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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

`Nothing ventured, nothing gained` - Mynydd Du, 2nd September 2013

A site that I have trapped at in the recent past is Palycwrt (SN678182), an enclosed block of limestone grassland and `ffridd` at the north-west corner of Mynydd Du. It has proved profitable with interesting moths such as northern rustic, striped twin-spot carpet, annulet, confused, anomalous, muslin footman, glaucous shears and dark brocade, all taking up temporary residence in my `mobile actinics`.
I also wanted to target some heathery areas overnight and the most convenient area was above Banc Crucorfod (SN67-16-) on the slopes of Mynydd Isaf, a site that I`d last trapped at in September 2007.
The problem with trapping in this area is the distance from my home, it being a good 3/4hr drive, one-way and excluding the time setting the traps out (at some distance from the parked car) and sorting the catch on site, early the next morning. It`s a bit of a hard marathon, to be honest. The traps were set out at these seperate localities at c 8.00pm last night and I left the house this morning at about 5.30 am in order to collect the traps, return home and go to work! My `long-shot fantasy` was to catch a golden-rod brindle amongst the heather, or perhaps a grey chi, but no luck this time, though good numbers of moths were in both traps.
At Palycwrt (`the pale [ie enclosed land] of Cwrt` [=Cwrt Brynbeirdd, a nearby farm]), the landscape comprises some minor ridges of limestone with scattered hawthorns as can be seen in the photo.
A photo, looking west at Palycwrt, together with one of the actual trap site is given above. This trap held feathered gothics, hedge rustics, small wainscots and antlers, all in decent numbers. Two dark sword grasses were also present; a presumed large ear was also present (see later text).
 Above: two antlers, a hedge rustic and a feathered gothic. Below: hedge rustic close-up.
Below: dark sword-grass
The other trapping site, as mentioned earlier, was on the heathery slopes between Banc Crucorfod and Pyllau`r Fai - a long hill that many birdwatchers ascend to see passage dotterel on the tops at Tair Carn-isaf. The trap was placed in a slight dip, so that it was not visible from the minor road below, and it was full of moths when inspected the next morning.
There were no less than 52 large ear moths present - Jon Baker has previously dissected and therefore determined some of my ear moths from this very site when I trapped here on 13th Sept 2007; interestingly I had 40+ large ears on that occasion too! There were 8 neglected rustics, 11 autumnal rustics, 2 heath rustics (not to be confused with the flame shoulder in the photo below!) and a very late clouded-bordered brindle. An indication of the moth numbers is shown below - all 12+ egg cartons were thickly covered by moths.
Both colour forms of neglected rustic were present (see Jon Baker`s excellent photos of both forms collected here in the Carms Moth & Butterfly Group Newsletter No 11: October 2007). I also caught the following moth in this trap and took the rather poor photo below. It was light grey with a slight bluish tinge and, in my tiredness and haste to get home this morning, I just took a few poor photos (normally I take anything potentially interesting home for careful examination). Is it just a particularly well-marked neglected rustic or something more interesting? I`d welcome comments please. A reddish-brown form of neglected rustic is shown in the following photo.
Not trapping tonight - too tired and the weather is not really suitable (or I`d be tempted!).


  1. Well done Ian. Most impressive!!! I suspect that is just a Neglected Rustic.

  2. Another Morgan Moth Marathon! Well done