Friday, 30 December 2016

January Moth Challenge

Hello all,

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 (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 basic rules I would ask you to follow:-

1) Adults only to be recorded.
2) Records from a single site only.
3) Using one trap only.
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.

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 2017.

Peter.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Public mothing events for 2017 in Montgomeryshire

Hello All,

Our programme of public mothing events for 2017 in Montgomeryshire has now been finalised and has been posted on the events area of the our website; I know many of you like to know the details of events in advance so that you can note the dates and venues in your diary.

I hope you all have a good Christmas and some great mothing in 2017.

Peter.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Migrant activity in a mild southerly air flow!

Hello Moth-ers,



Just a quick line to remind you all that as we currently have a very unseasonal mild southerly air flow over us at the moment it may well be a good time to fire those traps up to see if there’s any migrant activity in our neck of the woods.


Peter.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Tinea pellionella

Checked a bag of wool in the same room as the potential Tinea pellionella. There are hundreds of them in there munching their way through the wool.


The case of the strange caterpillar

Have got about 80 of these on the walls and ceiling of the spare bedroom. They are about 8 - 9mm long. The case appears to be attached to the surface at a single point. The grub extends itself approx half way out of the case, but withdraws back in when there is movement nearby.


Douglas thinks they are Tinea pellionella (case-bearing clothes moth). I am going to rear some on to try and confirm this. Will attempt to feed them on bits of wool.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Deadline for sending in your 2016 'Moth Night' records is 30th November

This is just a reminder to all recorders to ensure all Moth Night 2016 datasets (records from 09th to 11th June) are submitted via the Butterfly Conservation online recording system (www.mothnight.info) or email to lhill@butterfly-conservation.org by close-of-play Wednesday, 30th November 2016, after which the online system will be closed and the data shortly afterwards will be forwarded to all County Moth Recorders for verification.

Peter.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Butterfly Conservation’s UK Moth Recorders' Meeting 2017

Hello Moth-ers,

Just a quick note to remind you all that next year's Butterfly Conservation’s UK Moth Recorders' meeting will take place on 28th January 2017 at the Birmingham and Midland Institute, Birmingham  (directions here http://bmi.org.uk/location.html) . As usual, the day will be packed with several moth related talks and lunch will be provided. I have been advised that tickets are selling fast so if you don't want to miss your place please book now at http://butterfly-conservation.org/13194/uk-moth-recorders-meeting.html

Peter.
 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

A surprise species from our Llanymynech Rocks event



Our last event of the year was at Llanymynech Rocks Nature Reserve. The wet weather which had preceded it, right up to Saturday morning, suggested that we might all be in for a drenching; however, by the time we all met up at the reserve car park the rain had gone and, apart from it being a bit on the chilly side, conditions looked very favourable indeed.

The area we were concentrating on for trapping was along the path beneath the cliffs, in a linear setup, and by 7:00pm as dusk was falling the traps were all fired up. Things were a little on the slow side in the beginning, but once the first species, an Angle Shades was potted, species started to come to the table fairly regularly for the rest of the evening and these included, the Shuttle-shaped Dart, Autumnal Rustic and Garden Carpet.

Llanymynech Rocks is an area which was once quarried for its limestone, and 100yds or so down the path from where we had set up base camp is an iron cut-out of two men quarrying the stone, the light from one of the traps was illuminating these figures and as I looked down from base camp onto the figures, I asked others with me, who were those people looking into the trap, ‘they’ve been there for ages’ I said. Douglas enlightened me - a very humorous moment giving all a good laugh at my expense, I was truly caught out!

About half way through the evening a moth was potted which was confirmed as a Feathered Ranunculus, a species which had only been recorded in the county on one other occasion, at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve in the far west of the county. This was an excellent record and very much unexpected. Douglas and I decided to take a walk up to the trap it was recorded from, when, as we arrived, another Feathered Ranunculus in a very timely way turned up; and later in the evening yet another was recorded from the adjacent trap. One could have just been a ‘wanderer’, but three certainly suggest a breeding population at the site, a very exciting prospect.

