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


  1. A timely spot, George - if you'd had this next weekend that figure would have been in the book. As it is, we're just about in time to get that corrected!

  2. Mike Hogan has confirmed that he only caught one chestnut on the night in question. He has corrected the record and it will be doing the MapMate sync rounds in due course!

  3. 2258 is the B&F number for this species.

  4. Impressive total George, especially given the power of the traps - maybe a good year for hibernators?

  5. Yes Barry, impressive that so many Chestnuts have survived the stormy winter. I can't imagine where they've been hiding during the frequent deluges...

  6. Yes, where do Chestnuts hibernate, I wonder. Mike and I never come across them or many other of the overwintering species while counting the Heralds in the tunnels. Having checked the Morlais quarry cave each winter for a few years and only ever finding the odd Small Tortoiseshell with the heralds, this year we had two Tissues. Meanwhile in one of the tunnels we had the best count ever of Heralds.