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Monday, 28 December 2015

Not a bad night!

Postings of `good` migrants on the Atropos Flight Arrivals website and the Met Office forecast of southerly winds last night, prompted me to set out three traps in my Pwll (Llanelli) garden. On the flat roof near the kitchen I put one of my mains actinics, I placed my MV on the ground about half-way down the garden and I had a `mobile` (ie battery-run) actinic right the bottom of the garden.
It proved to be a profitable night, with six species of migrants (including one rarity) and a total (including residents) of 14 species.
I`d placed the traps out at dusk - about 5.00pm at this time of the year - and they were switched on about 30 minutes later; they were left out overnight. However, the main period of excitement was in the c 6.30 to 9.00pm slot - when the migrants arrived.

Above: Cornifrons ulceratalis (click on pic to enlarge). Chris Manley has just called by and I have given him the other, more well-marked individual to take away and photograph - he`ll do a much better job than me!
                                    Above: another photo of the same, from above.

The first migrant that was caught was the rarest - Cornifrons ulceratalis (photos above), which was new to Wales (and c 5th UK record), resting on top of my mobile actinic in the more sheltered position down in my `woodland garden` area . At first glance, with its markedly arched wings in its resting position, it looked rather like a caddis fly, but a quick closer look showed that it was a moth and it was carefully `potted`. I`d read of this moth on the Atropos webpage mentioned above and had googled its image to see what it looked like and a subsequent check online (with confirmation from Barry Stewart) revealed that it was indeed that species. It may have been the one that escaped from my trap the previous day - but I cannot be sure of that speculation.
Other moths - both resident and migratory - were now coming in and I clearly recall how balmy and calm it was, with just a soft, warm southerly breeze. Later in the evening, the wind strengthened considerably. Small mottled willows, a silver y, rush veneers and a rusty-dot pearl all arrived and then a bordered straw came rapidly down to my MV trap. Incidentally, additional bordered straws were trapped last night on Gower and in the Swansea area, as well as Chris Handoll`s near Pencader.

                                                  Above: a nicely-coloured rush veneer.
                                                          Above: small mottled willow.
                                                              Above: bordered straw.
A check of my traps at first light revealed not much more, to be honest - except for a second Cornifrons ulceratalis!
Final totals were: rush veneer x2; Cornifrons ulceratalis x2; silver y x1; bordered straw x1; small mottled willow x4; rusty-dot pearl x1; angle shades x1; December moth x5; double-striped pug x1; dark chestnut x1; mottled umber x1; winter moth x1; Caloptilia sp. (to be checked later, x1); and a tort (one of the `wide-winged jobs`).
Not a bad night!


  1. A brilliant night's work Ian. Thanks for posting the timing of your traps, I started too late, didn't switch on until after the rugby transmission on BT Sport finished circa 6.30, next time I'll be sure to start earlier.

  2. Thank you Chris. The relatively short period when the migrants were arriving was really exciting, reminding me of birders` accounts of `falls` of birds on the Norfolk coast or wherever. I suspect that had more traps gone out at dusk, then more of us would have also caught some migrants of interest - both Sam and I made real efforts to recommended trapping last night. With the exception of bordered straws and some common migrants, it`s strange that some Glamorgan moth`ers did n`t get any real rarities (unless there`s records I don`t know of). Certainly one or two put in a real effort, such as Barry on the S Gower cliffs, but sadly they were n`t rewarded for their laudable initiative. I`m not sure if anything turned up in Pembs - I`m sure that good moths were to be had there, if anyone was trapping. I`ve got one trap set up, with a minor and inadequate element of cover over it, as it`s going be heavy and persistent rain tonight. I`ll leave it to the elements and inspect it in the morning. `Switch on time` will be very shortly!

  3. Your haul seems to be among the best in the country last night, Ian, with only a few sites catching rarer species (Levant Blackneck or Eastern Bordered Straw). In any other year, Cornifrons would be astounding, but there have been quite a few over the last days (10ish?). It is still a mega revord and wonderful that Carms pulled above our weight!