Saturday, 28 December 2013

An Early Moth

Running my trap for the Winter Garden Moth Scheme sometimes springs its surprises. After a stormy and fairly chilly night I wasn't expecting anything in the trap, but after checking through the egg boxes, I noticed a Noctuid at rest on the inside wall of the trap and was surprised to find it to be a Hebrew Character.

According to MapMate, this is one of only a handful of records of this species from the November-January period.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Some unidentified micros.

 The micro above is possibly Psoricoptera gibbosela? 3/9/13 Llangynwyd
 Possible Cnephasia conspersana? 28/7/13 Maesteg
 Any help welcomed on this small Tortrix sp? 17/7/13 New forest.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Morlais Quarry Cave

Earlier today, Mike Hogan and I checked for wintering leps, in the most accessible of the caves (one we could walk into) in Morlais quarries. No butterflies were found, but there were 13 Heralds, which is by far the largest number of them we've had in there, but the best find, as far as we were concerned were a brace of Tissues. This was a new species for both Mike and I and the only previous record of it in SO00 was by George Fleming, in the early 20th century.

The Tissue

Monday, 23 December 2013

New Checklist

I've just had a look through the new checklist of Lepidoptera (groan!!!) and in many ways it is as strange and unsettling as I expected. The families have been reordered to some extent (for example, the Hawk-moths now come before the geometrids), which will take some getting used to, though I suppose that once field guides start using this ordering, the transition will be easier. My main concern is with the new numbering system, which consists of a two digit number, followed by a decimal point and three (rarely four) further digits. For instance Large Yellow Underwing will be 73.342. The first two digits represent the family, whereas the digits after the  point represent the genus and species. I have no problem with in principle, but the result is a rather cumbersome number, which if like me, one uses the number when entering records on MapMate, or putting them in order, when compiling lists after trapping sessions, these new numbers will make that task that much more of a chore and possibly lead to a greater number of mistakes.

Of course, this is just the opinion of conservative old duffer and I will have to knuckle down to it like everyone else. Many will no doubt welcome this new checklist as a breath of fresh air and long overdue, the latter being probably true. For my part, I just wish they had stuck with a numbering system that didn't include those pesky decimal points.

On a positive note, at least there is an alphabetical list of vernacular names (another with scientific names too) with the new numbers alongside them, making it quick to look up the new numbers.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Nooks and crannies

I was pleased to see 6 Tissue Moths & 2 Heralds in Bone Cave along with Greater and Lesser Horseshoes. Leps in Llanrhidian Church tower were 2 Peacocks, 16 Small Torts & 15 Heralds. The garden trap produced just singletons of Light Brown Apple Moth and December Moth.
Greater Horseshoe

Gowerton Wednesday 11th Dec

My wife found this Silver Y inside the conservatory this morning. Not a product of the mild southerly airflow, rather it has bred amongst the plants somewhere.
Also this Winter Moth female hatched from bilberry collected from the Black Mountains in May, though the larva could almost be a Northern WM.
Winter Moth female

Winter Moth larva on bilberry
Silver Y indoors

Parc Slip

Could someone confirm if these are both scarce umbers please?

Getting a bit confused looking at other blogs but these look very similar to George's Coed Y Bedw scarce umber below...

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Northern Winter Moth?

This came to my kitchen window, this evening. At first I thought it was Winter Moth, then having looked at the photos wondered whether it might be Northern Winter Moth. In texture, the wings were certainly silky and rather glossy. I think it might be NWT, in which case it will be a first for me, but I'd be just as happy to be told it was a plain old Winter Moth after all.

Coed-y-bedw last night

I left a 15W actinic trap at Coed-y-bedw WTSWW reserve last night, to try and add a few of the winter species to the site list. It turned out to be a wet night, but it stayed mild enough and a reasonable catch was present this morning as I emptied the trap in torrential rain.

December Moth 6
Scarce Umber 8
Winter Moth 5
Dark Chestnut 2
Chestnut 2
Mottled Umber 2

The first four were new species for the site.

Scarce Umber

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

New Lepidoptera Log Book

You may or may not be aware that there is a new checklist for British Lepidoptera being published in the next few weeks. Rather remarkably there are only 400 copies being printed, so if you want to ensure that you get a copy then it is suggested that you email the publishers ( to reserve a copy. The cover prices is £25, plus £3 p&p if you get it from the field studies council.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Tunnels and a Cold Case

On Sunday 1st December, Mike Hogan and I made our annual visits to the disused railway tunnels in the Merthyr and Cynon valleys, to count the overwintering Herald moths.

In the Pantcadifor tunnel, at Cwm Taf Fechan, we counted 37 Heralds, which is the second highest count for the eight years we've been doing this one and a vast improvement on the winter of 2011-12, with a measly 5 and winter 2012-13, with an only marginally better but still miserable 9. The highest total for this tunnel was 64 in 2006-07.

This was the ninth annual count of the moths in the Cefnglas tunnel, between the lower Merthyr and Cynon valleys and with a total of 82 Heralds, it was the highest number counted in all those visits and like the Pantcadifor tunnel, the total dwarfed those of 2011-12, which was 8 and 2012-13, which was 19. The previous highest total for this one was 62 in 2009-10.

While searching for the Heralds in Cefnglas tunnel, we discovered a dead micro, still clinging to the roof of one of the arched "Manholes", set into the sides of the tunnel.

It is in a delicate state, but I think it is a 'tort' of some sort. Any ideas?

Out of the county, On Saturday, while driving past Weobley, Herefordshire, a Small Tortoiseshell flew across the road and over my car.