Sunday, 31 March 2013

Rhoose Point

Small Tortoiseshell flying in the sun this afternoon.  Also a couple of Oak Eggar caterpillars in the garden.  The first bee of the year too, which may be one of the Andrena species.  It looks like things are finally starting to wake up despite the still chilly temperatures!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Sunday, 24 March 2013

GMS weeks 1-4

After Friday night's inevitable empty trap, this has been my worst start to the Garden Moth Scheme since I started doing it in 2007:

Weeks 1-4 summary:
2007: 8 moths of 3 species, 1 empty trap
2008: (missed first two weeks)
2009: 6 moths of 2 species, 0 empty traps
2010: 8 moths of 4 species, 3 empty traps
2011: 24 moths of 6 species, 1 empty trap
2012: 27 moths of 7 species, 0 empty traps
2013: 1 moth of 1 species! 3 empty traps

Given last year produced the best resutls for this period, and was then followed by a dismal late spring and summer, perhaps I shouldn't be too concerned. Cold Marches are not that unusual after all, just frustrating!

George (Llandaff North, Cardiff)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Psychoides photos

Thought I'd upload photos of the two Psychoides:

P. filicivora reared from Harts-tongue
P. verhuella reared from Wall-rue
These photos make them look very different in appearance, but I don't think they're always so distinct. Certainly all the filicivora I've seen have been a deep purple with the pale tornal spot, whereas verhuella lacks the spot and is more purple-brown in colour, and broader winged.

I've reared both from Hartstongue, but only verhuella from Wall-rue.


Monday, 18 March 2013


Yesterday, I revisited the site, at which I found the Psychoides (see my previous post) and on examining a couple of larvae, I am now convinced that the species involved is filicivora, which is a new species for me. Today, I took a look at two larvae in my garden. One was on a Polystichum aculeatum variety and the other on Asplenium scolopendrium. Both seemed to be P. filicovora, which is a bit of a mystery because the only adult Psychoides I've seen in the garden were P. verhuella, which begs the question; do adults of P. filicifora always have the pale tornal spot or do I have both species in the garden? I certainly do not intend disturbing every larva I can find to answer this.

Whitchurch Hospital

March Moth [2], Hebrew Character [2] & Early Grey [1] all on the windows 17/03/13.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Cwmbach GMS Week 3

A wet and cold night, so the single Hebrew Character that graced my trap, this morning was as unexpected as it was welcome.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Micro found hibernating in greenhouse

Sorting out some old bits and bobs in the greenhouse this afternoon and I disturbed a hibernating member of the Elachistidae - Agonopterix arenella. Now I must admit to assuming it was hibernating, because, it can be found the year round, but the weather has been so cold, especially at almost 1000 feet ASL at the top of Bargoed!!!

I'm always far more pleased to come across moths like this than by light-trapping, and its also nice to add a new species to the garden list. Weather forecast looks to be rather wet, breezy and milder over the coming days, I'm still looking forward to kinder weather.

Happy Mothing,

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Cwmbach GMS. Wk 2

Despite the mild (6.70 C) night, there were just four moths in the trap, for which I was nonetheless grateful.

Dotted Border x 1
Twin-spotted Quaker x 1
Hebrew Character x 1
Early Grey x 1

Thursday, 7 March 2013

GMS week 2

A solitary Oak Beauty was in the trap this morning.  I was expecting a couple more moths as conditions were not too bad. Can't complain though as it was my first moth of the year and not a bad one to get out of the blocks with. :)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

5th March The Season has started!

Ran the trap in the nearby woods for 4 hours last night. Rewarded with 149 moths of 13 species, and it was still 8.5 degrees at 11pm
Yellow Horned, showing orange antenna

Pale Brindled Beauty fm monacharia
I was especially pleased to see this Yellow Horned, my first sighting in Wales in six years, and also the dark form of Pale Brindled Beauty was new for me.

My Cwmbach Garden, Last Night

I ran the garden actinic all last night, as it was forecast to be relatively mild. The minimum temperature was 4.70 C and it remained dry, but there were no moths on the trap, come this morning. Inside, however, were seven moths of six species:

Torticodes alternella x 1

Tortricodes alternella
March Moth x 1
Pale Brindled Beauty x 1
Common Quaker x 1
Hebrew Character x 1
The Chestnut x 2

It was especially nice to see the Common Quaker and Hebrew Character.

In Sunday, I visited a wooded valley, near Llwydcoed and on the Polystichum aculeatum (Hard Shield Fern), I came across lots of the leaf mines pictured below.

On the undersides of the fronds were larval cases, enclosed in the detached sporangia from the fern, as can be seen below.   

I think this may be Psychoides filicivora, but it is possible that it may be P. verhuella, which is the only Phychoides species I've ever come across, locally. 

I don't rear through, so I suppose the only way to be certain is to keep visiting the site in the hope of seeing an adult.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

My First Butterfly of 2013

Real bit of Spring in the air today, and I was delighted to see a Small Tortoiseshell flying over the garden early this afternoon in Bargoed. This is exactly one week earlier for the species than last year. The insect was a bit the worst for wear with rather ragged wings, survived hibernation though, only hope that this year is kinder to both our butterflies and moths than the last one was!!!

First butterfly of the year

The sun today must be bringing a few things out of hibernation.  First butterfly of the year (for me at least), a Red Admiral basking in the sun on the wall of the house I am renovating in Barry.