Thursday, 13 January 2022

January Challenge 12-01-22 Update

Hello All – here is the update for the January Challenge containing data for those who wish to be interactive showing their data. The month started well with recording breaking temperatures for January, in fact at my site in west Wales it reached a remarkable 17.6 on the 1st. Unfortunately, it was downhill to more normal levels after that. Therefore, Data sent into me did rather reflect the temps. and up to the 12th. Jan there were 9 macro species and 4 micro species recorded.                                                                                 

The next update will be around the 22nd. Jan.

Chart with all details below.





Thursday, 30 December 2021

 

Hello Moth-ers,

Happy New year to you all.

Just a reminder that the 2022 January Challenge kicks off on the 1st. Jan. – so dust those traps off and fire them up.

This challenge can be either fairly easy or really difficult as the number of species on the wing in January is very limited and are influenced by the weather which definitely plays a big part, but the more number of nights trapped also increases your chance of completing a successful challenge. So go on, it’s all a bit of fun in what can be a gloomy month for moths, you never know, you just might complete the challenge. 

But before you start please cast you eyer over these simple rules below, thanks.

1) The Challenge is open to anyone, whether in Montgomeryshire or not.

2) Submitted records must be from one trap only and from a single site. Don’t have a trap – no problem, records other than from a trap e.g. daytime observations, moths to lit windows etc. can also count as long as they're from the same site.

3 Only adult moths count.

What’s require from you – I need: -

1) A list of species recorded throughout the month.

2) Total count for each species you’ve recorded.

3) Total number of nights you trapped on.

 Objectives.

The objective of the challenge is to record 10 macro species throughout January and if you would like to spice things up a little you can also try to record 5 micro species as well, which is far more difficult.

Another benefit of the challenge is that your county recorder will get a decent amount of winter records in what is usually a very under- recorded time of the year – so this is a win win scenario for all.

When to send your data.

If you like to be interactive with other recorders you can send me your data at weekly points throughout the month (when I ask for it) or you can send me all your data at the end of the challenge. Final results and weekly updates can be viewed on our Facebook page and our website blog.

Here is a link to our Facebook page so you can see what it’s like:- www.facebook.com/groups/montymoths?sorting_setting=CHRONOLOGICAL

Good luck.

Peter.

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Lockdown species challenge - the final table

 

Hello Moth-ers – After ten months since its inception, the ‘Target species challenge’ has finally drawn to a close. 19 moth-ers took part with varying degrees of success, but this in the main will be down to how often each mother trapped. In general it wasn’t an easy challenge as the species added each month weren’t always too common, but this of course added that extra incentive to the task, to record each species.

Now for a few statistics from the challenge: -

  • Of the 19 recorders who took part 18 managed to record at least one species.
  • Out of a possible 18 species, the most species recorded was by Alan Sibley and Peter Williams with 10 species, followed Douglas Boyes with 8 species.
  • A total of 29 points was possible if every species on the list was recorded and the top three were Alan Sibley with 16 points (so, well done Alan) Peter Williams with 14 points and Douglas Boyes with 11 points (I have to add in all fairness, I have to add, had Douglas not passed away, he would have probably topped the table, he loved a challenge, but of course we’ll never know for sure).
  • Every species on the challenge was recorded except for the Vestal, but this was down to the poor autumn when very few migrant species were recorded due to the weather conditions.
  • The most recorded species was the Shoulder Stripe, which 13 out of the 19 recorders manages to record.

Hopefully this challenge has given us all something to concentrate on during varying degrees of ‘lockdown’ throughout the year and has encouraged us all to do a little more moth trapping.

All being well I’ll be doing our annual ‘January Challenge’ (details here soon), which will be open to everyone.

Final ‘challenge’ table posted below.




Peter.








Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Lockdown target Species Challenge - October update

Hello Moth-ers,

The data for October in our ‘lockdown Target species challenge’ is now in and can be viewed on our group Facebook page as well as here on our Blog.

This is the final month of the Challenge and I have added two more species to give everyone a chance to bump up their their points total: - the Scarce Umber worth 1 point and the Dark Sword-grass worth 2 points. If you've already recorded either of these please let me know and I'll add it to the table, thanks.                                                                                                                                                                  Please note the following 'Challenge' points:

1) That all target species will remain active in the challenge (although some may have finished their flight time), so please let me know if you record one of these at any time and I’ll update your points on the table.

2) Also, it may well be you’ve already recorded a species before I add it to the target list, that’s fine, just let me know and I’ll add the record to the main table.

