Sunday, 16 June 2019

Bat and Moth night, Deri Woods. Saturday 8th June.


This event was at a community owned woodland situated just outside Llanfair Caerinion. It was an open to the public joint venture between Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and Montgomeryshire Moth Group.

Under what appeared to be (oh no, not again) a clearing sky, the event started a little after 8.30pm.  Tammy Stretton from the trust was present to give a very interesting and informative talk and tour (with Bat detectors to hand) around the woodland, investigating which species of Bat were present.

Meanwhile, some of the moth group members were setting up base, to include 5 Skinner's traps and the perennial white sheet. Due to a cool breeze and dropping temperature it was decided to only place one trap at the lowest part of the wood on the river bank as on a previous cold event 3 traps placed there had caught nothing.

10pm was switch on time for the traps, handily, just as the group of Myotis chasers returned. The temperature at this point was around 11 Celsius.  Peter Williams was our welcome expert for the night to sort out the dreaded micros!

Tammy reported that it was a rather quiet night with only the usual suspects, Common and Soprano Pipistrelle and one unidentified fly-by.

Gavin produced the first two moths from the traps,  a Common Carpet, whose thunder was rapidly stolen by a cracking male Lime Hawkmoth...and then five more male Lime Hawkmoths.

Male Lime Hawkmoth

Amongst the regular moths trapped at this site (full species list link coming soon)
were the remarkably shaped Pale Prominent,

Side profile of Pale Prominent

and a rather lovely, fresh Scorched Wing.

Scorched Wing settled on the sheet

Midway through the event Sue produced a tin of delicious Shortbread which revived our enthusiasm no end. A fresh push on the potting front produced amongst others, another five male Lime Hawkmoths, Shoulder-striped Wainscot and to round off the event,

A variation of  Ingrailed Clay

 a very fresh example of Ingrailed Clay. With very little moth activity we turned the traps off around 1.30am.

(A selection of very well drilled moths from release at the end of the night)


Peter declared that in all his time with the moth group he has never witnessed so many Lime Hawkmoths in one trapping - apparently they were all males (their up-curved abdomens indicating this). 

Happily, the night temperature for this event had steadied around 10 Celcius and so we totalled 30 Macros species by the end. We also had a showing of four micro's, the low number perhaps reflecting what was still a relatively cool night. Oh, yes and quite a few of those unavoidable Cockchafer's as would be expected at this time of year!

15 people in total attended the evening. Thanks again to the collaborative efforts of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust staff, members of Montgomeryshire Moth Group (particularly Sue with that Shortbread and Mel for the photographs) for making the event possible and of course the attending members of the public.

Next event is a daytime activity targeting Clearwing moths and other day-fliers at Llanymynech Rocks nature reserve on Saturday 6th July at 1pm.

Phil McGregor

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Dolforwyn Wood Event 11th May 2019

Another chilly Saturday night to report, but great to see so many enthusiastic moth-ers attracted to the lights. Unfortunately Peter Williams couldn't attend, but we did our best to set up as per his exacting standards, and Gavin Chambers stepped up to the mark as our expert. He was a tough task master - making us identify each moth that came in.

Gavin attracting a Waved Umber
 There were 7 of us attending, and we managed to attract 7 brave moths.  We had quite a lot of action at the white sheet this time, which kept us on our toes.  First in was a Waved Umber, ably netted by Gavin, and which refused to leave the warmth of our head-quarters thereafter. Second in was a lovely furry Pale Tussock, which made us wonder if the falling temperatures would mean we only saw the more robust moths.
Nut Tree Tussock
The Pale Tussock was followed by a Nut Tree Tussock, and then a moth that most of us hadn't seen before - a Great Prominent.  This caused a great flurry of flicking through the ID books, and identification was made harder as the moth wasn't in the tented position familiar with prominents. We got there in the end, and many photos were taken.






Great Prominent
Then to disprove our theory about only robust moths appearing we had an Early Thorn and a Scalloped Hazel, which looked too delicate to be out in the plunging temperatures.  Mel also managed to net a micro moth - Adela reaumurella - a longhorn that didn't have particularly long antennae and therefore a female of the species.  



Great Prominent - Head-on
Adela reaumurella




It was interesting to note that it was several degrees colder at our headquarters than higher up in the woodland, so there was an added incentive to check the traps up in the woods.  Sue provided some lovely cake, and once the temperature got down to 2C at about 11.30pm we decided it was time to call it a night.  Many thanks to Mel Jones for all the photos in this blog.


















Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Montgomery Moth Group 2019 Events

Saturday 11th May - Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve


Don't forget - it's the second event of the year on Saturday night.  All ages are welcome, beginners or experts, and all events are free.  We will light up at dusk (about 9.30pm) to attract moths and then release them after identifying and recording them.  Events are likely to go ahead as planned unless there is exceptionally bad weather.  News of any cancellation will be disseminated by email, facebook and the blog - please check before setting off.  See the events list for directions & Grid Reference.

Please bring a torch and wear suitable clothes. You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening as suits you - we are likely to stay a few hours.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

More of a Chiller than a Thriller: 13 April at Coed y Dinas Nature Reserve

Well, it was a brave crew that ventured out on Saturday night to trap at Coed y Dinas Nature Reserve, and we definitely outnumbered the moths!  We lit up the traps at about 8pm, having enjoyed an acrobatic display by the Swallows and House Martins over the reserve while we were setting up.

Fair play to Gavin - he made an early sweep with his net, and managed to catch an unidentifiable micro.  From there on it was a slow night, with just the occasional find in the traps - and we were running 7 plus the white sheet.  The Hebrew Character was the most "numerous" find of the night, and so we assume the hardiest, and the Lunar Marbled Brown was the most exotic.  The first one I have seen this year anyway. Other than that it was Small Quaker, Common Quaker and Clouded Drab.

Unfortunately, the cold dampened our enthusiasm for taking photos, otherwise I would include pictures of the splendid home-made biscuits from Sue.  They were thoroughly tested for quality and none were found wanting.

On one of our later forays around the reserve we were treated to the sight of hundreds of gulls (black-headed?) swirling overhead, lit up from beneath by our traps.  But we couldn't get one into our pots as a surprise for Peter.

By the time the temperature plunged to 3C, we decided it was time to call it a night, and so it was with frozen fingers that we packed up at 11pm and vowed that it was sure to go better next month in Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve.  Don't forget your hot chocolate!

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

January Moth Challenge 2019


Hello Moth-ers,

The January challenge has now finished, the data is all in and has been collated in the two charts below.

This year only nine mothers took part, which considering the mild January we had is a little disappointing, but between us we did manage to record 30 species, the highest figure ever for the challenge (19 macro and 11 micro) and 643 moths (607 macro and 36 micro), which is an excellent effort on everyone's part. Because of the mild weather, (apart from the last few days of the month when it turned quite a bit colder) moth numbers were well up on last year.
Only one person achieved the macro part of the challenge, with 10 plus species that was myself with 14 species. Sue Southam was very unlucky, just missing the target with 9 species, followed closely by Julie Pearce/Mark Thomas who recorded 8 species. I also managed to achieve the micro part of the challenge with 9 species (the most micro species ever recorded for the challenge).

The recorders who have shared this year's coveted ‘wooden MV bulb’ award (formally the ‘wooden spoon’ award), are; Deborah Griffiths, Clare Boyes and Paul Roughley, but well done for having a go.

