Wednesday 31 October 2012

Halloween Harvestman!

Even those of you not interested in harvestmen can help look out for this very long-legged (up to 20cm across) and often gregarious species of unknown origin or name.
Ian Morgan and Sam Bosanquet have provided a number of links including this one which is an interesting read if you have a spare couple of minutes:

Saturday 27 October 2012

More Late Butterflies

In the area around St David's hospital, Canton, Cardiff, flying in the midday sunshine, were at least five Red Admirals.

Late butterflies

At Porthkerry Country Park, Barry today: 5 Red Admiral, 2 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Tortoiseshell & 1 Comma, enjoying the shelter of the woodland edge to escape the northerly wind.

Also a Carcina quercana in the gents.

Wednesday 24 October 2012


I ran the garden actinic all night and with a minimum temperature of 11.50 C and heavily overcast, damp conditions I had fifteen species, which was a larger catch than expected and meant I had to rush through them in order to get off to work.

The highlights for me were Spruce Carpet (21), Dark Chestnut, Grey Pine Carpet, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Green-brindled Crescent f. capucina, Feathered Thorn and a late, but fresh Double-striped Pug.

Double-striped Pug

Caswell Bay

Mecyna asinalis

Spruce Carpet

L-album Wainscot
The cliffs last night produced 18 species, including 9 Silver Y and a Plutella xylostella. Also 4 L-album Wainscot, 2 Spruce Carpet, (a long way from any spruce) and a fresh Mecyna asinalis. Still 13 degrees at dawn, but it won't last!

Rhoose last night

10 species  here last night.  Figure of 8 the highlight; according to Mapmate this will be the 19th Glamorgan record of this species.  Also Green Brindled Crescent, 10 Black Rustic and 5 Pale form Silver Y (f. pallida rather than f. gammina) which suggests that despite the NE winds, a few migrants may be about?

And another Harvestman (pic below).  This time I am reasonably confident it is Opilio saxatilis, which according to Mapmate will be the 3rd Glamorgan record. 

Figure of Eight

Opilio saxatilis

Ichneumon wasp

I forgot to add this photo this morning.  I see plenty Ichneumon wasps here, but usually much earlier in the year.  This was notable due to its size (body about 45mm ) but also its almost impossibly narrow waist.  I wish the same was true for me these days!  I know they are very tricky to pin down to species level, but I will pop it onto iSpot just in case.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Senghenydd last night

A disappointing catch given the favourable conditions. Just 5 species: Common Marbled Carpet (x3), Flounced Chestnut, Black Rustic, Pink-barred Sallow and E postvittana (x5). Also this capsid, which I think is Deraeocoris ruber?

Orange Sallow

Stenoptila Zophodactylus

Orange Sallow
A few hours in woodland last night produced Orange Sallow and Stenoptilia zophodactylus which were nice surprises. Also 6 Merveille du Jour, 5 Flounced Chestnut, about 40 Epirrita, etc


29 species in/around the trap in perfect conditions last night:

Eudonia angustea 1
Common Marbled Carpet 6
Grey Pine Carpet 3
Spruce Carpet 1
Green Carpet 1
November Moth agg. 5
Feathered Thorn 4
Turnip Moth 1
Large Yellow Underwing 3
Autumnal Rustic 1
Setaceous Hebrew Character 40
Square-spot Rustic 4
Black Rustic 30
Blair's Shoulder-knot 1
Green-brindled Crescent 2
Merveille du Jour 5
Brick 1
Red-line Quaker 10
Yellow-line Quaker 2
Flounced Chestnut 1
Lunar Underwing 1
Sallow 25
Angle Shades 4
Rosy Rustic 1
Frosted Orange 1
Large Wainscot 12
Silver Y 2 (normal size and very dark)
Snout 4
Pinion-streaked Snout 3
craneflies ~100
Limnephilus lunatus ~200 (I've never seen so many of this caddis before, there is a pond very close by!)

Llandaff North last night

A bit of an improvement on recent catches last night with 8 species, though I hoped for more with a minimum temperature of 12.6 C.

Catch comprised: Green-brindled Crescent, Blair's Shoulder-knot, 2 Silver Y (both very small and pale), Lesser YU, Square-spot Rustic (very late), 3 Common Marbled Carpet, Eudonia angustea and Emmelina monodactyla.

Better make the most of these mild nights before the arctic blast arrives on Friday!

Sunday 21 October 2012

Rhoose Point

Only 5 species in the trap this morning, but the catch included l-album Wainscot, November Moth and 6 Feathered Ranunculus.  The latter seem to be having a very good year!

The moth below is worn, but I think it's probably a Sallow, f. obseleta given its lack of wing markings, although it is smaller than most Sallow I have seen.

Finally another harvestman.  3 of these running about close to the trap last night, and I am reasonably confident that I am looking at Odiellus spinosus.  NBN gateway suggests (assuming that all the data is present and reliable, and I know it often isn't!) these have a mainly SE England distribution, with only a handful of Welsh records from the N Wales coast.  

Having taken a closer look at this, it does have a single claw/spine at the end of the pedipalp and an arrangement of spines along the femur closely akin to these pics;  Unfortunately it is so tiny I don't think there is a realistic prospect of me getting a better photo than the one to the left!

Friday 19 October 2012

Cwmbach Today

I found these larvae of Coxcomb Prominent, feeding on Alder, at Werfa, between Cwmbach and Abernant, this afternoon.

Roath Central

Not too much over the last few days, a few Large Ranunculus, Blair's Sh-knot, Black Rustic & Light Emerald with Silver Y & Rush Veneer. Also a couple of Red Admirals on ivy blossom.

Monday 15 October 2012

Butterfly Conservation AGM & Members day

Just a quick reminder that this Saturday is the South Wales Branch AGM & Members day. The venue is now the Ogmore Constituency Labour Party Social Club (CF31 4ES) (not Kenfig as originally advertised). The speakers include myself talking about a book that Barry, Jake and myself have been writing, Phil Stirling talking about his micro-moths book, Chris Manley on his mobile apps, Mike Slater on Small Blues and George Tordoff on his BC work. The event is free and open to non-members, so please feel free to come along, if only to meet some of the regular posters on this blog!

Mompha divisiella

                                     Flying in late afternoon sunshine at Maesteg yesterday.

Rhoose Point

Despite the chilly temperature last night there were 10 species in the trap ths morning.  The Green-brindled Crescent in the pic below was new for the garden record.  Also the first Beaded Chestnut plus a couple of Silver Y and a lone Diamond-back moth.

Saturday 13 October 2012

Mystery caterpillar

This was lying on the roof of the car in torrential rain on Thursday evening. It looked dead but has perked up and been eating ornamental cherry, which is what the car was parked under. It is large at 57mm but I can't find it in Porter or on Reg fry's site at ukleps.
On ornamental cherry. 57mm
Anyone got any ideas?

Friday 12 October 2012

Vale Moths 10.x.12

A selection of the moths at ivy on 10.x.12. Grey Shoulder-knot, Satellite, L-album Wainscot & Tawny Pinion. (MCP & DRWG)

A few migrants

A Red Admiral was in the trap this morning, presumably it was on night migration. This is my third butterfly record for the moth trap at Llandaff North, the others being Large White and Speckled Wood - both in 2008.

The previous night I had Silver Y and a Diamond-back. Nothing much else of note...still getting decent numbers of Common Marbled Carpet and Lesser Yellow Underwing, plus a few Angle Shades. The latter seems to be one of the few species that's had a good year in 2012.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Ivy Blossom in the Vale

MCP & myself went out around a few sites in the southern Vale last night and had a good evening.
[Gileston, St. Athan, Mount Pleasant, Summerhouse Point, Boverton, Castle upon Alun, Ewenny Priory & Corntown]
Species [all at ivy blossom]
Agonopterix arenella (2)
E. angustea (1)
C.M. Carpet (4)
Lesser Yellow U/w (1)
Setaceous Hebrew Character (1)
Square-spot Rustic (3)
L-album Wainscot (2)
Tawny Pinion (1)
Grey Shoulder-knot (1)
Green-brindled Crescent (2)
Large Ranunculus (1)
The Satellite (1)
The Chestnut (2)
Dark Chestnut (1)
The Brick (2)
Yellow-lined Quaker (2)
Lunar U/w (2)
Svensson's Copper U/w (1)
Angle Shades (39)

Dark Sword-grass (2)
Silver Y (3)

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Gowerton garden

I was going to go out to look for Merveille du Jour last night as I have not seen it here in Wales. As it was raining I set the light in the garden instead, to be rewarded with my first Welsh M d J, along with 14 other autumn species including Flounced Chestnut, Green-brindled Crescent, Red-green Carpet, Ypsolopha ustella, Sallow etc. A really colourful bunch.
Merveille du Jour

Ypsolopha ustella

Flounced Chestnut

Also had a few releases from the night before from Pant y Sais bog of Webb's, Bulrush and Small Wainscot, where I also saw Marsh Oblique-barred and Pinion-streaked Snout.
Two pictures of the same Blair's Shoulder-knot using a 'stacking' syatem to combine several pictures focussed at different points-- a first attempt.

