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Thursday, 3 October 2019

A day out leaf-mining

Yesterday, I had a rare day out away from my home patch of south-east Carmarthenshire when, together with Nigel Stringer, the Sawdde Valley (in the western Carmarthenshire part of the BBNP) was visited. I had long wanted to re-visit this site in autumn, due to the presence of small-leaved limes along the Sawdde gorge, the main purpose of the visit being to search for leaf miners on that tree species.
Both being engulfed in significant non-moth hassle and bad weather had delayed my visit, but yesterday `was on`. The desired mines on the few small-leaved limes that could be reached (the river in the gorge below was in full spate and dangerous) was, frankly, very disappointing. What I believe is either the sawfly Profenusia pygmaea or the moth Tischeria ekebladella was found on one oak tree. This species was also later noted at a second site, in the Amman Valley, alongside the access road to Garnant golf club. The remainder of the mines collected during the pleasant day were of common species.

Above: the queried blotch mine. I`m of the opinion that it is Profenusia, but I`d prefer to be wrong on this one!

I also light trapped at home last night - a stupid choice as the night was mostly cold and clear. Expectedly perhaps, there were few moths in the single trap this morning - just six species, including two large ranunculus.

                                                           Above: large ranunculus.

Two asides: driving southwards over Mynydd Du into the Amman Valley the sharpness of distant landscapes was amazing, with the distant vistas of SW England clearly evident - both the coast and hills of Devon and a view significantly along the length of the north Cornish coast. Obviously, I`ve seen part of the that coast before, but not with such clarity as was yesterday. Small wonder then, its precisely the same atmospheric conditions that plane-borne archaeologists use on their aerial surveying.
Finally, and another `aside`: the advantage of having a `smart meter` is that you can now calculate how much your trap takes to run - last night my 40w actinic used 13p`s worth of electricity from 8.00pm to 7.00am (ie just over 1p an hour). When I`ve got both the actinic AND the MV running it costs me c 3 p and hour. Useful info when you ask friends if you can leave your trap in their garden - or just for `Ebenezer Scrooge purposes`!


  1. You weren't alone in your 'stupidity' on Wednesday night, Ian! I put two actinic traps out and caught six moths, all different species but nothing unusual. Regarding the smart meter, we've been resisting SWALEC's efforts to persuade us to have one because of uncertainty of how it will cope with the input from the solar panels. Surely you can estimate the electricity usage from the wattage of the lamp though? e.g. a 40w lamp consumes one unit in 25 hours or so. That would equate to your 1p an hour plus a bit.

  2. Thanks for your comments and info Chris.