Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Some other (limited) moth news...

The other evening (Sunday 13/8) I paid a short visit to a nice brownfield site at Machynys, Llanelli primarily to search some thickets of broom for particular micro-moths though nothing of interest was found on that plant. Obviously, I also took the opportunity to see what else was about, but the moths were indeed very `thin on the ground`, with the blustery, rather cool weather probably being responsible.
I did spot a plume though, which I think is Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (`beautiful plume`, see below).

Above: part of the Machynys brownfield site, looking c ESE towards the golf course (out of sight) and with tansy, wild parsnip, melilots and knapweeds in the foreground sward, backed by a clump of broom.

                                                 Above: believed to be a beautiful plume.
Above: please forgive this non-moth photo, but there are n`t many moths around! Look at the opulence of fruiting on this sea buckthorn at the Machynys brownfield site.

Returning home yesterday evening from my Llangennech jaunt, the skies were cloudier than forecast so I decided to put out one trap in my Pwll garden. The result this morning was n`t too bad (a fair c.35 species) which included another plume moth, this time the tiny Adaina microdactyla (`hemp agrimony plume`).
                                   Above: named after its food-plant, hemp agrimony plume.

Other moths included a four-spotted footman (a male) and Ypsolopha parenthesella.

                                            Above: last night`s Ypsolopha parenthesella.

It seems ages since I`ve `trapped out`, but this inclement weather is n`t exactly motivational! My `trapping levels` are certainly down for this current period compared to last year and the fantasy that I earlier entertained that 2017 may be a good migrant summer seems to have flopped - with `west is worst` perhaps summing it up. There have been some interesting migrants in SE England, but with just thin scatterings to the west of Britain. But there`s still autumn...

Grub for a grub...

I`m attempting to rear to adulthood some caterpillars of Pexicopa malvella that I collected recently on the saltmarsh at Llangennech (see `Saltmarsh Searching`, Thurs 10th Aug), but for the last couple of days about three of them have been wandering. I was advised by Steve Palmer (who runs the gelechiid recording scheme) that this may be a sign of hunger and that the colloquial `grub` may want some grub (if I may use a `slang` term for food).
So, yesterday evening (Tues 15/8), I returned to Llangennech to collects some fresh seed heads of marsh-mallow. As we all know, the recent weather has not been exactly great for mothing activities, at whatever time of day (or night) and the trip to the saltmarsh yielded little (though I collected the required seed heads) except for some more Eucosma tripoliana in a stand of sea aster.

          Above: the Eucosma tripoliana were netted in the vegetation just to the right of the creek.

                                       Above: an Eucosma tripoliana caught at Llangennech.

I also netted a Phycitodes, which may be either binaevella or maritima (see below):




Above: (top) the `Pexicopa accomodation` with seed-head sustenance and (below) a supply of marsh mallows.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Fluttering and crawling round Ffos Las

The dreadful weather of this summer so far has limited my walks and sightings of butterflies as they, like me, don't much enjoy getting wet. However, here are a couple of sightings from earlier this month on Ffos Las and at home in Trimsaran starting with a truly dreadful mobile phone picture of a large yellow underwing which I disturbed sheltering under my carport on 4th August.


A dingy footman nectaring on ragwort on 5th August. Incidentally, I have seen very few cinnabar larvae on the plentiful ragwort this year and not a single adult moth either.

A painted lady basking on the footpath, 5th August.

My commiseration to Jacqueline for losing her Old Lady in her post of 9th August as I had a similar frustration in not managing to get a photo of the clouded yellow butterfly that I saw on the 5th. It flitted from flower to flower tantalisingly close to me but never settling long enough for me to focus the camera and then it headed off across the scrub land where I couldn't follow.  I didn't see any clouded yellows at all last year but saw several in 2015 so am hoping to see another one this year.

Is this a white ermine larva? It was "running" across the path on 10th August.

All corrections and help gratefully received, as always.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A surprising nectar source...

I spotted this male brimstone feeding at flowers of a potted Pelargonium in the garden at about 1.00pm today (Sunday, 13/8). Pelargonium (`Geranium`) is not a flower that I normally plant to provide nectar for Lepidoptera and other insects but obviously this individual must like it, as he was going from flower to flower, spending a few minutes at each.


I trapped at home last night, catching about 40 species (including several `2nd-brooders`), but no great surprises.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

More Second Generations?

No trap set last night but the porch light attracted a handful of moths (literally, there were 5), including Sharp-angled Peacock and a very pretty Acleris laterana:


I haven't seen S-a P since early July, so assume that this is one of a second generation.

Another second generation moth was in the trap on Monday night:


Small Square-spot?  I thought that the second generation ones were supposed to be smaller than the first.  This one wasn't!

It's turned out to be a handful +1, I've just found another moth on the wall not far from the porch, joining Steve's TSC Brigade.  Only one previous record of it here, in July 2014:


Friday, 11 August 2017

Cwmllwyd 10 August 2017

It was quite a cold night, but dry, so I set the MV trap in the garden. Having posted recently that we only see Twin-spot Carpet once a year at most, another turned up - that's five in the last three sessions. There were only 18 species in the trap this morning (Friday) and nothing too exciting, either, but I hope it's worth appending a few photos:

 A couple from the Ear Moth genus.

Mompha raschkiella - a first for me.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Saltmarsh searching

I had an hour on the saltmarshes at Llangennech this afternoon (10/8) mainly to `recce`for a moth trapping session there when the tides allow. Recent tide times have been at `put out time` and `retrieval time`, making things awkward, particularly as the sub-site where I want to trap is an island at high tides. I want to go there because of the extensive stands of Atriplex and Chenopodium, host plants to various `interesting` moths in season. I must try to `dusk` there too.

Above: the view `up-river`, with Glamorgan hills to the `middle-right` and our Mynydd Du in the distance (in the dip to the right of the telegraph pole - you`ll have to `click on the pic` to enlarge). The foreground has abundant goosefoots and plenty of sea mayweed. I`ve had chamomile shark caterpillars here in the past.

There was little to be seen this afternoon in terms of flying moths - just the odd grass-moth or two, but I did re-examine a small group of Althaea officinalis (marsh mallow) plants.
I`d unsuccessfully searched the seed heads of these only about a fortnight ago, looking for caterpillars of Pexicopia malvella, which is known from this upper saltmarsh flower on the other side of the estuary on the North Gower saltings.
                                                  Above: one of the marsh mallow plants.

To my surprise, I found a caterpillar straight away. Unfortunately I squashed it as I clumsily opened the seed-head but, with more care, I found a few in other seed heads.
                                     Above: believed to be a caterpillar of Pexicopia malvella.