Monday 31 March 2014

Tortricodes alternella?

There were also three micros in the same catch - Agonopterix heracliana, Diurnea fagella and what I think is probably one form of Torticodes alternella (FL 10 mm). Verification or correction would be appreciated.


A Productive Warm Night

We set four traps on a balmy night this weekend in and around our property.  We were rewarded with over a hundred moths and 23 different macro species.  In addition to the very plentiful Orthosias our catch included Early Thorn, Early Tooth-striped, Yellow Horned, Red Swordgrass, Early Grey, Pale Pinion, Red Chestnut and Brindled & Double Striped Pugs.

Carolyn & Evan

Early Tooth-striped

Yellow Horned

Sunday 30 March 2014

Predation…tales from the Trap.

Last night at Coed Y Bont or Coed Dolgoed as it is on the maps: 100 macros, 1 micro (A ocellana), and the first Early Tooth Striped for me this year, almost discarded as a Mottled Grey in the woodland and early morning gloom!
I have read many tales from moth-ers who have had their traps filled with all sorts of horrors and last year I had a box of wasps from the walled garden at Llanerchaeron but this has me puzzled:
In the rain funnel which sits in the bottom of the trap I saw a number of moth heads and turned the small funnel upside down to shake them out.  In doing so I saw the narrow end of the funnel was blocked by what looked like something out the Hoover bag. In pulling it out I discovered it was full of tiny fly/midge creatures and the moths were either dead or severely depleted of scales.  The furry stuff is actually moth scales but what were the bugs doing in it…nest?
I'm sure there is an entomologist out there who has seen this before so any explanation would be welcome.

Friday 28 March 2014

Quakers and sallows

Night of the 26th put a trap under two smallish flowering sallows in the garden remembering that Norman Lowe mentioned the relationship between Quakers and the nectaring plant at a training session a few years ago.. in spite of a min temp of 0.2C there were 158 moths in the 15w Heath trap of which 83 were common quakers!   A couple of Red Swordgrass were new faces but it was probably my last Satellite as I won't be trapping here for a while.

Just returned from Longwood as a brief glimpse of sunshine inspired a search for Orange Underwing but by the time I reached the willows and birches most had been cut down along the edge of the track and the sun had gone in!   The clearances are good news for the butterflies in the sunny open areas and it is part of a comprehensive management plan to provide various habitats and make full use of the timber so all things to all people; a massive visitor/welcome centre is being constructed from the fellings.
Red Liford saw what we think must have been O  U's along the northern part of the railway line at Cors Caron so its worth keeping an eye out if its sunny wherever there are birch and sallow.

The Red Swordgrass playing 'dead'…I think!

Friday 21 March 2014

Small Quakers

With a threat of frost at night from the weather forecasters we tried a last minute trap at Ynys-hir last night.
51 Small Quakers and double figures of Common and Twin-spotted Quaker and Clouded Drab, 7 Brindled Pug and 5 Early Grey.  104 moths of 12 species in total.
Red Chestnut.

Sunday 16 March 2014

First orange underwing

First of the year seen flying around young birch near the carpark at Coed Dolgoed.

Coed Dolgoed at Pontrhydfendigaid is a Community woodland which Ian Tillotson and I are going to trap regularly this year as part of an overall wildlife survey.  I'll post my trap dates on here with details of when I'll be opening the traps but this will necessarily be at very short notice.  Its a lovely woodland with a lot of good birds to listen to whilst there at dawn and dusk.
The first trap was Thurs and Fri nights last week which unfortunately coincided with bright moons and low temps so not many moths but pleased to catch a Brindled Beauty; I took it along to Ian for comparison with those in his reference collection so I could be sure of the differences with Pale BB.
I get delivery of an 18amp battery tomorrow so will be trapping next week in a more promising bit of the wood as so far I've used a big leisure battery which was a lump to drag up the track and limited where I could put it.