Recorder BP TS DG SOS PR CBo JP & MTT JeH PRW Count of species Count of moths
Species: Macro moths Count Count Count Count Count Count Count Count Count
Log No. Days Trapped/recorded 6 1 7 17 3 1 12 4 30
1769 Spruce Carpet - - - - - - - - 2 1 2
1775 Mottled Grey 3 - - - - - - - 177 2 180
1799 Winter Moth - - - 4 - - - - 104 2 108
1925 Small Brindled Beauty - - - - - - 1 - - 1 1
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty - 1 - 22 - - 11 1 52 5 87
1932 Spring Usher - - - 12 - - 4 - 20 3 36
1934 Dotted Border - - - - - - - - 4 1 4
1935 Mottled Umber 3 - - 3 - - 5 - 82 4 93
1947 Engrailed - - - - - - - - 2 1 2
1960 Early Moth 1 - - 6 - - 3 - 6 4 16
2187 Common Quaker - - - 1 - - - - - 1 1
2188 Clouded Drab - - - - - - - - 3 1 3
2190 Hebrew Character - - - 1 - - - - - 1 1
2241 Red Sword-grass - - - - - - - - 3 1 3
2243 Early Grey - - - - - - 1 - - 1 1
2256 Satellite 2 - - - - - - - - 1 2
2258 Chestnut 3 - - 26 - - 1 1 30 5 61
2259 Dark Chestnut - - - 2 - - 1 - 2 3 5
2321 Dark Arches - - - - - - - - 1 1 1
Macro species recorded 5 1 0 9 0 0 8 2 14 19
Macro moths recorded 12 1 0 77 0 0 27 2 488 607
Log No. Species: Micro moths
461 Ypsolopha ustella - - - - - - - - 3 1 3
464 Plutella xylostella - - - - - - - - 12 1 12
647 Hofmannophila pseudospretella - - - - - - - - 1 1 1
688 Agonopterix heracliana - - - 1 - - - - - 1 1
688 Agonopterix heracliana - - - - - - - - 2 1 2
1025 Tortricodes  alternella  - - - 1 - - 3 - 2 3 6
1045 Acleris notana - - - - - - - - 6 1 6
1054 Acleris cristana - - - - - - - - 1 1 1
1057 Acleris hastiana - - - - - - - - 1 1 1
1288 Alucita hexadactyla - - - 1 - - - - 1 2 2
1398 Nomophila noctuella 1 - - - - - - - - 1 1
Micro species/moths recorded 1 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 9 11
Micro moths recorded 1 0 0 3 0 0 3 0 29 36
Total species macro + micro 6 1 0 12 0 0 9 2 23 30
Total count macro + micro 13 1 0 80 0 0 30 2 517 643


Now for a more in depth breakdown of what was recorded.

Macros - As can be seen in the chart above several people managed to record 4+ species. Across all recorders the most numerous species was the Mottled Grey (180 moths), pushing last year's species with top spot the Winter moth (108) into second place and the Mottled Umber (93) took the third spot.
The most moths recorded by individual recorders was 488 by myself, Sue 77 and Julie/Mark 27.

Of the 19 species recorded, those worthy of a special mention are, Dark Arches - which is the first January record for Montgomeryshire, which resulted from a partial very late second brood; Red Sword-grass - an overwintering species brought out by the mild weather. And an slightly early Small Brindled Beauty, which aren't usually on the wing until February.

Micros - Once again there were 11 micro species recorded, which matched last year's record number, so that was a particularly good effort on the part of the four recorders who recorded any micro species. The species recorded by the most recorders was Tortricodes alternella (3 people). Only one person achieved the target figure of five species, that was myself with 9 species. There weren't really any unexpected micro species recorded this year although the autumn/winter influx of Plutella xylostella was still quite apparent.

The chart below shows the top five macro species recorded (along with the total of moths) in the last eight years. 2019 was certainly one of the better years.

January moth challenge - Top five recorded macro species for the last eight years
Year 2012   2013   2014   2015   2016   2017   2018   2019  
  Species Total Species Total Species Total Species Total Species Total Species Total Species Total Species Total
1 Winter Moth 131 Winter Moth 229 Winter Moth 169 Winter Moth 64 Chestnut 64 Spring Usher 244 Winter Moth 47 Mottled Grey 180
2 Mottled Grey 59 Mottled Umber 157 Mottled Grey 69 Mottled Umber 19 Winter Moth 30 Mottled Umber 109 Mottled Umber 31 Winter Moth 108
3 Mottled Umber 24 Mottled Grey 147 Mottled Umber 54 Early Moth 14 Mottled Umber 29 Winter Moth 76 Mottled Grey 26 Mottled Umber 93
4 Chestnut 20 Pale Brindled Beauty 61 Early Moth 22 Spring Usher 13 Pale Brindled Beauty 28 Pale Brindled Beauty 45 Early Moth 22 Pale Brindled Beauty 87
5 Spring Usher 13 Early Moth 16 Herald 15 Chestnut 13 Mottled Grey 21 Mottled Grey 23 Chestnut 18 Chestnut 61
                                 
Tot   247   610   329   123   172   497   144   529



Key to the recorders who took part in this year's challenge are:-



BP       Ben Porter, Machynlleth
TS        Tammy Stretton, Welshpool
DG      Deborah Griffith, Welshpool
SOS     Sue Southam, Guilsfield
PR       Paul Roughly, Abermule
CBo     Clare Boyes, Middletown
JP&MTT    Julie Pearce & Mark Thomas, Aberbechan
JeH      Jeny Heard, Montgomery
PRW   Peter Williams, Commins Coch
Thanks once again to all those who took part.

Happy mothing to all in 2019.

Peter.