3) This challenge is open to everyone without any restrictions and you can join in whenever you like, just let me know and I'll add your name to the chart.                                                                                                                                                               

The target species added in previous months are (and quite a few will still be on the wing so please check your records) ; -                                                                                                                                


16) Vestal (2 points)

15) Sprawler (1 point)                                                                                                         

14) Oblique Carpet (2 points)

13) Leopard Moth (2 points)

12) Clouded Brindle (2 points)

11) Shaded broad-bar (1 point)

10) Yellow Shell (1 point)

9) Yellow-barred Brindle (1 point)

😎 Tawny Pinion (2 Points)

7) Any migrant hawk moth – this might seem rather unlikely, but it does of course include the Humming-bird Hawk-moth, so everyone will have a chance to record one of these (3 points)

6) White-marked (1 point)

5) Pine Beauty (2 points)

4) Oak Nycteoline (1 point)

3) Blossom Underwing (2 points)

2) Shoulder Stripe (1 point)

1) Small Brindled Beauty (2 points)

Updated table attached below.










Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Pont Llogel event - 23-10-21


Our final public event of the year in what was a restricted programme due to ongoing Covid issues took place at the lovely SSSI site of Pont Llogel. The weather forecast was fair with the possibility of a shower or two, but in the event we had a completely dry evening.

Setting up one of the traps

The meet time was 6:00pm, but due to other commitments for some, we were a little late setting up, in fact it was quite dark by the time we turned the traps on. Then we had a major failure with one of the generators and the lights went out again, fortunately, Tony managed to get a signal on his mobile phone and we were able to access the the 'troubleshooting page' of the generator handbook which told us there was an overload and how to deal with it - after a short while all the lights were back on again by 7:00pm we were up and running again and we didn't have any further 'power' issues throughout the evening. 

At the white sheet

Checking one of the Skinner traps

The first moth to make a show was a Red-line Quaker, swiftly followed by a Spruce Carpet a Chestnut and a rather late for it's flight season, a Common Marbled Carpet.


Checking the pots at base camp


Daisy potting a moth


Chestnut

December Moth - note the feathery antennae of a male

Feathered Thorn

More discussions at the table

It didn't take too long for the first species in the 'November group' to turn up, this of course prompted a workshop discussion pointing out the different position of the discal mark for each of the species within the group - and although this isn't an exact science it is a very good guide as to which of the species you're recording. Of course there are many moths within this group which are too poorly marked where the discal mark isn't clear and these just have to be recorded as a November moth agg.

November Moth Agg.

Pale November Moth

As the evening progress species were still coming in; the December Moth, Red-green Carpet and the lovely Feathered Thorn made an appearance.

Red-green Carpet

Checking another trap

Spruce carpet

Only two species of micro moths were recorded Acleris Laterana and Acleris variegana. No migrant species were recorded. By 10:30 things had slowed down and we all decided to call it a night'. For a full species list, please click here.


Have you 'seen the light'!

Many thanks to Sue, who brought a lovely home made ginger cake for all of us, which we all enjoyed very much. Thanks also to Tony for taking the event photos and to all those who helped setting up and packing away the kit.


We look forwards to next year now where hopefully Covid won't interfere with our events programme, which Julie will be sorting out posting on the website in the coming months - something to look forwards to.


Peter.          

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Funeral details for Douglas Boyes

Hello All,

I have been asked by Douglas's family to post his funeral details, which can be found directly below - all are welcome to attend.

Peter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Funeral service for Douglas Boyes

Wednesday 20th October at Midday

Green Lane Burial Field, Upper Bryntalch Farm, Abermule, Montgomery, SY15 6LA


Afterwards, Simon, Clare and Jacob invite you to join us for refreshments at:

Middletown Village Hall, SY21 8EL

PLEASE DRESS FOR THE WEATHER CONDITIONS AND WEAR SUITABLE SHOES –  it is a beautiful field, but there are no facilities and no shelter if it rains

Please wear bright colours to celebrate his life (Douglas didn’t want people to wear black)

As we expect there to be a large turn-out, please arrive in good time and if you are intending to come to Middletown Hall for refreshments after, please book through Eventbrite (see details below)

A celebration of Douglas’s life will also be held in Oxford at the Town Hall on Friday 22nd October at 11:30 if you wish to attend

Leaf mines

Last year, Douglas set the moth enthusiasts of the Montgomeryshire a ‘leaf-mine challenge’. A leaf mine is the caterpillar of a micro-moth that lives within a leaf and makes characteristic patterns, which can allow it to be identified. (to learn more: https://www.leafmines.co.uk/html/leaf_mines_of_lepidoptera.htm)

To honour his contribution to moth and butterfly recording in the county, we ask you to collect up a few autumn leaves, ideally with leaf mines present.  We will collect these in a basket and will use them as part of the ceremony. If you forget, there are plenty of trees around the site, so you could collect some when you arrive. 

No flowers please. If you wish, you will be able to make a donation to further Douglas’s legacy by helping to inspire the next generation of lepidopterists and further the work of young researchers. Details of how to donate will follow.

