Friday, 18 August 2017

12th August

Small Ranunculus still hanging on in there!

A few weeks ago after hearing about Small Ranuculus arriving at Abergavenny in Sam's post dated 23rd July, I went in search of some at Chepstow.
I've found larvae and indeed captured an adult in the garden over the last few years, but I was very worried about a development that had started to place on a site that had contained 10's of larvae.
My worsts fears were realised when they tarmacked over the group of Prickly lettuce creating an entrance to the building site.

2017 larvae, 4 in view.

After searching on scattered plants that were starting to re-colonise gaps in pavements, rough stony ground, that was nearby, I come came up with a complete blank.

Still, it was positive that other plants were beginning to grow on edges of  pavements after seeds had been scattered, until unfortunately they were then sprayed by the council. (This seems to happen everywhere with councils.)

One larvae here, which are sometimes difficult to see as they lay along the stem

Then several weeks later I came across a patch of wild flowers that presumably the council had seeded to encourage bees and insects. Looking closer I then espied Prickly Lettuce was in amongst the flower mix and rushed to have a look.
Great news as several minutes later a Small Ranuculus larvae came into view, then another and another.
I found 7 in all, but I'm sure others are there because these were at a quite small stage of development.

Adult found in garden in 2013.

It is very positive news but I do wonder how the moth will fare and survive in the near future when on one hand plants are sprayed and possibly larvae killed and on the other, plants are inadvertently re-introduced in a seeded flower mix every year in selected areas by the council, time will tell.      

Thursday, 17 August 2017

6th August

St.Pierre's Great Wood, Mounton

After arriving during a mild but breezy evening, a quick rethink of my position in the wood had to be worked out, so a more sheltered spot had to be found.
Finding one, and eventually feeling comfortable with the position of the trap, I sat back waiting with coffee in hand for things to develop. With the problem of the breeze eliminated I thought it was to be an easy evening listening to owls hooting and collecting moths, not a bit of it!
Another issue decided to rear its head.....Hornets!
I've had Hornets before but the number here took me by surprise and they kept arriving. They thankfully stopped after about 50 minutes but numbered 5 in total- the most I've seen before. They would be left in pots to buzz around until last thing.
With that out of the way, the night turned out to be not to bad at the end of the session with 94 moths of 25 species which was pleasing. 5 localised macro, one Scarce B macro and 1 localised micro were notable.

The best of the bunch turned out to be a little micro featured below.
A bit of a rare find in the county apparently with Sam informing me that there are 2-3 records only in the Database for V35.

Hedya atropunctana

The Shoulder-spot Marble, Hedya atropunctana is mainly a northern species according to many sources, but it is found in the south to a lesser degree.
It feeds on Bog-myrtle, Sallow and Birch of which the latter two which would makes sense at the site.
It would also seem that I caught the second generation in this instance.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

31st July

Ninewells Wood, Cleddon

I never expect much from this wood but am pleasantly surprised what turns up on occasion.
I had 36 species this evening which ain't too bad really considering.
A few micros but Macro's were order of the evening including notable Black Arches, Clay Triple-lines, Scallop Shell, Satin Lutestring, Scarce Footman, Oak Nycteoline and this nice surprise Welsh Wave.
Another new addition to the collection I thought the Welsh Wave, but looking back it appears I turned it up at Cleddon Bog in 2015 relatively close by.
Cleddon Bog was on of my first field trips away from the comfortable routine of my back garden, and it proved to be both exciting and daunting at the same time, but ultimately successful as it got me hooked.

Welsh Wave

One of the most notable features to look out for is the two blackish spikes on the central cross-band, the other Martin Anthony points out is the familiar V-shaped posture when at rest to separate from Waved Carpet.

Belated June sightings

After a backlog of records to trawl through due to computer issues, Martin Anthony has confirmed the two macro moths featured below.

Both are welcome new additions to me which adds to the great excitement of not exactly knowing what will turn up of an evening.

