Tuesday, 21 April 2015

New county record at Hafren Forest event.

Saturday was sunny and fairly warm, but there was a slight niggling cool breeze from the east, which took the ‘edge off’ the temperature; this reminded me, that it was still indeed only April.

We arrived on site by about 7:00pm to get set up, but the weather conditions didn’t exactly give us much hope that we were going to have anything more than a fairly ‘average evening’ as, by now, the temperature was dropping away due to the clear skies.

Skinner trap amongst the trees

We fired up the traps at around 8:30 and surprisingly, (in view of the conditions), moths began to arrive almost immediately - Engrailed, Water Carpet, Hebrew Character, Clouded Drab and Common Quaker, were quickly on the table, although, it has to be said, that they were all of the ‘usual suspects’ which you would hope to see at this time of year. Apart from the Water Carpet, all of the above species were seen in good numbers throughout the evening. After this initial influx, further species slowly came to the table -  Early Toothed-striped, Early Thorn and Red Chestnut were recorded in small numbers, as was the Pale Brindled Beauty, one of which, was a really nice specimen of the dark form.

Alan checking the white sheet

Micros were very thin on the ground, but we did manage two species. First in was an Eriocrania species, which none of us could identify for sure, but later Douglas confirmed that it was an Eriocrania sangii – a new county record; we also recorded a Diurnea fagella.

Eriocrania Sangii - a new county record

As the evening drew to a close we were treated to 3 superb specimens of Red Sword-grass, an interesting and unusual species which rests with its wings rolled around its body and when disturbed it pulls its legs in, only to look like a piece of dead wood rolling in your hand.

Red Sword-grass

Anomalous larva

Shortly after midnight we were all ‘suitably chilled’ and we decided to call it a day. As we were packing away one of the traps, we saw a small green caterpillar which was later confirmed as an Anomalous, and finally, as we were about to dismantle the white sheet, we saw the only migrant species of the event, a Dark Sword-grass – a very nice way to end the evening, and who would have thought we would have bagged a new county record, given the weather conditions; this just goes to show, you can never know what’s going to turn up….Oh yes!, and by the way, did I mention we have never recorded a Convolvulus Hawk-moth at an event before!!

For a full species list, please click here.


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