Parking

For those arriving first please park in the farm yard. This can be found past the entrance to the burial field driveway (on the right), up to the farmyard a bit further up the hill on the left. You can then access the burial field across the road and down through the field, where parking marshals will be on hand to help you. Once the farmyard is full, or if you have mobility problems, you may park by the field, where the owners will ensure we all find a spot to park. 

Middletown Village Hall

Please join us at Middletown Village Hall after the ceremony for light refreshments, where there is ample parking around the hall and in the village. 

To help us assess numbers for catering please complete a (free) Eventbrite booking if you are intending to come to the Village hall. 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/douglas-boyes-refreshments-after-funeral-montgomeryshire-tickets-188442495577

Please note Welsh Covid Rules apply

Where possible, please observe social distancing. Ideally, carry out a lateral flow test the day before the funeral.  Track-and-trace is still in operation in Wales, so you will need to enter your contact details on a sheet if you join us at Middletown Village Hall.  At the village hall, you are asked to wear a mask when moving round the venue. 

A celebration of the life of Douglas Boyes

28th July 1996 – 26th September 2021

Friday 22nd October at 11.30


Oxford Town Hall

We will gather from 11.30 with the ceremony timed to start around 11:45 followed by a light lunch

Following the ceremony, you are invited to join us for a walk in Wytham Woods

Douglas requested that you wear bright colours to celebrate his life

 

Getting to the venue

Parking is available at the nearby Westgate Centre; alternatively, Oxford has a number of Park-and-Ride services. It is possible to drop off visitors outside the venue. If you are planning to attend the ceremony, please complete the (free) Eventbrite booking here to help us monitor numbers: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/188471081077

No flowers please. If you wish, you will be able to make a donation to further Douglas’s legacy by helping to inspire the next generation of lepidopterists and further the work of young researchers. Details of how to donate will follow.

Covid-19

Where possible, please observe social distancing and observe sensible precautions.  Ideally, carry out a lateral flow test the day before you attend. 


*****

Wytham Woods walk – 3pm

Afterwards we invite anyone who cares to join us for a walk in Wytham Woods. Douglas loved the Woods and spent many happy hours moth trapping there (and getting his car stuck in the mud!). From 3pm (tea, coffee and cake will be served)

To help us assess numbers for catering please complete a (free) Eventbrite for the Woods here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/188484350767

 Getting to the woods

Bus: The ST2 Science Transit Shuttle runs from Oxford to Wytham on an hourly basis. Visit the Thames Travel website for timetables, fares and route information.

Car park: Wytham has free parking for a generous number of cars. Sat Nav users should use OX2 8QQ - please make sure that the route your Sat Nav is using takes you through Wytham Village. There is no access from the B4044.

 

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Roundton Hill NNR event, 25th September 2021

The evening began with great promise.  3 MV's and the White sheet were set up and switched on by 7.30pm in a very warm 16 centigrade with full cloud cover.  The conditions were declared "fantastic for a great nights' mothing".

It was not long before the first moth was potted and brought to the table, easily identified as a Common Marbled Carpet.

As the sky started to clear and the air distinctly cool down, a modest stream of moths were brought to the table for identification and logging. 

Amongst others, a very nice specimen of Green-brindled Crescent, a lovely large Bulrush Wainscot 



Green-brindled Crescent.

 



Bulrush Wainscot.


and the only caterpillar of the night, a Drinker larva at pre hibernation stage.



Drinker larva.


Of the six micro moths potted, much to my initial scepticism (and I suspect, a few others), a specimen of Ypsolopha horridella was declared by far "best in show" capture of the night. Checking the county list, it has only been trapped on seven previous occasions around the county hence the excitement. 


Ypsolopha horridella.


By 10pm it was apparent we were in a "drib's & drab's" situation due to the now clear sky and falling temperature. It was decided amongst the remaining attendees to start winding down the event with final switch off of the white sheet at 10.30pm. To speed our departure it commenced raining as we loaded the kit onto a vehicle.

The full species list can be viewed here

9 people attended the event.

Thanks go to Peter and Julie for identification and recording.

Meurig and Rob for photography.

Julie also for arranging the event.

The next event is on Saturday 23 October at the Pont Llogel reserve from 6pm onwards.


Phil.






Monday, 4 October 2021

Target species challenge - October update.

 Hello Moth-ers,

The data for September in our ‘lockdown Target species challenge’ is now in and can be viewed on our blog as well as our Facebook page.


This month I have added two target species to the Challenge: - A migratory species the Vestal (worth 2 points) and the Sprawler (worth 1 point) If you've already recorded either of these please let me know and I'll add it to the table, thanks.                                                                                                                                 

Please note the following 'Challenge' points:

1) That all target species will remain active in the challenge (although some may have finished their flight time), so please let me know if you record one of these at any time and I’ll update your points on the table.

