Saturday 26 April 2014

Help Needed to ID Caterpillar

Hi, this one was found on 25th April feeding on willow at Cors Dyfi, approx. 10-12mm in length with a definite blue 'tinge' to the stripes. I've spent a number of hours trawling the UKLeps site without success and Peter is also at a loss on this one so any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Maria.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Ghost Moth ??!

I am looking to my fellow "mothers" for some rational explanation for my ghostly moth!

At the Easter weekend my trap was set in Derwenlas on our patio table adjacent to a patio umbrella which was contained in a green canvas weatherproof cover. The night temperature was quite low and there was some dew on the ground. In the early morning I found this image on the canvas cover.

Sorry about the "rings"

The most likely culprit judging by my catch in the trap was a Puss Moth or a Great Prominent.
An hour later there was no trace of my "ghost" moth. 

The cover didn't appear to be wet. I assumed it may be some temperature differential or condensation effect but if any of the scientific minds of Montgomeryshire can offer a rational explanation please do let me know!


Tuesday 22 April 2014

What a little 'Beauty'!

When I used to trap in Surrey the Brindled Beauty was an annual species I used to get in the trap and sometimes in quite good numbers as well, but when I moved to Wales back in 2003, little did I realise, at the time, that I wasn't to see this species again. That was, not until this morning, as, when I opened the trap there it was beaming out at me and I can tell you, I beamed right back at it, an old friend had turned up after ten years of absence, what a warming moment!

Only a few years ago there was a lot of discussion as to whether the Brindled Beauty could be found in Montgomeryshire and it was only finally confirmed in 2010. Since then it has slowly been recorded around the county and now we are up to16 records, hopefully we'll see more of it in the coming years.

Brindled Beauty


Thursday 17 April 2014

Clepsis senecionana

Clepsis senecionana

Habitat where moths were netted
On the 15/4/14 I visited the MWT reserve at Llanymynech Rocks. I netted several day-flying tortrix moths flying over the limestone grassland. Which I later identified as Clepsis senecionana (aptly named the 'obscure tortrix').

The species is only rarely seen in the county, most recently at Lake Vyrnwy in 2010.

It tends to be found in upland areas, such as moorland, feeding on bilberry and bog myrtle. So what was it doing at Llanymynech Rocks? Well, it's been recorded there before, once in 1998 and again in 2005. It seems it breeds on the site. Interesting to see a species occurring in the county outside of its normal habitat. However, even more interestingly, there are none of the usual foodplants present.

With a bit of digging, some books and websites mention it can feed on goldenrod. This would seem more likely at Llanymynech Rocks. I hope to return later in the year to look for the larvae.

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Lake Vyrnwy event

The event report and species list for our recent MMG event at Lake Vyrnwy can be viewed Here


Friday 11 April 2014

MMG Event at Lake Vyrnwy - Saturday 12 April

Hello Everyone,

Our first mothing event of the year is this Saturday at Lake Vyrnwy. We are hoping to record a good number of spring species, including Oak Beauty, thorn and prominent species and if we’re very lucky a Blossom Underwing (our target species). If you’ve never been to one of these events before, treat yourself, please come along and join us, for a great night’s mothing.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Lake Vyrnwy.
Target Species: Blossom Underwing.
Event Date: Saturday 12 April 2014.
Event time: 6:30 onwards, at the reserve car park.
Directions: Follow the B4393 to the northern end of the lake where you will see the reserve car park on the side of road nearest to the lake (marked ‘P’ on OS map).
Grid Reference: SH965241.

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.

Please note that some sites are not easy to find, so please make sure you know where the venue is before you set off.

All the best,


Saturday 5 April 2014

Watch out for that tricky Blossom Underwing!

One of our spring species which often gets overlooked is the Blossom Underwing, as it rests in a similar posture and can look rather like any one of the numerous Small Quakers which we get in our traps at this time of year. I recorded the one pictured below last night, although I must say that this particular specimen is rather well marked, but this usually isn't the case.

So keep your eyes peeled, as it's not a common species, but they are on the wing now.


Tuesday 1 April 2014

Always make one last check

My mothing hasnt been a huge success so far this year. There havent been many occasions when I have been able put out my trap, and on some of these there has been torrential rain, or the trap has been blown over, so it wasnt with a great deal of optimism that I put my trap out last night.

The previous night had been an extremely late one so I was feeling very tired. At 10pm I decided that I had to go to bed.  Should I make one last check on the trap? I couldnt be bothered so started plodding up the stairs to bed. I looked out of the window at the top of the stairs and realised I had left the shed light on, so I would have to go back out anyway. I plodded back downstairs, picked up my bag of moth pots and shambled across towards the trap. About 2 mettres from the trap on the grass was a rather manic moth fluttering erratically about. As I got it in the pot I realised it was one I hadnt seen before. I got back inside, put on my glasses and saw this:

Small Eggar, a rarity in the county and by far my best moth so far. From now on I think I will always make one last check.