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.

Saturday 30 November 2013

Winter trapping.

                                  Nantyffyllon on 29th,
                                  December moth x2
                                  Winter moth x4.
                                  Abercregan on 28th,
                                  December moth x5
                                  Winter moth x9
                                  Spruce carpet x2
                                  Yellow line quaker x2
                                  Feathered thorn x1.

Friday 29 November 2013

an old pic

Came across this poor record shot of Loxostege sticticalis (trapped at Delvid Farm west Gower on 05 Aug 1995) when looking for some pics today - according to NBN this is the only Welsh record - is that correct?

Thursday 28 November 2013

Parc slip.

                                    Mottled umber x4
                                   December moth
                                  Feathered thorn.
                                  Also 2 Winter moth. All on the centre walls this morning.

Rhoose Point

3 December moths, 1 Silver Y and a Feathered Thorn in the trap this morning.
December Moth

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Parc Slip

Slightly warmer temperatures last night meant I managed to catch more moths than last week - not difficult given that I caught a grand total of zero then...
Last night resulted in 1 Epirrita sp., 4 x chestnut and 1 x rusty dot pearl.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Ectoedemia argyropeza new for Glamorgan

I found around 15 mines of Ectoedemia argyropeza on fallen Aspen leaves at Hailey Park meadow, Llandaff North, today. This seems to be the first record for VC41. The mines were pretty obvious due to the distinctive green windows they create in the yellowing leaves:
Green windows
The mine begins in the petiole then moves into the leaf itself. Most of the mines were still occupied despite having fallen from the trees.
Mine in petiole
Larva in mine
There are plenty of Aspens in the meadow at Hailey Park, presumably planted after it was landscaped following closure of the landfill site. Although this tree is generally quite uncommon in South Wales, it is often planted in parks and I'm sure the moth must occur elsewhere. This must be the best time of year to look for them, as the green windows are so obvious.
Hailey Park habitat

Sunday 17 November 2013

Streaky Coleophoras

I caught a few of the streaky grey and white Coleophora in the garden over the summer, and kept a few for dissection as this group is more or less impossible to ID externally (with a few exceptions). I've now dissected these and the results are:

Coleophora tamesis 5    (foodplant: Jointed Rush)
Coleophora glaucicolella 1 (various rushes)
Coleophora striatipennella 1 (stitchworts and mouse-ears)

The predominance of tamesis is suprising as I don't know of any Jointed Rush around Llandaff North. C striatipennella appears to be only the 6th county record, though there is a previous one from ST17 (Penylan, 1989).

Saturday 16 November 2013

Rhoose Point

Nice to see this Feathered Thorn in the trap this morning.  To my surprise it's also new for the garden record!

Thursday 14 November 2013

Late Record

I had a Flame Carpet at Pengam Green, Tremorfa on 7th Nov. and according to GMRG data, is the latest ever for this species in VC41. A very late resident or an immigrant maybe?

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Retrospective first for Wales

Whilst digging out a pic of Phyllonorycter scopariella for Chris I came across an incorrectly labelled (i.e. I got the original ID wrong!) photo of Caloptilia azaleella (Azalea Leaf Miner). The photo was taken on 27 May 2005, which trumps Dave's (Slade) 'New for Wales' Cardiff record on 15th May 2006 by almost a year ;-)

Also an unlabelled caddis which is Odontocerum albicorne (Silver Sedge) from the same folder, taken 12th July 2005. For those interested in naming the caddis attracted to your traps, Barnard & Ross (2012) is well worth buying.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Parc Slip

Trap was run last thursday night - 3 x red-line quaker, 1 x yellow-line quaker, 1 x chestnut, 2 x feathered thorn, 2 x Epirrita sp. and 1 Epinotia ramella (thanks for id Dave). Also a dark sword-grass resting on the wall this morning.

Friday 8 November 2013

Llandaff North GMS 2013

With the Garden Moth Scheme having finished for the year (I'm not hardy enough to do the winter version) I thought I'd have a look at the moth numbers and compare them with other years. This is probably more meaningful than the usual end of year summary I do, as the trapping rate is fixed at once per week (from the start of March to the start of November). The downside is that it only includes 213 species (I've only included those which have been in the scheme from the start).

 Here are the results from my garden:

YearTotal mothsSpeciesMean min. temp (degC)
So 2013 has been the best year in terms of numbers, but not in terms of species. Quite impressive considering very few moths were caught before June. The low average temperature is due mainly to the very cold spring.