Feathered Ranunculus
Several other macro species recorded were new to the site, these were - Canary-shouldered Thorn, Black Rustic, Grey Shoulder-knot, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Merveille du Jour, Beaded Chestnut, Lunar Underwing and Barred Sallow. For a full species list please click here.

The theme of this particular event was ‘migrant species’ and we were indeed fortunate to trap two; a Dark Sword-grass and a Silver Y, the latter of which was another new site record.

Dark Sword-grass
Micro species were very thin on the ground, probably because of the cooler conditions, but we did manage to record two species; a Zelleria hepariella and an Acleris sparsana, both of which were new for the site. To see all the photos taken at the event, please click here, then once the file has been accessed click on each individual photo.

Shortly after 11:15pm we decided to call it a day and what a superb evening it had been – who would have thought that we would find a Feathered Ranunculus at this site, let alone a small breeding population, which just goes to show that there is still species and populations out there which remain undiscovered - but the MMG is on the case! What an excellent end of the season it was for us all.

I must once again thank all those who brought along their traps and to those who helped to set up and pack away the kit; also for Sue and Jeny for supplying the cakes (always very welcome). Finally a big thank you to everyone who attended the events throughout season as, for me, this is what makes it all so worthwhile. I look forward to seeing you all again next year and please keep an eye out for the 2017 events which will be posted on the events area of the website during the winter months.

Peter.

Does anyone recognise this grub?

Tammy at MWT has sent me some photos of the larva/grub of something. She has so far hit a brick wall in trying to id it and I’ve gone through all my relevant reference books and done numerous searches ‘on line’ and I’m still no closer to getting an id for her. My best guess is that it’s a type of fly maggot as this is what it most resembles and the fact that it doesn’t have any legs also backs my thought process up. Is this something you have ever seen and could you help us to identify it, thanks?




Peter.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Mothing event at Llanymynech Rocks Nature Reserve - Saturday 1st October



Hello Moth-ers,

Our last mothing event of the year is this Saturday (1st October) at Llanymynech Rocks Nature Reserve. This has been an excellent site for us over the years, but this will be the first time we’ll be holding an event at this site in October. We are particularly targeting autumn migrants on this occasion, but whatever turns up we’ll be adding many new dots onto the maps. If you’ve never been to one of these events before, treat yourself, please come along and join us, for a great night’s mothing.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Llanymynech Rocks Nature Reserve.
Target Species: Autumn migrants
Event Date: Saturday 1st October 2016.
Event time: 7:00pm onwards, walk up the reserve track from the car park.
Directions: The reserve is found between Llanymynech and Pant. Heading out of Llanymynech on the A483 turn left just before the Cross Guns Pub where the speed limit changes from 30 to 40 mph. Follow a short bit of road then turn right onto a short track to the reserve car park.
Grid reference: for car park is SJ270219


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.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Migrants - 26/09/16

A single Vestal in the garden trap last night. 8 Silver-Y, too (though some of these will be descendants from true migrant individuals that arrived earlier in the year).

Good numbers of Convolvulus Hawk-moth being reported right around the UK; it's definitely work getting the trap out.

Some of the catch (Vestal, top right)

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Pont Llogel Event



Our penultimate event of the year was at Pont Llogel SSSI. Earlier in the day it looked as though it was going to be a rather ‘wet one’ as it was heavy rain from early Saturday morning until mid afternoon, but then it stopped, leaving overcast conditions, giving more hope of a dry event.

The trapping site from the bridge
The trapping area along footpath
We were on site by 7:15pm and while we were setting up the traps light drizzle began to fall so the gazebo had to be erected pretty sharply to give us a dry base camp. Although rather damp, the overall weather conditions were quite good as the air was still, with a mild temperature, so we all anticipated a fairly good evening’s trapping and the trap lights were switched on at 8pm.
Setting up the white sheet

First species in was a Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing followed by a really nice Blue-bordered Carpet which Meurig was quick to photograph. The time of the year meant that we were very likely to catch several sallow species and we weren’t disappointed as we recorded the Centre-barred Sallow, Pink-barred Sallow and the Sallow, all of which are ‘crowd pleasers’ due to their bright colours. Another crowd pleaser, a stunning Herald, also put in an appearance.

