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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Butterflies Galore but Very Few Moths

These two Small Coppers were chasing each other around in my back garden all day yesterday, occasionally alighting on the Sedum flowers to refuel.  Meanwhile the Buddleia flowers at the front were attracting many more butterflies, mostly Small Tortoiseshells and Painted Ladies, and a fair number of Silver Y moths too.  It was no surprise that this species has dominated the catch on the two nights when the traps were out last week: the 47 moths recorded on Wednesday night included 16 of them, and half of the six moths trapped on Friday night were Silver Ys. 13 species in all.

This was the view from my lounge window just after sunset yesterday evening.  I have learned that if the evening sky goes this colour, there's no point in trapping!

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Norway maples....Phyllonorycter joannisi

I had the opportunity for a short episode of leaf-mining this afternoon (10/9), so I deliberately targeted a stand of planted Norway maples alongside the A484 at Penallt, Llanelli.
One tree had an abundance of vacated Phyllonorycter blisters under the leaves which seem to be P. joannisi according to UK Leaf Mines. Apparently this species is rapidly spreading northwards and westwards in the UK.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Autumn beckons...

Autumn (and National Moth Night/s) beckon. Last night, I put out one garden trap with the forlorn hope of catching something of interest; it was under cover as heavy rain was forecast and it duly arrived. There was not too much in the trap this morning, but the moths included some moths that are typical of the early autumn period including the rosy rustic and centre-barred sallow shown below.

I`ve not trapped much recently, due to inclement weather, a busy workload and a week under some sort of cold/flu bug (though I`m certainly now `on the mend`). I have done some intermittent leaf-mining, with several useful records among the more common species - but no special rarities.

Anyway, it`s time to remind everyone that this year`s National Moth Night/s will be over the weekend 26th-28th September, with a main theme concerning the spectacular Clifden nonpareil. Normally I would say that this moth would be rather irrelevant to us here in SW Wales but - very recently - it has been recorded by moth`ers in Ceredigion and, better still, they were able to take some first-class photos. Really well done to our colleagues in vc46 - and it goes without saying that I`m jealous! Have a look at the Ceredigion moth blog link to see the photos.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Convolvulus Hawkmoth at Pembrey

Evan Lynn from Aberystwyth emailed me this photo of a Convolvulus Hawkmoth that his granddaughter Libby Hood found at the Pembrey Country Park campsite on Friday 31st August. I'm glad somebody in Carmarthenshire was looking out 😊 😏!

Monday, 2 September 2019

Hunt the Elephant

It's a new game.  Because Elephant Hawkmoths were particularly common this year, I thought that their larvae might be abundant too.  So far I have tracked down three in the garden and am observing their progress daily.  The 'game' won't be played for much longer though, they look to be almost ready to pupate.

I put a small actinic trap out last night and left the porch lights on and a handful of seasonal moths turned up.  They included two micros, a Rusty-dot Pearl and this rather fine Agonopterix ocellana:

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Brownfield Brown Argus

Late yesterday afternoon I popped over to a small brownfield site at the erstwhile and long-gone Morfa de-tinning Works site, on the southern edge of Llanelli, with the motive to check some poplars for leaf-mines. Most of the foliage was either too high up or inaccessible (across wide drainage `pills`), making that mission a failure.
Whatever, I spotted a female brown argus and was able to have a good look at the underside to i/d it, viewing the disposition of the spots on the forewings which, in this species, are no closer than midway to body. This can be seen in my first photo. I was actually `lined-up` ready to take a decent close-up of the partially closed wings when I realised that my camera was on the wrong function and, in moving my hand ever-so-carefully to change it, `spooked` the butterfly and off it flew!

Baby Sputniks?

Also looking like something from a far-off galaxy are these white structures, found under an oak leaf at WWT Penclacwydd some weeks ago. I noticed them when I was leaf-mining and I`m sure that they are nothing to do with moths, but has anyone any idea or suggestion as to what they are please?
I`ve seen them only once since, on another species of tree (but which tree and where, I cannot remember). They cannot be frequent, as I`ve been looking at a lot of leaves during my leaf-mining activities!
Postscript: Thanks to Sam putting me on the right track, I now believe that they are the eggs of the spider Paidiscura pallens.