Tuesday 25 July 2017

Report: moth event at Centre for Alternative Technology - 22/07/17

View over the quarry
The Centre for Alternative Technology (www.cat.org.uk) in the far west of the county owns a significant area of land, much of which is managed with biodiversity in mind. Following successful events in the past, we descended on the site last Saturday with eight traps. The trapping area is mostly mixed mature woodland, and is adjacent to a disused slate quarry, which offered some stunning views as the sun set.

As well as gathering valuable records, events are an excellent way to raise awareness about moths and it was, therefore, great that many of the 27 people who turned up were completely new to moths. We caught an excellent selection of 'crowd-pleasers', including Black Arches, Rosy Footman, Elephant Hawk-moth, Buff Arches and Large Emerald, which I'm sure represented an excellent introduction to moths.

Barred Carpet (photo: GO)
Shortly after turning the lights on, I potted two Nationally Scarce species from the white sheet: Barred Carpet and Devon Carpet. At an event held at the site in 2015, we found the former to be very common with over 10 individuals being caught. We recorded similar numbers this time, and mused it could be one of the best sites in the county for this particular species.

Due to clear skies, the temperature quickly dropped (low of 10°c), however, moths continued to readily come to the traps for the first few hours of darkness. Notable macros found during this time were Satin Beauty, Satin Lutestring, Oak Nycteoline, Dark Marbled Carpet and Tissue, the latter of which we have found hibernating in caves at the site during previous visits. Micros were a little thin on the ground, however, we did record 15 species. Scoparia ancipitella, Agonopterix conterminella and Hypatima rhomboidella were among the most notable. The full list of species seen is available here.

We began to pack up the traps at around 12:30, and were able to add a flurry of species to the list, including Garden Tiger, Northern Spinach, Dotted Clay and Slender Pug. Despite the cool conditions, we recorded a total of 76 species. One can't help but wonder what interesting species might have come to light had it been warmer - we'll just have to return again!

The link below contains more photos from the event:
CAT MMG moth event - 22/07/17


Wednesday 19 July 2017

Public mothing event at Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) 22nd July

Hello All,

This Saturday, 22nd July, the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a public mothing event at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), situated just north of Machynlleth, in the west of the county. Once again we are trapping above the quarry which has now got walkways throughout, very spectacular. We first trapped at this particular site at CAT two years ago when we found a breeding population of the rare Barred Carpet, so fingers crossed that we’ll do equally as well at this event. So please come along and join us at this very under-recorded site for what promises to be an excellent evening’s mothing.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Centre for Alterative Technology (CAT)
Event Date: Saturday 22nd. July
Meet Time: 8:30pm onwards. Park in car park.
Directions: From Machynlleth head north on the A487 for about three miles: CAT is signposted and the centre is on the right hand side of the road. Once you enter the CAT main car park please drive up to the car park at the top of the North Drive (the North Drive can be found to the left of the ticket office as you enter the main car park), where it will be signposted to the trapping area above the quarry.
Grid Reference: SH754044

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.


Saturday 15 July 2017

Posting on the blog

Just a quick reminder that the blog is for everyone to use. Please feel free to share anything you think may be of note; this might include unusual records, photos, mothing stories, annual reports, etc. The blog can also be a place for discussion if you have an ID query, question or a general point to raise.

If you're not already set up as a blog author, the process is very simple and only requires a Google account (the chances are you already have one). Please just drop me an email - my address on the sidebar.


Friday 7 July 2017

Hafren Forest - 05/07/17

I went to more under-recorded forestry on Wednesday night; this time to Hafren Forest in the south-west of the county. SN88 has had very little summer trapping so I picked a very warm night (18c for most of the night!) and headed down with 6 traps.

I trapped at 340m in an area of the site that is dominated by broadleaved scrub, with an understory of heathers, bilberry, etc. The scrub is adjacent to large areas of commercial conifers. I caught a large number of species that are meant to only be associated with larch: e.g. Argyresthia laevigatella, Coleophora laricella, Ptycholomoides aeriferanus and Larch Pug (no larch appeared to present). I wonder if these species are utilising non-native conifer species in the county - I have noticed this at a couple of other sites in the county.

Within about an hour of switching the lights on, I noticed a very large pug species sitting on one of the traps. My first thought was Cloaked Pug but dismissed this as I believed it to be extinct. However, upon checking the book and reading that there is evidence of recent breeding in the UK and the foodplants are non-native conifers, I quickly returned to pot the moth. Indeed, it was Cloaked Pug (three were caught in total), representing the first county record since the 80s and strongly suggesting the species is breeding here once again. Who knows how common this moth is in the county - there's certainly enough potential habitat but most of it goes completely untrapped!

I recorded a total of 141 species. Bryotropha boreella was new for the county. Other moths of note included Gold Swift, Exoteleia dodecella, Celypha rivulana, Scoparia ancipitella, Beautiful Carpet, Dotted Carpet, Small Argent & Sable, Red-necked Footman, Clouded Buff, Double Line and Marsh Oblique-barred.

Photos below:
Hafren Forest - 05/07/17

Tuesday 4 July 2017

Bryn yr Ysbyty - 03/07/17

Bryn yr Ysbyty is an area of forestry located near Carno and is in one of the most under-recorded parts of the county. Peter and I trapped there last night with the aim of adding some dots to the maps.

The trapping area is located at 315m and the habitat is predominantly broadleaved scrub, with other important features including flower-rich grassy verges and coniferous plantation. Thick cloud meant the temperature didn't drop below 13c, although there was constant drizzle of rain for much of the night.

We recorded a very respectable 138 species across the six traps. The best record was Bucculatrix demaryella, a micro which had not been seen in the county since 1980 (probably common but very under-recorded). Some of the better macros were Plain Wave, Light Brocade, Cloaked Carpet and Double Line. With the warm conditions we did well with pugs, with some of the more notable species including Triple-spotted, Dwarf, Larch and Wormwood. Other moths of note were: Satin Beauty, Scallop Shell, Galium Carpet, Beautiful Carpet, Beautiful Snout, Welsh Wave and Minor-shoulder Knot.

Photos of the site, some of the moths caught and the species list can be seen by following the link below:
Bryn yr Ysbyty - 03/07/17