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 will be available HERE in due course.

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.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Lockdown species challenge - August update.

 


Hello Moth-ers,

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

New records are still rather slow in coming in, but Douglas Boyes now heads the table on 11 points, with Alan Sibley on 9 points. Equal third are are Stuart Thomas and Peter Williams on 7 points.

This months target species is the Oblique Carpet (worth 2 points) If you've already recorded one 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) ; -

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.




Thursday, 26 August 2021

Dolforwyn Woods event

After a spell of rather wet weather Saturday afternoon had dried up quite nicely, it seemed as though the mothing gods were with us and we would have a dry event, However, as we were setting up at around 8:15 the heavens opened up with a torrential downpour, luckily we had just got the gazebo erected, so we at least could keep ourselves and some of the kit dry. After ten minutes or so the rain abated and we could switch the traps on - thankfully the rest of the evening remained dry.

Gathering by the white sheet

After the rain the moths started coming at a steady flow with a Small Fan-footed Wave followed by a Black Arches, a very striking species. Some of the more common species like Large Yellow Underwing, Small Phoenix, Dingy Footman and Buff Footman didn't disappoint and made a show.

Black Arches

Small Phoenix

The Common Carpet turned up which generated a workshop on the diagnostic differences between this species and the Wood Carpet. A similar workshop took place when a Treble-bar came to the white sheet and we discussed the differences between this and the Lesser Treble-bar.

Treble-bar

Species continued to come to arrive and the white sheet was particularly busy; the Snout, Oak Hook-tip and Iron Prominent all made a show, but the two best species of the evening were undoubtedly a Blomer's Rivulet, a nationally scarce B species, and one which we have recorded at this site in the past and the Lesser-spotted Pinion, a local species of which we only have 14 records in our database. In all we managed to record 25 macro species.

Iron Prominent


Blomer's Rivulet

Lesser-spotted Pinion

Micro species were slightly down in numbers but we did manage to record 12 species which included Pandemis corylana, Epinotia nisella and Acleris laterana.

Epinotia nisella


Pandemis corylana


By midnight moths coming to the table had slowed down so the ten of us who had turned up for the event decided to call it a night, which was enjoyed by everyone. Many thanks to Julie, Meurig and Rob for supplying the photos. A full species list can be seen here.

On a rain related footnote - as we were leaving the site we had to replace the big post which we had to remove earlier so that we could access the site with our vehicles - Mark knew that the rain would be sitting in the bottom of the post hole, so he told Julie and myself to 'stand back' as he dropped the post in, but hilariously, when he dropped the post in the hole, the splashback only went in one direction - back towards Mark, shouldn't laugh really, but it was rather funny.

We look forwards to our next event which will be at Roundton Hill on Saturday 25th September - I look forwards to seeing some of you there. 

Peter. 


Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Lockdown Species Challenge - July update.

 Hello Moth-ers,

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

In general things have been pretty slow recently, but Alan Sibley from Essex who has recorded 6 of the 11 species possible and is on 9 points is well ahead of the rest of the field. His nearest challengers are  Meurig Garbutt, Julie Pearce & Mark Thomas, Stuart Thomas, Peter Williams and Douglas Boyes all on five points.

This months target species is the Leopard Moth (worth 2 points) If you've already recorded one 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) ; -

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)


Monday, 26 July 2021

One to look out for.

 Hello "mothers"

Thought you might be interested in this which appeared in my trap during the recent hot weather, even though it was at my home in FlintshireVC51 rather than Montgomeryshire[ Sorry Peter]. After much searching of the books and eventually the interweb I discovered it was the Box-tree Moth.

It helped when I realised it was a micro [Crambid]

It is native to S E Asia and was first discovered in UK in 2008, presumably imported to garden centre in S England in box plants. It has now been reported as far as Edinburgh. In N Wales I gather there are one or two records only but this Summer it has been recorded elsewhere in VC51 so look out folks it is on the march, whether or not it has made it to Montgomeryshire only Peter would know!


It has to be a contender for "largest micro" coming in at around 4cm across.

Two other moths in my trap last night were Leopard Moth and Sycamore, both firsts for me.

I hope the warm weather has brought you all some excitement too


All the best

Alan

Friday, 23 July 2021

Cors Dyfi Moth Night Event 10 July 2021

 

It was great to finally have a public event – and a fantastic location and good weather too, so everything came together for us to be able to celebrate Moth Night 2021, with the theme of wetlands, in style. 


Photo by Douglas Boyes

    We were excited to see the lovely new centre at Cors Dyfi, with a ready made terrace and benches for us to work from. 

The white sheet looked spectacular from the balcony, and indeed looked pretty good covered in moths later on in the evening.