Blue-bordered Carpet
Centre-barred Sallow
After an hour or so the drizzle stopped but, unfortunately, a rather gusty wind ‘got up’ so we all had to occasionally hang onto the gazebo in case it took off. The moths however, continued to come in; Gavin potted up the fairly uncommon Clay Triple-lines, and a fresh Purple Bar and Barred Chestnut were brought to the table – Meurig was certainly kept busy with his camera as he was on ‘photo duty’ for the evening.

Clay Triple-lines


As far as Micro species were concerned, the list was rather smaller, but, a really nice Ypsolopha parenthesella was trapped and good examples of Epinotia nisella and Epinotia tenerana were also recorded. Only one migrant species was recorded; a Silver Y. For a full species list please click here.

Later in the evening Sue brought out the cake and we all had a ‘chocolate fix’ which kept us buzzing for the rest of the evening – the cake tin was soon emptied and our attention was turned back once again to the moths!
Barred Chestnut

Herald
  
As is often the way at these events we include a number of ‘identification workshops’ on the diagnostic features of those species which closely resemble each other. One of the workshops on this occasion was how to separate the Common Marbled from the Dark Marbled Carpet. Throughout the evening examples were brought to the table which all turned out to be the Common Marbled Carpet, so I was more than delighted when, late evening, Paul managed to pot a Dark Marbled Carpet and everyone was able to see the diagnostic features on the underside of the wing, showing it clearly to be this species.

Purple Bar
Dusky Thorn

The river bank from the footpath










Soon after midnight we decided to call it a day and started to pack the kit away. Several species were then added to list, these included a Rosy Rustic, a Canary-shouldered Thorn, and Mel potted a rather nice Dusky Thorn – however the rain had the last say - it tipped it down just as we were dismantling the last traps, which made a rather soggy finish to the evening.



Many thanks to those who brought along extra traps and to everyone who helped with setting up and taking down the kit - this is always much appreciated (particularly with an aging back!). Also thanks to Meurig for taking and processing the event photos and to Sue for the excellent cake.


Peter.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Pont Llogel mothing event



Hello Moth-ers,

Our penultimate mothing event of the year is this Saturday (3rd September) at the Pont Llogel SSSI. This has been a very productive site over the years and once again we’re hoping to get a few new dots on the distribution maps. If you’ve never been to one of these events before, treat yourself, please come along and join us, for a great night’s mothing.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Pont Llogel SSSI.
Event Date: Saturday 3 September 2016.
Event time: 8:00pm onwards, at the reserve car park.
Directions: On the A458 between Foel and Llangadfan take the B4395 which passes through Pont Llogel, the car park is 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.

Peter.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

'Ton up' of moth species at Llandinam Gravels event

On the day of the event the general weather conditions looked very good so we were very hopeful for a big species list and perhaps a few good records amongst them.

We got on site early to give ourselves plenty of time to set our traps in the best positions. The weather was very mild, but, there was a rather gusty breeze which got up from time to time, so, the placement of our eight traps was quite important. The first species of the evening was in fact a Small White butterfly which Douglas noticed roosting as he was placing the Heath trap in the upper woods. Just after 9:00pm the lights were switched on and the first moth species, a Small Rivulet was soon netted by Douglas; this was swiftly followed by a Ruby Tiger, Dingy Footman and a Snout at the white sheet. It was certainly going to be busy, so we wasted no time in doing the first ‘round’ of checking the traps. More good species were potted throughout the evening - Double Kidney, Twin-spot Carpet, Argyresthia retinella, Argyresthia albistria, Ypsolopha dentella, Cataclysta lemnata, Magpie and Clouded Magpie. Interestingly, one Robinson trap, which was placed in amongst the black poplars and alders, produced a good number of Blue-bordered Carpets, a species which is normally seen in very low single numbers.

