Wednesday 30 April 2014

Lanlay Meadows revisited

With a nice warm evening in Cardiff yesterday I decided at the last minute to head down to Lanlay Meadows (Peterson-super-Ely), hoping for better weather than my last visit on 12th April. When I left home it was a sultry 14.5C (with some cloud cover), 15 minutes later as I arrived on site it was down to 10.5C, and by the time I switched on it was 7.5C with no cloud whatsoever! I nearly packed up there and then, but I'm glad I didn't as the temperature didn't fall much further and the moths kept trickling in throughout the 2 hour session.

Around 33 species were recorded in total between my MV and two 6W traps, including a few leaf mines recorded while dusking. The highlight was probably Red Sword-grass which is pretty scarce in Cardiff and the Vale with just a few previous records. Other nice macros included Scorched Carpet, Devon Carpet and a range of Prominents (Coxcomb, Pebble, Lesser Swallow and Pale).

Red Sword-grass
 Among the micros, Carpatolechia proximella and Phyllonorycter harrisella were new for ST07.
Phyllonorycter harrisella
And this Eriocrania sangii mine on birch is only about the 6th county record. Worth looking for the birch-mining Eriocranias at this time of year - sangii is the easiest one to identify as the larva is dark grey (most of the others are whitish).
E. sangii on Birch

Kenfig NNR

Kenfig NNR  Interesting day spent at the reserve yesterday, lots going on and some rather early sightings including the following; Burnet Companion, Common & Garden Carpet, Common Heath in very healthy numbers. Disturbed a 'cloud' of Elachista argentella in a sheltered dune pocket along with a single Anania fuscalis. Highlight of the morning was a suberb male Emperor that posed very conveniently for a variety of images, this is the first time I have seen the species away from my more familiar haunts in the uplands.

Among the butterflies were Small Blue, Small Copper, Dingy Skipper, Orange-tip and Brimstone.

Good numbers of Common Blue Damselfly emerging and several Large Red Damselfly seen. Distant view of a Hairy Dragonfly lost to view over foliage.

Apologies for the rather poor quality of the micro images, I was too impatient!!!


Monday 28 April 2014


Best catch of the year last night with 16 species.  Nothing too unusual but highlights included Common Swift (which looks like the earliest Glamorgan record according to Mapmate) and Scalloped Hazel which is new for the garden.  Also present were both Waved Umber and Small Waved Umber, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Knot Grass and White Ermine.

Sunday 27 April 2014

Micro help needed

Disturbed these two around Parc Slip on friday - could someone help with them please? Is this first (blurry) one one of the tricky Epiblema sp.?
 Epinotia immundana?

Saturday 26 April 2014

Scarce SIlver Y at Craig y Llyn

I'm not sure what possessed me, but I went up to Craig y Llyn this morning in the hope of sweeping Coleophora cases from heather. I was hoping for a couple of hours before the showers but in the end I got soaked after about 30 minutes. Just before the rain, I managed to sweep the heather on the small rockface in the foreground of the photo below.

Craig y Llyn
I didn't find any Coleophoras, but did net 3 geometrid larvae as well as the rather smart Scarce Silver Y larva in the photo below. This is a known site for the moth so not too surprising, but it's not a larva I've seen before.
Scarce Silver Y larva, Craig y Llyn
 One of the others was this geometrid - any ideas anyone?
Geometrid larva, Craig y Llyn

Friday 25 April 2014

Bridgend garden overnight 24/04/14

MV trapping started last night with our first Nut-tree Tussock of the year deciding to visit us in the kitchen. This was one of ten species recorded: 1 Common Plume *, 6 Brimstone, 1 Brindled Beauty, 1 Shuttle-shaped Dart *, 1 Flame Shoulder *, 1 Common Quaker, 1 Clouded Drab, 19 Hebrew Character and 4 Early Grey.
(*) denotes new for the year.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Aberglasney Gardens

Not quite Glamorgan but might be of interest.
A member of the Stathmopodidae family, with the sticking out hind legs, is flying in Abbotsbury Gardens, Dorset at the moment and there were rumours of something similar seen in Aberglasney in 2005 so we went to look. We finally found the moth Pachyrhabda steropodes amongst low growing Deer Fern. We saw 5 in a few minutes.