A few species had by far their best ever year in the GMS, these being Common Marbled Carpet, Swallow-tailed, Bright-line Brown-eye, Flame Shoulder, Dot, Buff Ermine and Agriphila straminella.

Friday 1 November 2013

L-album Wainscot in Llandaff North

I was delighted to trap a late L-album Wainscot last night - this appears to be the 3rd Cardiff record after two in Jake's garden in Roath (in 2011 and 2013). It has also been recorded inland in the Vale in recent years, in Cowbridge and Dinas Powys. Which makes me it now breeding inland or are these just wanderers from a burgeoning coastal population in Glamorgan?
L-album Wainscot, Llandaff North

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Another late one...

A specimen of Ypsolopha sequella was walking up a telegraph pole in Mount Pleasant, Swansea today. Not the first species I'd have expected to see at the end of October in urban Swansea.

This appears to be the latest county record, and also new for SS69.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Cwm Colhuw chrysalis

Apologies for the multiple posts today - we found this chrysalis beneath ivy at Cwm Colhuw on the 20th September. Can anyone tell me what would have emerged from it please??

Parc Slip 2012 v 2013

Just had a quick play with my moth trap records this morning to see how marked the difference was between results from this summer and last summer given the weather. I looked at the data from April to September (inclusive), having trapped weekly throughout both periods (with one week missed in 2012). 2012 also included one moth night in which George and Paul both brought their traps and therefore, if anything, the 2012 results are higher than they otherwise would have been...

Total trap nights: 2012 = 29, 2013 = 30
Total moths caught: 2012 = 1417, 2013 = 3000
Number of species: 2012 = 209, 2013 = 275


A lovely fresh Psycoides filicivora was in the living room this morning, no doubt came in through the window the previous day as plenty of infested ferns right next to it.

Parc Slip

Nothing unusual in the trap this morning - Epirrita sp. was the most common (5) followed by chestnut (3) and singles of yellow-line quaker, red-line quaker and feathered thorn.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Aberthaw - dock stem miner

Having listened to the fascinating if depressing at times talk on rare moths at the BC AGM on Saturday, I thought I would have a quick look at some of the Dock stems just behind the shingle bank at Gileston.  Sure enough, there were exit holes! 

I'm not suggesting this is a Fiery Clearwing exit hole as that would be a somewhat remote possibility, but I wondered if anyone had any ideas for more likely candidates?  The hole was about half way up the stem and looked like it was at the top of the section where the pith had been mined.  Plenty of crumbly brown frass in there too.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Clyne Gardens

Found these two mines on Caucasian Ash (Fraxinus angustifolia ssp. oxycarpa) in the gardens today: The silver upperside and rolled leaf tip is said to be characteristic of Caloptilia cuculipennella and the yellowy-brown pustule at the start of the linear blotch mine is said to be characteristic of the Agromyzid fly Aulagromyza heringii. Unfortunately neither mine was occupied and given both appear to be scarce (or poorly recorded) I'll leave them undetermined unless someone advises otherwise.


                         Tortrix sp. caught this am - any ideas? Dark form of Garden Rose?
                                 B&F 2202: L-album Wainscot (2nd garden record)
                                  underside of L-album Wainscot showing black mark

Friday 18 October 2013

Exapate congelatella - new for VC41

I received an email today from Sarah of the Ceredigion Moth Group, who caught this specimen of Exapate congelatella in Radyr, Cardiff last night, while trapping there on a family visit.

Sarah's photo of Exapate congelatella
This appears to be not only new for VC41, but perhaps the whole stretch of South Wales from Pembs to Gwent (if the map in Stirling and Parsons is correct). It's mostly a northern species in the UK - I wonder if this one could have been a wanderer?

Summerhouse Point

Ivy blossom before the rain started: Pearly Underwing [1], Dark Sword-grass [3], Silver Y [1], Dark Chestnut [1], Pale Mottled Willow [2], Snout [1], Angle Shades [16], Red-line Quaker [1], C.M. Carpet [2], Rhomboid Tortrix [1], A. herecliana [1] & November Moth sp. [2]. MCP & DRWG

Gorseinon, with yet another late record

A reasonable night with 17 species of lep recorded: Still good numbers of Light Brown Apple Moth 18 (possibly my best year ever?), Acleris sparsana 1 (4th garden record), Palpita vitrealis 1 (7th g.r.), Meal Moth 1 (another one to join the list of latest ever county records), Pine Carpet 1 (5th g.r.), Dark Chestnut (3rd g.r.) 1 & Silver Y 2 (334th g.r.)...
...also Eudonia angustea and Merveille du Jour found outside the trap as I was tidying up before the rain arrives, so 19 spp. in total.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Another late record

A Carnation Tortrix was flying in the garden this morning, the orange hindwings very obvious in the sunshine.This appears to be the latest county record and only the second October record on the database.