2) Also, it may well be you’ve already recorded a species before I add it to the target list, that’s fine, just let me know and I’ll add the record to the main table.

3) This challenge is open to everyone without any restrictions and you can join in whenever you like, just let me know and I'll add your name to the chart.                                                                                                                                                               

The target species added in previous months are (and quite a few will still be on the wing) ; - 

14) Oblique Carpet (2 points)

13) Leopard Moth (2 points)

12) Clouded Brindle (2 points)

11) Shaded broad-bar (1 point)

10) Yellow Shell (1 point)

9) Yellow-barred Brindle (1 point)

😎 Tawny Pinion (2 Points)

7) Any migrant hawk moth – this might seem rather unlikely, but it does of course include the Humming-bird Hawk-moth, so everyone will have a chance to record one of these (3 points)

6) White-marked (1 point)

5) Pine Beauty (2 points)

4) Oak Nycteoline (1 point)

3) Blossom Underwing (2 points)

2) Shoulder Stripe (1 point)

1) Small Brindled Beauty (2 points)

Updated table attached below.



Friday, 1 October 2021

Happy Memories of Douglas Boyes with the MMG

 There will be many tributes to Douglas highlighting everything in his life relating to Entomology so, I won’t be doing that here. This tribute is a personal one relating solely to his association with the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group).

Living in the countryside as he did, Douglas had always had a fascination for wildlife in general, but he was first introduced to the world of mothing in 2009 when he attended a field studies course hosted by Nick Baker. Soon after this, I met Douglas for the first time on Sunday 15th August 2010 at lake Vyrnwy visitor centre where the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) was holding a moth viewing event from moths trapped the previous evening. He was accompanied by his mother (Clare), who was, I think, encouraging Douglas down this path and therefore more than happy to take him to any moth related event but he didn’t need that much encouragement really, he was hooked on moths from the word go.

During his early years Douglas both trapped and did field work whenever he could at and around his home in Middletown and he didn’t miss any of our public events with Clare supporting him by ferrying him to them and often staying till the early hours of the morning, putting up with all sorts of weather, she was a real stalwart. 

Douglas identifying the species at Dolforwyn Woods in 2013

His knowledge and aspirations went from strength to strength and when he was only 16 Douglas was considered to be ‘up for the job’, when he took on the role of County Butterfly recorder for Montgomeryshire. He created a database and a pdf of the ‘Butterflies of Montgomeryshire’ which contained distribution maps and all other information about the species found in the county – an excellent piece of work, hailed by us all.

When he was old enough, he soon passed his driving test and got a car. This opened up the whole county for him to explore with his moth traps. Many a time he would contact me and ask, “are you up for an evening’s trapping?” at some nature reserve or other site. I remember on one occasion a small group of the MMG including Douglas spent an evening trapping in the quarry at CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology). To access the quarry, we had to ferry all the equipment through a fairly long, wet, dank tunnel, and when we emerged the other end, it was like discovering the ‘lost world’, which was all overgrown, with the high limestone walls of the quarry all around us, it was amazing. We did think we might record a hitherto unrecorded species for the county, in this ‘cut off’ place, but this wasn’t to be, but we all enjoyed the experience of trapping at this very unusual site.

Trying to keep warm at a Pont Llogel Event 

When Douglas went to Oxford University, we certainly missed him coming (and leading some) to all our mothing events, but he joined us when he could, it was always good to see him and he would get involved as if he hadn’t been away at all, quickly getting into his stride and helping out with id and constantly checking the traps. He would always be one of the last ones attending, often till the early hours of the morning. in fact, on a couple of occasions we watched the sun rise while we were packing the kit away, still eager to find that elusive species we were hoping to record.

Over the years Douglas also become involved with helping to administer areas of the Montgomery Moths website, such as the ‘Stop Press’ and our ‘Blog’, where he did an excellent job as always helping to lighten the load from Mike Haigh (who manages our website and database) and myself.     

It was very obvious to me from very early on that Douglas was going to go far in the world of entomology and this turned out to be exactly the case. His passing will affect so many people, he will be dearly missed.

Peter. 


Saturday, 18 September 2021

Clifden Nonpareil


Well, it's arrived at last - on opening the trap this morning I saw what I thought at first glance was a Red Underwing, but when I moved it to get some photos it flicked it's wings and I saw a flash of blue which told me right away I had recorded that iconic species a Clifden Nonpareil. A first record for Montgomeryshire and only the second record for North Wales. After getting a few photos it flew off to safety into the nearby shrubbery. I must say, even though I've been moth trapping for 30 years the whole experience of recording this moth did leave me rather trembling a little.




Peter.