Friday, 13 July 2018

Night of the Ermines

Once a year, Ermine moths appear in abundance at my MV - last night was that night, with 60+ Yponomeuta evonymella and 40+ Y. rorella, along with a few Y. cagnagella and Y. padella. Moth numbers in general were still high, and there were a few nice species. Highlights were 1 Vine's Rustic - with narrower wings than associated Rustic & Uncertain combined with whiter hindwings - 3 Haworth's Pug, 1 Sallow Kitten, 1 Lesser Yellow-underwing, 1 Small Blood-vein, 1 Dingy Shears and 1 Anania crocealis.

Dingy Footman numbers have been gradually rising over the last 10 days, and are now in the mid 20s (with a couple of the yellow form), although Common Footman (>60) was again the most numerous macro.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sycamore and Yellow-legged Clearwing exuviae


A brief attempt with a Yellow-legged Clearwing lure at Dingestow again failed to produce any adults, although there were four relatively fresh exuviae in one oak trunk.  It's good to know that the colony in our parkland oaks is still producing adults, but I do wish I could actually see one!  Whilst searching I encountered a beautifully camouflaged Sycamore - my 3rd here and 1st since 2007.  Tapping a few oak branches produced several common Micros, plus a gorgeously fresh Acleris literana.



Dingy Shears and Eulamprotes atrella


A Dingy Shears to MV on 10th July 2018 was my first at Dingestow since 2003, whilst a Eulamprotes atrella was my first here since 1999.  Other nice species included the pyralids Pempelia (Rhodophaea) formosa, Euzophera pinguis and Dioryctria abietella, and the pretty tortricids Acleris forsskaleana and Eucosma campoliliana.  Broad-bordered Yellow-underwing and Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow-underwing made their 2018 debuts, with the latter appearing to have rather dark hindwings initially; prodding and poking eventually confirmed it was just a LBBYU rather than a wandering Langmaid's.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Hornet Clearwing at Dingestow

There have been several sightings of Hornet Clearwing reported on Twitter recently, so I thought I'd give it a try at Dingestow. I headed down to a line of mature Poplars before work and checked several trunks without success. Then a 'hornet' flew past me, and I netted it just in case. It was audibly buzzing in the net, which I didn't realise Hornet Clearwings did, but sure enough it was my first ever sighting of this species (and I've never seen Lunar Hornet either). This appears from NBN and the VC35 Macro list to be the first record for Monmouthshire and one of very few from Wales: two from the Neath/Swansea area at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries, and one or two from Flintshire. I was, like the moth, absolutely buzzing!

As well as the clearwing, I beat a few Micros from Alders, with Caloptilia falconipennella being the highlight.


Sunday, 8 July 2018


While checking under the work security lights for moths while out on my teabreaks on the nightshift last night, I recorded 31 species and the star of the night was this Toadflax Brocade.


Ran the 4x30w actinic trap out on the patio for 3hours each night Thu, Fri  & Sat. Potted 600+ moths of 100+ species highlights were Dark Umber, Kent Black Arches & Double Line. Species wise I am just 15 short of this time last year but number wise the counts are a lot lower for a lot of the species.
                                Dark Umber
                            Kent Black Arches

Double Line

More wetland wanderers

I had a feeling of deja vu on the morning of 7th July, when the Dingestow Court MV held single Obscure Wainscot and Blackneck, 9 days after both had appeared new to Dingestow!  Another wetland species - the Pyralid Calamotropha paludella - was the third Dingestow record, following two here in 2006 (another good summer for wanderers/migrants).  The wetland theme was enhanced by 100+ Water Veneer fluttering pathetically on the sheet - I scooped up as many as I could and dumped them in our pond's emergent vegetation, just in case.  Other minor highlights were Tinea trinotella, Phtheochroa inopiana, a well-marked Eudonia delunella, Dark Swordgrass, Cloaked Minor and Scarce Footman.







