Thursday, 31 August 2017

RSPB Lake Vyrnwy

On Friday 25th August I decided to take my 125w Robinson trap and another 125w Skinner trap away from my usual trapping site of the garden in search of other species on the reserve. I decided to try a known site for Ashworth's Rustic, though a little late in the season, and see what else would turn up.
Ypsolopha parenthesella

Conditions appeared good and midgies were bearable. I was able to pick up a few early species flying around the area, starting off with Flame Shoulder and Pinion-streaked Snout. A close look at the ragwort revealed several Ypsolopha parenthesella nectaring and later a nice Bordered Beauty.

Bordered Beauty
It was noticeable early on that geometridae species were going to be the most numerous with July Highflyer, Dark and Common Marbled Carpet and Devon Carpet being very noticeable. They also included Blue-bordered Carpet, Tawny Speckled Pug, Chevron and Purple Bar.

Neglected Rustic
Though noctuidae were low in quantity there was a good variety with highlights being Neglected Rustic, Barred Chestnut, Anomalous, Autumnal Rustic, Flounced Rustic and the only migrant of the night, the Silver Y.

Micros gave a good showing with at least 15 species recorded including Catoptria margaritella, Acleris variegana, Hypatima rhomboidella, Agonopterix ocellana, Pyrausta purpuralis and Gracillaria syringella.

Overall a good night with a total of 37 macros and 15 micros, sadly no late Ashworth's Rustic but a nice variety.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Day-Flying Moths

Back in June, Mark & I were lucky enough to go on a course about Day-Flying Moths run by Dave Grundy at Whixall Moss in Shropshire.  It was a great day - we learnt so much, both in the classroom and out searching for moths and their larvae on the Moss.  We were lucky enough to see several Argent & Sable moths, as well as setting up pheromone traps for Clearwing species, finding Bagworm (Psychidae) cases on leaves and netting Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) on nettles.

Bagworm Case
Since then, we've been much more avidly searching for moths, rather than just waiting for them to come to our trap.  I've searched and searched for a Bagworm case without success yet, but I have found Nettle-tap in various places now.

It has also encouraged us to rear moths from larvae that we have found.  We reared and released a male Drinker moth - Nigel.  Later we caught a female in the trap where she promptly laid eggs. We decided against rearing from the eggs as it is hard to over-winter the caterpillar, so we put them somewhere suitable & hope they will develop safely.  And a few weeks after his release we think we might have caught Nigel himself again - a little worn around the edges.

We might try some pheromone traps ourselves next year & will definitely try to rear more leaf-miners.

Drinker moth larva -" Nigel"

"Nigel" newly emerged

Now that I am keeping my eyes open, I see so much more.  I regularly litter pick in our area, which is a great opportunity to see what wildlife is lurking in the undergrowth (as opposed to the depressing fast food wrappers and variety of drink containers).  I have seen some fabulous things - in one litter pick I disturbed a Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis), found a Leopard Moth on the road, and then, on hearing a commotion in a wall of ivy, saw a Large Yellow Underwing emerge with a shrew in hot pursuit. They were both surprised to see me - the shrew shot back into the ivy and the LYU flew off to fight another day.

Litter picking Leopard Moth

So I've learned it's not all about what you find in the trap!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pont Llogel moth event

Checking the species at the table
As the Pont Llogel event approached the weather had been very mixed, but the forecast was for a reasonably dry Saturday evening, and thankfully, that’s how it turned out. We had a couple of light showers while setting up but, thereafter, the evening was dry and the temperature held up, with it not falling below 12c.

Those of us with kit arrived on site by 7:30 giving ourselves plenty of time to sort out where all the traps
Blue-bordered Carpet
were going and to set up. We switched on the lights by 8:45.

Ruby Tiger
A Flame Carpet and a Green Carpet were first up, swiftly followed by a Common Marbled Carpet. The latter species
Checking the traps
started a bit of a workshop on the best ways to separated it from the more uncommon Dark Marbled Carpet, and by the end of the evening both species had been recorded. Soon after, we managed to record our target species, the Barred Chestnut; at least eight of these were seen throughout the evening.
Barred Chestnut

Other species of note were Devon Carpet, Blue-bordered Carpet, a very splendid Old Lady, Beautiful Snout and Clay triple-lines.
Green Silver-lines larva

As usual, the micro moths were much thinner on the ground than the macros, but we did manage to record 17 species, the best probably being a very fine grass moth, Catoptria margaritella.
Canary-shouldered Thorn

                                      No migrant species were recorded at this event.

Black Arches
Typically, as the event drew to a close and we were packing up, the usual flurry of species were added to the list as we emptied out and switched off each trap; these included a Broad-bordered Yellow

Pale tussock Larva
, Garden Carpet, Pebble Hook-tip and one of the best species of the evening, a Wood Carpet. For a full species list please click here.
Cake Galore at this event!

Old Lady

Many thanks to those who brought and helped to set up the kit. We had cake galore thanks to Sue for bringing chocolate cake, (thumbs up from Paul), and Douglas who brought cinnamon apple cake, both of which were devoured with great relish.


Sunday, 20 August 2017


This tiny little creature (4mm) unfortunately came in on some washing from the garden and was accidentally killed. Is it possible to tell from the photo what it is?

Thanks, Tammy

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Public mothing event at Pont Logel SSSI

Hello Moth-ers,

This Saturday, 19th August, the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a public mothing event at Pont Llogel SSSI, situated just north of Llangadfan, in the north of the county. This excellent riverside site has produced some superb species lists for us over the years, so please come along and join for what promises to be an tremendous evening’s mothing.
Full event details are:-

Venue: Pont Llogel SSSI
Target species: Barred Chestnut
Event Date: Saturday 19th. August
Meet Time: 8:00pm onwards at the bridge car park.
Directions: On the A458 just north of 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.


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Identifying the 'autumn thorns' - PDF

As we near the end of summer, the orange-coloured thorn species become common across the county. Identification is not always straightforward and in 2014 I made a PDF highlighting the best ways to separate this group. It is available to view here.

It is one of a number of ID documents available in the 'Articles & reports' section of the website.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Cors Dyfi - 07/08/17

One of three Rosy Marsh Moth
I headed to Cors Dyfi reserve on Monday night; armed with 7 traps, which I spread across the car park and boardwalk.

I recorded just shy of 100 species. This included the 5th county record of the 'Red Data Book' Rosy Marsh Moth, a species associated with bog myrtle that is probably breeding at the site. Another good macro was Dog's Tooth: the 3rd county record and the first since 2004.

There was a good selection of wetland species including Round-winged Muslin, Crescent, Bulrush Wainscot, Southern Wainscot, Marsh Oblique-barred, Bactra lacteana, Chilo phragmitella and Orthotelia sparganella. The heath traps did very well with Oblique and Devon Carpets.

Images from the site and some of the moths caught, along with the species list can be found below:

Cors Dyfi - 07/08/17