Monday, 31 December 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - last post of 2012

With the year now almost at a close, I thought a short look back might be in order.  It's already well recorded elsewhere that 2012 was a very poor year for moths.  Despite a promising start in the first few months of the year the wet weather soon set in and persisted - species and numbers were well down on previous years.

For Ochrwyth, the overall number of moths recorded during the year was 2,913, comprising 262 species - 194 Macro & 68 Micro.  I don't have fully comparable records for 2011, but on a quick comparison with what was recorded it is clear that a number of species were "missing" - some 30+.

Despite the gloomy weather, there were nevertheless several highlights including a Dark Spectacle on 13 August, which was only the fourth county record in thirty years; Semioscopis steinkellneriana being possibly only the fourth county record; and, a number of new species for the garden including a Herald (tucked away in the roof of an outbuilding), Large Ranunculus; Gothic and Cyprus Carpet.

The top 10 species for 2012 are shown below - the only Micro included being Mother of Pearl, coming in at number 7 - joint with  Brimstone.

Top 10 species recorded in 2012
Common Marbled Carper (x145)
Small Fan-footed Wave (x116)
Flame Shoulder (x112)
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (x109)
Large Yellow Underwing (x84)
Hart & Dart (x71)
Brimstone/Mother of Pearl (x64)
The Snout (x60)
The Flame (x54)
Dot Moth (x52)

Happy New Year everyone - let's hope for a better year for the moths!

Hark the Herald!


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Wainscot sp ?

A little help please.
Too small for Large(?) and the pale underwing has dots along the border.The moth is still with me.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Smaller Moths of South Wales

If you missed the Monmouthshire Moth and Butterfly Group's AGM last Friday evening you might like to have a look at David Slade's talk on The Smaller Moths of South Wales - provided here in PDF.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 13 November

A milder evening so dusted off the MV, which subsequently produced a return of 13 moths of 5 species - Cypress Carpet, Red-green Carpet, x3 November Moth Agg., Common Marbled Carpet and x7 Spruce Carpet.

In the past week there have been several Feathered Thorns at the window as well as Common Plume and 20-plume, but otherwise all very quiet.

Cypress Carpet

Acleris sp

Found at RGW this morning.
Acleris ferrugana or A notana ?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Monmouthshire Moth & Butterfly Group 

Annual General Meeting

You are cordially invited to our AGM, details below:

Friday 16th November 2012

 Three Salmons Hotel,
Bridge Street,
 Usk. NP15 1RY

 7pm - 9.30pm


1. Apologies

2. Presentation of Accounts - Sheila Dupe, Treasurer
    - approval of accounts.

3. Election of Officers – Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer.

4. AOB 

5. Main speaker - David Slade, SEWBREC and Glamorgan Moth Recording Group.
    The Smaller Moths of South Wales.

6. Dr Martin Anthoney, County Lepidoptera Recorder
    Some distribution maps of moths in Monmouthshire.

7. Richard Clarke - demonstration of "Gwent mothing" Blog website.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 23 October

A mild and misty night so decided to give the MV an outing before the cold spell arrives - loads of Redwing flying over to suggest that its not far off .  Some 33 moths trapped of just 8 species.  Mostly November Moth (Agg.) and Common Marbled Carpet, but also Winter Moth, Red-green Carpet (x5), very worn Lesser Yellow Underwing, Acleris sparsana, Feathered Thorn and a Large Ranunculus.

Feathered Thorn

Large Ranunculus

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 20 October 2012

Set the MV, but it was very cool and a little windy so not a great return with just 7 moths of 5 species: Spruce Carpet x2, Red-green Carpet x2, Light Emerald, Common Plume and Brown House Moth.

Common Plume
Spruce Carpet

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Newport Wetlands 10th October

18 moths of 12 species to MV at Redhouse Barns. 4 species were FFY at this site: Large Wainscot, Black Rustic, Figure of Eight and Mottled Umber. The latter 2 weren't in the trap, but on the building's back wall, about 4m from the trap. I always check the wall for moths and always find some, but I only just noticed the Figure of Eight.

Mottled Umber
Figure of Eight

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Newport Wetlands 9th October

27 moths of 12 species came to MV Robinson trap at Redhouse Barns. FFY were Barred Sallow and The Sallow. The best moth was an L-album Wainscot, a 3rd County Record.

