Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Lockdown Target Species Challenge

Hello Moth-ers - It's been a very chilly start to this challenge therefore things have been very slow in getting going, but well done to Mel Jones, as he was the only moth-er who's informed me they were taking part, who actually manage to record one of the target species.



Peter.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

January Challenge - final table


Hello Moth-ers,

The January challenge has now finished, the data is all in and has been collated into the two charts below.

This year 13 moth-ers took part (five of those were from 'out of county' recorders), which considering the wet and cool January is not a bad turnout. However, despite the adverse conditions, between us we did manage to record 25 species, which is only three species down on last years number. There were 17 macro and 8 micro species recorded which resulted in 336 moths (320 macro and 16 micro), which is an excellent effort on everyone's part.

Only two of us achieved the macro part of the challenge, with 10 plus species they were, Alec Undril (an Essex recorder) with 12 species and Peter Williams just scraping home with 10 specie. Alan Sibley (an Essex recorder) and Sue Southam managed joint third place with 7 species. This year nobody managed to achieve the micro part of the challenge. The best return was 4 species from Alec Undril, so bad luck to him for Judy missing out. This was followed by Sue Southam and Peter Williams, each with 3 species. 




Now for a more in depth breakdown of what was recorded.
                                                                                                                                                                      Macros - As can be seen in the chart above, five of us managed to record 4+ species. Across all recorders the most numerous species was the Chestnut with 75 moths, followed by the Winter Moth with 67 moths and in third place was the Spring Usher with 42 moths
The most moths recorded by individual recorders were 110 by Peter Williams, 91 by Alec Undril and 67 by Sue Southam.

There weren't any unexpected or unusual species recorded this year, but it was good to get 2 records of overwintering species of 10 Herald and a single Tissue from Rob Goodsell from his site which contains a cave.

Micros - were very thin on the ground this year, with only 8 species recorded. There weren't really any unexpected micro species recorded. 

The chart below shows the top five macro species recorded (along with the total of moths) from 2012 to 2021


 


Which just leaves me to say a big thank you to all those who took part and please don’t forget, that apart from the fun and the individual challenge, it also generates much needed winter records for your county, which are always very thin on the ground - hopefully more of you will want to join in next year to see if you can grapple with the ‘January challenge’.

Peter.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

January Challenge 3 weeks in

Hello Moth-ers - the chart below shows the state of play at the three week point of the challenge and I have to congratulate Alec Undrill from Essex who is the first moth-er taking part to achieve the 10 macro species part of the challenge. Other moth-ers doing well are Alan Sibley (also from Essex) and Sue Southam and Peter Williams from Montgomeryshire, so we may well have some more joining Alec by the end of the month.

So far January has been pretty changeable, but with a definite bias to being wet and cold, so trapping has been quite challenging, but well done to all those having a go, hopefully the last week of the month will see a few milder nights boosting all our totals.


 


    Peter.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

January Challenge - 2 week update


Hello All,

The attached chart shows the data at the two week point I've received so far in this year's 'January challenge'. The best personal list of macros so far is eight species, while the best micro list is for only one species, but with over two weeks still to go I would imagine the lists to get bigger. 13 species in total have been recorded during the month.




Peter

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Hello Moth-ers,

We're coming up to the two week point in the 'January Challenge' and the latter part of the week has certainly become milder for many of us, so hopefully we'll see a few more species turning up.

For all those taking part in the challenge please let me know the following details since the beginning of the month (please reply with your details on this post): -

       

      1) Total list of species recorded.

      2) Total count of each species recorded

      3) Total number of nights you trapped.

 

Please remember, you can join in on this challenge whenever you like and for anyone taking part for the first time, the following simple rules apply: -

 

1) Adults only to be recorded.

2) Records from a single site only.

3) Using one trap only. Don’t have a trap – no problem, records other than from a trap e.g. daytime observations, moths to lit windows etc. can also count as long as they're from the same site.

4) Anyone can take part, but if you're not a recorder in Montgomeryshire you will have to let me know you're taking part so that I can contact you for your results.

I will ask you for your results at the end of January when I will ask you for a simple list of:-

 

This year I plan to make the challenge a bit more interactive by posting weekly updates on our Facebook page, where you can all comment and keep an eye on how the challenge is panning out.

I will publish the final results on our Facebook page and on our blog in early February, once all the results are in.

Have fun – see if you can beat your total of last year.

 

Peter.


Saturday, 9 January 2021

January Challenge after the first week

 

Below is the 'January Challenge' chart after the first week of the month. The week was very cold both day and night, hopefully things will pick up in the coming days. The chart will be updated throughout the month.








Peter.


Friday, 1 January 2021

2121 lockdown 'January Challenge' - off to a chilly start

 

Hello Moth-ers,

 

A happy New year to you all.

