Saturday, 25 February 2017

Maenol Update

BT have finally managed to give me a better broadband signal so I'm posting a photo of a Spring Usher from last Sunday night (one of two):

I've checked all of my past records and can't find a Spring Usher amongst them, so it seems to be a first for me - Sam, perhaps you would kindly confirm this for me in due course.  It's surprising that I haven't seen it before, being a fairly common species by all accounts.

Sadly last week didn't offer much opportunity for trapping here, although one Pale Brindled Beauty came to the porch light yesterday evening.

Monday, 20 February 2017

A short post from Pwll...

A quick, `in between jobs`, post. I had two traps out in the garden last night (19/2) with a limited variety of moths greeting me at first light. The MV had no moths at all, though a nice Acleris cristana outside the trap was compensation.
The actinic fared better, holding a mottled grey, a small quaker and three common quakers; an oak beauty was on an adjacent wall (and, somehow - my window was closed - a dotted border was in my bedroom).
                                                                Above: mottled grey.
                                                  Above: a handsome Acleris cristana.
                                                               Above: small quaker.

The very variable Acleris cristana is associated with blackthorn thickets and, talking of blackthorn, I noticed a blackthorn `look-alike` in flower along the coast road at Machynys, Llanelli this morning. It is cherry plum Prunus cerasifera, which some people mistake for the later flowering blackthorn Prunus spinosa.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

One for the record books

I have trapped for the last five nights in various places about our little wood and garden, and releasing the catch a good distance away, also at a friend`s house up the valley and have had nice catches each night. On 17th I had 2 Oak Beauties, 1 Spring Usher, a Satellite, a Red Chestnut, 2 Chestnuts, 2 Dotted Borders and 3 Pale Brindled Beauties.
One of the PBB was the specimen in the pic, the melanistic, f. monacharia (shown below),
At the time I did n`t realise how unusual this was! It was very lively and did n`t go back to the PBB's normal resting posture. Trapping at home under the porch tonight so more excitement tomorrow!

                        The Satellite, named after the two small satellites either side of the kidney.

I`ll try again tonight...

It`s supposed to be quite a bit warmer tonight (Sunday), so I`ll give it another go with the garden traps. The relative warmth may tempt some more moths out - the warm air is coming across the Atlantic from the West Indies, so would n`t it be absolutely amazing (but, alas, extremely unlikely) if something exotic turns up!
Jane Hand had a satellite and a red chestnut at Rhandirmwyn a couple of nights ago.

                                                  Above: red chestnut. Photo: Jane Hand.

(Quite an) Early Grey

The Cnwc MV produced two more firsts of the year last night - March Moth (which Ian has already seen at Pwll) and Early Grey.  The latter species had only 4 previous February records from Carmarthenshire, and is only beaten by one on 16/2/2007 at St Clear's Rothamstead.  Frustratingly the birds have now re-learned to spot my MV, and there were a few wings around the trap.  Again only 1 moth was actually in the trap, with the rest of the 9 species scattered around.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

(Very) Early Thorn


The Met Office show a southerly airstream at the moment and are talking about a 'heatwave', and the moths are certainly responding after a hopelessly cold start to 2017.  My records here at Cnwc y Llwyn, Brechfa (inland Carmarthenshire SN53) are still of late winter species, whereas Ian (coastal Carmarthenshire SN40) has been catching early spring Quakers.  On 16/2 the Cnwc porch light attracted 15 individuals of 7 species, including my first Mottled Grey and Oak Beauty of the year.  On 17/2 an MV at Cnwc produced 12 individuals of 8 species, with Chestnut and Early Thorn new for 2017.  The Early Thorn is the earliest Carmarthenshire record, beating a St Clear's Rothamstead record from 22/2/2007, and Cnwc & Tyrwaun records from 22/2/2008.
little and large - Oak Beauty and Spring Usher with similar patterns

The other big highlight was a Dytiscus Great Diving Beetle in the trap.  I need to check which of the 6 British species it is when I return to Dingestow, but I hope that top side and underside photos will be enough for a positive ID.


Friday, 17 February 2017

Tortricodes alternella

 An interesting bag this morning.
11 Dotted Borders,  8 Pale Brindled Beauties, 3 Chestnut, 1 early moth and a
 Tortricodes alternella , kindly identified for me by Ian.