Friday, 23 June 2017

Catch-up blog No 4: the last night of trapping...

For the night of Wednesday 21/6, I had decided that it was going to be an easy `home trap` and out went the MV and a mains actinic. The night was cooler than previous nights but a respectable 60+ species were achieved, mostly the `Pwll regulars`.
There were 6 eyed hawk-moths (my highest number), a poplar grey, a dusky brocade and a clouded brindle, the latter being a relatively infrequently caught moth in Carmarthenshire. The similarly-named clouded-bordered brindle is quite frequent.

The cooler and much windier nights now mean a short break from trapping...

Catch-up blog No 3: Woodland and rhos...

Tuesday night (20/6) saw the same three actinics left out at two sites within Stradey Woods, and also at an overgrown `rhos-pasture` another site within the Stradey Estate, just west of Llanelli.
The rhos site, at the entrance to Cencoed-uchaf farm - now with much birch, willow and Scot`s pine invasion - is a shadow of its heyday some 30 years ago when marsh fritillaries could be found there. Here, on Tuesday, some two-dozen species were caught with striped wainscots, a double line, waved carpets, true lover`s-knots and the micro Exoteleia dodecella, the latter an associate of the invasive Scot`s pines.
                                                       Above: Exoteleia dodecella.

The second locality, at the edge of a clear-felled area overlooking Cwmbach hamlet adjoins mature conifers and oak-birch woodland (with other trees also nearby). Here, a richer assemblage of 40-odd species were in or around the actinic trap, with a beautiful snout, clay triple lines, coronets, double line and a grass emerald heading the macro cast and with Eudonia delunella and Piniphila bifasciana being the `best` micros. There are only three previous Carms. records of the latter, the last being in 2005 (presumably one of Jon`s Pembrey Forest records).
                                                              Above: grass emerald.

Above: two of the eight (the most that I`ve ever caught in one trap) clay triple lines, showing variation in striping. It is a beech-feeder as a caterpillar.
                                                       Above: Eudonia delunella.
                                                 Above: Piniphila bifasciana.

The last locality was on a path cutting through mixed woodland where a smaller number of species were noted including a surprise scarlet tiger (not a species that is associated with woodland), clay triple lines (just the one), waved carpet (3) and a small dotted buff.
Above: for all to see in its aposematic flamboyance, the only concession to wetland habitat being a minor rushy brook a few metres away.
                                                           Above: small dotted buff.

Catch-up blog No 2: bog, bilberry and conifers...

On Monday evening (19/6), I took three battery-run actinics to a raised bog site near Pont Abraham, a heavily-damaged peat bog which formed in a topographical depression on the eastern side of a hill. Both the bog and the hill in medieval times formed part of an area put aside for the chase - a hunting `forest` - hence the name `Fforest` given to an adjoining landholding and the nearby village. Remember that `forest` in this context may, or may not, have been wooded.
Enough of landscape history - now the moths. I had originally intended to place two of the traps on the bog but it was such a palaver carrying the trap, battery and other gear though tangled willow/bramble scrub, across ditches and boggy hollows that only one was placed on the bog. The oppressive heat did n`t help either, making exertion really exhausting! The second trap was situated in an easy-to-access nearby clearing within planted woodland of various conifers, with larch predominating in the section overlooking the trap. The third trap was put at its intended site - a pathside oak/birch/sweet chestnut woodland with an understory of bilberry.

                                                 Above: the bog trap as left out for the night.
The bog has yielded some good moths for me in the past - heath and neglected rustics in late summer/early autumn and also the pyralid Pempelia palumbella, a heather-feeder, here at its only county station. On Monday the little actinic did me proud, holding some 45 species all told, though all three traps have some moths yet to be determined. They included striped wainscots, true-lover`s knots, map-winged swifts, northern spinach, Elachista albidella, Argyresthia brockella (a birch feeder - there`s plenty of invasive birches on the bog), Tinea trilotella etc...
Above: striped wainscot. The pink suffusion to the hind part of the wings that George mentioned recently can be clearly seen in this photo.
                                                              Above: true lover`s-knot.
                                                             Above: map-winged swift.
                               Above: Tinea trinotella, an inhabitant (as larvae) of birds` nests.

The `larch clearing` also had 44 species , though a different mix to that on the bog. Barred yellow, beautiful snout, northern spinach, green silver-lines were among the macros, but the micros provided the more interesting moths. Among the latter were a nice haul of the attractive Ptycholomoides aeriferana (10) and half-a-dozen of what may be Spilonota laricina which, if confirmed, will be a NCR for Carmarthenshire. Both are associated with larch.
                                                        Above: the `larch clearing`.
        Above: Ptycholomoides aeriferana, a lovely tortricid, with its metallic golden sheen.
Above: What I think may possibly be Spilonota laricina (see p.49 of `Conifer Moths of the British Isles`).
Above: I`m unsure about this one (I have some candidates) - any suggestions please? Also from the `larch clearing` (note that there are other conifer spp. growing beyond the larches).

The third and last trap had 43 species (again a few awaiting i/d) and here many northern spinach, a scalloped hook-tip, and beautiful snouts were macro highlights, with Nematopogon sp, Eudonia delunella, Zeiraphera ratzburgiana and a solitary putative Spilonota laricina (this site is only about 30m away from the `larch site`. A light green-coloured pug was, on inspection, just a green pug rather than a bilberry pug which Sam has had at the very same site during a past daytime visit.
                            Above: Nematopogon sp. - metaxella due the length of the antennae?
Above: an extra photo, showing a side view. It does seem to have a slight dark spot in the middle of the wing, suggesting metaxella?

All in all, a worthwhile night and boosting records from the underworked SN50. The results were aided by the hot overnight temperatures.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Llansteffan moths

I've trapped quite a bit from early April and not posted much as I've not had a lot of time. Going through things tonight as the weather has changed and I've got more time, I came across an odd one that I trapped on the 24th May. I contacted Sam and he has confirmed a Ruddy Carpet.

A bumper crop of new moths!

When I work my way through the contents of the trap, I always want to find something new.
This morning there were 30+ species, including a few newcomers.
A smart Poplar Grey

A lovely July Highflyer
A finely-marked Miller
Hedya ochroleucana - a moth I had a few days ago but which then flew as I released the shutter!
Pseudogyrotoza conwagana - what a name!
And best of all L-Album Wainscot - which came with a Smoky Wainscot for comparison.

Moths at Saron, Llandysul

I have been trapping regularly but mainly species caught regularly before. Tuesday night was a bumper catch with 91 species of macro and at least 20 species of micro (several flew away before ID'ing). New for me here was a Bordered White (we have a conifer woodland currently under continuous management to deciduous but will leave several conifers) and Grass Emerald.

Having gone through Manley's Sterling et al and the Berkshire Gide  several times I am struggling with these micros so if anyone can help this would be much appreciated. Thanks.

Pembrey Burrows....

A few more moths from the other night to confirm identity please, including a Micro?

Smoky Wainscot, (hindwing smoky grey colour) Bee Moth Aphomia sociella. (just happens to be on p13 of Waring, Townsend and Lewington) and lastly an odd Small Angle Shades?

Thanks, Ian, for pointing out the need to check the hind wing in Wainscot's.