Parc Slip

Weather turned out a lot wetter than the BBC predicted so got a poor haul this morning despite a milder than recently minimum of 8.5 degrees. 40 moths of 9 species with the most interesting being powdered quaker and lunar marbled brown but 23 hebrew characters made up the majority of the catch. Grapholita jungiella was the first micro in the trap for a couple of weeks.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Help required please

Can anybody tell me where I am going wrong please?
When I go to add a photo I cannot then close the 'Select a File' screen to get back to this one.
I must be doing something different but nothing seems to have any effect.
Any suggestions gratefully received.
Many thanks

Monday 21 April 2014

Phyllonorycter muelleriella

Last autumn I collected some mined oak leaves from Radyr Golf Course and left them in the garden over the winter. A few Phyllonoryter quercifoliella emerged a couple of weeks ago, but I was rather more pleased today to arrive home from an Easter break and find two Phyllonorycter muelleriella had emerged in my absence.

This species is supposedly a moth of ancient oak woodland, but Jake and Mike trapped one at Coryton roundabout in 2009 and Dave reared some from mines collected at the same site. Radyr Golf Course is less than 2km from Coryton, so it remains to be seen whether this species occurs more widely in Glamorgan.

I'll try and get a photo's a lovely moth.

And here's a pic - the little devils wouldn't keep still and this is the best I could do.


Cwm Taf Fechan

Having a wander around Cwm Taf Fechan nature reserve (VC41 side) yesterday, it was cool and windy, and there wasn't much about, so I started poking about in the leaf litter under some beeches. Moving aside a handful of last year's leaves, a micro popped up and just as quickly disappeared, but soon after, I spotted it sitting on a leaf and photographed it.

I'm pretty certain that it was Phyllonorycter maestingella, but if anyone knows better, I'd be keen to know. Assuming it is P. maestingella, it is new for 1km square SO0408.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Parc slip.

                            Grapholita jungiella
                           Adela cuprella's "dancing" around a sallow top. Not
                           the best photo but they were on the other side of the
                           canal! Also 3 Cydia ulicetana tapped from gorse.

My turn...

A rarely seen moth that seems to be having a good year, and my first new species for the garden this year, yet another record of Dotted Chestnut. Its also the kind of moth you just can't help photographing:

Parc Slip

57 macros of 15 species in the trap last night with first for the year of nut-tree tussock, flame shoulder and pebble prominent. Most common were hebrew character with 13 and brindled beauty with 11.

Tuesday 15 April 2014


                               This Scarlet tiger larva was photographed by Paul Tabor
                               at SS789 838.

Bridgend garden 15Apr14

MV trapping overnight produced 1 Brimstone, 7 Brindled Beauty, 4 Common Quaker, 13 Hebrew Character, 7 Early Grey and 1 Herald.

Monday 14 April 2014

Parc slip.

                               Quite a few Phyllonorycter rajella on the wing before
                               sunrise this morning.

Dotted Chestnut found in Bridgend garden 14Apr14

Emma and I were preparing for tonight's trapping when we found this little chap hiding in a sheet under a garden chair. Dotted Chestnut, a very nice surprise (Nationally Scarce B according to our guides). This is a landmark for us, our 350th species (255th macro) since we started recording in the garden when we moved here almost ten years ago this month.
Dotted Chestnut
Mike & Emma Cram

Sunday 13 April 2014

Lanlay Meadows - a bit of a damp squib

With a rare cloudy evening in prospect yesterday I decided at short notice to trap at Lanlay Meadows, Peterston-super-Ely - a new site for me and my first outing with the generator this year. Although the temperature held up at around 9 or 10C, there was constant fine drizzle being driven through on a westerly breeze, and some occasional heavier bursts (despite no rain in the forecast).

The catch was pretty disappointing, with just 15 species recorded at my MV plus two 6W actinics. Nothing worthy of note, but new for me this year were Brimstone, Early Tooth-striped, Streamer, V-Pug, Oak-tree Pug, Phyllonorycter rajella, Epinotia immundana and Eriocrania subpurpurella. Also three caddis species: Stenophylax permistus, Limnephilus auricula and L. sparsus.

I saw virtually no moths in my headlights on the way home, so I think it was probably just a duff night.

It's a nice site with rhos pasture, hay meadows and some cracking oaks along the boundaries, and I'm sure it will be productive for grassland species in the summer. I have permission from the NT to do regular trapping this year, so if you fancy joining me send me an email or leave a comment below and I'll try and let you know a few days in advance of my next visit.


Saturday 12 April 2014

Parc Slip

Pretty cold (down to 4.5) last night so small catch compared to last week (3 common quaker compared to 118...). 35 moths of 9 species with the only new for the year being 2 lunar marbled browns. 8 brindled beauties was nice too.

Friday 11 April 2014

Newbridge fields, Bridgend 11/04/14

A quite superb display of Celandines in the open areas along the river Ogmore right now. Looks like some cutting back of undergrowth in the winter is responsible. As a result I enjoyed five species of butterfly early afternoon, a male Orange Tip, Peacock, 5 Small Tortoiseshell, Small White and Brimstone. Later in my garden a Small White and Speckled Wood. Long may this weather continue, even the bluebells are popping up!

