Wednesday 26 February 2014

Just Two

With a mainly dry, fairly mild night forecast, I ran the 22w actinic garden trap, but the showers carried on through the night, with gusty winds and a minimum temperature of 3C, so I wasn't surprised to find just this slightly worn March Moth on the trap and nothing but small black flies within. Still, the March Moth was the first I've had this year and nice to see and I've since noticed a Pale Brindled Beauty of the Monacharia form, on the kitchen window outside reveal.

Sunday 23 February 2014

A box full of chestnuts

With the expected rain holding off yesterday evening, I decided at the last minute to leave a couple of 6W actinic traps overnight at Coed-y-bedw. Only 6 species were in the traps this morning, but the number of Chestnuts was quite a surprise. Here's combined total for the two traps:

Tortricodes alternella 11
Pale Brindled Beauty 6
March Moth 1
Dotted Border 2
Satellite 5
Chestnut 119 (75 in one trap and 44 in the other)

I didn't have a camera to capture the Chestnut spectacle, but brought a few of the other species back for photos. All of these species have been recorded at Coed-y-bedw before, but mostly not since 1997 when Mike and Jake did some spring trapping there. I was surprised not to catch any Orthosias.

The highest count of Chestnuts on the VC41 database appears to be 2258 caught by Mike Hogan in Abercanaid in April 2007 but I'm guessing this might be a data error? Other than that, Jenny Colley has had 100+ catches on two occasions at Resolven, so it's not as unusual a phenomenon as I expected.

Pale Brindled Beauty
Tortricodes alternella

Friday 21 February 2014

Overton Cliff

Yesterday I disturbed this Agonopterix rotundella from Gorse litter against the cliffs at Overton - I've seen this Nationally Scarce A species previously on the cliffs in recent years, yet I can't find a record in my name on MapMate. Dave I'd be grateful if you can check if you have any records of this species attributed to me on your system - hopefully I've simply not logged it rather than lost data from my system?

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Three Moths

As the weather was forecast to be calm, fairly dry and mild, I ran my 22w actinic garden trap last night and attracted three moths of two species. On the outside of the trap were two Pale Brindled Beauty, one of which was the form 'monacharia'. The only moth inside the trap was this Ypsolopha ustella.

Ypsolopha ustella

It's the last week of the winter GMS and after three storm blasted and mothless WGMS Fridays, I'm hoping this small catch indicates a catch of some sort, this Friday.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

A bit of moth action at last...

As the night was forecast to be dry and mild in Bridgend I thought I'd set the trap for the first time for a couple of weeks. 2 chestnuts and an early moth and this micro which was unfortunately upside down in a puddle at the bottom of the trap following unexpected rain overnight. Any ideas please?!

Monday 10 February 2014

Larva on Broom: The Sequel

Despite the frequent showers, I managed to revisit the plants of Broom with the suspected larval mines of Trifurcula immundella and after only a few minutes searching, I found the first egg and in about ten minutes I found half a dozen more.

Trifurcala immundella Egg on Broom, Today

Later in the day, on my way back from a job, I detoured to Heolgerrig, Merthyr Tydfil, to a site I knew to have quite a lot of Broom and after a minute or two found and egg, then a few more. Thanks again both of you. George, your photos of the egg were invaluable.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Larva on Broom

On a brief visit, yesterday afternoon, to a favourite site near Abernant, I took a close look at one of the three plants of common broom growing there and found lots of dark grey, almost black mines in the bark of the stems, plus abundant feeding damage to the green, fleshy wings that run along the bark. While looking at these, I noticed something tiny and yellow protruding from one of the stems, at the very top of one of the mines, which on closer inspection turned out to be a larva. I examined it with a hand lens and it seemed to be dead and damaged. I decided to leave it there and collect it on my way back to the car, but typically for me, I forgot all about it and went back by a different route.
This lunchtime, I went back for it and it was still there, in the same position, so I took it, along with the section of shoot it protruded from.
At home, I got it under the stereo microscope and  was amazed to see it was still alive, and swaying about very slightly and very, very slowly. I decided that either it was parasitised, had suffered some sort of mechanical injury or had somehow become trapped, so I carefully picked away the plant tissue surrounding it so I could inspect the whole of it and photograph it.

I can't decide whether it is Leucoptera spartifoliella or Trifurcula immundella, but based on the larval descriptions in Heath and Emmet, plus Dave's photos of the larva of L. spartifoliella on UK Moths, I am inclined to T. immundella and would welcome suggestions, please.