Sunday, 24 July 2016

Saturday night moths...

The Pwll garden traps had some interest in them from the night of Saturday 23/7 - a fair mix of the usual July moths, with a sprinkling of `good moths`. The weather forecast was wrong - it was supposed to be light rain at about 9.00pm in the evening and clearing later, but a light drizzle awaited me at about 5.30am this morning, with very many moths trapped upside down on the puddled surface of my flat roof, where I`d placed one trap. Nevertheless, there were moths of interest safely trapped inside this and another trap placed in the garden.
Probably the best moth - I far as I was concerned - was a solitary small chocolate-tip, a very scarce species that I`ve long wanted to catch. Indeed, I`ve unsuccessfully targeted areas of aspen in the past in the hope of catching one. Presumably mine came from areas of tree plantings on the adjacent Millennium Coastal Park which include stands of aspen and where, hopefully, small chocolate-tips have established themselves. Their caterpillars also feed on creeping willow Salix repens, which occurs on the coast and some inland heaths. Perhaps they may be at Steve Clarke`s aspen woodland?

Above: small chocolate-tip. In the lower photo, the moth is `whirring` its wings after release.

Above: I suspect that this is the so-called `dark ash-bud moth` Prays ruficeps, which used to be regarded as a dark form (var. rustica) of P. fraxinella in the past. I seem to recall Sam having it in the last year or two?
         Above: the pyralid Phycitodes binaevella (associated with thistles in open situations).
                    Above: another (male) four-spotted footman popped by again last night.
                       Above: a dark male Chilo phragmitella, from adjacent wetland habitat.

Other moths of minor interest included a FFY black arches, singles of migrant rush veneer and silver y (together on the same egg carton), small rivulets, and bordered beauties.

Moths at Saron, Llandysul

Have been trapping regularly and getting a good quantity of moths of various species typical for time of year. This one I haven't caught here before. I think it is Catoptria margaritella.

Saturday, 23 July 2016


I set the trap at my parents smallholding last night for the first time for a while. The skies cleared so it wasn't as warm as it has been but there was still plenty of moths to keep me occupied. 370(ish) moths of 82(ish) species was my best of the year I think with the trap (and surroundings) dominated by 70+ dingy footmen...

Highlights for me were a couple of dark spectacles (plus a regular for comparison), 11 magpies, brussels lace, oak hook-tip, gold spangle, small rufous, lychnis, bordered beauty, FFY of six-striped rustic and antler and migrants in the shape of a couple of silver Y and a diamond-back.

Other nice moths were chevron, beautiful and plain golden y, prominents in the shape of iron, coxcomb, lesser swallow and pebble, large emeralds are always nice to see as are buff-tip, buff arches and burnished brass...

Micros were in fairly sparse numbers but they were represented by Carcina quercana (which refused to pose for a photo), Evergestis pallidata, Eucosma cana, Agriphila tristella, Chrysoteuchia culmella, Udea prunalis, Udea olivalis, Celypha lacunana, Agapeta hamana, mother-of-pearl and a couple of Cnephasia and Bactra sp. There was also this grotty individual - would anyone like to attempt an id please?? Epinotia?

The only non-moths of interest were one Cixius nervosus and this rather handsome caddisfly which I believe is Athripsodes bilineatus.

A Few Loose Ends

Firstly two from this morning:

I think that the above must be a Double-striped Pug.  Nothing else seems to fit the size & wing pattern, but it doesn't hold its wings flat out like a Pug, rather they are in a semi-raised position.

A tiny moth, front end raised up Gracillariid-fashion, perhaps a Parornix sp., probably P. anglicella?

I posted the one below on 18th July suggesting that it might be a Eucosma sp., but a better photograph suggests that it's Lathronympha strigana.

Finally, can I mark the one below down as Epagoge grotiana?  If so it's poorly named, not at all grotty, quite pretty in fact!

Friday, 22 July 2016

Machynys Micros - part 3

Some more photos from Tuesday (19/7):

Above: Syncopacma sp. I`ve already bumped this one off, as I recall that you need to check the underwing pattern (or similar) to det. it to species
                           Above: Mompha ochracella, associated with greater willowherb.
                            Above: I`m unsure of this one. Is it Cochylidia rupicola perhaps?
                                          Above: another problem specimen. Suggestions?
Above: likewise, which one is this Pammene - populana? I caught this both at Machynys and at my Pwll home trap on Tuesday night. I`ve had it confirmed by Sam from a specimen at the latter site in 2015.
Above: another micro that was about on Tuesday night. It looks like a cork moth Nemapogon cloacella to me.

That`s it for now. As remarked previously, I`ve still got some micros from Machynys to check (or re-check) but I`ll blog if anything interesting turns up.
It looks ok`ish for trapping tonight, but I`ll be having a rest - good luck to anyone who traps.

Machynys Micros - part 2

There is a health warning with the following set of very poor grade, `record shot` photos of micro-moths in glass tubes, probably the worst that you`ll ever see! I`ll try to get some better shots in due course, if time allows. They were all caught at the Machynys brownfield site on 19th July. Some determinations are provisional and they are to be looked at further; also specimens will be kept of some critical ones. By all means correct any spurious suggestions.

Above: one of the metallic green species of Coleophora, perhaps trifolii (it has white upper parts to the eye rim) but - I think (?)- that this species has recently been split, so a specimen is to be retained.
Above: one of the easier ones, the slender Batrachedra praeangusta, caught in the trap set below a white poplar.
              Above: another easy one - Eucosma campoliliana, associated with ragwort.
Above and below: I want to re-check this presumed Elachista. At first glance it appears to be the unlikely E. alpinella, which is associated with sedges (there`s plenty in damp hollows nearby) but I`m quite unsure/doubtful about this. I have several specimens to further check and/or retain.

Above: another photo that won`t make it into one of Chris Manley`s books! It`s Pammene gallicana (which I recorded here last year). This poor photo does, however, show the purply iridescence of this tort - click on pic to enlarge. I caught it twice this week - one in the actinic and the other spotted by a clump of wild carrot.
Part 3 will follow soon, when I`ve sorted out some more terrible photos!

Machynys micros - part 1

Shortly, I`ll be getting together a number of truly terrible `record shot` photos of some of the many micros recorded on the very warm night of Tuesday, 19th July, the delay in blogging being caused by a large backlog of micro-moth specimens to look at.

Above: setting the scene - on the coast at Machynys with the Burry Inlet almost at high tide. The trapping site is on an area of flower-rich `wasteground` behind the shoreline housing.

As noted above, Tuesday was a really successful night for numbers and variety of moths, micros in particular, and the sort of trapping night that seems to be very infrequent these days. The heat meant that the moths were very restless when the traps were opened just after dawn the next morning. One very striking and unmistakable tortricid was new to me when I saw it perched outside the box, but the blighter flew off as I very carefully approached with my camera (my first beautiful hook-tip did exactly the same a few years back).
Consequently, I returned  last night to see if I could recapture one and, fortunately, two were caught. The one shown below was the second, after the first had been safely `potted up`. It is Epiblema foenella, which is associated with stands of mugwort and it is quite  a scarce moth in our county.