Friday, 9 November 2018

Thick as a brick...

`Thick as a brick` - me that is, not the moth. The moth shown below came to the kitchen window light yesterday evening (9/11) and when first seen I thought `bordered straw`; it was then placed in the fridge in a rather cloudy plastic container. Noticing that it was small, I even thought `eastern bordered straw` (typically getting carried away!) but - sadly - when I looked more carefully at it later my fantasies were shattered. It was a brick.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Diurnea lipsiella


A Diurnea lipsiella came to the Cnwc-y-llwyn porch light on 3/11 along with November and December Moths.  This is a surprisingly scarce moth in Carmarthenshire, with just 14 records prior to 2018: it was annual at Ty'r Ysgol, Rhandirmwyn between 1980 and 1989 (Jane really should be catching them!), 1 was caught by Stephen Ruttle at Graig in October 2016 and one was caught by me at Cnwc in November 2009.  My 2009 record was rather frustrating, as I photographed it under the porch light and the camera deleted the date so I don't know exactly when I saw it; indeed for several months I didn't know what it was either, and I almost abandoned it as an unidentifiable mystery Tortricid.  Steve Clarke's record from Cwmllwyd in October this year was the 15th for the county, and my one in these photos is the 16th.

A few sparklers on Bonfire Night

A decent catch awaited me this morning after a night when my traps had to compete with a sky lit up by numerous rockets (and many loud bangs) - that is the consequence of living at the edge of a large urban area. Guy Fawkes Night did however yield a few modest (moth) sparklers to brighten up the November gloom. Precisely twenty species were in the two garden traps this morning, the highlight being a cypress carpet. The long-hoped for white-speck failed to turn up again, in spite of warm southerlies, but at least there were two migrants in the traps, albeit just silver y`s.

                         Above: a rushed (and a bit blurry) photo of last night`s cypress carpet.

Cwmllwyd 5 November 2018

Strong and gusty winds during the evening persuaded me to set the trap close to the barn wall at Cwmllwyd last night, but I failed to predict the downpour that occurred an hour or so before dawn. However, very little rain got into the Robinson trap. The wall of the barn itself (which is painted white) attracted several moths and these were unaffected by the stormy conditions. 37 moths of 12 species were found: nothing particularly outstanding and no firsts for the year, but a couple of photos are worth sharing, I think.

 Red Sword-grass - a 5th one was camera shy and did not reveal itself on the barn door until after I had taken the picture.

Mottled Umber.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Northern Winter Moth or not????

I hope I have identified the Northern Winter Moth correctly. It was larger than Winter Moth, much lighter in colour and had the white/grey hind-wings as shown in Townsend and Waring. As always, all help gratefully received.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Warm winds but no migrants

I was hoping last night (2/11) for a bit of `moth luck` in the form of a white-speck but none were to be seen in the garden traps this morning. The winds last night had been consistently warm and southerly - indeed blustery at times - but there was not a single migrant in my two traps.
However, a decent mix of late autumn moths were present including a satellite (photo below) and several red-green carpets; there were all-green forms of the latter but, unfortunately, none were autumn green carpets.


Thursday, 25 October 2018

Marsh Fritillaries rocket in Carms

Marsh Fritillaries have had an exceptional year in Carms, with no less than 71 fields found to be occupied in 2018 for first time for at least 25 years. Particularly strong showings of new fields with larval webs among the various metapopulations were: 16 new fields in Mynydd Mawr (outside of current SPG area); 12 new fields within Mynydd Mawr SPG area; 7 new fields around Harford; 4 new fields in Amman valley and single new fields in Alltwallis, Brechfa, Crwbin, Mid Tywi and Trapp. 

This puts Carmarthenshire firmly on the stronghold status amongst Welsh counties with 106 one km OS grid squares occupied since 2005, with Glamorgan next with 71. Most of the sites were almost certainly "colonisations" into fields with known habitat but found not to be occupied in previous visits.

Other highlights witnessed by our growing band of volunteers included a timed count of 554 Marsh Frits in 90mins walk across 8 fields in Harford back in June. Rob Parry found a massive 189 larval webs, before running out of time,
in a field near Cwmgors which usually only supports between 1 and 20 webs.

We also realised that with no rain to wash away larval webbing, the webs are easily visible throughout July as well as the usual times of August & September. 

In our travels, we also turned up a Forester moth at a smallholding in Harford. 

We obviously hope that much of this "spread" in 2018 will carry over into next year and beyond. We ran out of days to get to every field with known habitat, so we hope to get out again in a targeted way in 2019.