Tuesday, 30 December 2014

January moth challenge

Hello Everyone,

With another New Year approaching I am once again doing our January moth challenge.  The challenge is to record ‘10 macro and or 5 micro species during January’. As many of you have found out in the past it's definitely not an easy challenge, but it’s well worth having a go at as it generates many extra winter records for the county when recording is often very sparse. It’s also a bit of fun, have a go, see how you get on, you might surprise yourselves. So go on, dust those traps off and get recording!
I’ll ask you all for your results at the end of January (please send your results even if you don’t record ten macro or five micro species, as it all goes towards building the bigger picture), then I’ll post the results on the blog at the beginning of February.

All the best and a Happy New year to you all,

Peter.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

National Macro Moth Recording Scheme - Annual meeting

Hello All,

Just a reminder that the National Macro Moth Recording Scheme (NMRS) is once again holding its annual seminar at the Lyttelton Lecture Theatre in the Birmingham and Midland Institute, B3 3BS in Birmingham on Saturday 31st January 2015.

It's an annual gathering of moth recorders from around the country, hosted by Butterfly Conservation and everone is welcome attend this excellent day of moth related talks. Full details (including the programme) are available here. It is essential you book a place for this event.


Seasons greatings to everyone.

Peter.

Friday, 19 December 2014

The smaller moths of Shropshire

A book recommendation from just over the border. The smaller moths of Shropshire has only just been published and has been written by Godfrey Blunt, the VC40 micro moth recorder.

The book features all the micro species recorded in the county, giving a paragraph account and in most cases a distribution map too. The book also has various analysis exploring factors which might limit the distributions of micro moths such as climate, habitat, etc.

Although I don't do much mothing in Shropshire, it's very interesting to see what lives just over the border - much of the VC47 boundaries are shared with Shropshire as well as some great sites, eg Llanymynech Rocks (and my garden!).

Should anyone stray into Shropshire, Godfrey would certainly like to receive any micro records.

It's a chunky A4 size and the price seems fair: £13 before 31/12/14 (£15 thereafter). Details on this new publication here.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Moths in nests

Contents of several nest boxes
In October 2013 I collected the contents of several vacated nest boxes. I stored the nest material and general detritus in sealed tubs over the winter. The hope was that there would be moth pupae within the detritus. There are quite a number of British species associated with bird nests, the larvae probably feeding on detritus or fibers.

Fast forward to spring 2014 when adults began to emerge from the tubs. Within a couple of months the following had appeared:

52x Monopis laevigella
19x Niditinea striolella
11x Endrosis sarcitrella
2x Nemapogon wolffiella

Monopis laevigella, Niditinea striolella & Nemapogon wolffiella

Monopis laevigella is clearly an abundant species. I've occasionally seen the species free-flying outside, often by day, but never in large numbers. Andrew Graham comments on such numbers emerging from owl nests on his website. It also was interesting to note that none of the laevigella presented any issues separating from M. weaverella: the main confusion species. The two can look extremely similar at times but the 52 exhibited all the features of laevigella without exception.

Niditinea striolella is quite a difficult species to identify. When I potted the first one, I knew it was a species I'd not seen before. Clearly a tineid and a look in the books suggested the Niditinea genus as a likely candidate. N. fuscella appears to be the commoner species, however I felt my moth resembled striolella more closely. The two species can be very similar, as well as confused with other members of the family. To be certain of the identification, I checked its genitalia which are quite distinct. This confirmed the identification of Niditinea striolella: a nationally scarce B species and the first record for the county,  and indeed all of north Wales. Many more emerged over a three-week period, during this time, I selected a few individuals for gen det to ensure the emergence consisted of this single species. The large numbers which emerged suggests this is a locally common species and is probably more widespread. To find 19 individuals from a few bird nests but not a single one in five years moth trapping suggests the species is very easily overlooked.

Endrosis sarcitrella was definitely an expected species being common in moth traps, as well as indoors.

Nemapogon wolffiella was, however, a real surprise. I first came across this nationally scarce B species a few years ago when I found the first county record in the house. I've since discovered it to be fairly regular when netting late afternoon in a wooded part of the garden. Also occurs very infrequently in moth traps. It was a surprise because the literature states it feeds on dead wood and bracket fungi and therefore should not be found in bird nests. It's possible the species feeds on decaying matter within bird nests, like many other members of the family. Another possible explanation is the larvae had been feeding on dead wood but moved into the bird box to pupate.

