Saturday 31 May 2014

Well marked Pale Tussock

As I don't catch anything unusual (well I did the first year I moth-ed: loads of County Firsts and even some which were supposedly extinct) I'm concentrating on what attracted me to moths initially: the sheer wonder of these amazing insects.  Mostly Pale Tussocks sit very still and are hard to dislodge but this one flashed its wings, much more attractive than the pic in Skinner.  The caterpillar  is also dramatic looking so I'll be out searching in late June ...

One thing puzzling me is why micros seem to enjoy being in the fridge; they live for days without food and light, appearing moribund and fit to photograph yet spring to life within 2 seconds of being released from their chilly abode so I can't show you the beautiful tiny Cocksfoot moth I found in a buttercup yesterday.  I looked in hundreds and found beetles and spiders but only one Glyphipterix simpliciella…at least that's if I'm right in thinking there are only 3 Glyphs that occur in Cere, one wrong colour, one too large and one very common so that's mine then. I've put it back in the fridge as it wouldn't comply so if PH wants it, I've got it.

cork moth and carpatolechia proximella

nemapogon cloacella, the cork moth, feeds on fungi. i caught this one flying around an old woodpile; it also comes to light-traps. the previous evening, i put my trap among alders and caught two carpatolechia proximella, which feeds on alder and birch. there are some similarish species, not all included in sterling et al.'s field guide, but a well-marked individual like this one is distinctive.
cork moth
carpatolechia proximella

Tuesday 27 May 2014

Unfinished business!

These Bufftips are hoping their birch twig camo will fool the birds whilst they complete their liaison.  Didn't fool Toffy who alerted me by having a good sniff around!

Saturday 24 May 2014

Up on the hill

I managed to find a really nice area of Bilberry and other moorland shrubs amongst the wasteland of sheep pasture on the Cere side of the Pysgotr valley on Wed.  Sun was shining and I kicked up a lot of common heath (pic 2) but one was much brighter, much smaller and more active so top pic is the best I could manage with an old Lumix compact.  Although it didn't settle with its wings folded that might have been the breeze, on close up its wings are a bit distorted and it only landed the once.  It certainly was a different, more spreadeagled shape to the Commons so I think its a Latticed. Anyone going to corroborate or otherwise?
I also managed to get a pic of this very attractive gold-ish micro which I think is Nemapotogon swammerdamella, supposed to be common but I only saw one in about 2 ha of suitable habitat.

Psychoides verhuella

and also filicivora. If you are bored during the wet spell, you can always go out now and inspect the underside of Hart's Tongue Fern. There's still time to look, although the moth is not far away from hatching. I removed some fronds from a site in Ceredigion last week that looked suspiciously like the cases of one of the two species, probably verhuella, and I've just put them in an inverted pint glass. Hopefully in a couple of weeks time, the adult will hatch out and I can verify the species. Look at the undersides of last years fronds and look at the spore rows. In the images, hopefully it should be clear what you are to look for. The case is inside a tiny mass of collected spores. There are nice images also on the UK Moths site:
Peter Hall

Friday 23 May 2014

This past Week

Hi folks,
As some of you know, I visited Ceredigion for a few days to meet friends and hopefully try and run the traps. I managed a curtailed visit to Cors Caron NNR on Monday night before a second thunderstorm put most if my equipment under water. It took 2 days to dry things out. The list was progressing well and had reached 32 species of macro, and surprisingly only 1 micro by the time I had to abandon ship and call the life guard, well before midnight. Most interesting for me was Oblique Carpet, Coronet, Barred Umber and female Fox's bashing into the traps. Daytime walks have produced quite a few micros to id later including some potential Psychoides moths from what looks like frass around pupal sites on Hartstongue fern. I await any hatchings. Now is the time to look. I did also trap at Brynarth, but nights were chilly and I only recorded 24 macros and 2 micros. Peter Hall
Raindrops the size of golf balls with the Robinson in the background

Wednesday 21 May 2014

three under-recorded tortricids

in the last few days, i've seen three of the (many) moths for which few previous ceredigion records exist. capua vulgana, epinotia fraternana and  pammene rhediella are almost certainly under-recorded, even by ceredigion standards, in part because they are less likely to turn up in light traps. they can be found by day in suitable habitat.

capua vulgana feeds on bilberry and rowan, among other plants. the one in the photo was seen flying over bilberry in the ystwyth valley in late afternoon. it's quite a plain moth - this one is a well-marked individual! the wing shape and the pale wedge at the base of the wing with a dark blotch beyond are useful pointers.
capua vulgana

the nationally scarce epinotia fraternana feeds on fir needles. i tapped two from the lower branches of some immature firs in the ystwyth valley - among mature firs, where most of the leaves are high up, it's probably difficult to find. the key feature is the orange-brown on the forewing with a well-defined narrow pale crossband from costa to dorsum, angling forwards. the somewhat similar epinotia tedella feeds on spruce, which, as plants go, is quite an easy one to check for in an area. most individuals can be distinguished by wing markings: e tedella has a darker brown forewing with additional pale markings.
epinotia fraternana

the fruitlet mining tortrix, pammene rhediella, is most commonly seen flying in sunshine around the tops of flowering hawthorn trees. tapping a couple of hawthorns on cors caron produced a crowd of them. it's not a great photo, but the dark forewing with a diagonally-edged orangish shape at the termen is distinctive.
pammene rhediella

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Bird's wing

This very rare moth for the county was recorded in an Aberystwyth garden last weekend. The only other known records, also from the Aberystwyth area, were from the 1960's. Thank you to David Kirby for providing these photos.

