Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Public mothing event at RSPB Lake Vyrnwy

A view across a grey Lake Vyrnwy

With the weeks continuing warm night time temperatures it was looking good for a productive moth event at RSPB Lake Vyrnwy. Temperatures didn’t disappoint, only dropping to 13.6°C, and there was a constant drizzle for most of the night which meant we got a little damp but was also perfect for midges! Peter donned his midge net jumper while the rest of us did the midge dance.

Midge protection

Peppered Moth
5 traps, along with the white sheet, were set up and were illuminating the lakeside by 10pm and soon produced a nice female  Fox Moth and the first of two migrant species of the night in the form of a Silver Y. These were quickly followed by some of the more colourful species such as Ruby Tiger, Peach Blossom and Green Silver-lines. Devon Carpets were numerous early on and gave us a good chance to examine the ID features to separate it from other similar ‘carpets’, including Small Phoenix which appeared later in the night.
A huddle of hawk-moths -Elephant, Small Elephant & Poplar
Green Silver-lines

Other ‘nice to see’ species included Pale Prominent, Miller, Peppered Moth, Alder Moth, Scorched Wing and May Highflyer. For a full species list,
please click here.

One of the wooded tracks
A very active white sheet

The white sheet proved very popular, not just by the many midges but also the 3 species of hawk-moth that were seen. These were the Elephant, Small Elephant and a very large female Poplar Hawk-moth, the biggest Peter had ever seen! It also produced the 2nd migrant species of the night, the micro Plutella xylostella (Diamond-back moth) which was hiding among the midges.
A total of 5 micro species were recorded: Pseudargyrotoza conwagana, Syndemis musculana, Nematopogon schwarziellus and Zeiraphera isertana.

A pair of Fox Moths
Though nothing exceptional was caught there a couple of county scarcities in the form of the Welsh Wave and a rather splendid Gold Swift, which given the larvae of Gold Swift feed on bracken should perhaps be commoner than records suggest.

Plutella xylostella

The final species of the night was a shy Small Angle Shades which we discovered hiding behind the white sheet when packing up. This took the total to 58 macro species along with the 5 micros already mentioned. A successful night which was made even more enjoyable with the addition of some of Sue’s cake, delicious as always, thanks Sue!


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Gavin - an excellent report, thanks very much.

    Although I must say, I'm more than happy to leave those sabre-tooth midges to you and Lake Vyrnwy for another year.