Holly Blue

In the garden today, posing nicely.

Also a male Brimstone, my first here since 2011.

George (Llandaff North)

Wednesday 9 April 2014


 Dotted chestnut caught in trap last night. Identified by volunteers and well worth the trip back to work to see and photograph on my day off.

One of two emperor males found by voluntary wardens out on reserve during butterfly transect today.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Epinotia sp.?

Caught this micro trying to escape the office at Parc Slip - is it Epinotia immundana? Thanks.

Monday 7 April 2014

Amelia Trust Farm Bioblitz

The folk at the Amelia Trust Farm near Barry will be holding a Bioblitz on Sat 24th May, and Ideally would like to have a moth trapping session in the evening. Neither Dave, George nor I are available for that date.  Is anyone else able to help out with it?  If so leave a note below and I will put you in touch with the right person!

Saturday 5 April 2014

Roath Central

First trap of the year - and a garden tick! A bit of a tart really: Twin-spotted Quaker. Still nice addition to the list. Also Brimstone moth, Early Grey & D-s Pug (8).

Thursday 3 April 2014

No Visitors from Afar

As I had to take today off, last night was so mild and the air flow is coming from exciting regions, I decided to run my garden trap. I have to say, the catch was a little disappointing, given the conditions and there were no exotic visitors. There were a couple of slightly early species, namely Bee Moth and Yellow-barred Brindle, but neither of them were outrageously early, just adding a smidgeon of interest to an otherwise mundane catch.

Bee Moth x 1
Brindled Pug x 2
Dotted Border x 1
The Engrailed x 2
Small Quaker x 4
Common Quaker x 17
Clouded Drab x 1
Hebrew Character x 2
Early Grey x 6
The Chestnut x 3

There was also a so far unidentified micro, which escaped before I could pot it or take a half decent photo of it. I did manage a single, head-on shot of it, as it sat at the bottom of one of the egg box cells, so once I get it off the camera I might post it, in the unlikely hope that anyone at all will be able to make something of it.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Parc Slip

Good haul of moths last night with temperature not dropping below 12. Common quaker with 118 was most common by far with 20+ of small quaker, hebrew character and clouded drab. Most interesting were a (early?) pale prominent,a  powdered quaker, grey shoulder-knot and a couple of early thorns. 23 species not including the following:

I have kept them in case they need their cilia etc looking at as per previous blog. Apologies for the photos - they don't stay still for long!

Llangynwyd last night.

                                  Dotted chestnut, a first for the Llynfi valley.
                                  Ran the MV and Actinic from 8:30 - 11:30.
                                  Common quaker - 68
                                  Small quaker - 17
                                  Chestnut - 3
                                  Oak beauty - 11
                                  Early grey - 1
                                  Brindled pug - 23
                                  Hebrew character - 6
                                  Early thorn - 2
                                  March moth - 1
                                  Twin spotted quaker - 2
                                  Dotted border - 2
                                  Small engrailed - 1
                                  Early tooth-striped - 3
                                  Clouded drab - 2
                                  Diurnea fagella - 5.

Apple Leaf-miner - melanic form

I caught 3 melanic specimens of Lyonetia clerkella in my garden trap last night which, as always, caught me out at first and made me think they were something more interesting.

Looking at my records of the melanic form, it seems obvious that this occurs mainly in the hibernating generation, presumably because they are more camouflaged than the usual white form over the winter months. My other records are from 28/9/12, 08/10/13, 29/3/11 and 06/3/13 - the former two presumably being pre-hibernation and the latter two post-hibernation.

Looking at the VC41 database, the only other records of L. clerkella where the melanic form has been noted in the comments box are 4 records made by Dave, which don't entirely back up my theory! These are from 08/9/02, 03/05/06, 03/05/13 and 19/6/13. The first 3 could conceivably be the hibernating generation but the latter record is presumably one of the summer generation (although spring was very late last year).

There seems to be no mention in the books of the melanic form being associated with hibernation. MBGBI Vol 2 says only that it occurs as about 10% of the population.

Any thoughts? Does anyone else have any records of the melanic form which have not been recorded in MapMate?


Tuesday 1 April 2014

Parc slip.

One Orange underwing near the wader scrape hide this aft.


I see lots of Mullein moth caterpillars feeding on Mulleins, Water Figwort and Buddleja round here, but I have never until last night found adult moths in the garden trap.

At least I assume it is Mullein.  Waring and Townsend suggest dissection is required to separate Mullein moth from Stripe Lychnis and Water Betony.  Is it OK to record as Mullein Moth, or does it need closer examination?