We had a good night, with Chris recording over 80 species and myself about 60...we`ll be liaising shortly to see which species overlap and what the actual final tally was, but I`m sure that we`ve `upped` the species score for SN20! I was impressed with how meticulous and organised Chris was, going back-and fore with his three traps, on or near the eastern end of the shingle ridge. I had three actinics out - one quite high on the acidic boulder scree at the Ragwen Point cliffs, one on more `ordinary` wet grassland, minor marsh and scrub woodland at the rear of the shingle, and the third atop a huge block of breccia-like periglacial `head` deposit itself below the tall limestone cliffs of Gilman Point.
Morfa Bychan (`little saltmarsh`, which once occurred behind the shingle ridge) lies between two headlands - Gilman Point (Carboniferous Limestone) and Ragwen Point (acidic quartzites and grits).
I have trapped on two previous occasions at Morfa Bychan. The first was on 29th June 2009, when I had a lot of scarce or rare Carmarthenshire moths: Devonshire wainscot, l-album wainscot, *toadflax pug, *small blood-vein, beautiful yellow underwing, *thyme pug, marbled coronet, *annulet, mullein wave, Haworth`s pug and the pyralid *Mecyna asinalis.
I also trapped there on 14th August 2009 when, amongst the haul were crescent darts, hoary footmen, *northern rustic and others.
Those marked with an asterisk (*) were also recorded this week, but strangely no marbled coronets or l-album wainscots were seen - perhaps they were `over` in this advanced, warm summer? Photos of some of the species seen follow below:
My usual moth trapping technique is to leave the traps out overnight and return early the next morning (which is what I did on my previous visits to this site), but on this occasion we trapped from about 10.30 to c1.00am. Quite possibly, we would have caught more species had we stayed later, but tiredness (and the thought of an hour`s drive home) resulted in the 1.00am finish. I blocked up the entrances to my three traps, to take the moths home to inspect, but the lids do not sit perfectly tight on two of them, and the bumping of the car along tracks, plus the general movement as I drove home, resulted in some escapes. It was unsettling to have some moths flying around in the car (though I opened the windows on several occasions, and out some flew) and it was also amazing to see so many moths in the headlights as I drove home. It seemed that all `Mothdom` was partying on the rural roads of Carmarthenshire! The moths were later released at Burry Port, but the technique of taking moths home in bulk is not to be recommended. It also had the negative impact of making some moths badly worn and not photogenic.
It was an useful trapping session, with other minor highlights such as pretty true lover`s knots on the heathy headland at Ragwen Point sharing the same trap as a privet hawk-moth (wild privet grows nearby). The trap on the non-cliff habitat behind the shingle ridge had a bonus in a very good variety of more commonplace species, all adding to the species list for the area and the underworked 10km square of SN20. Chris Manley also had several interesting species not mentioned in the above account.
Some photos of micros will appear in my next blog.
Footnote: I thought that I`d had mullein wave amongst the catch when I looked on Weds night, but on checking my photo (thanks Chris!) it was not! So apologies for any confusion. The 2009 mullein wave was det/checked and photo`d by Jon Baker, so it does occur there!