There were a number of species I felt were missing. For example Tinea trinotella and T. semifulvella are both fairly regular in moth traps here (more so than M. laevigella)  and both are said to feed in bird nests, however none emerged. This is quite possibly just a case of sampling error and collecting a larger number of nests may well produce more species. Alternatively, the conditions in the tubs might not have been right for these species over winter and these pupae died or otherwise failed to emerge. Also possible that those two species prefer different types of nest e.g. nests in hedgerows.

Collecting nest material in the autumn certainly seems likely a worthwhile undertaking. There are at least 10 species, probably more, given in the literature that feed in bird nests. Many of these are likely to be very under-recorded. If nothing else, the whole exercise enlightened me that birds have at least one purpose after all...


Douglas.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Butterfly records

A page from 'Butterflies of VC47 - 2013'
It's that time of year again: with winter closing in, I'm starting to sort through the county's butterfly records for 2014.

If anyone has any records, now is the time to send them in. If you use iRecord, that's fine, I will download them in one batch in a few weeks.

It doesn't matter how many records you have or what format they're in, I'd love to receive them. Even a simple list of the butterflies seen at a particular location in a single year is very useful. The chances are you'll be adding a new dot to the maps.

Once I have all the year's data,  I will consolidate it and add it to the county database. It will be used to update all the distribution maps in my 'Butterflies of Montgomeryshire' PDF and a new version will be published in the spring. The data will also be forwarded to Butterfly Conservation's national recording scheme.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions, etc.

Douglas
(douglas@montgomeryshiremoths.org.uk)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Warm air flow - good numbers of moths - more migrants.

I had an excellent number of species (18) and moths (57) at Commins Coch last night - these were unuasually high totals for a late November night, which just goes to show how much a mild air flow over the county can really effect moth catches.

There were 14 macro species which included Red Sword-grass and the Scarce Umber and 4 micro species.
I had 2 migrant species: - 1 x plutella xlostella  and 10 x Udea ferrugalis - the latter number is the highest recorded for this species in a single night for the county.

Please post about the migrant species you record as this keeps everyone in the loop as to what's turning up in the county. 

Peter.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

More migrants

I'm currently in Oxford but the garden trap was kindly run on my behalf last night. The best catch was this Palpita vitrealis. A lovely moth, that I've been lucky enough to see in France before now - though this is the first garden record. An uncommon visitor: as of last year there had been only 3 records across all of north Wales (all from Peter in 2006 & 2013). Seems to be a species that is becoming more regular, possibly due to climate change.

Other migrants were Vestal, Udea ferrugalis and Silver Y.

Photo by Clare Boyes

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Dolforwyn event report

The species list and write up from our latest MMG event are now online here.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

New county record of a Scar Bank Gem

When I opened the trap this morning I had a moth which resembled a Silver Y, but it looked somehow different, I potted it and cautiously hoped that I might be a Ni Moth, however when I checked through the reference books it turned out that I’ve recorded a Scar Bank Gem, a migrant species which is found in south-west Europe, Africa and Asia (the small light brown, tear shaped mark in the middle of the outer edge of the wing is diagnostic). It was first recorded in the UK at a house call 'Scar Bank', near Swanage, Dorset. It's much more rare than the Ni Moth and from what I can tell this species has only been recorded 15 times before in the whole of the UK and never in Wales – Needless to say I’m quite animated with this excellent record this morning. 






I've already had requests from moth-ers to view and photo this moth, so I'm going to set aside tomorrow afternoon (Friday 31/10/14) for this and I’m going to ask everyone who turns up to donate £2.00, which will go towards the running costs of the Montgomeryshire Moths website.

All viewings must be by prior appointment only, my contact details can be found on the Montgomeryshire Moths website.


With an air flow from a south-westerly quarter and temperatures picking up over the next few days it is quite possible that we could have an influx of migrant species across the county, so keep those traps fired up and good luck to you all.

Peter. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Mothing event at Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve on Saturday 25/10/14.

