Monday, 27 March 2017

Llandysul - Sunday 26th March

Hello all, this is my first post, so hopefully, after finally sorting out a few teething problems, I can enjoy posting here!

I am situated in the north, on the Carmarthenshire side of the Carmarthenshire/Ceridigion border. I have field and meadow to one side, and  have a rural outlook, with small river just beyond neighbours open ground. The village is rural and is not built up. Oaks and trees made up on my garden list is what you would mainly find in my garden. Garden list:  Clay soil. Oak, Ash, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel, Willow, Honeysuckle, Wild Honeysuckle, Elderflower, Wild Dogrose, Hemp Agrimony, Apple Trees, Rowan Trees, a Silver Birch, Leylandi and Dogwood. My garden is original field and was never laid to lawn, for which I am so thankful. It has, reeds, ferns, rush, clovers, dandelions, dock, sorrel, plantains, knapweeds, cuckoo flower, purple loosestrife, yellow loosestrife - added, sedums - added, red campions, self heal, nettles, and flag Iris - added, at the small pond. There is a row of  pines along one side of our bungalow (not ours). Hopefully, this gives you an idea of my immediate area. I bought my first trap Robinson MV last Oct/Nov, and have trapped all through the Winter, using my garden, which is where I trap. My corner security light has brought me great results and I seem to be using it more than the Robinson at the moment, mainly because as a newbie, I don't want to become inundated with moths and begin to feel overwhelmed by it. Could I please ask.., my first Dotted Border seen this year was on the 16th January 2017, is this an early record for the area please?

Sunday 18 March - First Brindled Pug x 2

Wednesday 22 March - First Grey Shoulder Knot x 1 at zero degrees! nfy, nfg, nfm

Friday 24 March -  (using the Corner Bungalow 100w Light with Pearl/White Lamp cover giving a subdued glow)....... brought my second Water Carpet (the first being 18th March), with the usual Early Greys, Early Thorns, Small Quakers, Hebrew Characters, Oak Beauties, Diurnea Fagellas, Dotted Borders and an Emelina Monodactyla (plume).

Sunday 26 March -  First Streamer, first Early Tooth Stripe, first Double Striped Pug, along with Shoulder stripe, Early Greys, Dotted Borders, Early Thorns, Oak Beauty, Common Quakers, Small Quakers, Hebrew Characters, Clouded Drabs.
Image of first Streamer - Sunday 26 March 

Tonight, Monday 27 March - I do believe I have my first Brindled Beauty, but will have to properly check this!

Thank you

Cwmllwyd 26 March 2017

Almost two thirds of all the moths trapped at Cwmllwyd so far this year were captured last night (Sunday),  including over half of the species seen, as well. Most of these were common spring macromoths that have already been reported on this website several times by other observers, although several were FFYs for Cwmllwyd. There were just three species of micros found: a single Agonopterix heracliana, Caloptilia stigmatella x2, as well as two Diurnea fagella - a species new to me.

Diurnea fagella.

Orange underwing.

Over the weekend, I had an email from Rosemary Royle of Pembrokeshire, asking me to suggest a good site not to far from Cross Hands (which she had to visit) where there was a good chance of seeing an orange underwing. I recommended Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park, Tumble, which was not only close to Cross Hands and had much young birch scrub, but where there also had been a series of sightings in recent years.
Today, I visited the same site, arriving at about 1.00pm or so. I walked a route along the sheltered south-facing plantation edge where much birch of various ages thrives, as well as on several acres up-slope.
Carefully looking as I walked, and searching locations where I`d seen them before, none were to be seen. Returning to the car, I noticed two people looking with binoculars at birch tops and approaching them it transpired it was Rosemary and her husband. I`d assumed that they`d visited a day earlier on Sunday (a better, warmer day).
I told them of my lack of success, advised them further and left to return to the car. Again, even though I was looking carefully, I failed to see any orange underwings. As I approached the end of the birchy wood edge, I remembered that there was one clump of birch trees where I`d had orange underwings on previous occasions after similar lack of success. Well, I did n`t see one there but I did have a sighting just before that location, when one flew quite low down to visit willow flowers (at c 10ft), giving me about 30 seconds` worth of `good views` and enabling me to view the wing colouration against a dark background (often the moth is just a silhouette against a blue sky). It then flew off, at some height (c 20ft) across a wide space to some birch trees upslope.
I quickly returned to Rosemary to tell her about my sighting and left again to go home - I hope that she eventually saw one!

Above: the orange underwing was on the barely-flowering (and hardly discernable in the photo) Salix cinerea on the right-hand edge of the photo.

I also saw a female brimstone butterfly in the garden at Pwll this morning, and a comma and a peacock were seen whilst searching for orange underwings.

An unplanned trapping session...

Given the rather cold and clear nights recently, I have n`t bothered to to trap. Last night (26/3), literally as I was locking up ready to go bed, I noticed a couple of noctuids at the kitchen windows.
They had gone by the time I went out but, seeing the slightly overcast skies, I put out one mains-fed actinic in the garden.
This morning there was a decent haul of moths, comprising 14 species of seasonal macros, with early greys topping the score with a dozen present. Nothing unusual and not a single micro, but worthwhile.
Remember today may be the last chance to check local birch thickets for orange underwings before the weather breaks; I`ll try to visit a local site this afternoon, if I have time and the opportunity.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Brimstone butterflies

Taking a route home from shopping this morning through Stradey Woods (on the western outskirts of Llanelli), I saw two male brimstone butterflies within a short distance of each other, near the corner with Stepney Road, Pwll.
Peacocks have been out for the last couple of days - `Spring has sprung`!
It will also be worth starting to look out for orange underwings (atop young birches) shortly.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Leaf-mines on Luzula

This morning (23/3), Nigel Stringer and I went to Troserch Woods, north of Llangennech in south-east Carms. (a site familiar to Sam who successfully surveyed some steep rock outcrops for bryophytes well over a decade ago). I was hoping to find Elachista regificella which occurs on Luzula sylvatica (greater wood-rush), a plant of steep, ungrazed acidic oakwoods.
We found some leaf-mines but on reaching home and the UK leaf-mines key they did not have the `puckering` of the Elachista concerned.
Carex pendula at the site also had some large leaf-mines which may have been Cerodontha angulata (dipteran) and another dipteran is found on Luzula sylvatica -  Cerondontha luzulae, which may be the best contender. I`m not sure of the status of the latter in Wales. Any comments or corrections will be welcomed - thanks.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Adela cuprella at Penclacwydd

Olivia Pargeter, who is working at WWT Llanelli, photographed this Adela cuprella on 14th March.  There are only 5 previous confirmed Carmarthenshire records, 3 of which come from Pembrey; Penclacwydd is a new site and it's impressive that this moth has been missed by several very active moth'ers who have recorded there before.  Well done Olivia!