Recent Trapping

Where have all the moths gone?
Garden skinner last night produced four moths, at least they were four species!
Common Quaker, Small Quaker, Double-striped Pug and Hebrew Character.

The night before at Ynys-hir was not as good as we expected.  The temperature was supposed to rise a little, but one of the trap lights failed and we had nothing new in the other.
Photos below are of two of the Engrailed from Ynys-hir, showing some of the variation in this species.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Busy relaying paving in the garden yesterday when a Hummingbird Hawkmoth came past my ear and started inspecting the flowers.  Despite banging on the window to attract Tony's attention while keeping my eye on the moth, we did not manage a photo.  The Pieris that was covered in bees of all shapes and sizes was of no interest, bell shaped flowers no good to a Hb.Hm obviously.
Just to make it clear, Tony was not letting me do all the hard work!  ;-)

Monday 10 March 2014

Early moth at last

Encouraged by the appearance of a Peacock butterfly in the garden yesterday we put a moth trap out over night. What a lovely surprise to find 40 moths this morning (the same trap in the same position two nights ago gave us one Common quaker). 14 macro moth species: Early grey 8, Oak beauty 6, Common quaker 6, Pale brindled beauty 2, Grey shoulder-knot 2, Clouded drab 2, Hebrew character 2, Small quaker 2, Chestnut 2, singletons of Early moth, Double-triped pug, Brindled pug, Satellite, Red chestnut. We were pleased to see our first Early moth of the year wondering if they had suffered in the cold weather last year.
Early moth

Red chestnut

Just two micros, a Common plume and a Mompha divisella/bradleyi, further investigation needed to determine which it really is.
Mompha divisella/bradleyi (Wing length 6mm)

Sunday 9 March 2014

Twin-spotted Quaker

Two traps last night - one in our garden and the other in a nearby woodland - produced 14 macro species,  the most numerous of which were Oak Beauty and Pale Brindled Beauty.  New for us this season were Engrailed, Clouded Drab, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, Brindled Pug, Early Grey and a Twin-spotted Quaker with rather faint twin spots on the outermost cross-line. 

Carolyn & Evan
Twin-spotted Quaker

Clouded Drab

Common Quaker

Yellow Horned, Early Grey and one Grey One Grey Shoulder-knot

Another good catch last night, this time on Cors Fochno in the Willow Carr.
Most numerous was Yellow Horned (40) and Early Grey (29).
A single Grey Shoulder-knot snuck in, a visitor this one as it feeds on oaks.
Grey Shoulder-knot

Yellow Horned

Single figures of other macros - Hebrew Character, Engrailed, Clouded Drab, Chestnut, Small Quaker, Dotted Border, Red Sword-grass. 
Micros included T.alternella, A.ocellana, Diurnea fagella and a couple of Acleris that need further investigation.

Diurnea fagella

Thursday 6 March 2014

Ynys-hir Macros

Twelve species of the larger moths last night at Ynys-hir, including March moth, Small Quaker, Clouded Drab, Engrailed and Brindled Pug all appearing in the trap for us for the first time this year.
Total number of larger moths in two Actinic Heath traps was 118. Not bad for early march.
Early Thorn

Brindled Pug

Small Quaker

Ynys-hir Micros

Four species of micro last night including 60 Tortricodes alternella, (a conservative estimate!).
Photos of the other three below.
Ypsolopha ustella

Agonopterix ocellana

Agonopterix arenella

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Mothy Mutterings

The latest from BC's Moths Count Newsletter is out.
Some interesting notes on the progress of a national recording scheme for micro moths, still a long way to go though.
Also the effects of the wet winter on lepidoptera.

Sunday 2 March 2014

March Moth

On the first of this month we were rewarded with our first March Moth of the year in our woodland trap.  Our catch also included Pale Brindled Beauty, Spring Usher, Dotted Border, Oak Beauty, Chestnut, Satellite and Tortricoides alternella- 36 moths in total.

Carolyn & Evan

March Moth

Dotted Border