Saturday, 15 December 2018

Divine intervention and good old tomatoes!

2018 was not a classic year for me, with much reduced moth recording and almost zero trapping away from home, all due to the trials and tribulations of moving home. That move has now taken place and whilst - as remarked before - I`m now not likely to get the coastal or wetland moths that I had at Pwll, my new garden site abuts a very extensive area of mixed woodland so it won`t be entirely mothless. There are some other perks too, such as overlooking a slightly distant little egret treetop colony.
I`m certainly hoping to return to much more intensive (and extensive) moth recording in 2019.

A facet of this year`s reduced mothing activity is that I have not made any new vice-county records in 2018 and I have been much impressed by certain other Carmarthenshire moth recorders with their results, albeit with a touch of friendly jealously.

My luck - or was it seasonal divine intervention - changed at the start of this month when I opened a pack of Asda `Extra Special vine-ripened tomatoes`(originating from the Netherlands) in my kitchen and a tiny moth flew out. Fortunately I had a tube in an adjacent cupboard (which I`d just placed there that very day!) and quickly potted it up. I was already aware of a small gelechiid with the almost comically rhyming name of Tuta absoluta, which is an increasing pest of cultivated tomatoes but although it superficially looked like it, dissection was required for it to be confirmed. The latter was kindly undertaken by Steve Palmer, the national recorder for the gelechiid recording scheme who confirmed that it was a male of that species. I have n`t a photo of this small grey moth, so you`ll have to look it up.

So, a new county record at almost the last moment - phew!

A Happy Christmas to all and I hope that you`ll have good mothing for 2019. Remember to send your 2018 records to Sam in an approved format so that we can then prepare the annual summary in time for the 2019 season. I`m hoping to get the newsletter out by the usual time of late March or early April. I actually need to input my own records - I`m running late this year due to the house move and only had my internet and emails set up a few days ago.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

One More Time.

One More Time was a record released by Daft Punk in November 2000. The duo must have had an affinity with late season moth trappers, for last night was very much the last time for 2018 at Cwmllwyd. 18 moths of 5 species visited the MV trap in the alder grove (although 3 of the 6 Winter Moths were on nearby alder trunks). There were 8 December Moths, 2 Mottled Umber, the eleventh Red Sword-grass of 2018 (!) and a Dark Chestnut, shown below:

Wishing all Carms Moth Group members a very merry Christmas and hoping we all have a bumper haul of moths and butterflies in 2019.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Keeping the Blog Alive

Well, only just!  It was damp but mild here on Wednesday night so I put the 22W actinic trap outside the front door.  Five moths came along; 3 Winter Moths and 2 Mottled Umbers; all of them settled outside the trap, none ventured inside.  Not very exciting stuff, but still, it shows that there are some pretty moths around at this time of year:

                                         Mottled Umber Twins

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Another new Marsh Fritillary field in 2018.

Following a "conversation" via Carms Meadows Group blog, we are pleased to confirm another new field with Marsh Fritillary occupation in 2018, this one north-east of Llandovery in a field in SN7936. That makes 72 new fields found to be occupied in Carms in 2018 for first time in last 25 years. We're hoping that the effect of the spread continues into 2019 and well beyond. As we couldn't get to every field of suitable habitat known in 2018, we'll be hoping to run some targeted searches in late May into June 2019. If you're interested in participating, we'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Thursday at Pwll and Stradey (Llanelli)

I put my two garden traps out at Pwll on Thursday 15/11, which is very likely to be the last time I shall be trapping there; another trap was left out at my new `HQ` in the Stradey area on the western outskirts of Llanelli, abutting woodland and - unfortunately - houses.
I did not have any joy in terms of scarcer migrants such as the gem that turned up at Maenol or the out-of-county Palpita vitrealis, caught by Barry Stewart in not too far away Gorseinon.
I did, however, catch a rusty-dot pearl and what I think is a turnip (I don`t have access to my moth i/d books for the next couple of days) and also several silver y`s as migratory representatives.
Other moths of interest were three satellites at Pwll, where my first winter moth of the season was also caught. Additionally, a cypress carpet was caught at both Pwll and Stradey, the latter location being a nice surprise. Ominously, numbers of other moths at the latter site were much lower (eg just one feathered thorn at Stradey compared to 16 at Pwll), and I also suspect that my days of getting `good` wetland and coastal moths at my garden trap site are now over (goodbye cream-bordered green peas etc!). I`ll have to do more away-from-home trapping in 2019.

                              Above: a rather grainy in situ photo of the Pwll cypress carpet.
           Above: one of the three satellites caught at Pwll with the presumed turnip moth.
                                     Above: the single rusty-dot pearl that turned up at Pwll.

Friday at Cwmllwyd.

Not quite as productive as the traps of Jane and Chris (only 20 moths of 8 species), but these included a further four Red Sword-grass, bring the total for the year to ten. The big disappointment has been the absence this year of Autumn Green Carpet, not seen at all, following only one showing here in 2017.

That's Better!

This Gem landed on a window close to my actinic trap last evening.  I could easily have missed it. a rather insignificant little moth, but for the bright discal spots which reflected the light from the trap.  This is the second record for the site, the first being on 14 June last year.

Gem apart it was another lack-lustre return for the trap - only one trap last night, the MV was rested.  A mere 13 moths of 7 species were recorded.