Barred Sallow
The Sallow
L-album Wainscot
Another moth I was pleased to see was an Angle Shades. Although a very common moth, I can remember the first time I saw one and how excited I was because it was a moth I had seen lots of pictures of. It was the first time I ever went moth trapping with my newly arrived Skinner trap, back in 1994. I ran it at Crymlyn Bog NNR, Swansea, with Martin White and we caught 95 species! I'm sure many of the species were very rare, specialities of Crymlyn, but it was my first ever Angle Shades that sticks in my mind.

Angle Shades
Angle Shades

Monday, 1 October 2012

Newport Wetlands 1st October

Not so many adult moths this time of year, but worth looking out for larvae. Today I found two caterpillars purley by chance. The first was a knot grass feeding on teasel. I took it home to photograph, which is why it is shown on dandelion in front of a Christmas cactus!

The second caterpillar was a species I have seen many times before, but I did not recognise it. It was an oak eggar and I have only ever seen the fully grown caterpillars in June when they are about 10cm long. This one was only about 12mm long and they look completely different at this stage. Sorry, no photo.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Lower Ochrwyth

Red-green Carpet
Not a great deal to report over the last week.  Did put the MV trap out on a few occasions, but cold evenings (clear sky) and bright moon did not lend themselves to aiding catch.  On Saturday 22nd, there was a  Comma Butterfly around the garden, which was a welcome sight and then that evening just Square-spot Rustic x3; Large Yellow Underwing and Common Marbled Carpet to the trap.  The trap was set again on 27th with Common Marbled Carpet x3 and Angle Shades and then on 29th when a further x3 Common Marbled Carpet were taken, but also a Silver Y and the first autumn Red-green Carpet.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Newport Wetlands 26th September

20 moths of 14 species to MV trap at Redhouse Barns. FFY were lunar underwing, beaded chestnut and feathered ranunculus.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Lower Ochrwyth

Not a great deal to report over the last few days as no trap set, however outside light did attract a few things of interest: Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (18/09); Silver Y, Eudonia angustea, Light Brown Apple Moth, Garden Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet and Square Spot Rustic (19/09); Frosted Orange (20/09).      Set MV last night, but it was cold & windy and only seven moths of six species were trapped including FFY Black Rustic. Otherwise, Garden Carpet; Common Marbled Carpet; Lesser Yellow Underwing, White Shouldered House Moth and a Snout.


Friday, 21 September 2012

Newport Wetlands 20th September

I ran 2 traps - an actinic Skinner at Uskmouth and the MV Robinson at Redhouse Barns. At Uskmouth I was hoping to catch a Bullrush wainscot and put the trap next to a reen with lots of reedmace. However, I was disapointed this morning. The catch consisted of a Canary-shouldered thorn, 2 Light Emeralds and a Frosted Orange. I had probably left it a little late in the year.

Canary-shouldered Thorn
The Redhouse Barns trap proved more successful with 43 moths of 16 species. NFY at this site were Dusky Thorn, Centre-barred Sallow, Frosted Orange and Red Sword-grass. The latter moth is only the 2nd one I have seen of this species. Its a really impressive moth. It mimicks a broken twig and even has the annular rings at the 'break'.
Red Sword-grass

Monday, 17 September 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 15 September

A little late in publishing this, but set MV on Saturday night and trapped 35 moths of 17 species - light rain followed by bats no doubt influenced catch.  New for year was Pandemis cinnamomeana (White-faced Tortrix) otherwise species included: Canary Shouldered Thorn; Common Plume; Double Striped Pug; Garden Carpet; Snout (x3); Mother of Pearl; Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix, Common Marbled Carpet, Willow Beauty; Square-spot Rustic and the usual Yellow Underwings.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Lamby Tip

All abit damp really.Must try and get the actinic over there one evening.The walk is outweighing what is bound to be good result.
2nd Gen Treble Bar

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 14 September

Lime Hawk Moth caterpillar was wandering down path in the sunshine - no doubt off to pupate given its colour.  Set MV at night until 2am, but it was very cold and there were just 17 moths of 6 species: Light Emerald; Common Marbled Carpet; Setaceous Hebrew Character; Lesser Yellow Underwing; Square-spot Rustic and Barred Fruit Tree Tortrix.    

