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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Urban hummer at Llanelli

I had excellent close-up views, but took absolutely lousy photos of, a hummingbird hawk-moth visiting an urban wildlife garden in a very built-up area close to Llanelli railway station this afternoon (21/7).

                                          Above: it`s that `blur` in the middle of the photo!

I also trapped at home last night, with an acceptable mix of seasonal moths, though there was nothing particularly exciting. Dioryctia simpliciella was a wanderer from adjacent woodland.


Be aware of potentially very profitable mothing weather this week, with hot southerlies starting in the early week period. Get your moth traps ready!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

New moths and id challenges

A warm and cloudy night brought some new species to the trap last night as well as some welcome returners.
A gorgeous Black Arches was  a very welcome return visitor.
A new macro was this Round-winged Muslin - quite an odd little moth.

Another returner was a tiny well marked noctuid, which I believe to be Cloaked Minor. Any ideas?
I was puzzled by this next moth until I understood what the dorsal view was telling me - it's not a torticid!
I believe this is Acrobasis marmorea, new to my trap!

And finally a new Tortix, but which one? I'm pretty sure its Endothenia and leaning towards marginana - what do you think?


Village Party


At the week end, I took a rearing cage containing 13 or 14 species to our  Annual Village Party.
Children and adults alike were fascinated by the Elephants and Poplars, loved the Scarce Silver lines and the tiny Bird Cherry Ermine, but the stars of the show were the Buff tips. I'd found a small piece of wood that was the same size as the moth and played Spot the Moff. Endless requests to hold a moth and I found the best way was to put it on the back of a hand so eager fingers couldn't squash.
Everything was released at dusk and waved away. Very successful and I will try to repeat at the Village Show.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Bountiful Bynea

I had intended this morning to access the saltmarshes between WWT Penclacwydd and Machynys to see what I could find, thinking that I`d also make a quick prior visit to the brownfield habitat behind some industrial premises at the easternmost end of Bynea, at the very south-eastern edge of Carmarthenshire.
Along the informal path that literally skirts the edge of the estuary at Bynea a lot of amenity planting of trees has been undertaken in the past and  having noticed field maples here previously, I made a mental note (which I duly forgot!) to re-visit in the early autumn. Seeing the field maples there today - and thus remembering about their presence!- I started searching for E. louisella leaf-mines but, after about half-a-dozen trees, gave up. Later, I stopped by another tree and there it was...

Above: leaf-mine on a field maple key. You can seen where the egg was laid at the far left of the mine.
Above: Loughor Bridge linking Carmarthenshire and Glamorgan. I was tempted to have a furtive `lurk around` in vc41 but if Barry Stewart, the local Marcher lord, caught me it would mean a long spell in the Glamorgan gulag. The leaves framing this photo are those of the very field maple on which I found louisella.

I also found Caloptilia semifasciata on other field maple leaves. Photo below:

Moving on along the estuary-edge track, I reached the brownfield site, looking parched after the recent dry weather.
            Above: the `Bynea Serengeti`, a mix of dry grassland and birch/willow scrub.
 Above: In the scrubby area was the ubiquitous Lyonetia clerkella on birch; note the really well-segmented larva to the right.
 Above: on apple, also in the scrub area,  this may be Bohemannia pulverosella; the dark bits are frass.
Above: as with the last one, I`m uncertain about this mine - note the distinctive round blotch as well as the broad mine to its left. Suggestions welcome, either on the blog or via email.

Within the willow/birch scrub area, I checked for lunar hornet clearwings, which are known locally in the Bynea-Llwynhendy area, but had no luck. However, when searching the bases of the old willows I became aware of small moths being flushed off the trunks, flying briefly before settling nearby on the same tree.
               Above: the old willows and one of the `small moths` - Batrachedra praeangusta.

Finally, due to the heat and spending more time than anticipated at Bynea, I decided to leave the sunny saltmarshes for a cooler day (or better still, a warm evening) and instead opted for a short inspection of a nearby locality - Morfa Berwig LNR.
Briefly, the highlight here were a couple of adult and large metallic-shining Coleophora trifolii, noted atop tall/ribbed melilot patches. I netted one twice, but both times it escaped.

She`s a big girl...

I did a repeat garden trap last night (15/7) as conditions were remaining warm overnight, and as I have remarked before, a different suite of moths may be caught on consecutive nights. For example, last night there were no water veneers, no male four-spotted footmen but their place was taken by other moths of interest.
The title refers to a female four-spotted footman which occupied the actinic trap in the absence of the opposite sex, whereas the previous night there were four males. You can see from the photo that this `Amazon` of a moth was a substantial individual and quite larger than as indicated in one of the standard field guides:

As with the previous night, there was no shortage of moths in numbers or variety, with various species of interest turning up. I even had my second only (this year) silver y; a very common moth that is currently virtually absent.
I`ll give a small selection of last night`s moths below:

                                                           Above: marbled green.
                       Above: believed to be a slightly worn Acrobasis (= Trachycera) marmorea.
                                       Above: the pine specialist Lozotaenioides formosana.
                 Above: Argolamprotes micella, which has been turning up regularly recently.

Gelechid Confusion

This gelechid was in my actinic trap this morning:


For once I could put a name to it with reasonable confidence - Gelechia sororculella.  The confusion arose when I tried to find the species in Sam's Carms list.  It's supposed to be a common moth, but it didn't seem to be there.  Eventually I reasoned that because it has a non-standard Bradley number (802a) it might have been tagged on at the bottom of the list - and indeed it was.

A moth with similar features turned up in a trap on Sunday night, too, but the features were less clear-cut, and although I feel that it could be the same species I'm less confident about it:


Monday, 15 July 2019

Sunday was good.

Any night that includes a visit by one of these has got to be good:

Oak Eggar

Just one of the 72 species in or around the Robinson MV trap in the "garden" at Cwmllwyd this morning. A first for the year; there were a dozen FFYs in fact - here are a few of the others:

Beautiful Snout

Rosy Footman

Bird-cherry Ermine

Willow Tortrix

And last, but by no means least and a first ever for me, Blomer's Rivulet!