Sunday 20 October 2013

Day flying Epirrita sp

I was in Strata Florida yesterday and today in very squally weather and was astonished to see day-flying Epirrita sp (probable Autumnal moths).  Disappointed they do not get a mention in the new book on Day-Flyers!  They were not disturbed but free flying at varying levels and in the rain storms at 250m    asl.  So strongly did they fly that it was some time before I could see one through the bins to id it.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Merveille du Jour

A late addition to last nights catch was our first Merveille du jour of the year. It was resting on a wall at least 7 meters away from the light trap.

What's the caterpillar?

From Chloe Griffiths:

I found 3 of these mystery caterpillars today, about an inch to an inch and a half long, very furry, and seemingly uniformly chestnut brown.  They were near a very acidic pool complex in the midst of Soft Rush, Heath bedstraw, Bilberry, Bramble, etc.  Could anyone let me know what they are, please?

Chinese character

The actinic light trap in the garden last night caught 18 moths of 8 species. All common autumn moths: Spruce carpet, Black rustic, Yellow-line quaker, Red-line quaker, Blair's shoulder knot, Common marbled carpet, Light brown apple moth, and Chinese character. The Chinese character looked very fresh but about a month later than its normal flight season.

Chinese character
 Has anyone else noticed how large the Spruce carpets are this year, could this be related to the better than average summer weather?

Thursday 10 October 2013


"Today Coed Phoenix kicked off its Micro Reserves project by having a tour of one of our brand new sites.  Even as we were having a cup of coffee on site, the first moth was discovered, in the toilet!  It was a beautiful Herald.  What a great omen for the start of our work."

From Chloe Griffiths

Tuesday 8 October 2013

You never know.....

Giant Atlas moth found on windowsill in Ramsbottom

24 October 2012 Last updated at 13:03 Help
A giant moth with a 1ft (30cm) wingspan has been found on a windowsill in Greater Manchester.

The Atlas moth is the biggest moth in the world and is normally found thousands of miles away in South East Asia.

When it landed at a house in Ramsbottom, it was so large the Blackmore family "thought it was a bat".

The moth, which only lives for a week, has since died but 30 of its offspring are being reared at a butterfly farm in Bolton.

How the moth arrived in Ramsbottom is a mystery although it's believed to have escaped from a private collection.

For video go to BBC News online

Caterpillar id

Lin has found this caterpillar and would like to know what it is.

Liz thinks it may be Bright-line brown-eye.

Monday 7 October 2013

Lunar Underwing Distribution Map

Chloe,  I thought you might be interested to see the distribution of one of our more common moths.  Having said that we haven't caught one yet!


Feathered Thorn

Having just arrived home after a meeting this evening we noticed this colourful male Feathered Thorn at the kitchen window.

Carolyn & Evan

Palpita vitrealis

Here is a photo of the Palpita vitrealis caught by Chloe at her recent "Beer and Moths" evening. This lovely immigrant moth was recorded earlier this year, also from the Aberystwyth area.

Sunday 6 October 2013

Beer and Moths night!

Saturday night's "Beer and Moths" night in Penparcau produced the following results:

4 Silver Y
6 Common Marbled Carpet
1 Common Plume
12 Light Brown Apple
5 Rush Veneer
1 Twenty Plume
3 Black Rustic
1 Autumn Green Carpet
1 Blair's Shoulder-knot
3 Lunar Underwing
1 Palpita vitrealis

and 2 mystery moths - any suggestions please?

Sent by Chloe Griffiths


Its hard to believe these two are the same but I think they are both Chestnuts.  If that is so, hopefully it will help those struggling for hours to id moths in the trap at the moment.
Also had a Rush Veneer and 11 Green brindled crescents, 13 Red line Quakers, 11 Yellow line quakers and 3 well-marked Dark Swordgrass  with 2 fresh Satellites between 2 traps last night when the temp fell to 6.9C under a starlit sky.