Barred Hook-tip
The best species of the evening were Psoricoptera gibbosella 2nd county record, Achroia grisella 3rd county record, Caloptilia robustella 7th county record, Barred Hook-tip 10th county record. Other noticeable species were Barred Chestnut, Dingy Shears and Bordered Beauty. 

For a full list of all species recorded during the event please click here.
Also, to see all the event photos please click here (All the individual images are captioned though it may be necessary to press the 'i' symbol in the top right of each photo to display them).

Two migrant species were recorded: A Silver Y and a Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella.
 
Barred Chestnut
After midnight we had several periods of very light drizzle, but, this didn’t perturb the moths at all and the white sheet was covered; it was certainly some time since we had seen it that busy. At 1:30am we decided to start packing up and as is often the case at packing up, the traps yielded new moths for the species list – these included the Canary-shouldered Thorn, Yellow-tail, Dotted Clay, Light Emerald, Scalloped Oak, Fan-foot, Bordered Beauty, Barred Chestnut and the only hawk moth species of the evening -the Poplar Hawk-moth. We left the site just after 2:30am very satisfied by such an excellent night’s trapping.

It was a great evening and despite the drizzle and breeze the temperature was mild and stayed above 18c. all evening, so it was unfortunate that just the two of us were there to enjoy it. Hopefully our next event at Pont Llogel will be better attended.

Peter.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Public mothing event at Llandinam Gravels



Hello All,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) are holding a mothing event at Llandinam Gravels, just south of the Llandinam in the south of the county. We still have very few records from this particular site, so we’re hopeful that we will put a few extra dots on the map. So please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this excellent site near the banks of the River Severn.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Llandinam Gravels
Event Date: Saturday 6th August
Event Time: 7:30 onwards.
Directions: As you approach Llandinam on the A470 from Newtown, take the first right by the statue and cross the river Severn over the narrow bridge; turn first left down a lane for about a mile and a half, we will be trapping at the end of this lane.
Grid Reference: SO022876

Peter.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Mothing event at the Bro Dyfi Community Garden



This was the first time that we had organised a mothing event at the Bro Dyfi Community Garden in Machynlleth. Unfortunately, the evening was rather wet which does tend to put people off from attending; however, 15 people did brave the conditions for what turned out to be an excellent evening of mothing. As far as the weather was concerned we had heavy showers interspersed with drizzle throughout, but it was very mild and humid which were good conditions for active moths.

People turning up for the event
Skinner trap under an Oak tree

On this occasion the Bro Dyfi volunteer gardening group had arranged for a reporter from the Cambrian News to take a few pictures of the event, so there was quite a bit of photographic activity before the trapping began.

Heath trap near the water feature
 With gloomy conditions, due to the rain, the lights were switched on early and by 9:00pm moths were already being potted and brought to the table.

Recording the species

First up were the very common species of Large Yellow Underwing and a Lesser Yellow Underwing. Soon, a lovely Swallow-tailed Moth was potted, a beautiful species, especially to those who hadn’t seen one before. A cracking Peppered Moth led us all into debate on how this is an ‘indicator species’ as to the cleanliness of
Head shot of a Large Elephant Hawk-moth
our air quality (the darker the moth, the more pollutants are in the air). Late on in the evening a couple of stunning Large Elephant Hawk-moths came to the traps, but as is often the case with hawk moths, who are usually a late flying species, about half the people attending missed  them as they had left the event by then.



Small Magpie anania hortulata
16 species of micro moth were recorded; these included a stunningly marked Prays fraxinella and the seldom recorded Large Tabby Aglossa pinguinalis.

Silver Y
We also recorded two migrant species, the Silver Y and the Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella– both these species would have been carried to the UK during recent spells of southerly winds from the near continent.

  

Wood Carpet



In all 54 species were recorded – the best being the Wood Carpet, a local species; a Cloaked Minor, a species which hasn’t been recorded on the western side of Montgomeryshire before and the best record of the night, a Large Tabby

Aglossa pinguialis
Aglossa pinguinalis which has only been recorded in Montgomeryshire on three previous occasion, all previously on the eastern side of the county. For a full species list please click here.