Aberdare Ivy Blossom Update

Further to my post, of Sunday 7th October, I have now had the chance to look at the photo I took of the macro larva, found feeding on Ivy blossom. A small miracle has occurred and I have actually been able to use Porter to identify it as Dot Moth... unless someone else can come up with a better match, that is.

Dot Moth
It's such a common moth, but having seen many adults of this species over the years, it is nice to see the larva for a change.

Your views count

Apologies for the slightly off-topic post, but SEWBReC are looking for the recording community's view on the events that it holds each year. If you are a recorder in glamorgan (or indeed Gwent), please feel free to complete the survey here: Thanks

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Aberdare Ivy Blossom 2

I bit damp and drizzly, so not such a good night at the ivy blossom, but in half an hour I had the following species:

1 x Lesser Yellow Underwing.
1 x Autumnal Rustic.
1 x Chestnut.
4 x Angle Shades.
1 x Silver Y.

Only a small fraction of the ivy blossom is in flower as yet, but as more of it opens for business, things should become more productive. Having not had much to do with checking ivy blossom for years, I'd almost forgotten how exciting it could be. As much as anything, it's the feeling of anticipation as one closes in on a patch in full bloom and becomes enveloped in a heady cloud of ivy scent: magical!

Sunday 7 October 2012

Rhoose Point

Just looked at a couple of last nights moths that I wasn't sure about at the time.  The moth below seems a dead ringer for a Deep-brown Dart, but if so would be only the third modern record for VC41.  Two arrived in the trap, one with smooth antennae so presumably female (in the pic below), and the second smaller with feathered antenna so probably male.  I'll get a better pic up tomorrow, time permitting, but any thoughts?

Here's a new pic of the male this time in drab daylight!

Aberdare Ivy Blossom

I've just returned from a rewarding hour's searching of Ivy blossom, at Robertstown, near Aberdare. The Ivy blossom, locally, is only just starting to open and attract insects, so this was my first search of the season.
Nine species were recorded as adults, plus a macro larva, which might turn out to be Angle Shades, when I get the chance to study the photo.

The species list is as follows:

1 x Epiphyas postvittana.
1 x Emmelina monodactyla.
1 x Red-green Carpet.
2 x Large Yellow Underwing.
1 x Red-line Quaker.
1 x Yellow-line Quaker.
1 x Centre-barred Sallow.
1 x Pink-barred Sallow.
9 x Angle Shades (adults).

Saturday 06/10/2012

Given that we had heavy rain for the first part of the night, followed by clear skies and a minimum of 2.80 C, it wasn't surprising to find only five moths in the GMS catch for the 5th, these being Autumn Green Carpet (1), Common Marbled Carpet (2), Grey Shoulder-Knot (1) and Lunar Underwing (1).
Later in the day, while wandering around a former factory site in Robertstown, Aberdare, I saw five Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admiral and at least five Silver Y. According to Atropos Flight Arrivals, it seems that there has been a small influx of migrants.
At the same site, I also saw a Common Darter and and a Southern Hawker.

Rhoose Point

12 species last night, highlights were a Vapourer, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Black Rustic and a couple of Silver Y.  The Feathered Ranunculus seem to be having a good year with 15 last night.

Also an impressive Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius?) trundling around the trap like a small tank.  I know these are reasonably common but it is the first I have seen here.

Saturday 6 October 2012


One male Vapourer on the wing at Foxhole slade, Gower this afternoon, also, one Silver Y.


 Saw a couple of leaf mines on Hazel today.  The first one I believe may be Stigmella microtheriella.  There is not a lot of frass in the mine so I reckon it is microtheriella rather than floslactella.

The second mine (below) I cannot see a promising match for.  Any ideas?  Apologies for the quality of the photos and the leaves being somewhat dessicated!

Friday 5 October 2012


                              This Anomalous came to a lit window last night.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Cardiff Nats

The Transactions of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society is online to view. I have been reading Howard Hallett's original Lepidoptera of Glamorgan, which is in Vol. L, 1917 p45. That article and Hallett's annotated notebooks, which contain other records not published in the original article, were the basis from which all our historical records come from. Hallett edited the Entomological Notes until 1936 and again briefly in the late 40s until 1952. He died in 1958.
L = 50.