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Monday, 7 July 2014

Moth Night - Part 2....again imperfect weather!

I had intended to do a lot of trapping over the three nights of Moth Night, but did n`t trap at all on Friday (heavy rain) and the efforts on both Thursday (see earlier blog) and Saturday were curtailed too.
Like Sam, I thought that Saturday evening did n`t look promising - a bit too cool, clear and breezy for my liking. I decided to trap at home, which is an easy option, but thought long and hard about bothering to trap away from home; in the end I decided to do so, simply because the traps and associated batteries etc were already loaded in the car and because the target areas were all close to home, around the Stradey Woods area just west of Llanelli.
The home trap at Pwll produced some fair results for the conditions, with some 45+ species, including a few minor surprises - a blue-bordered carpet, small yellow wave, dingy shears and shore wainscot, the last two probably blown in from the nearby coastline. Click on pics to enlarge:

             Above: blue-bordered carpet, a moth associated with alders (which grow nearby).
Above: another attractive moth - small yellow wave, this time associated with maple and sycamore.
                   Above: another uncommon/local moth - dingy shears (and living up to its name!).
                   Above: shore wainscot, a coastal visitor to my garden (which I`ve had there before).

The three actinics were set out in and around Stradey Woods, but had nothing exciting in moth terms (though there was other excitement...see later), with rather low numbers of species in each trap (all had <15 spp.). Mindful of the weather conditions, I had set the traps in sheltered situations, one down a deep `cwm`; the second sheltered by thick growth of birches and the third within woodland. I sympathise with Vaughn`s noble efforts at Taliaris...perhaps lower-down Talley Lakes would have been more fruitful, with a trap in the central fen-carr belt. Full marks for trying though, Vaughn, and better luck next time!
My second trap - at a tree-encroached field (my `orange underwing site`) at Cencoed-uchaf, provided some interest early yesterday morning. All the cobwebs were festooned with dew and it would have made a good `atmospheric photo`- the ones I use when I have no actual moth pics!- had I a camera with me. All around the trap were about 25 clouded border moths, all perched quite decoratively too.
From a nearby block of trees a couple of ravens were creating a right noisy commotion and I was half looking in that direction to see what was happening. I also was hearing a noise like the exhalation of air, which was quite loud, and I thought that it was something that was troubling the ravens in the near distance - `how strange`, I thought. I carried on looking at the trap`s contents and the noise - a marked `hiss` seemed to be coming from literally the other side of the trap and I looked - it was an adder! It was just a couple of feet away, hissing and making thrusting movements, so to be prudent, I moved my trap some six foot back and carried on checking the moths, which were n`t as exciting! Again, if I had brought my camera, a pic could have embellished this blog.
Finally, on Saturday afternoon I went briefly to check for six-belted clearwings near the North Dock, Llanelli but had no luck in the blustery wind (netting was very awkward), but I did find caterpillars of six-spot burnets on an area of dry, sandy grassland. I checked them for narrow-bordereds (their caterpillars have really long setae (`hairs`)), but as the hairs were quite short, they were just six-spots. The narrow-bordered species is easier to i/d as a caterpillar, but I have never seen the narrow-bordered burnet in Carmarthenshire.

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