Hello All,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a mothing event at Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve, just north of Newtown – we’re targeting autumn migrant species and with an air flow from a south westerly direction, we might just get one or two species. This is our last event of the season, so please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this superb woodland site.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve.
Target Species: Autumn migrants.
Event Date: Saturday 25 October 2014.
Event time: 6:00 onwards, at the trapping site.
Directions: Going north on the A483 from Newtown to Welshpool you will see two signposts for Abermule on the right hand side of the road. Directly after the second signpost take the first left turn, signposted for Dolforwyn Castle. Dolforwyn Hotel is visible as you turn up this lane. Go straight on and follow the lane as it curves right for about 300yds. The reserve track is on the right. Follow the track for about 400yds until you reach the parking area area.                         Grid Reference: SO158956.

Montgomeryshire Moth Group (MMG) is an independent voluntary group of people interested in moths. All ages are welcome to attend events whether experts or beginners.

This year all the events are light trapping events. We set up the light traps at dusk to attract moths and then release them after identification.

As with all our evening events, please bring a torch and wear suitable outdoor clothing.

You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening that suits you, we are likely to stay for several hours. However, in case of cancellation, due to poor weather or unforeseen circumstances, always ring or e-mail to check the event is on before joining us.

Please note that some sites are not easy to find, so please make sure you know where the venue is before you set off.

All the best,

Peter.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Coed Pendugwm event report

The report and species list from our latest MMG event can be found here.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Posting on our blog

This blog is completely open for anyone to share anything moth or wildlife related. We are always looking for users who would like to contribute by posting here. If this is of interest to you, please get in touch and I will happily set it up (my email on the sidebar). The only thing needed is a Google account - a shared account between all of Google's services: Blogger, Gmail, Youtube, Picasa, etc. (the chances are you already have one.)

PS - anyone is welcome comment on any of our posts without being an author (though Google account still required).

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Mothing event at Coed Pendugwm Nature Reserve Saturday 27th September



Hello All,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a mothing event at Coed Pendugwm Nature Reserve in the centre/north of the county. This is a joint event with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust who are doing bat recording. This site is very under-recorded so there is a chance that we might record something new or scarce for the site or indeed the county, so please come along and join us for what promises to be an excellent evening’s mothing and bat recording.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Coed Pendugwm Nature Reserve.
Target Species: Early autumn migrants.
Event Date: Saturday 27 September 2014.
Event time: 7:00 onwards, at the trapping site.
Directions: from the A458 at Heniarth take the B4389 for approximately half a mile, then on the left take the B4382 for about a mile and a half, where you will turn right towards Pont Robert. Coed Pendugwm is on a minor road a mile north of Pontrobert towards Llanfihangel; follow the brown signs from Pontrobert. Park in the reserve car park down the short but steep track opposite Pendugwm Farm. Please note that the reserve only has a small car park, so please ‘car share’ wherever you can.                                                                                          Grid Reference: SJ103143

Montgomeryshire Moth Group (MMG) is an independent voluntary group of people interested in moths. All ages are welcome to attend events whether experts or beginners.

This year all the events are light trapping events. We set up the light traps at dusk to attract moths and then release them after identification.

As with all our evening events, please bring a torch and wear suitable outdoor clothing.

You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening that suits you, we are likely to stay for several hours. However, in case of cancellation, due to poor weather or unforeseen circumstances, always ring or e-mail to check the event is on before joining us.

Please note that some sites are not easy to find, so please make sure you know where the venue is before you set off.

Peter.


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Surveying for moths in a lost world (14th September 2014)

The idea of conducting a moth survey in a "lost world" at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) was something that Peter had been working on since May.  The site is part of the disused Llwyngwern slate quarry just north of the main CAT site, now only accessible through a small wet tunnel.  Ideally the survey would have taken place in mid-summer, but the availability of group members and then inclement weather precluded running the event until now.
 
Logistics - getting 9 traps on site
Four of us arrived on site just before 7pm, giving us about an hour to set things up.  Peter's excellent organisational skills ensured that the necessary transport was on hand to convey the trapping gear from our vehicles, namely a trolley and two rusty wheel-barrows!  

