Thursday, 14 June 2018

Cors Dyfi MMG event (02/06/2018) - report

Something to look at while the moths warmed up
Cors Dyfi is a site that rarely disappoints. The mild conditions during the day of the event, combined with the fact we had 13 traps distributed around the reserve, meant we were virtually guaranteed a good night...

The onomatopoeic call of the cuckoo provided a nice soundtrack as we set the traps. Meanwhile, many of the 33 attendees were enthralled by the newly-hatched osprey chicks, which were broadcast live on HD screens in the visitors centre. Once it was dark, a final ornithological highlight was hearing the eerie ‘drumming’ of snipe on the reserve.

As soon as the lights were switched on, the moths began to roll in. It was clear we were in for a busy night. At first, it was mostly the usual stuff. But much to the delight of members of the public, this included many ‘showy’ species. A large Drinker moth caterpillar was particularly effective at capturing the attention of the kids.

An hour or so in, an Obscure Wainscot was brought to the table. This species appears to have recently arrived in the county but is now doing rather well (several were seen throughout the night). We also recorded Orange Footman and Valerian Pug, two other species which seem to be recent arrivals (although the latter could have been partly overlooked in the past)

Silky Wainscot (GO)
The best moth of the night was also one that seems to be spreading nationally: Silky Wainscot, a reed bed species that is new to the county. Others worth a mention are Dog’s Tooth, Marsh Oblique-barred, Beautiful Snout, Light Knot Grass, Scallop Shell and a Marbled Brown that was so fresh it was almost unrecognisable.

On the micro front, the best record was Elachista subalbidella (new county record). Others of note locally included Rhyacionia pinivorana (second county record), Micropterix aureatella and Ancylis geminana. There still some specimens that I need to determine so there may well be some more interesting records left to come!

Around midnight, it clouded over and the temperature began to increase - from the low of 12c to a balmy 14c. New species were coming in thick and fast and it soon felt like we’d caught almost every common macro on the wing at the moment. Though no Silver-ground Carpet as Gavin astutely noted when we were packing away a trap. “Well, what about that one” I remarked, pointing to one which had obligingly just landed on the ground!

We finally finished packed up soon after 3am. We had amassed a species totals which I think is the second or third highest ever for an MMG event (about 150 species). This also included two new county records and at least ten species new to the reserve. An excellent night all round. So good in fact, we barely even noticed the lack of cake!

A big thanks to the Cors Dyfi team for hosting us; in particular, Karis Hodgson who was on hand throughout the evening.

The full species list is available here. For more photos from the evening, follow link below (images: DBo, GBC & GO):
MMG event - Cors Dyfi - 02/06/2018

Douglas.

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