Lime Hawk Moth

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Lower Ochrwyth 6 & 7 September

Not a lot about, but a Feathered Gothic turned up on the outside light the night before last and last night the MV delivered 30 moths of 15 species. Grey Pine Carpet was the only FFY otherwise it was mostly yellow underwings - all now looking a bit tired.

Grey Pine Carpet  

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 3rd September

Barred Hook-tip
Just 40 moths of 15 species - not helped by local bats having a feeding frenzy above the trap!  Three NFY: Centre-barred Sallow, Autumnal Rustic and Barred Hook-tip.  A Peach Blossom was the only other species of interest.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Last day of Summer Lower Ochrwyth

Frosted Orange
Silver Y - one of three in the trap last night

53 moths of 21 species trapped.  FFY included: Chinese Character, Frosted Orange, Chevron, Meal Moth and some immigrants - x3 Silver Y.  Also, fresh Angle Shades and a Canary Shouldered Thorn.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 26 August

Very quiet last night with just 51 moths of 24 species to MV and no FFY.  Little to report other than Iron Prominent (x2), which seem to have had a good year here, Willow Beauty (x6) including one f. rebeli, Buff Footman, Knot Grass and Tawny-bared Angle.      

Tawny-barred Angle
Knot Grass

Sunday, 26 August 2012

First Post Trial

2nd Gen Straw Dot at Wentloog
Eyed Hawk Moth at Rumney

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Requiem for a Moth

Rain and wind so no moth trap tonight - time to have another listen to Martin Wainwright who looks at our national night time obsession - with the beauty of moths.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 18 August

MV produced some 162 moths of 45 species.  Just two NFY: Single-dotted Wave and Agonopterix heracliana otherwise, very little of note.  In addition to the moths there was a Harlequin Ladybird - 3rd for the year at MV and an unfortunate sign of the times.  This invasive species has really taken a significant hold locally - I counted over 200 on a neighbour's house last autumn and I think that this was a very conservative count.  Follow link for more info. about this species:

Single-dotted Wave

Redhouse Barns, Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve 18th August

Running the Robinson MV trap, I caught around 250 moths of 48 species. The most abundant was Straw Dot with 112 individuals. NFY were Purple Bar, Small Waved Umber, Pyrausta purpuralis and Birch Mocha. The latter was the first of this species to be recorded in VC35 since 1892. It was also good to see 2 Magpie Moths, a once common moth that has declined dramatically in recent years.

Birch Mocha

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 13 August

The night produced 218 moths of 56 species with 4 NFY: Eupoecilia angustana, Pale Prominent, Rosy Rustic and Dark Spectacle.  Others of interest included: Beautiful & Oak Hook Tip, Canary Shouldered Thorn, Rosy Footman (x2), Black Arches (x5) and Peach Blossom.

Dark Spectacle

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Lower Ochrwyh - 11 August

Scallop Shell
Ran MV until the rains set in @ mid-night, but nevertheless trapped 165 moths of 50 species.  New for year included: Scallop Shell, Oak Hook-tip, Iron Prominent (x4), Pyrausta aurata, Marbled Beauty, Copper Underwing, Rosy Minor, Cydia splendana and Small Rufous.      

Oak Hook-tip

Iron Prominent


Friday, 10 August 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 8 August

Canary Shouldered Thorn

August Thorn
Ran MV on Wednesday night and bagged 217 moths of 66 species.  NFY was Six-striped Rustic, Canary Shouldered Thorn (x2), August Thorn, Chequered & Large Fruit-tree Tortrix and probable Acleris laterana.  Also, two more of both Black Arches and Rosy Footman and a Ruby Tiger.

Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve 9th August

I put out the 15watt Actinic Skinner trap in the reedbeds on Thursday afternoon. This morning there were 25 species. The most obvious moths were 2 female oak eggars on the outside of the trap.
There were also 2 males inside the trap.

                                                     Oak Eggar       Drinker         LYUW

Oak Eggar (below)    Large Yellow Underwing (above)

The most significant moths were the variety of wainscots which included: brown-veined, 4, twin-spotted, 3, silky, 2, and southern, 6.

