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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

More orange underwings

I went to a local site, at Cencoed-uchaf near Llanelli, to see whether the orange underwings were out. I arrived at c 12.45hrs and left at c 13.00hrs; it was sunny and with a breeze. I saw three individuals - one at c 15+ft, the second at c 20ft and the third quite high at c 30ft, all above young birches. Views were brief -just of the moths flying quickly from tree to tree, with a flight reminiscent of a small butterfly: binoculars help!
I would dearly like to see one on the ground so that it could be caught to take a photograph, but they were all too high up to catch.
In the past, on only a few occasions, one has flown past within `net range`, but they are so fast and easy to miss. I suppose the best chance will be to go to a steep-sided site where they occur -the Pont y Clerc former shale tip NE of Ty Croes, Ammanford (SN617115) comes to mind as the best suggestion. Here, young birches abound and there may be the chance of catching one!
In the absence of an individual to photograph, I offer a picture of the Cencoed-uchaf site as poor compensation. This used to be a marsh fritillary site until the early 1990s - before grazing ceased and it scrubbed over.


  1. I called in at Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park at lunchtime (Wedn) and watched some young birches in the sunshine for 10 minutes. Within a minute something that fits your 'reminiscent of a small butterfly' description appeared over the birches for a few seconds, then was gone before I could get binoculars on to it. I'd put it down as a probable orange u/w. I think this is one of your regular sites for the species, Ian.

  2. Yes, Mat....there`s nothing much else about that it can be at present, and that is absolutely typical behaviour - 99% of the times you only get a transitory view. On good days, with patience and time (and bins!), you can get reasonable views or see the orange of the underwings as they fly past.

  3. I have a site here in Brecknock which is within a mile or so of the Carmarthen border called Llwynfynwent Woods. Its an FE plantation with clearfell carried in 2006 in one part. I carry out weekly surveys here from May-October for the FE. One section has has young birch siimilar to Cefncoed-uchaf but denser. I have monitored these for the last seven years and rarely do I get a good view of the Orange Underwing. Today was one of those days when two came within a few feet, but had disappeared again before the camera was even up to my eye. One of these days!!!!