Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Cors Dyfi event - a damp evening of mothing

Our penultimate event of the season was at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, an excellent low lying bog in the extreme west of the county which over the years has produced some unique county records, and therefore, it is a very important site as regards moth species.

A view of the white sheet from a very wet car park

As the event approached the weather hadn’t been that great, with wet and rather cool conditions prevailing. On the day of the event, however, fairly dry and cold conditions were forecast but as evening fell drizzle ensued; at least this held the temperature up a little from the forecast, so we couldn’t complain.

Pink-barred Sallow

We arrived onsite by 6:30pm to give ourselves plenty of time to sort out where traps were going and to get set up. By 7:30, in the gloomy conditions, the traps were switched on and after a short talk by me the event got under way at 8pm.

The timing of this event meant that some of our resident autumn species were very likely to make a show – and indeed, the first species to the table was a beautifully marked Pink-barred Sallow, swiftly followed by a Canary-shouldered Thorn, a Sallow and a rather nice (and abnormally large!) Angle Shades. For a full species list please click here.

Traps on the boardwalk

After about an hour a stunning Orange Sallow was brought in. I knew straight away that this was the first time this species had been recorded at an event and when I asked Janine to open the species page on her computer I could then confirm that this was only the forth site in the county where this species had been recorded – there was certainly a heightened buzz of camera activity once this was known. 

Orange Sallow

Micro species were a bit thin on the ground, but we did manage five species, which included Epinotia nisella a very variable species with many colour forms and Agonopterix ocellana which was a new site record for this species.

The only migrant species of the evening was a Silver Y.

The only migrant species of the night - a Silver Y

A very large looper caterpillar was brought to the table which got us all flicking through the reference books but we were soon able to identify it as a fully grown Peppered Moth Larva. Its camouflage was so like the sallow twig on which it was found that not everyone was actually able to see it right away – once again, the cameras were in action!

Peppered Moth Larva

By 11:00pm activity had slowed down so we decided to call it a night, and, as we were packing the traps away, we did manage to add three more species to the list, a Pale Pinion, Copper Underwing and the micro Endrosis sarcitrella (white-shouldered House Moth).

Many thanks to all those who brought along traps and those who helped with setting up and taking down the kit. Also, many thanks to Sue, who couldn’t be at the event in person but still managed to give Paul a tin of home made chocolate tiffin for us all to enjoy (Mmm!).


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