Sugaring and wine ropes

At this time of year there are a declining number of nectar rich plants in flower but still plenty of moth species to see.
One of the best ways to attract moths and do them a good turn is to use a technique known as sugaring whereby a treacly mixture is painted onto fence posts or tree trunks avoiding lichens and mosses which are important habitats for micro-moths.
The recipe is as follows courtesy of Butterfly Conservation website.

Moths will also come to artificial nectar called “sugar”. Heat about 500ml of brown ale (or cola) in a large pan and simmer for five minutes to remove alcohol and other chemicals. Then stir in and dissolve about a kilogram of dark brown sugar, followed by a tin of black treacle. Simmer the mixture stirring well to make sure the molasses have all dissolved and then allow it to cool before transferring it to a suitable container for carrying outside. A drop of rum stirred in before use is recommended, but not essential. Just before dusk, use a brush to paint the mixture at eye level onto tree trunks or fence posts. Check the “sugar” for moths with a torch during the first two hours of darkness.  Store the remainder in a kiln jar or tin and use on other occasions through the season.

 Wine Ropes
An alternative method to sugaring uses thick cord or cloth made from absorbent material. You will need an old fashioned pyjama cord or strips of material 1cm wide by 1m long.  Boil the material for at least 10 minutes to remove chemicals. Heat a bottle of cheap red wine in a pan, stir in and dissolve a kilogram of sugar and, after cooling, soak metre lengths of the cord or twisted cloth in the mixture. Drape these “wine ropes” over low branches, bushes or fences just before dusk and later check for moths by torch-light.

Saturday 5 October 2013

....And Dark Sword-grass!

Just up the valley from Tony and Ina's last night we also caught three migrants -  a Dark Sword-grass, a Vestal and a Silver Y.  The last time we caught a Dark Sword-grass was in August 2010 and a Vestal in October 2011.

Carolyn & Evan
Dark Sword-grass

Migrant Night !

You know the feeling, you wait ages for a bus and then lots come along at the same time.
Last night in Talybont - 2 Vestal, 3 Rush Veneer and good old faithful 10 Silver Y.
Could they feel happier about dropping in because we now have street lights that go out shortly after midnight?
Also a female Large Wainscot  - these can wander far from their breeding site.


Rush Veneer

Large Wainscot

Thursday 3 October 2013

Frosted orange

The Frosted Orange will always sound like the name of a 1950s lipstick to me, but today I met the creature in the flesh, at the Coed Phoenix moth trap, in Bronant.  Tony and Ina had kindly come along to set up their 2 traps with my single Heath, and in spite of the very heavy rain, we managed to get 125 individuals all in, which included 15 species that were new to us on the reserve, including:  Black Rustic; Chevron; Flounced Chestnut and of course, the Frosted Orange.  We send all our records to the Local Record Centre - WWBIC. We hope to get a lot more local people into moths over the next year.

Frosted orange
Sent by Chloe Griffiths

Coed Phoenix moths

Despite a very wet night we had well over 100 moths in 3 heath traps at Coed Phoenix last night, with 21 species of macro moths. 35 Red-line quaker, 13 Yellow-line quaker, 31 Spruce carpet, 12 Flounced chestnut, 6 Green-brindled crescent, notable singletons of Small phoenix, Frosted orange, Red sword-grass, Autumn green carpet, Brick, Sallow and Chestnut.
Autumn green carpet

Flounced chestnut

Green-brindled crescent and Red-line quaker

Red sword-grass

Wednesday 2 October 2013


An interesting map considering that there used to be a large Leyland nursery in the Talybont area some years ago.


Tuesday 1 October 2013

Blair's shoulder-knot

This moth was not recorded in Ceredigion before the 1980's according to Adrian Fowles. It was first discovered on the Isle of Wight in 1951 and has been moving north very quickly since then. Could the spread be related to abundance of Lawson's and Leyland Cypress, the larval food plants. We recorded good numbers in the garden last year, and we had our first for this year last night.