Coed Y Bont Sat night

Marbled Brown is a nice looking moth which along with Square Spot and Engrailed survived the early morning thunderstorm at the top of the wood.  Have to say my best moment was hearing a Golden Oriole singing from the oaks above the trap: reward for getting up early and getting wet!

Monday 19 May 2014

Moths at Ynys-hir

Despite the early morning deluge we recorded 32 macro and 2 micro species at the RSPB reserve last night. Most numerous were Brown silver-line, Common marbled carpet, and Nut-tree tussock. Firsts for us this year included Peppered moth (a very dark one), White-pinion spotted, Small angle shades, Green carpet, Dark-barred twin-spot carpet, Cream wave, Pale-shouldered brocade, Grey pine carpet, Common lutestring, Sandy carpet, Scorched wing, Rivulet. The micros were Alucita hexadactyla (Twenty-plume moth) and Argyresthia conjella (Apple fruit moth).
Cream wave

Sandy carpet

Rustic shoulder-knot
Argyresthia conjugella

Anania funebris

Since the Priority Moth Newsletter went out on the blog I have received two new records of four individuals. 
Not bad for a moth not recorded in the county since the early eighties!!
Most records are in the south, but any Goldenrod anywhere is worth checking out.

Saturday 17 May 2014

puss moth

You've all, probably, been catching hundreds of these but I just had to blog it: beautiful moth, ace condition, in just the position Paul Waring says it would be, proves my wild garden is worth having,and so pleased its wings aren't littering the floor of our garage below the long- eared Bat diner though on second thoughts that probably means there aren't hundreds of them here!
Tonight I plan to set 4 traps in Coed Y Bont and am hoping for a warmer night, 5.5C here last night.

Friday 16 May 2014

Anania funebris - Priority moth species.

One of this year's priority moth species is Anania funebris, a pretty little black and white moth which has been recorded in the county in past years.
The food plant is Goldenrod, so if anyone knows of this plant growing anywhere in the county and you have a little spare time, please have a look never know we could rediscover it!
If you do find one please take a record photograph for evidence as this moth has not been seen for around 30 years.
Here's a photo taken in north Lancashire...where I used to see them regularly. 

Thursday 15 May 2014

Cors Fochno

We ran two 15W Heath traps on the bog last night, one in an area of mainly willow and the other mainly birch and bracken. In the willow we had Ruddy highflyer (9), Broken-barred carpet (3), Herald (2), Poplar hawkmoth (2), Pale tussock (2), and singles of Red twin-spot carpet, Brimstone, Grey birch, Scalloped hazel, Muslin moth, Clouded drab. In the birch and bracken we had Brown silver-line (13), Buff-tip (7), Grey birch (2), and singles of Brimstone, Scalloped hazel, Small phoenix, Brown rustic, Small square-spot.

Broken-barred carpet

Small square-spot

Brown rustic

Monday 12 May 2014

BC E-Moth Newsletter

for those that don't get it directly:

Peter Hall

Currant pug

Ina decided to get some fresh air yesterday evening, first time outside since getting home after her op, and immediately shouted "hey there's a moth near the black currants". No prizes for identifying it!
Currant pug

Thursday 8 May 2014

Seraphim Distribution Map


Here is the distribution of the Seraphim in Ceredigion (VC46).


dark-barred twin-spot and red twin-spot carpets

these two moths from last week show quite well the differences between the uppersides of these two species; the colour of the main crossband isn't always the best feature to go on, as dark-barred twin-spots in particular are quite variable, sometimes fairly red, as in this one. where i trap in the ystwyth valley, these reddish forms are quite common. i've labelled the dark-barred twin-spot carpet photo to show some of the distinguishing (and otherwise) features. for the dark-barred twin-spot, the main crossband (1) is broader, the twin-spots (2) are isolated rather than part of a band or partial band, the marginal area (3) is chalky white rather than darker, the narrow off-white crossband (4) is even narrower and the general colour (for example at 5) is less vivid. the crossband immediately outside the main crossband (6) is often described as less pure white in the dark-barred twin-spot but these particular specimens suggest that this might sometimes be a bit too subtle to be reliable. the undersides are also distinctive, the dark-barred twin-spot being more drab, the red twin-spot more orangey. the notch in the front edge of the dark-barred twin-spot's main cross-band (7) was formerly used to distinguish this species, until it was noticed that red twin-spots also sometimes have it.
dark-barred twin-spot carpet
red twin-spot carpet


i was lucky enough to catch one of these in the ystwyth valley last week; i don't think there have been many records in the county.

Monday 5 May 2014

Nut-tree Tussock

A cool evening still produced 15 macro species from three traps.  New this year, for us at least, were Nut-tree Tussock, Scalloped Hazel, Lunar Thorn and White Ermine.

Carolyn & Evan

Nut-tree Tussock

Scalloped Hazel

Lunar Thorn

Sunday 4 May 2014

Brindled Ochre Distribution Map


It looks as though you have caught an overwintering female.