The first one Waved Carpet was found at St. Pierre's Great Wood on the 15th June had me spending some time working it out. I first thought that it had lost some of its scales during its lifetime and I wondered about dismissing it completly. Then I started to look at a type of Seraphim and although similar the posture did not fit but after more searching on-line I eventually found it.
The moth has a scarce distribution apparently and I wonder if it does not like coming to light.

Waved Carpet

The second macro featured is Haworth's Pug.
This was captured 5 days later at a Private Wood which the owner kindly allowed me to trap at. Wallwern Wood is relatively small and an unknown quantity but seemed to produce quite a few species during a very warm evening of the 20th June.
Suffice to say, it is a new site for Haworth's Pug. The caterpillar reportedly feeds on Traveller's Joy or possibly cultivated Clematis of which the former I see quite often around hedgerows and woods.

Haworth's Pug


Friday, 11 August 2017

A heathland wanderer - Matilella fusca new for Dingestow

The night of 11th August was relatively warm, and over 150 individuals of 44 species came to MV at Dingestow Court.  Most were ordinary, with my first Six-striped Rustic of the year the most interesting of the Macros.  However, two good Pyralids made an appearance: an Agriphila selasella and the dark but distinctive Matilella (Pyla) fusca.  The latter was new for Dingestow, taking the site total to 514 spp of Micro.  There are 9 Gwent records of this heather feeder: 7 come from lowland heath (Cleddon Bog, Wentwood) and upland edge (Cwmtillery, Sugarloaf & Blackwood), presumably indicating breeding colonies, whilst there are two records of wanderers to Dr Neil Horton's gardens in Usk and Llansoy.  There was a long gap in records between Dr Horton's last one in 1987 and those by Nick Felstead (2015) and Kevin Hewitt (2016), and I have waited a long time to see this species in Gwent. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Notocelia incarnatana new for VC35

Bob Roome caught this Notocelia on 6th August and identified it as N. incarnatana, although he said "it seems unlikely as it isn't even on the county list".  I'm sure he is correct as the markings match perfectly, as does the long-winged appearance, even though this is a difficult genus.  This species has a coastal distribution in Britain, although it also occurs inland in some areas, and I wonder whether Bob's moth wandered from the coast or perhaps from the limestone near Risca.  Moths of Glamorgan mentions N. incarnatana as occurring in Cardiff.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Uskmouth Reedbeds 4th August
Every year in August I target an area of reedmace for Bulrush Wainscot. I'd noticed a good stand of it in one of the reedbeds at Uskmouth last winter when I was cutting the reeds in an amphibious reed-cutter. There was a culvert entrance nearby with a wooden platform over it which would make an ideal place to put the Skinner actinic trap. The only thing standing in my way was a thicket of bramble 8 foot high and about 6 foot deep! I decided to give my self 30 minutes to try and cut my way through with a pair of shears. It was easier than I had thought - within about 15 minutes I had reached the wooden platform. I set up the Skinner trap and came back this morning at 6am. Going through the egg trays there were only 7 Southern Wainscots, a Flame Shoulder, 2 Large Yellow Underwings and 7 Ringed China-marks on the 1st 3 trays I checked. Disappointment. Turning over the 4th tray I was delighted to see 3 Bulrush Wainscots!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Plain Pug at Dingestow

In June 2014 a Plain Pug appeared on a window at Dingestow Court.  I assumed this Orache/Goosefoot feeder was a wanderer from saltmarshes on the Gwent Coast, but yesterday (1/8/17) I found another one in the Court Farm yard (where Atriplex and Chenopodium are abundant).  It is clearly now a resident species here!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Uskmouth 2nd August 

Whilst cutting some brambles back along the Wales Coast Path I spotted this beauty. He/she was lucky not to get cut in half with my shears! I found one a few meters away this time last year too.

Emperor Moth larva

Last year's had yellow tubercles: