Search This Blog

Friday, 13 June 2014

The value of brownfield sites

The night-time weather is n`t the best for moth trapping, but the glorious daytime weather is ideal for surveying sites for diurnal moths and, of course, butterflies. This afternoon, I visited the old Cynheidre Colliery site, on the outskirts of Five Roads, Llanelli. The deep mine closed about 25 years ago and the area was `landscaped`, including the obligatory tree planting (such sites are mostly best left alone to regenerate naturally). A rich flora has developed in the more open areas, with a corresponding diversity of lepidoptera.

Above: composites, orchids and ox-eye daisies - as well as many other flowers. Would you get this on agricultural land these days?

Above: a wetter area with Typha latifolia and Oenanthe crocata. Back in 2007, I suggested to Jon Baker that this might be a productive site to trap, and on 14th July of that year, he recorded Webb`s wainscot, the wetland pyralid Calomotropha paludella and the Typha-dependent Orthotaelia sparganella here (the latter moth as a new vcr).

The drier areas visited today supported abundant meadow browns (my FFY), frequent common blues and likewise, dingy skippers were widespread. An abundance of wild strawberry made me regret not checking this site earlier in the season for grizzled skippers. Small heaths were scattered throughout and a few ringlets were seen (a FFY) in the damper vegetation, looking decidedly dark compared the fresh-looking (and already mating) meadow browns. Burnet companions and five-spot burnets were very common, and one of the latter had fallen prey to some hemipteran bugs who were literally sucking it dry.

                                         Above: the unfortunate 5-spot burnet.

I`m sure that a methodical survey of this site would reveal a very rich lepidopteran fauna....I`ll be back there shortly, as the swathes of bird`s-foot trefoil (even if it`s the upright, non-native form) look perfect for six-belted clearwings, and other moths.
A noctuid (see photo below) spotted amongst vegetation was potted up and taken home. I`m not sure (feeling rather tired after an afternoon in the sun) if it`s a nutmeg or a form of dusky brocade....any advice or opinions please?

Finally, a nice surprise (sorry, it`s not a moth!)  was a thriving colony of bee orchids (a new Carms site), a photo of one is shown below.


  1. The shapes of the lines teeth and bands towards the wingtip fit dusky brocade