Sunday 8 June 2014

Cefnrhos-gwawr, Fiday Night.

With one eye on the weather and the assistance of rain radar, accessed via my mobile (technology, when it works, does have its uses), I was determined to take advantage of the blast of warm, humid air from the continent and headed for a forestry plantation on the mountain between Maerdy and Aberdare. It is in SN90, one of the under recorded 10km squares, so I was hoping to add a species or two to the list. The wind was a problem, being force 4 to 5, occasionally gusting stronger, so I had to find a spot sheltered in the depths of the conifers, instead of in one of the more open areas. This was obviously going to reduce the catch, both in numbers of individuals and species, but there was no other option available.

I trapped from 21:50 until 02:50, all the while checking the skies and rain radar nervously. The moths came in good numbers, as did the midges. In fact, it is years since I last had such a problem with midges and although I wore insect repellent, that only stopped them biting. It didn't stop them getting in my eyes, up my nose, in my ears, in my mouth and breathing them in, every time I went near the trap, causing me to choke, sneeze and my eyes to water and sting. I must fins a solution to that problem.

In such a habitat, as a conifer plantation on a mountain top bog, at 420m ASL, the number of species I would get were obviously limited, though I nevertheless had 47 confirmed species, which included seven species new to SN90, of which five were macros:

Micropterix aureatella x 2
Epinotia subocellana x 1
Dwarf Pug x 2
Red-necked Footman x 14
Setaceous Hebrew Character x 1
Light Knot-grass x 1
Glaucous Shears x 2

Micropterix aureatella

Other highlights included: Diamond-bach Moth,  Psedagyrotoza conwagana and Beautiful Snout.

Beautiful Snout

Two species I wasn't able to identify were a micro, which I am convinced is a Mompha and suspect is M. raschkiella and a larva, found in the surrounding vegetation, which I dropped and lost while trying to move it to a more suitable position for photographing. It may be Northern Spinach, but any suggestions would be very welcome

Mompha raschkiella? 

Northern Spinach?

At 03:25, as I was unlocking the forest barriers, to get out, the first spots of rain were starting to fall.


  1. Nice photos Mark. M Raschkiella looks good to me.

  2. Just a suggestion re the midges - I've been canoeing and wild camping in Sweden once or twice and blood-thirsty mozzies and midges can be a real problem in the evenings. A wide brimmed hat made of thick material with a mosquito head net over it really helps! It probably won't keep out all the midges and it does slightly obscure things, but I think it would make for a much more pleasant experience!

  3. Thanks for the suggestion. I've thought along the same lines, Adam, but haven't gone down that road because of the glasses DSLR and head torch problems. I have to wear reading glasses for viewing the moths, making notes and reading the field guides, but have to take them off for everything else, so they tend to be on and off like a yoyo. Getting quick access to them would be an issue, as would using my head torch with a brimmed hat: I've tried it and it doesn't really work, and of couse there's the camera. What I intend doing is to look for a lightweight scarf to cover my nose and mouth. I may still have midged ears and watering eyes, but at least sneezing and streaming nose will be a thing of the past and I will no longer have to compromise my vegetarianism by ingesting all those midges. That thin, gauzy material womens' head scarfs used to be made of would be ideal.

  4. Mark, i get masses of midges when i trap Abercregan and i find that Avon skin so soft is the best repellent. Works for an hour or so, so i take it with me.