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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Dafen moths

I had planned to do three sites in the relatively under-recorded SN50 last night (29/8) as, by then, the troublesome winds and heavy showers that had plagued moth trapping in the last few days or more had subsided. My target was to be three sites: a little bog near Ty-llwyd (Pont Abraham); the upper section of Troserch Woods, where a steep, mossy slope with bilberry overlooks the minor wooded gorge of the Afon Morlais and, finally, a tree-planted area with a flood alleviation topographical depression at the edge of a `business park` at Dafen (on the eastern side of Llanelli). Then `things started to go wrong`....
When I arrived at the first-named location, I realised that I was one battery short and only had enough for two actinics but, as I was obviously there, I decided that the bog would be one of the chosen sites. The next issue was getting onto the bog. There is a way that I used this summer on a daytime visit, through marginal woodland with brambles and a steep ditch to traverse, but I also used to know an easier short-cut which I tried to find last night, but could n`t! After three searches, and as it was getting darker, I gave up, decided to miss out Troserch Woods and only put the two traps out at Dafen instead.
I rapidly positioned one trap on a little-used footpath next to the busy Llangennech by-pass (a site that I`d recce`d before for suitability) and quickly found another location quite close-by - an area of wet development plateau with plenty of fleabane, bur-reed and other mixed damp ground vegetation. I`d wished that I`d found this latter site earlier in the season (I had n`t looked!), as it is literally just a few yards out from the car - much easier than my usual sites which often involve quite a bit of carrying of traps and batteries. This latter site is shown in the first photo below.

A fair range of moths were recorded, including quite a few pinion-streaked snouts, a well-worn crescent, two rush veneers, seven rosy rustics, one small wainscot, a Vine`s rustic and two flounced rustics. There were also eight of what I think is Cochylimorpha straminea and a singleton (provisional det.) of Ptocheuusa paupella (the latter a gelechiid associated with fleabane, which was frequent next to the trap). There was a fair selection of micros caught at both of the Dafen trap sites. Photos are shown below.
                                               Above: Cochylimorpha straminea?
Above: the tiny Ptocheuusa paupella? Confirmation, comments or correction for the above two micros would be appreciated. I`ll try to get a better photo of the latter tomorrow.
Postscript re. Ptocheuusa - I remembered later that Barry had reared this species from a fleabane and had posted a superb photo on the Carms Moth Blog only a few weeks ago (see earlier posts). I include another photo below - hardly better than my first above - and not of Barry`s standard! You`ll have to click on it to enlarge.

The second trap, located in the planted willow/ wet grassland area, also had a fairly mixed assemblage that included more flounced rustics, an oak eggar, Chinese character and, telling us that autumn is coming, the first sallow.
                                                         Above: flounced rustic.

In spite of the initial `Ealing Comedy` mishaps, a half-decent number of records were added to this part of SN50, so it was worthwhile.