Wednesday, 7 December 2016

December moths live up to their name...

Until I saw Steve Clarke`s amazing total of 38 December moths (see his earlier blog), I was pleased with my total of 18 of the same species in my garden traps at Pwll last night (6/12). Normally, I record ones or twos of this moth which many people miss as they do not trap on suitable winter nights.
I was pleased though, with a new macro species for my well-trapped home site -  the two scarce umbers which graced my trap this morning; it is another moth that is missed by non-winter moth`ers.
I was prompted to trap last night by the forecast of strong southerly winds and the hope of migrants. One migrant species did turn up - a solitary rusty-dot pearl and the prediction of continuing southerlies tonight and tomorrow night will make trapping worthwhile. The Met Office`s announcer on the BBC News mentioning `winds from the Azores` certainly whets the appetite and `ups` the `moth potential`, so please do try to trap for the next two nights - similar winds last winter brought rarities (see the late November/December blogs for 2015 in the `resources` section to the right-hand side of the Carmarthenshire moth blog home page). Tonight (Weds) and tomorrow (Thurs) are your best chance - it`ll be too late by the weekend, when the winds turn north-westerly.
My modest totals for last night were: 18 December moths, 1 rusty-dot pearl, 4 feathered thorns, 7 mottled umbers, 1 red-green carpet, 1 satellite (with one deformed wing), and 2 scarce umbers.

                                   Above: what I believe is a scarce umber; two were caught.
Above: a blurry shot of last night`s rusty-dot pearl, resting on the pane of strong glass (ex-refrigerator) that I used to cover my MV bulb.

Llansteffan moths

I don't want to consider Life, the Universe or anything else just my moths....I lead a simple life!
Anyway 4 December moths, magic, and one lonely Feathered Thorn. Although it was raining when I put the trap out, I left it out and was glad I did for meagre catch. It gives me some practice for taking photo's. Maybe someone from the group could give pointers on taking better photo's ready for next year.
Here's my efforts.

Life, the Universe and Everything.

The solution to the conundrum posed by Douglas Adams in his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novels was, famously, 42. And that, somewhat surprisingly, was the number of moths attracted to the MV trap in the alder grove at Cwmllwyd last night. There were only four species; all common things - none of your fancy foreigners up here: singles of Feathered Thorn and Yellow-line Quaker, two Winter Moths and thirty-eight December Moths! I've not seen the like of that before - quite amazing, really. Had you set them out, head to tail, in a straight line, they would have reached from there to here. Wow!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

On the window

Cwmllwyd, 2 December 2016 at about 23:00, a very early Dotted Border (sic), along with two Winter Moths on the kitchen window. There was also one Herald hibernating in the barn today.

21 November 2013

Please see the comments posted below: both moths are now thought to be Scarce Umber.

Please send in your records

Nights are cold and there are very few moths on the wing, so please take the opportunity to get your 2016 Carmarthenshire moth records typed up and sent in for the year.  Big team efforts (and the Blog) have seen the total number of moth records from the county rocketing since 2012, although Jon Baker's outstanding efforts of the early 2000s are sorely missed.

So far, I have had data from Belinda Jackson, Chris Manley, Jane Hand, Mel Jones, Rob Werran, Rosemary Royle, Steve Clarke and Vaughn Matthews, so several of the county's major players are still to send their data in.  I'm ashamed to say my contribution was a paltry 187 records - that's absentee recorders for you...

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Oak Mines

In response to Sam's request to check oaks for mines, I ventured forth today. I found one mine which looks to me like evidence of a Stigmella sp., I don't know which one though, probably very common. I also found two others which may be of just one species and it may not even be a moth! Can anyone help? It would be much appreciated!

 Stigmella sp.?

 Mystery sp.?

The Unlucky Thirteen

As it was quite windless and overcast last night (22/11), I placed my mains actinic on the flat roof at Tyrwaun, Pwll to see what was around, and in the unlikely hope of catching a sprawler (I did n`t catch one).
It was worthwhile though, in terms of helping record the full spectrum of moths that occur in the area, as the total catch was of four, mostly late autumn/winter-time, species.
I had 3 feathered thorns, 1 December moth, 1 winter moth and 15 mottled umbers. Of the latter, 13 were high on the pale-painted house wall and out-of-reach (though clearly visible) unless I hauled a ladder up onto the extension roof. There were 13 moths to be seen at first light but only one left five minutes ago - various tits probably have predated them. They were the `unlucky thirteen`; but two more were safe in the trap, one well-marked, the other less so and they both appear in the photo below.

            Above and clockwise: feathered thorn, December moth and two mottled umbers.

Above: I find that you have to trap late in the season to catch the darkly-handsome December moth.