Photo by Douglas Boyes
We were lucky enough to have Douglas Boyes join us for the evening and lead the event – many thanks to him for making the trip especially for it. Altogether 21 people attended, a mixture of members of the moth group, MWT staff & volunteers and members of the public. The first moths came in on cue as Douglas was doing his introductory talk, and answering some great questions, and kept rolling in until we turned the lights off at 2.30am. We saw impressive numbers of bats about then too....





Some of the frequent fliers of the night were Round-winged Muslin and Rosy Footman, who was an early crowd pleaser. But to be fair we had a lot to keep everyone happy – many moths that members of the group hadn't seen before. It was generally agreed that the Smoky Wave was the star of the night, but that was before the Scallop Shell (the poster moth for the Moth Night) came in, or the Gelechia sororculella (new for site and only the second record in the county since 1998) and even the Double Dart that was lurking in a trap as we packed up.


Gelechia sororculella (photo by Peter Williams)





 It was good to see the public so excited to see the glamour moths – the Elephant Hawk-moth, the Drinker, the Sallow Kitten, and Peter Williams was in his seventh heaven when the Clouded Magpie put in an appearance. One of his favourites apparently. The full list for the night available now – a very impressive total of 109 macros and 37 micros.


Clouded Magpie, photo by Mel Jones

Scallop Shells, photo by Mel Jones


Sunday, 4 July 2021

Lockdown Species Challenge as of 1st. July

 Hello Moth-ers,



Moth species and numbers have certainly picked up recently and hopefully this will continue for a while to give us all chance to add some decent numbers to our yearly lists. 

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

Please remember you can join in with this challenge whenever you like, so just let me know here, what you've recorded and I’ll add the details to the main table. 

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 July (please let me know if you’ve already have recorded one) is: -

12) Clouded Brindle - (2 points)

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

11) Shaded broad-bar (1 point)

10) Yellow Shell (1 point)

9) Yellow-barred Brindle (1 point)

8) 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)





Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Trial Event at Llyn Coed y Dinas 26/6/21

Well, for the first time since October 2019 a small group of us dusted off the Montgomeryshire Moth Group equipment and the events team met up at Llyn Coed y Dinas nature reserve to make sure that everything works, that we can remember how to identify moths, and that we can run a Covid-safe event. 

We chose a nice night for it - and a good location.  We ran 2 traps and the white sheet, and had a busy time of it through the night.  Rest assured that plenty of hand sanitiser was deployed. Most of the equipment worked well despite the long furlough, and we just about remembered how to work it all. Peter was in his element as the moths flowed in.

Poplar Grey



Figure of Eighty


In total we had a very creditable 28 species of macro and a surprising 21 species of micro.  At one stage we had more micros than macros.  The full list is available here.  We even managed a new County record: Archips crataegana.


Archips crataegana Photo: Peter Williams


A good night was had by all.  Many thanks to Peter, Phil, Paul and Mark.  Hopefully we'll be able to arrange some public events in the near future.

Friday, 4 June 2021

 Hello Moth-ers,


June is now with us and I’m sure we’ll all hope that with the new month our mothing fortunes will change and we’ll actually record some moths.

Please remember you can join in with this challenge whenever you like, so just let me know here, what you've recorded and I’ll add the details to the main table. This month I have decided to add two fairly common species so that we can kick the challenge into action again.

The target species added in June (please let me know if you’ve already have recorded one) are: -

11) Shaded broad-bar (1 point)

10) Yellow Shell (1 point)

The target species added in previous months (which all still count in the challenge) are; -

9) Yellow-barred Brindle (1 point)

8) 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)




Wednesday, 19 May 2021

First half of May - terrible for moth trapping

The weather during the first half of May has more or less continued where April left off, but without the frost, very variable with wet cool nights, therefore trap catches have been very poor indeed    We can only hope that things pick up soon - and here's a sobering thought - it's only just over a month away until the nights will start drawing out again!!

Updated chart attached below.

Just a reminder of the target species to look out for (below) and please remember you can join in with this challenge when ever you like, just let me know here, what you've recorded.

The target species added in May (or let me know if you’ve already have recorded one) are; -

9) Yellow-barred Brindle (1 point)

8) 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)

The target species to look out for which were added in previous months are; -

6) White-marked (1point)

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)



Peter.


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

What a shockingly cold April for our 'target species challenge'

 Hello Moth-ers,



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

I think we can all agree that this April was about as bad for moth recording as it could be and one which should be consigned to history. I recorded 19 nights in the month where the temperature fell below 0c. Hopefully, May will give us some milder nights where we will once again see moths in our traps!

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 for May are directly below and this time I have added a special third category (please let me know if you’ve already have recorded one); -

9) Yellow-barred Brindle (1 point)

8) 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)

The target species to look out for which were added in previous months are; -

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)



Good luck to all.


Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Mid-month assessment of the 'Lockdown species chalenge

Here in the west of Wales the first half of April has more than our fair share of frosty nights - 16 out of 19 nights have been below zero with the coldest night on the 11th. falling to a very cold -4.7c. So our 'lockdown target species' challenge has stalled somewhat, but hopefully things will pick up again soon.

Updated chart attached below.

Just a reminder of the target species to look out for (below) and please remember you can join in with this challenge when ever you like, just let me know here, what you've recorded.
The target species added in April (or let me know if you’ve already have recorded one) are; -
6) White-marked (1 point)
5) Pine Beauty (2 points)
The target species to look out for which were added in previous months are; -
4) Oak Nycteoline (1 point)
3) Blossom Underwing (2 points)
2) Shoulder Stripe (1 point)
1) Small Brindled Beauty (2 points)



Peter.


Wednesday, 14 April 2021

A few early micro-moth stages to be on the look out for in April

Not much in the way of leaf-mines yet; however, there are a few interesting species that can be found at this time of the year

On Quercus ilex (evergreen/holm oak).

This is not a common tree in north Wales but there are isolated individuals (see BSBI map). These are worth checking for leaf mines made by Stigmella suberivora or Ectoedemia heringella. Both species tend to be very conspicuous. Either would be new for north Wales.

Ectoedemia heringella. Image: leafmines.co.uk

On Erica/Calluna (heather & heath)

Two species of Coleophora can be found on heather at this time of year. Coleophora pyrrhulipennella constructs large, dark cases that stand out, whilst C. juncicolella cases are exceptionally well camouflaged. These are best obtained by sweeping or beating heather to dislodge the cases. Then place the resulting material in a container and wait for bits of heather to appear to start crawling up the walls!

Images of the cases can be found here: http://www.ukflymines.co.uk/Keys/CALLUNA.php

There is a 'Mine of Month' challenge currently going on the MMG Facebook group, which I'd enourage people to join if they haven't already.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Lockdown species Challenge 03-04-21

 Hello Moth-ers,

 

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

It was a variable month as regards weather conditions, but the last few days of the month were in general, very good for mothing and there were a lot of recorders adding species to the main table.

Please note the following 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 April (or let me know if you’ve already have recorded one) are; -

6) White-marked (1 point)

5) Pine Beauty (2 points)

The target species to look out for which were added in previous months are; -

4) Oak Nycteoline (1 point)

3) Blossom Underwing (2 points)

2) Shoulder Stripe (1 point)

1) Small Brindled Beauty (2 points)

Good luck to all.


 

 


Sunday, 7 March 2021

 An agg.ravating issue? 

I have been meaning to get around to throwing this potential "spanner in the works" for a while now.

Below is the link to an article in The Guardian dated Friday 25th December2020 by Patrick Greenfield. Some of you may have read it already:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/25/discovery-of-cryptic-species-shows-earth-is-even-more-biologically-diverse-aoe

It discusses the increasing use of DNA barcoding technique for identifying flora and fauna species and presents surprising results with potential far reaching consequences.

Put briefly, this currently laboratory based technique, is discovering many actual genetic divergences in species where it was formerly assumed to be natural variation. Included as an example, is the caterpillar of the Two-barred Flasher butterfly and the wide variation in body stripes this species displays.

It may sound a rather dry and remote science but having read it I can not help but now wonder about the moth species we record and what this discovery may imply for our field recording in the future? 

Will a time come where DNA barcoding is the only acceptable true identification of a species? How will this shape the confidence in current field species identification records/techniques? How important, in terms of identification ethics, is this new technique? Would agg. be the new normal for general field species monitoring without DNA analysis? Could bar coding be a possible field technique for the future (Don't even begin to think about the fund raising for that)?

As usual with scientific discovery, more questions than answers!

It does cause me to wonder if even common moths we identify with "certainty" and do not attach agg. to, may no longer be the case and that they could all be agg. without establishing their individual genetic codes? I hope I am wrong!

No two moths even within current sub-species groups are identical. This could now be due to new sub-species groups, only determinable by DNA bar coding until we have a fully illustrated 5000 page field guide!?

This may all seem a bit sci-fi at the moment but I imagine there must be at least a beginning in discussion about potential effects this new arm of species identification will have on current field recording techniques and results classification?

Mercifully all theoretical for us field recorders at the moment!

Phil McGregor.





Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Lockdown Target Species Challenge

Hello Moth-ers - It's been a very chilly start to this challenge therefore things have been very slow in getting going, but well done to Mel Jones, as he was the only moth-er who's informed me they were taking part, who actually manage to record one of the target species.



Peter.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

January Challenge - final table


Hello Moth-ers,

The January challenge has now finished, the data is all in and has been collated into the two charts below.