In all, (despite the weather), it was an excellent evening’s moth trapping, everybody enjoyed themselves and we finally decided to call it a night at 1:00am. We will certainly return to these community gardens again to hold another event.

Peter.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Bro Dyfi Gardens - public mothing event



Hello Everyone,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a public mothing event at Bro Dyfi Gardens, Machynlleth. This is the first time that we have held an event at this site, so who knows what we might trap. So please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this lovely natural garden site.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Bro Dyfi Gardens
Event Date: Saturday 9th July
Event Time: 8:30 onwards, at the car park.
Directions: From the clock tower in the town take the A487 towards Aberystwyth. About 300 yds along the road do a sharp left hand turn back on yourself into the Y Plas and find the parking area directly on the left hand side. The trapping area will be signposted from here.
Grid Reference: SH746004

Peter.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Dolforwyn Woods 'Moth Night' event



Erecting the white sheet with the
help of Al - a visiting 'new moth-er'
from New Zealand

A view along the track
Setting up base camp

This event was held on Butterfly Conservations’ “Moth Night”, which this year had the theme of  “Hawk-moths”. The rain fell steadily throughout the day but cleared in the evening, so we were optimistic that we might catch one or two Hawk-moth species. The event was also in conjunction with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, who where as usual represented by Tammy, who brought along a plethora of electronic devices for detecting bats. As the light faded Tammy led the 10 attendees on a walk through the woods listening for bat calls. Common and Soprano Pipistrelle bats were both recorded.
Blomer's Rivulet

Lime Hawk-moth
A total of 4 moth traps were used, with a 125W MV lamp and white sheet at ‘base camp’, 2 125W MV Skinners along the main track, and a 9W Actinic Heath trap at the top end of the track. The traps were switched on at 9.15pm, and it wasn’t long before the first moths arrived. Among the early visitors to the traps were a Map-winged Swift, a new species for this site, and then the first Hawk-moth of the evening, a Lime Hawk-moth.

Green Arches
'Lights on' for the white sheet

Ghost Moth
With a minimum temperature of 14C the moths were plentiful. Peter was kept very busy identifying the moths as they were returned to base, and at one stage we were nearly out of empty pots. Highlights were Blomer’s Rivulet, a nicely marked Beautiful Snout, and then the second Hawk-moth of the evening, Elephant Hawk-moth.

Clouded Magpie
The only migrant moth recorded was Plutella xylostella, the Diamond-back Moth, which has made the news recently as higher numbers than normal have arrived from the continent. As their food plant is brassicas this has led to sensational headlines about devastation of the cabbage crop. Only 3 were recorded during the evening, so I don’t think we need to be too concerned for the Abermule area harvest.

Ingrailed Clay
Around 1am the moth activity was starting to diminish, and we began to pack up. Last checks of the traps produced a few more species to add to the list, including Clouded Magpie and Little Emerald, a scarce species for the County, and the first time it has been found at Dolforwyn. 

Beautiful Snout
The Heath trap was left overnight on site. Heavy rain fell in the early hours resulting in a very soggy mush of egg boxes in the trap the next morning. Despite this a Poplar Hawk Moth and a Dagger had taken refuge in there, bringing the number of Hawk-moth species to 3, and the total number of species for the night to 54, of which 10 were new species for the site. A full list of species can be found here.

Paul



Thursday, 9 June 2016

'Moth Night' event at Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve



Hello Everyone,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) and the MWT are holding a joint ‘mothing and bat evening event at Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve, just north of Newtown. The event is also being held on Butterfly Conservation’s ‘Moth Night’ weekend and this year the theme is ‘Hawk-moths, and hopefully the current mild weather will continue we will record a species of these splendid moths. 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
Event Date: Saturday 11th June
Target Species: Hawk-moths
Event Time: 8:30 onwards, at the reserve car park.
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 a parking area.
Grid Reference: SO158956

All the best

Peter.