En-route to trap site





However, a fallen tree across the path meant we had to carry everything through the dark wet tunnel in order to set up the traps in the quarry beyond.  Come 8 o'clock and everything was ready for the moths: two 125w MV Skinner traps on the path short of the tunnel, then within the quarry itself two more Skinners and a Robinson trap all with 125w MV lamps, plus four Heath traps (three 6w actinic and one 15w Actinic).



Tunnel entrance
Survey site

It wasn't long before Douglas came back with the first moth of the evening - a dead Atlas Moth (Attacus atlas), a species native to South-East Asia!  We wondered whether some enterprising member of the CAT staff had left it specially for us to find? 
Atlas Moth

British moth species gradually appeared, starting with Flame Carpet, then the first of the two most prolific species of the night - Common Marbled Carpet and July Highflyer.  A single Brimstone Moth was followed by a Tissue; subsequently many of these were found over-wintering on the tunnel walls, as well as three Herald.
Over-wintering Herald
Over-wintering Tissues


The air temperature at the table was holding up quite well, between 13°C and 14°C for most of the evening, but when it rose to nearly 16 degrees surprise was expressed, until we found that Peter's mug of tea was rather close to the sensor!
Micro-moths were being outnumbered 2-1 by their macro cousins, but notable finds were Argyresthia goedartella, Epinotia ramella, Ypsolopha parenthesella and Pandemis cinnamomeana.
 
Epinotia ramella
Argyresthia goedartella

Ypsolopha parenthesella


Pandemis cinnamomeana















Back with macros, a very fresh Red-line Quaker was nice to see, along with a rather worn Anomalous.  Some late arrivals included a Straw Dot and Fan-foot and at about 1am, as the last trap was being emptied, we found a Purple Bar and a Hedge Rustic.  That took the species tally for the night to 36 (11 micro and 25 macro).

We mused that notable by their absence were many of the usual autumn species such as Autumnal Rustic and the Sallows, but we felt that the site holds enough promise for a re-visit, hopefully in mid-summer next time.
Survey species list
0411  Argyresthia goedartella
0460  Ypsolopha parenthesella
0858  Hypatima rhomboidella
0971  Pandemis cinnamomeana
1038  Acleris laterana
1062  Acleris emargana
1134  Epinotia ramella
1334  Scoparia ambigualis
1338  Dipleurina lacustrata
1340  Eudonia truncicolella
1344  Eudonia mercurella 

1722  Flame Carpet
1752  Purple Bar
1760  Red-green Carpet
1764  Common Marbled Carpet
1769  Spruce Carpet
1777  July Highflyer
1790  Tissue
1862  Double-striped Pug
1906  Brimstone Moth
1913  Canary-shouldered Thorn
2102  Flame Shoulder
2109  Lesser Yellow Underwing
2111  Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
2176  Antler Moth
2177  Hedge Rustic
2178  Feathered Gothic
2263  Red-line Quaker
2361  Rosy Rustic
2364  Frosted Orange
2394  Anomalous
2469  Herald
2474  Straw Dot
2477  Snout
2484  Pinion-streaked Snout
2489  Fan-foot

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Tissue - foodplants

One of the Tissues that came to light at Llyn Mawr
This summer I have caught the Tissue, Triphosa dubitata, at three separate sites: Llyn Mawr (upland bog), Glaslyn (heather moorland) and Vyrnwy (upland scrub). The foodplants given for the species in the books are buckthorns (Frangula & Rhamnus). I couldn't help but notice that these foodplants don't seem to be present at any of these of sites. The fact that three were recorded on a single night at Llyn Mawr would suggest that these are probably not wanderers.

There are several other records from around the county from upland areas where the foodplant is perhaps somewhat unlikely. It's possible the moth is able to thrive on isolated patches of buckthorn, existing in high enough density to wander from these areas.

But is it perhaps more likely this moth is utilising a different foodplant in the county? I notice Andrew Graham has made the same observation on his north Wales site, saying "Occurs on moorland, miles from the stated foodplants. Could it be breeding here on some other plant?". Text on the Yorkshire Moths website hints at their suspicion it might be feeding on something else in their county.

In addition to the two buckthorns, the Natural History Museum database gives ash, apple and bird cherry as plants it's been recorded on in continental Europe. I also find reference to it feeding on hawthorn abroad. Clearly elsewhere it's adapted to other foodplants - so why not here?