This year 13 moth-ers took part (five of those were from 'out of county' recorders), which considering the wet and cool January is not a bad turnout. However, despite the adverse conditions, between us we did manage to record 25 species, which is only three species down on last years number. There were 17 macro and 8 micro species recorded which resulted in 336 moths (320 macro and 16 micro), which is an excellent effort on everyone's part.

Only two of us achieved the macro part of the challenge, with 10 plus species they were, Alec Undril (an Essex recorder) with 12 species and Peter Williams just scraping home with 10 specie. Alan Sibley (an Essex recorder) and Sue Southam managed joint third place with 7 species. This year nobody managed to achieve the micro part of the challenge. The best return was 4 species from Alec Undril, so bad luck to him for Judy missing out. This was followed by Sue Southam and Peter Williams, each with 3 species. 




Now for a more in depth breakdown of what was recorded.
                                                                                                                                                                      Macros - As can be seen in the chart above, five of us managed to record 4+ species. Across all recorders the most numerous species was the Chestnut with 75 moths, followed by the Winter Moth with 67 moths and in third place was the Spring Usher with 42 moths
The most moths recorded by individual recorders were 110 by Peter Williams, 91 by Alec Undril and 67 by Sue Southam.

There weren't any unexpected or unusual species recorded this year, but it was good to get 2 records of overwintering species of 10 Herald and a single Tissue from Rob Goodsell from his site which contains a cave.

Micros - were very thin on the ground this year, with only 8 species recorded. There weren't really any unexpected micro species recorded. 

The chart below shows the top five macro species recorded (along with the total of moths) from 2012 to 2021


 


Which just leaves me to say a big thank you to all those who took part and please don’t forget, that apart from the fun and the individual challenge, it also generates much needed winter records for your county, which are always very thin on the ground - hopefully more of you will want to join in next year to see if you can grapple with the ‘January challenge’.

Peter.

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

January Challenge 3 weeks in

Hello Moth-ers - the chart below shows the state of play at the three week point of the challenge and I have to congratulate Alec Undrill from Essex who is the first moth-er taking part to achieve the 10 macro species part of the challenge. Other moth-ers doing well are Alan Sibley (also from Essex) and Sue Southam and Peter Williams from Montgomeryshire, so we may well have some more joining Alec by the end of the month.

So far January has been pretty changeable, but with a definite bias to being wet and cold, so trapping has been quite challenging, but well done to all those having a go, hopefully the last week of the month will see a few milder nights boosting all our totals.


 


    Peter.

Saturday, 16 January 2021

January Challenge - 2 week update


Hello All,

The attached chart shows the data at the two week point I've received so far in this year's 'January challenge'. The best personal list of macros so far is eight species, while the best micro list is for only one species, but with over two weeks still to go I would imagine the lists to get bigger. 13 species in total have been recorded during the month.




Peter

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Hello Moth-ers,

We're coming up to the two week point in the 'January Challenge' and the latter part of the week has certainly become milder for many of us, so hopefully we'll see a few more species turning up.

For all those taking part in the challenge please let me know the following details since the beginning of the month (please reply with your details on this post): -

       

      1) Total list of species recorded.

      2) Total count of each species recorded

      3) Total number of nights you trapped.

 

Please remember, you can join in on this challenge whenever you like and for anyone taking part for the first time, the following simple rules apply: -

 

1) Adults only to be recorded.

2) Records from a single site only.

3) Using one trap only. 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.

4) Anyone can take part, but if you're not a recorder in Montgomeryshire you will have to let me know you're taking part so that I can contact you for your results.

I will ask you for your results at the end of January when I will ask you for a simple list of:-

 

This year I plan to make the challenge a bit more interactive by posting weekly updates on our Facebook page, where you can all comment and keep an eye on how the challenge is panning out.

I will publish the final results on our Facebook page and on our blog in early February, once all the results are in.

Have fun – see if you can beat your total of last year.

 

Peter.


Saturday, 9 January 2021

January Challenge after the first week

 

Below is the 'January Challenge' chart after the first week of the month. The week was very cold both day and night, hopefully things will pick up in the coming days. The chart will be updated throughout the month.








Peter.


Friday, 1 January 2021

2121 lockdown 'January Challenge' - off to a chilly start

 

Hello Moth-ers,

 

A happy New year to you all.

 

Just a reminder that the 2021 January Challenge kicks off tonight – so dust those traps off and fire them up.

 

I will be doing a weekly update on our Facebook page for those who like to keep an eye on the action (as well as posting the final table on Facebook and our blog, at the beginning of February), but to enable you to join in, in this interactive way on Facebook, you’ll have to join our Facebook group page, just let me know and I’ll sign you up.

 

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.