Saturday, 7 July 2018


“Upland, bilberry and heather” definitely doesn’t describe our garden – we’re at 90m above sea level in Abergavenny. But we’ve now had three moths that belong in that habitat turn up in our trap in just a few weeks. After last month’s Silurian, this week has produced two examples of Northern Spinach: again, well below their normal altitude. The county distribution map shows their presence on the Blorenge, so presumably that's where our two dropped in from.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Platytes alpinella and Bryotropha senectella new for Gwent

The night of 4th July was warm and muggy with a southerly airflow and I couldn't resist trapping for the 4th time this week.  It was worth the early start, with 74 species of Macro and 43 species of Micro to the Dingestow Court MV, including two new Micros for the county.  Star of the show was the Crambid Platytes alpinella (Hook-winged Grass-veneer), which is widely distributed along the south and east coasts of England and occasionally wanders inland.  The one that appeared at Dingestow is the second Welsh record (there's a 2005 record from Nevern in Pembrokeshire on the Mothscount map, although it isn't on NBN), and amazingly Twitter revealed that one turned up in Oxford on the same night.

Slightly less exciting was a Bryotropha that was obviously much too small to be B. terella and which had different markings to B. affinis and B. domestica.  The microscope revealed yellow sides to the head, which is characteristic of B. senectella.  This is a widespread species in England and is scattered (but mostly coastal) in Wales, so its appearance in Monmouthshire is hardly surprising.

Supporting cast included Dingestow's 2nd Marbled Green, 3rd Round-winged Muslin and 3rd Athrips mouffetella.


The ongoing heatwave is producing such excellent moths - I hope that all Gwent moth'ers are trapping as much as possible!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Cloaked Pug trapped in Blackwood - new for VC35

On the morning of Friday 29th June I was going through my very full traps when I noticed a very interesting looking Geometrid in one of the egg boxes. My first impression was that it was barred/mottled Carpet of some sort or a Small Engrailed so I potted it immediately and popped it in the fridge until I had completed emptying the trap.
On getting the moth out of the fridge some head-scratching started as I couldn't find anything similar in the Waring or Manley Guides. Until by chance I started looking at the pages for Pugs, and noticed that my Geometrid had a striking resemblance to a Cloaked Pug - but it was a very large specimen for a Pug (25-30mm wingspan), but Cloaked Pug is that large, but it was way out of it's normal range if it was right.
So I got some photographs of it and sent an email to Martin Anthony and even had him wondering about it since he didn't have a lot of experience with this species, and then yesterday he confirmed, after researching and consulting others that it was indeed a Cloaked Pug - the first one for Gwent, and probably the most unexpected moth that I have trapped to date.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Skew Bridge surprises

The Skew Bridge - where the 'old A40' crosses under the A40 between Dingestow and Coed-y-fedw - has a nice flower-rich verge sporting Wild Basil, Teasel, St John's-worts, Wild Carrot, Cowslips etc. I have caught a couple of species there which have not yet appeared on my Dingestow 'home patch' on the other side of the dual carriageway.  This list grew again today, as a quick stop produced the county's third record of Bucculatrix nigricomella (previous records by Ian at Penallt and Nick at Chepstow).  Also disturbed from the undergrowth was a Batrachedra pinicolella (4th county record, following 2 at Dingestow and 1 in Slade Woods), along with 20 commoner moth species.  A Purple Hairstreak landed low down on some bushes.

Bucculatrix nigricomella has a characteristic spiky black 'punk hairstyle'
Batrachedra pinicolella is thin as a pin, and its swept-back antennae distinguish it from Coleophora species


Good numbers at Dingestow

The warm night of 1st July produced the largest catch of moths I have had at Dingestow since the early 2000s: 400+ individuals of 128 species.  Among the 76 species of Macro were Dingestow's 2nd Double Dart (photo) (last seen here in 2001) and 2nd Round-winged Muslin (added in 2017), along with 10 Leopard Moth, 3 Small Blood-vein (photo), 2 Treble Brown-spot, 2 Small Yellow Wave, 1 Fern and 1 Small Dotted Buff.  Highlights among 52 species of Micro 1 Acleris hastiana (photo) (2nd record), 1 Pammene albuginana (photo) (2nd record), 1 Limnaecia phragmitella (photo) and 1 Batia lunaris (photo).  It is heartening to see significant numbers of common species too: 100+ Heart & Dart, 100+ Chrysoteuchia culmella, 30 Common Footman and plenty of others in double figures.