The only tree species growing nearby to where the moths were caught at all three sites is rowan. Could this be an alternative foodplant? It's just possible, I suppose. If Glaslyn is excluded, birch and willow are common to the two other sites. There are of course going to be plenty of low-growing plants common to all three sites.

Obviously this is just speculation but certainly an area that merits some attention. Next summer I'll try searching/beating rowan at these sites for larvae - probably worth a try! Hopefully I'll also obtain a gravid female and, if so, I will see if the larvae are less choosy in captivity and what other plants they will accept.

Vyrnwy trapping

Returned to Vyrnwy on Friday. There was a good night forecast, though clear skies at the start meant a slightly cooler temperature than I'd hoped for.

Recorded 47 species in total, many being new to the 10km square. The most notable records were:
  • Small Autumnal Moth - first county record since 1991. Meant to be a common moorland species and probably somewhat overlooked in the county - however, there have been several visits in recent years to suitable sites so it's surprising this species has not showed up earlier. 
  • Epinotia solandriana - first county record since 1975.
  • Neglected Rustic
  • Large Ear
  • Barred Chestnut
  • Pyla fusca

Species list and a few photos on this link:
Vyrnwy (06/08/14)

Friday, 5 September 2014

MMG event at Pont Llogel

The event report and species list from our latest trip is now available here.

Coed Pendugwm (and Glaslyn)

Took another visit to Pendugwm woods the other day. Arrived to find the reserve track completely blocked by a large lorry. Luckily was able to find the farmer to move it. By the time I got into the reserve, it was already very dark - it was about 9:30pm before all the traps were on.

Don't think this affected the catch too much though. A very warm night with 76 species in total, 40 of which were new for the site. The best macros were Barred Chestnut (several seen), Devon Carpet, Red Underwing, Pale Eggar, Clay Triple-lines and Grey Pine Carpet. Best micros were Anacampsis blattariella (new county record), Caloptilia robustella and Argyresthia semitestacella (5 seen). Nice to see quite a few Ypsolopha sequella too.

One added challenge for the night was hornets. At least seven came to the traps. Tried to pot them all up (easier said than done!) and keep them in custody until I was ready to leave the site - to save myself from being stung and all my moths being dismantled!

Images and species list:
Coed Pendugwm (03/09/14)

The next night (4/9) I went up to Glaslyn. Unfortunately a rather cool night and largely uneventful - except for a visit from a very friendly policeman who had seen the lights from the main road. Between my 6 traps, I only caught 18 species (7 were new to reserve though). A couple of good records including Heath Rustic, Neglected Rustic and Tissue. Migrants were represented by a single Dark Sword-grass.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Migrants

Little bit of migrant activity in the garden trap last night. Singletons of Dark Sword Grass, Silver Y, Udea ferrugalis and Plutella xylostella.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Mothing event at pont Llogel SSSI, Saturday 30 August



Hello All,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a mothing event at Pont Llogel SSSI. We will be putting the traps along this lovely riverside site. Some of the very colourful autumn species are just about on the wing now, so hopefully we’ll trap a few of these along with the odd migrant or two.So please come along and join us at this very picturesque location.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Pont Llogel.
Target Species: Autumn Species.
Event Date: Saturday 30 August 2014.
Event time: 8:00 onwards, at the trapping site.
Directions: in the village, on the B4395 next to the river bridge.                                               Grid Reference: SJ032154

Montgomeryshire Moth Group (MMG) is an independent voluntary group of people interested in moths. All ages are welcome to attend events whether experts or beginners.

This year all the events are light trapping events. We set up the light traps at dusk to attract moths and then release them after identification.

As with all our evening events, please bring a torch and wear suitable outdoor clothing.

You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening that suits you, we are likely to stay for several hours. However, in case of cancellation, due to poor weather or unforeseen circumstances, always ring or e-mail to check the event is on before joining us.

Please note that some sites are not easy to find, so please make sure you know where the venue is before you set off.