 

Just a reminder that the 2021 January Challenge kicks off tonight – so dust those traps off and fire them up.

 

I will be doing a weekly update on our Facebook page for those who like to keep an eye on the action (as well as posting the final table on Facebook and our blog, at the beginning of February), but to enable you to join in, in this interactive way on Facebook, you’ll have to join our Facebook group page, just let me know and I’ll sign you up.

 

Here is a link to our Facebook page so you can see what it’s like:- www.facebook.com/groups/montymoths?sorting_setting=CHRONOLOGICAL

 

Good luck.

 

Peter.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

2021 Lockdown 'January Challenge'

 

Hello Moth-ers,

 

In a couple of days’ time with the start of another New Year I am once again doing our January moth challenge and this year the challenge is open to anyone who wishes to take part, whether you trap in Montgomeryshire or not.

For those of you who don’t know, the challenge is to record 10 macro species (and 5 micro species if you record micros), or of course, as many species as you can record during January. As many of you have found out in the past, this is definitely not an easy challenge, but it’s well worth having a go at as it generates many extra winter records when recording is often very sparse. It’s also a bit of fun, so go on, have a go, see how you get on, you might surprise yourselves!

There are only a few simple rules I would ask you to please follow:-

1) Adults only to be recorded.

2) Records from a single site only.

3) Using one trap only. Don’t have a trap – no problem, records other than from a trap e.g. daytime observations, moths to lit windows etc. can also count as long as they're from the same site.

4) Anyone can take part, but if you're not a recorder in Montgomeryshire you will have to let me know you're taking part so that I can contact you for your results. 

I will ask you for your results at the end of January when I will ask you for a simple list of:-

1) What species you recorded.

2) How many moths of each species you recorded.

3) How many days you trapped on.

This year I plan to make the challenge a bit more interactive by posting weekly updates on our Facebook page, where you can all comment and keep an eye on how the challenge is panning out. So if you haven’t already joined our Facebook page please let me know and I will invite you to join.

I will publish the results on our Facebook page and on our blog in early February, once all the results are in.

Have fun – see if you can beat your total of last year.

Happy New year to all of you and I hope you all have some great mothing in 2021.

Peter.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

VC47 butterfly updates

Bit of butterfly news: I have now processed all of the 2019 data (which included a large number of historic records, a lot of which were from Lake Vyrnwy). Thank you to everyone who sent me records directly, on iRecord, or via Peter.

 

We now have 33,400 records of 42 species in the database. There were two additions: Brown Hairstreak records (from the 1970s in two sites in the Dovey Valley, raising the exciting prospect that this secretive species may well still be present) and also Scarce Swallowtail records from a plant nursery from near Welshpool (adventive).


I plan to update my digital atlas in early 2021 once the 2020 data is in. This is much needed as there are now several new additions to the VC47 list since the previous update (including Essex Skipper) and many changes in distributions (including recent Marbled White records in the south of the county). Please do send any records from either this year or any previous years to my email (though feel free to wait until the New Year in case of any late sightings): email contact on sidebar. Remember records of all species are welcome and needed! As the maps show, much of the county is very under-recorded.

Saturday, 14 November 2020

5th. In the series ‘One to look out for’, the Northern Winter Moth

Over the past couple of years, I have been highlighting some species found in Montgomeryshire in the 'one to look out for' series, which are either uncommon or are confused with other species, today I’m looking at the rather elusive Northern Winter Moth.

The Northern Winter moth is definitely a species which is overlooked by moth-ers in general, either because of its flight season, which as its name suggests is a winter flying species, secondly because it’s often confused with the Winter Moth and finally it is generally much more uncommon than the Winter Moth here in Montgomeryshire, therefore you normally have to put in a bit more effort in to record it. In the past ten years it has only been recorded at seven sites in Montgomeryshire, but I think this figure could be significantly increased with more recording. 

There are some subtle differences between the two species which I’ll outline here and these should help you to separate the two species with a fairly high degree of certainty.


                                        Northern Winter Moth - Operophtera fagata
 

                                               Winter Moth - Operophtera brumata

As can be seen from the two images above (only the males are shown for this comparison, the females only have vestigial wings and therefore can’t fly) the Northern Winter Moth (top) is somewhat larger than the Winter Moth (bottom) with a more tapered forewing, it is also paler with more fine markings and has a general silky sheen to the eye.

It’s on the wing from late October until December and the males are attracted to light traps. When the females emerge they will just climb up the nearest tree or bush, release their irresistible pheromones and wait for a male to come along and mate with her. Eggs are laid on the foodplant where they  overwinter until they hatch in the spring. The larvae feed on a number of deciduous tree species which include; Birch, Alder, Beech and has also been found on some fruit trees; Apple, Plum and Cherry. It’s found in various habitats, such as woodland, heathland and gardens. It pupates underground.

Peter.