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Saturday, 6 June 2020

Micro Moth Invasion at Maenol

During this last week or so I have been making frequent checks on the water in my pond, which has reached a critically low level and threatened the lives of the numerous tadpoles, newts and other creatures in it, in spite of being topped up by the contents of several rainwater butts.  The problem has been temporarily solved, thanks to the arrival of rain (and wind!).  However on Thursday, before the wet weather arrived, when making a routine check I was greeted by a large number of small, grey moths swarming around the rushes which grow around the pond - and in numerous other places on the property.  I suspect that they must be a Coleophora species, presumably one of the C. alticolella group of rush-feeders.  I also noticed a grey tortrix (Cnephasia sp.) resting on a stalk

It's no wonder that my moth traps have attracted plenty of these small Coleophorids recently, I'm afraid that they don't get much attention because I can't identify the species.

Friday, 5 June 2020

The difficulties of moth identification

Sometimes you can't see what's right in front of you. Having seen the orange underside of the moth below I spent a while staring at pictures of yellow underwings, until I realised I was barking up the wrong tree.

First Purple Clay of the year. Other firsts included Light Arches and Bright-line Brown-eye.

I spent some time looking at this small geometer (20mm wingspan) until I decided it could be Satin Wave - does anyone have alternative suggestions?
Following an email from Ian I was very interested to see the moth below.
It seems to have features of both Mottled and Willow Beauty. I suspect it's Willow which is common in my garden, but it is quite blotchy and the convergent crosslines which I usually look for seem absent. The hindwing and rearmost crossline aren't scalloped which points to Willow Beauty. The underside of which I was unable to take a decent shot, was quite well marked, unlike Willow Beauty. Always grateful for help!

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

What carpet, or is it a May Highflyer

Second attempt at a post!
I am reasonably sure that this is a May Highflier but having never seen one before am not sure how variable they can be. Am I correct? It is very striking.

Clouded Brindle

First attempt at a post!  Probably a pale Clouded Brindle? Are the markings too distinct for a Clouded bordered brindle? They are definitely sharp.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Last of four nights....

I trapped again last night (1/6) with that night being the last of four consecutive garden trapping sessions. Hoped-for rain is forecast for the early hours of tomorrow morning, giving me an excuse to rest the traps, though I`m sure that tonight would also be a good night to trap, given the nocturnal temperatures.
Once again there was a different variation of the moths constituting the c 40 species noted and I still have a few moths to look at with a fresh mind tomorrow. I`ll just show a very few here:

Above: `a gathering of the clans`: privet, lime, eyed and elephant hawk-moths. Left-click on pic to enlarge. There should have been a poplar hawk-moth in this photo, but it did n`t `play ball` and started to `whir` its wings just before the photo was taken. I did n`t want it to encourage the remainder to do the same, so I allowed it to go its own way (fortunately away from the rest).

Above: from large to (very) little. Two species of Argyresthia, with A. pruniella below (it is associated with cherry trees) and A. trifasciata above (it is a cypress-associate).


Monday, 1 June 2020

Bordered Sallow in Burry Port

Last night produced probably the best trap of the year with good numbers of micros and over 30 species in all. It was great to have four species of Hawkmoth; Privet, Poplar and both elephants. Best of all was a life - Bordered Sallow.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

More warm weather moths...

I left out the garden traps again last night (31/5) for the third consecutive night and, again, there was a different mix of moths with species such as small seraphim, rustic shoulder-knot, red-necked footman, beautiful snout, marbled white-spot, green arches, figure of eighty, miller and beautiful snout all new for the year. There were also a different selection of micros though the total number of species was similar to the previous two nights ie c 35-40 species. Nothing particularly exciting, but a decent variety and worthwhile trapping. As remarked previously, you can get different moths on `runs` of consecutive trapping sessions on warm nights when moths disperse.

                                                           Above: beautiful snout.
                                                               Above: Figure of eighty.
Above: if only all moths were numbered so as to aid identification - the `figure of 80` on the forewing of the figure of eighty.

Several of the moth species will have wandered from the adjacent large woodland block (Stradey Woods) - for example, red-necked footman, beautiful snout and the figure of eighty. The nearest bilberry (the food-plant of beautiful snout) is in a deep `cwm`at the far NW end of the afore-mentioned woodland whilst the figure of eighty probable originates from tall poplars on the nearer side of the woods.