ Dingy Footman, 10+ Rustic, 10+ Common Rustic sp and various micros).  It was pleasing to find that a number of Micros associated with Fleabane and Hemp Agrimony are still present in the wood's main ride, including the Cochylid Phtheochroa inopiana, the Gelechid Apodia bifractella and the plumes Oidaematophorus lithodactyla and Adaina microdactylaBlastobasis lacticolella were commonplace, and I netted 6 Bordered Beauty, a couple of Devon Carpet and a Treble-bar.  36 species in total, all with torch & net.

The lid of the tube is the same size - Adaina is barely half the width of the tube whereas Oedaematophorus is full width!
Phtheochroa inopiana - plain for a Cochylid but quite large

Prochoreutis sehestediana new for VC35

A quick stop on the NW slopes of the Blorenge on the afternoon of 25th July produced 9 species of Micro in rather blustery conditions.  Undoubted highlight were 2 Prochoreutis sehestediana (the white speckling mid-wing reaches almost to the costa) swept from a flower-rich flush that held some Lesser Skull-cap.  There are 5 Monmouthshire records of its cousin P. myllerana.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Small Ranunculus reaches Abergavenny

I have had my eye on the increasingly large colony of Prickly Lettuce in the Llanfoist/Abergavenny area for the last couple of years, and eventually I found time to stop for a Small Ranunculus search.  After about 10 minutes I found the distinctive larvae feeding on the upper flower buds - 10+ in all, on 2 of the 30+ plants I checked.  I remember finding them in Newport XX years ago, shortly after Roger James caught the imago and re-established this species as a Welsh resident, and the species has slowly spread along the SE Wales coast.  Abergavenny is a significant inland step for this increasing moth; now I need to check the scattered Prickly Lettuce plants in Monmouth...

The Lettuces also held a couple of small, pallid, grub-like larvae that might be identifiable.  Mines of Chrysoesthia sexgutella were on Goosefoot nearby.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

7th July

Least Carpet established here?

Its amazing what you can find when you go for a wander into Chepstow town for shopping or a simple leisurely stroll.
This year I already have seen Fern, Mocha, Scorched Carpet, Treble-brown Spot, Sycamore and Scarlet Tiger amongst others in the town.
Today the 7th July I was finding a few moths about once more in the heart of the town.
On this stroll my wife and I decided we would take a look at the river before heading back.
I always am on the look out for moths and low and behold below a strip-light for a public house sign was a tiny moth. It was difficult to see but I immediately knew it was important with the darker markings towards the top forewings. Excitement swept over me when after taking several pictures Least Carpet came into larger view on my camera.
I knew it was possibly around after visiting the Norfolk Moth site that week when they had a sighting, but really had not expected this.

My wife said that we needed provisions so we diverted our course to Tesco's.
On our way we took the subway just off Nelson Street to avoid traffic. I always look in here and immediately to my left yet another shock awaited me in the form of another Least Carpet which was perched on the paint work. A great opportunity to get a close up.

Martin Anthony found one in 1991 I believe and I did see one in the town three years ago in 2014.
Finding 2 in one day seems absolutely incredible given previous sightings of years apart and of just singles.
It is classified as local nationally but in Vice county 35 it surely is 'red data book rare' at present until maybe we can conjure up more sightings.
To put it in perspective; You are more likely to find Scarce Hook-tip than Least Carpet in the county.
It may be bold of me but perhaps it is indeed established here at Chepstow or immediate vicinity with this additional sighting.



Now i have invested in a generator i took a set of tubes out mobile mothing on 21.7.17. It had been windy and rain for most of the day but a weather window from 2100 was on the cards. Sure enough the wind dropped off to nothing and it stopped raining.

I set up 4 x 30w actinic tubes on a sheet put over a picnic table in a woodland clearing with a friend who has just started to get into moths. 200 moths of 30 species dropped onto the sheet by 0200.

I have never seen so many Black Arches before, 30 male & 1 female covered the sheet. Other highlights and nfy moths were:- Blomer's Rivulet, Purple Thorn, Large Emerald, Mocha, Evergestis pallidata & Coxcomb Prominent.

Friday, 21 July 2017

June 2017

Scarce Hook-tip findings in V35.

The opportunity of finding Scarce Hook-tip is more than likely over for another season, especially so as there seems to be a theme of early emergences this year.
Indeed this appears possibly to be case when I checked over four sites this year for this moth.
One site remained unchanged but if we took in to consideration the other three then some supporting evidence emerges.
The only small issue arises where the dates I checked/found these sites differs slightly. In 2016 it spanned June 22nd- July 11th, and this year 2017 dates spanned June 13th-22nd although this could be argued in itself as evidence. The time remaining on each site was about the same for each year. 
I've come up with some figures based on both this year and last year just to compare for interest.

Total numbers recorded at four sites.

Site 1. 2016- 8. 2017- 12.
Site 2. 2016- 4. 2017- 17.
Site 3. 2016- 1. 2017- 6.
Site 4. 2016- 1. 2017- 1.

It could argued there are improved numbers, that the moth is becoming more established and looking at the totals there is a suggestion of this, however it could be simply a case that my timing at these sites this year was more in tune to their emergence, who knows.
One thing that surely is of importance here for this Red Data Book moth is that there are greater numbers at these sites than was originally thought apart from one.
Site 4 is a little strange in that Scarce Hook-tip is present, but at low density.
I personally don't believe this a correct representative figure and there are a few more individuals but still at low numbers. Lime trees were removed from this site this year (possibly by persons unbeknown as to their importance) but hopefully it should not affect it overall.   

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Lundy Moth'ing

I spent 3 nights on Lundy Island between 15th and 18th July, and recorded a few moths at the lights of our accommodation in the St John's Valley.  Highlights were the Gelechid Nothris congressariella, which is a specialist of Lundy and Scilly because of the restricted range of its foodplant Balm-leaved Figwort, a Mullein Wave, and the cognata form of Tawny Speckled Pug (which really threw me!).  Supporting case included a Ling Pug, lots of Brussels Lace (presumably the two Gwent records originate from the north Devon/Somerset coast), a resting Hummer, and cases of Luffia ferchaultella on our accommodation wall.  Next time I visit Lundy I'm tempted to take an MV trap...



Eek, a Mouse!

Mouse Moth was pretty common at Dingestow between 1994 and 2006, with 1 or 2 annually, but then it vanished.  It's possible this was because I switched from a Blended MV-Tungsten trap, but I think this was a genuine disappearance.  Anyway, The Mouse is back - one came to MV at Dingestow Court on 18th July 2017.

Supporting cast included an Ear Moth sp., a Gold Spot, September & Canary-shouldered Thorns, and more than 30 species of Micro, including lots of Yponomeuta rorella, a chalk-streaked Crambus selasella, and a couple of Catoptria falsella.