All the best,

Peter.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

New Species For Cors Dyfi

At the annual mothing event on 2nd August at Cors Dyfi the following new species were recorded for the site:-

Green Pug
Ling Pug
Rosy Minor

mirifircarma mulinella
ypsolopha dentella
blastobasis lignea
acleris laterana
epinotia caprana

This was quite a surprise given that the weather wasn't really in our favour with good gusts all night and the occasional heavy shower too. Unfortunately I did not get chance to photograph the new species as I was spending much of the time chatting to people about moths and identifying them. (the moths not the people!)

On Monday 11th August I was wandering the site and came across a small micro desperately battling the remnants of hurricane Bertha and trying to land on some bramble. Being fairly certain it wasn't one I'd seen before, I potted it up, photographed it and sent the details to Peter who was able to confirm a new county record in the form of pammene populana. (pictured below)

In both cases (2nd August and 11th August) it goes to prove that just because you might think the weather is too bad for moths to fly, it's always worth looking, you never know what you might find. The new county record brings the total species now recorded at Cors Dyfi to 512.



Maria (Species Officer, Dyfi 360, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Glaslyn

Had another trapping session at Glaslyn last night. Thermometer told me it didn't drop below 12c but a really cold, strong wind made it feel very much colder. Plenty flying about but most things blown straight past the traps! 30 species in total - half of which new to the site.

As I arrived on site, I found I'd somehow left both my notebook and phone at home (my only two possible means of keeping a species list). Decided put the traps out and leave them on while making the two hour round trip home! 

When I returned at midnight, the traps had caught pretty much all they were going to and the more notable records were:
  • Neglected Rustic. 8 caught: first county record since 2008. Probably a species which has been overlooked on moorland in the past.
  • Haworth's Minor. Another under-recorded moorland species. About 12 came to the traps.
  • Anomalous. None recorded at the MVs but about 15 between the actinics. I've noticed this with the species before: definite preference for actinic light.
  • Striped Twin-spot Carpet - another overlooked moorland species. Just one was seen.
  • Northern Rustic. Very few county records. A moth found in rocky moorland areas. One was recorded near to scree slops.
  • A single, rather worn, Ashworth's Rustic. It seems clear that by August at Glaslyn, AR has pretty much reached the end of its flight season.
  • Acleris caledoniana - once again a moorland species with very few records in the county.

Left the site at about 3am and when doing so saw what I can only presume was a nightjar on the reserve track; Mike tells me it is a rather under-recorded species in the county.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Cors Dyfi event, species list and report

The report and species list from the Cors Dyfi event can be viewed Here

Peter.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Roundton trapping

Took another trip to Roundton the other day. A warm night and I recorded just under 150 species - over half of them being new site records.

More notable records:
  • Square-spotted Clay (two seen). A nationally scarce B species found at only a handful of sites in the county and in recent times only from the NE corner. This is a completely new area of the county for the moth.
  • Blomer's Rivulet.
  • Rosy Minor
  • Golden-rod Pug
  • Triple-spotted Pug
  • Devon Carpet
  • Nemapogon clematella (third county site)
  • Digitivalva pulicariae (second county site)
  • Cochylis atricapitana (second county site)

Photos and species list below:
Roundton (31/08/14)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Identifying the autumn thorns

I've recently made a little PDF about identification of several of our thorn species. Especially how to separate August and September Thorn.

It's on the articles section of the website. Hope some will find it useful.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Mothing event at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve

Hello All,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a mothing event at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve (The Osprey Centre) in the far west of the county. This event is part of the ‘Bio Blitz’ week which MWT staff are holding at the reserve, so please come along and join us for this blue ribbon event for what I hope will be an excellent evening’s mothing.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve.
Target Species: Rosy Marsh Moth and August Thorn.
Event Date: Saturday 2 August 2014.
Event time: 8:30 onwards, at the trapping site.
Directions: at reserve car park. Directions: The reserve is found on the right-hand side, 4 miles south west of Machynlleth on the A487.    
Grid Reference: SN704984

Montgomeryshire Moth Group (MMG) is an independent voluntary group of people interested in moths. All ages are welcome to attend events whether experts or beginners.

This year all the events are light trapping events. We set up the light traps at dusk to attract moths and then release them after identification.

As with all our evening events, please bring a torch and wear suitable outdoor clothing.