Twin-spotted wainscot

Brown-veined wainscot

I also ran the Robinson MV trap at Redhouse, catching 60 species. NFY were 2 knot-grass, a copper underwing and 2 canary shouldered thorn. There were also 2 cocolate-tip and 2 straw underwing.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Newport Wetlands 6th August

Just 30 species to MV trap. Only one was NFY and also the best moth and it wasn't even in the trap - it was on a window frame about 3m away. It was a Chocolate-tip. Its been years since I've seen one.
Sorry, no photo, it wanted to fly away.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 3 August

Ran MV up to 1.30am - very heavy rain thereafter.  A total of 112 moths of 54 species including x3 FFY: Ruby Tiger, Common Lutestring and best moth of the evening a Black Arches.  Otherwise a further x2 Rosy Footman (if my garden is anything to go by this species seems to be having a good year), Clouded Magpie, Poplar and Elephant Hawk, Pebble/Swallow and Lesser Swallow Prominent and x3 Satin Lutestring.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 1 August

Session with MV between the showers produced 111 moths of 40 species (+couple of small jobs still to ID).  Only FFY was a Clouded Magpie. Otherwise, two more Rosy Footman.  

Newport Wetlands 1st August

The 1st of the month brought some firsts for the year. A total of 42 species, included a straw underwing, copper underwing, gold spot and a crecent. Also in the trap were 2 (rather worn) elephant hawkmoths, a double lobed, small wainscot and 2, dark-barred twin-spot carpets.



Double lobed

Straw underwing

Although I have caught the crescent before at Newport Wetlands, its not a moth I trap every year, so its always nice to see this wetland species.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Lower Ochrwyth - 28 July

During the day a spot of gardening uncovered a Rosy Footman and a Gothic, the latter being NFY.  Come the evening I set the MV but it was very much cooler and the lower temperature combined with a few showers meant the catch was much lower than of late, with just 53 moths of 30 species.  There were two NFY: Tinea semifulvella and a Clouded Border.   Otherwise, the usual fair but also Dark-barred and Red Twin-spot Carpets, Scarce Footman and Drinker.  

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Saving the best til last - Newport Wetlands 26th July

I trapped an amazing 76 species at Redhouse Barns on the night of 26th July. When I arrived at the trap at 8am the following morning, I could see there were a lot of moths in the trap and many of them were flying about, despite the fact that the trap was in the shade and it was quite cool. I knew I wouldn't be able to sort through the trap in the short amount of time before I had to give a guided tour of the reserve, so I covered the trap with a white sheet and put it where I knew it would stay in the shade all day.
I went to look at the trap again at about 3pm and could see that a lot of moths were flying about and some had even crawled out from under the sheet. I decided to check the trap indoors, something I don't normally do, because I knew that lots of moths would escape otherwise. I hate it when that happens, as I always think, "there goes the rare one"!
It took me at least an hour to short through the trap and then another half hour to try to catch all the moths that had flown out. New for the year (NFY) at this site were: grey/dark dagger, August thorn, dingy footman, small blood-vein (3), scarce footman, cabbage, double kidney (3), oak hook-tip, herald, pebble prominent, ruby tiger, olive, least yellow underwing, peach blossom, small rufous (2), and yellow shell. The catch also include 2 elephant hawks, a poplar hawk and 4 rosy footman.
I was about to leave, when I noticed yet another common footman on the window needing to be let out. As I leaned over to open the window I noticed a small Geometrid sat on the window frame. I potted it and immediately thought "Brussels Lace"!!! I had caught one of these over 6 years ago on the night before our annual Open Day. As it was the first time I had seen the species I had potted it to ID later. During the hectic day, I somehow got a few minutes to flick through Skinner and ID it. As it was a hot day I immediately let it go, not realising that it would have been a Vice County 1st! Of course I was gutted, especially as I had recently done the same thing with a mullein wave and rosy wave.

Brussels Lace
I spent quite a bit of time trying to catch another Brussels Lace. The caterpillars feed on lichens growing on trees such as blackthorn, so I set actinic traps in rides through dense blackthorn thickets that  were covered in lichen, but to no avail.
This one could easily have got away too, as I had opened and shut the window numerous times to let moths out and had even left the windows open for a few minutes, luckily it must have just sat there on the frame.

Brussels Lace