Monday, 18 June 2018

Rarities in Abergavenny


We’ve been running a 30W actinic Skinner trap in our Abergavenny garden for just over a year, building up a list of 130, mostly attractive but unremarkable, species. This week, the trap has clearly decided that we've now completed our apprenticeship and it can get on to real mothing.

The first surprise, on Thursday night, didn't actually make it into the trap at all. While sleepily covering the box with a cloth at 5am, I spotted a small pale moth clinging to a grass stem nearby. Rather than leave it to become robin-food I popped it into a pot and into the fridge. When we looked again at a more civilised hour, we realised we had added a Nationally Scarce B to our list: a Mocha. From the current distribution maps, it seems this is the furthest north-west these have been seen in Gwent, so we were very happy.

Then on Monday morning, a battered and worn example of a rather dull brown species was down in the egg-boxes. We looked through the field guide several times, not believing what it was telling us. A tweet confirmed – with many thanks to @mothIDUK – that we now had something seriously exciting: an RDB Silurian! OK, the UK distribution for these is centred on Abergavenny, but they belong 400m higher up, among the bilberries. I can only guess that Sunday night’s wind had blown this one down off the Blorenge.

Fortunately I don’t think "quit while you’re ahead" applies to mothing, so this won't be the trap's last outing.

3 comments:

  1. Great first post Andrew, welcome and keep them coming.

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  2. Very interesting about the Silurian! They only seem to breed upwards of 450m but there have been a few garden records over the years - one-off singletons in Abergavenny (quite a while ago now), Rassau and Pontypool.

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  3. Well done Andrew. The only Silurian I have ever seen was in Sally Brown's trap in SE Abergavenny nearly 20 years ago.

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