You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening that suits you, we are likely to stay for several hours. However, in case of cancellation, due to poor weather or unforeseen circumstances, always ring or e-mail to check the event is on before joining us.

Please note that some sites are not easy to find, so please make sure you know where the venue is before you set off.

All the best,

Peter.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Llyn Mawr

Took a trip to MWT's Llyn Mawr reserve earlier in the week. A warm, still night and as a result I recorded just over 100 species, which is excellent for an upland site like this.

Most of the site is pretty boggy, with large amounts of bracken but little cover otherwise. At the far end of the lake is a patch of very old woodland: mainly birch, willows and rowan. Trekked a few heath traps down to this part of the site, aiming to catch a few extra species (which they did).

Some of the more interesting records of the night were Anarsia spartiella, Eana osseana, Oblique Carpet, Galium Carpet, Tissue and Confused.

Photos & species list on the link below:
Llyn Mawr (22/07/14)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Another trip to the woods

A couple of nights ago I headed off to MWT's Dolforwyn Woods reserve for a spot of trapping. A very warm night, with temperatures not dropping below 15c. Packed up the six traps at around 1am: a little earlier than I usually would due to an impending storm but luckily the kit managed to stay completely dry.

Recorded 161 species in total. There was an amazing showing of micros - making up half of the species list, which is a much high proportion than I usually get. A good chunk of the macros were new to the site, as were most of the micros.

Macros. Most notable record was a Beech-green Carpet. Other nice things included Scallop Shell, Blomer's Rivulet (about 20 seen) and Clouded Magpie.

Best micro records:
  • Epiblema tetragonana - a nationally scarce A species. New for the county.
  • Elachista adscitella - an Nb species. New county record.
  • Mompha lacteella - Nb. New CR.
  • Coleophora taeniipennella - new CR
  • Nemaxera betulinella - Nb. Second county record.
  • Cydia fagiglandana  - second county record
  • Coleophora flavipennella - second CR.

Other good micros included Ypsolopha nemorella, Scoparia ancipitella, Epinotia signatana and Zeiraphera ratzeburgiana.

Photos and species list below:
Dolforwyn Woods (17/07/14)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Llanmerewig Glebe

Peter and I trapped at this MWT reserve last night (located in the center of the county: not far from Abermule). A fairly warm night, dropping down to 10c in the early hours. We managed just over 130 species, virtually all of which will be new to the reserve.

The reserve is very small: consisting of a meadow which is surrounded my large hedgerows with plenty of mature trees. A good selection of summer species were caught. Some of the more notable macros were Leopard Moth, Scallop Shell, Cloaked Carpet, V-moth, Cloaked Minor and Marsh Oblique-barred.

The best micros species were Caloptilia betulicola and Biselachista albidella which were both new for the county.

Follow the link for some photos of the moths caught, as well as the species list:
Glebe (16/07/14)

Monday, 14 July 2014


500 and counting...


I started recording moths on MWT's Cors Dyfi reserve back in 2009 using a simple setup of a battery running an old tube from a fish tank! The first proper trap was soon purchased and the records started to roll in, new species for the reserve and for the county.

Over the 5 years since I started there have been some very memorable nights; ones when hundreds of moths were flying around my head, ones where only 1 or 2 turned up in the trap in the morning, ones where over 900 moths had to be counted, identified and released . I have probably counted well over 60,000 moths since 2009 - moths in traps, moths flying by day, moths resting underneath security lights in the morning, caterpillars, leaf miners, case bearers and moths that turned up in the hands of volunteers and staff wanting to have an identification.

I set myself a target early on, to record 500 moths at Cors Dyfi. Quite often I thought the target would never be achieved, this is after all a relatively small reserve and due to lack of power options I could only set out traps at the top 100 metres  of the site.

I have now reached my target 500 and have actually gone beyond it with 2 new micro moths from my last trapping session and the one prior to it, the total at writing of this blog stands at 503. I have no intention of stopping, maybe by the time I'm 60 there will be 800 moths recorded here - just think, a third of all UK species! That would just be phenomenal!

I've been called Moffboff,  Bug Lady, and am now accepted as Mothy Maria - I quite like the names, they kind of 'define' me.