Also my first garden Red Admiral of the year.


Wednesday 16 October 2013

Parc Slip

The night turned out rather wetter (and windier) than I had anticipated so I wasn't expecting much when I checked the trap first thing this morning. Commonest moth was November/Pale November/Autumnal (6) followed by flounced chestnut (2), green-brindled crescent, red-line quaker, red-green carpet, grey pine carpet and this rather lovely micro:
Is it Caloptilia elongella or C. betulicola?

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Ogmore by Sea garden moth trap 9th October

I set an actinic moth trap in my garden last Tuesday in the hope of some migrants. Woke up the next day to a grand total of 6 moths in the trap! Not very impressive. But some lovely moths; 1 angle shades, 1 lesser yellow underwing, 1 very faded heart and dart, 1 beaded chestnut and 2 feathered ranunculus. Photo of a feathered ranunculus below

Thursday 10 October 2013

Antigastra revisted

Another shot of the Antigastra catalaunalis caught last week by Chris, who very kindly brought it round to show me.

Wednesday 9 October 2013


Cypress carpet from this morning.

Rudry- Carpet

Only a few moths in the trap this morning including Shuttle shaped dart but of particular note a Cypress Carpet. Will post a photo later.

Butterfly Conservation, South Wales Branch AGM/Members Day

Just a quick plug for the Branch AGM & Members day on the 19th October at Kenfig. Speakers include John Tilt (Managing Woodland for Butterflies), Tony Davis (Conserving Endangered Moths), Kelly Thomas (Habitat Conservation and the RSPB), Michael Pocock (Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner) as well as the usual input from the branch itself. Non-members are more than welcome!

Parc Slip

No migrants turned up in the trap last night unfortunately but a merveille du jour is always nice to have. For the first time for a few weeks common marbled carpet wasn't the most frequent species - that title went to red-line quaker (5). Others of vague interest were red-green carpet, grey pine carpet, black rustic, green-brindled crescent and flounced chestnut. Just 13 species in and around the trap plus a couple of common wasps and caddisflies. The first Epirrita of the season too - see pic below - I assume it's best to just note it down as Epirrita sp.?
Also an article on the guardian homepage about the influx of migrants for anyone who hasn't seen it:


68 moths of 15 species this morning, a handsome Merveille du Jour being the highlight of the resident species.  Migrants were represented by 10 Silver Y, 2 Vestal and a late Dioryctria abietella (new for the garden) which I guess is just as likely to be a migrant all thing considered. On the theme of late moths a second generation Riband Wave set the pulse racing for a few seconds when I first saw it. As with Paul CMC was the most abundant species with 20 in the trap.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

Llangynwyd MV and Actinic last night.

                                Brindled green.
                                19 species in all, the pick being 3 Merveille du jour,
                                Satellite and a late Light emerald. Top spot went to
                                Common marbled carpet with 35 individuals. I also
                                have a large but worn Tortrix to be determined.
                                A poor show of migrants with singles of Silver Y
                                and Dark sword grass.

Deep Brown Dart Request

Deep-brown Dart and Northern Deep-brown Darts are not common round our way, but should you happen to come across either, and they happen to be a gravid female then please contact me ASAP. Essentially Colin Plant has requested the parent and any eggs be sent to him to try to establish the status of the two species - if indeed they are separate species! Dave

Monday 7 October 2013

And another migrant

Photo sent for id from Owain Gabb in Mumbles whioch I've just opened - another Antigastra catalaunalis!

Another migrant

A rather smart Scarce Bordered Straw was on Platform 1 at Cardiff Central railway station this morning, the first Cardiff record since the big influx of 2006 (unless there have been any others recently).
 And here's a photo of last Thursday's male Gem from the garden, which doesn't quite live up to it's name.

Finally, I managed to get a decent photo of Cosmopterix pulchrimella from the mines I collected at Port Eynon. This one certainly does live up to its name, pulchrimella meaning beautiful. I've now had 6 adults emerge from the 7 mines I collected.