The 500 mark could not have been achieved without the constant help of Peter Williams who spends endless hours identifying moths for all of us and puts up with endless hours of me harassing him when I want prove identification of a certain species I photographed (does psyche casta ring a bell Peter?) and also a massive thanks to all the volunteers who have helped over the past 5 years, your services are still required!

I've added a selection of photos which are just a few of my favourites and I always love to see.

Mothy Maria
Silver Hook, in the whole of Montgomeryshire, still only recorded ay Cors Dyfi

Numerous, clumsy but always a delight to see the Drinker Moths appearing

Elephant Hawk-moths, you wait for one and then dozens turn up at the same time
 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Shades of grey

Took another trip to Glaslyn MWT reserve last night. Arrived at the site to find completely clear skies and a temperature of 10c. However, not long after getting the traps switched on it began to cloud over and the temperature rose to 12.5c where it stayed for the rest of the night.

When driving down the track to reach the car park I noticed some scree slopes. There were no site records of Ashworth's Rustic but I thought it might be worth placing a couple of heath traps around the top of these scree slopes (about 500m from the main traps). Much to my surprise, not only did I catch AR, I caught loads of them! 38 in total. 36 of these were between the strategically-placed two 6w heath traps. Only two turned up in the MVs. Which, I think, just goes to show how much it's depend on the rocky slopes; these two were probably wanderers. Really quite a variable moth - some forms were very pretty, though all very grey.

Other moorland moths seen included Striped Twin-spot Carpet, Northern Spinach, Narrow-winged Pug, True Lover's Knot, Antler Moth, Dark Brocade, Gold Spange and Scarce Silver Y.

Once again there were several out-of-place moths, for example Rosy Footman and Iron Prominent. But the prize for 'the moth caught that would be least expected on moorland' goes to Zeiraphera isertana (of which two were recorded). This is meant to be species of oak woodland. No idea where the nearest oak was but would certainly be a considerable distance.

The main challenge of the night was low cloud which began to envelope the site once the traps were set up. It reduced visibility to less than 10m at times. The MVs were just about bright enough to penetrate the cloud but the actinics were not and were consequently very difficult to locate! Had to just set off, hoping I was walking in the right direction! Luckily it seemed to work.

53 species were seen in total. The list and some photos can be seen here:
Glaslyn (11/07/14)

Friday, 11 July 2014

Borth Bog

Last night I took a trip to Cors Fochno (Borth Bog). The site is just outside of the county in Ceredigion. It's a peat bog - vegetation on the bog is dominated by heather and bog myrtle. The track leading onto the bog is lined with willows and birch. Put out 3 MVs and 3 actinic traps - 4 out on the bog and 2 on the track.

Being a whole country's width away, I caught lots of species that I don't usually see. This included Lackey, Rosy Footman, Four-dotted Footman and Lesser Cream Wave. Other notable records were good numbers of Marsh Oblique-barred, Striped Wainscot, Southern Wainscot and also Double Kidney, Apotomis semifasciana, Eudonia pallida, Celypha cespitana and Biselachista albidella.

Mostly species that would be expected on the far western side of Montgomeryshire - especially at Cors Dyfi. However I did record about three or four species not on our county list. A couple of them I suspect will be present (small, obscure micros).

With Ynyslas Sand Dunes only a five minute drive away, I couldn't resist a quick visit. Unfortunately I'd left my bucket and spade at home but was able to have nearly as much fun with my net. The productivity of the site was just incredible: so many moths. Didn't net anything too special but definitely a site I will do some trapping at this summer. Though next time I'll take a compass - I ended up getting lost for about half an hour: sand dunes all look the same in the dark!

At one point, what I believe were a pair of ospreys flew low over the bog. (Probably should point out I'm talking about the military aircraft, not the bird. Strangest things: half helicopter, half plane - see here.)

At around midnight, I suddenly realised that although I'd put the garden trap out, I hadn't plugged it in. In my experience this does tend to reduce the catch somewhat... Knowing there probably wouldn't be all that many moths waiting for me in the garden, I decided to stay later than I usually would - didn't leave the site until about 4am. The temperature had dropped to 10c and the final species total was 129.

As ever, follow the link for a load of crappy camera phone photos: (also a species list)
Borth Bog (10/07/14)