Thursday 30 April 2015

Old Castle Down today

It was very chilly on the top of Old Castle Down today, but the side of the common facing the Alun Valley was warm and sheltered, with plenty of insect activity. Butterflies included two Dingy Skippers, and there were a few moths too: Brown Silver-line, Common Heath, Small White Wave, Adela reaumurella and Pyrausta despicata.
Small White Wave
We also found this Meadow Brown larva down in the grass. Note the pale prongs at the rear end which are characteristic of the brown family.

Meadow Brown larva

Sunday 26 April 2015

Coleophora lutarea

On yesterday's Glamorgan Botany Group outing to Cwrt-yr-ala, near Michaelston-le-pit, we noted 13 Coleophora (formerly Metriotes) lutarea sitting on the flowers of Greater Stitchwort, their larval foodplant. They were scattered along 500 metres of green lane in ST1373.

This is only the second modern Glamorgan record, after Dave Slade found them at Lisvane in 2008. The flight season is short, but it is well worth looking out for them along any lane banks with good amounts of Greater Stitchwort over the next couple of weeks.

Other moths seen on the day were Incurvaria oehlmanniella (new ST17?), Micropterix calthella, Adela reaumurella, Esperia sulphurella and Silver-ground Carpet.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Creigiau 24 April

Not a large haul last night. Only 15 moths - but of 11 species, and of these 5 were new for the year, with 1 (Puss Moth) also being new for the garden. Highlights were the Puss Moth and a fine Lesser Swallow Prominent.

Thursday 23 April 2015

Bridgend overnight 22Apr15

Small MV trapping overnight, but we did catch a nice Least Black Arches (our first since 2011 - 4th for site) and a Pebble Prominent.

Interestingly, non-moth, but lunchtime I had a May-fly fly type insect over me from the River Afan and land on the wall of the Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot.


Nicholaston Woods, Oxwich

Yesterday was a good opportunity before the weather changes to try this interesting woodland on a steep, rocky hillside. I had around 100 moths of 30 species with just one micro, Alucita hexadactyla.
Waved Umber is always a favourite, and I think this is a melanic one. There were a dozen Square Spot and 4 Nut-tree Tussock, both firsts for the year. Also I think I have got the Brindled and (smaller) Oak-tree Pugs right? Also found a very active bee tree earlier in the afternoon on the site.
Brindled Pug

Oak-tree Pug

Bee nest in ash.

Waved Umber melanic

Waved Umber

Square Spot

Nut-tree Tussock

Parc slip this morning.

                              The Semioscopis steikellneriana trapped by Vaughn this
                              morning. A nice lifer for me.

Parc Slip

Best catch of the year so far (in terms of diversity as opposed to numbers) at Parc Slip last night with the undoubted highlight being the first ever dotted chestnut for Parc Slip as well as a rush veneer and Semioscopis steinkellneriana which are both new for the site. Other firsts for the year included lesser swallow prominent (over a month earlier than I've had it here before), pebble prominent, common wave (earliest record for me here) and muslin moth. A pine beauty and 10 lunar marbled browns were also nice to see and a couple of other micros: Epinotia immundana, Caloptilia stigmatella and a Parornix sp.- thanks again to Paul for confirmation of ids.
Dotted chestnut
Parornix sp.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Bridgend overnight 20Apr15 (MV)

Our fine start to spring continues with 23 moths of 9 species overnight. Trap was dominated by 13 Common Quaker, but also a nice surprise was a  Diamond-backed moth accompanied by Light Brown Apple moth, Brindled Pug (our first since 2012), Brimstone, FlameShoulder, Brindled Beauty, Early Grey and Hebrew Character. Our Year total has reached 20 to date which is very good for us.

Mike & Emma

Caswell Bay

Spotted this rather early Small Purple-barred yesterday in the sunshine on the slopes above Caswell yesterday, as well as several Stonechats.

Small Purple-barred

Monday 20 April 2015

Chocolate Tip

19 moths of 8 species - mostly Common Quaker (10) - but the catch did include a Chocolate Tip. Totally new for me and my garden.

Leaf miners emerging

The hazel leaves with mines collected last October produced these yesterday.
Phyllonorycter coryli

Phyllonorycter nicellii

Sunday 19 April 2015

Early Brown Argus at Morfa Tip

© M. Hipkin
 On the GOS field trip to the Kenfig Saltmarsh today Alun John noticed a small butterfly which turned out to be a Brown Argus. I thought it might be a bit early, but when it was joined by a second one this lessened my expectations a bit. However, some digging around suggests it is early and Richard Fox reports via Twitter that it's the first seen this year.
© A. John
The location was south facing slope of Morfa Tip that last year saw an early Large Skipper, probably no more than 100yds between them. The microclimate created along the stretch just north of the reedbed certainly appears conducive to early flying butterflies.

Gothic caterpillar query

Found this caterpillar on the windowsill in the garage this afternoon - think it's a Gothic but not sure. Confirmation/correction appreciated.

Scrobipalpa acuminatella, Maesteg this morning.

                                  Several of these on the wing in the sunshine this morning.

Creigiau - Friday night

My smallest catch for a while, with only 13 moths of 5 species in/around the trap. Much better earlier in the week when I logged 33 moths of 13 species including my first ever Lunar Marbled Brown.

My garden has changed dramatically in the last week - popped over to France for a visit to the Parc du Marquenterre on the Baie de Somme and when I got back the neighbours (next door and the house behind) have chopped down the huge stand of leylandii that bordered the gardens. Much more light for us but it has certainly impacted on the number of birds visiting the garden - have to wait and see if the numbers of moths will be affected.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Friday morning, Gowerton

Yes, best morning here too so far this year. 15 species, 55 moths, including this fresh and early Mompha raschkiella which I rarely see in the garden anyway.
Mompha raschkiella

Friday 17 April 2015


As with other posters, last night was the best night of the year so far with Flame Carpet, White Pinion Spotted, Lunar Marbled Brown, Double-striped Pug, Silver Y and Diamond-back all new for the year in may garden. Also the caddis Limnephilus auricula.

Abercregan last night.

                             Oak nycteoloine.
                             19 species, very similar catch to last week except
                             for only my second Oak nycteoline, Yellow barred brindle,
                             Water carpet, Early grey, Golden rod pug and 3 Diamond
                             back moths.

Llandaff North last night

A slightly milder night produced 11 species in the MV, which is pretty good for my garden in April. First for year were Brimstone, Least Black Arches, Diamond-back, Elachista canapennella and Epinotia immundana.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Cefn Mably

I trapped for two hours at this mixed woodland, located NE of Cardiff, last night - a new trap site for me. The first hour was still and quiet, but then all of a sudden a breeze got up and the moths started to arrive. By the end the MV and actinic traps had produced a total of 26 species, comprising an attractive mix of spring woodland moths. Highlights included Pale Prominent, Purple Thorn, Square Spot, Grey Birch, Lunar Marbled Brown (4), V-pug (4), Herald (2), Pine Beauty and Semioscopis avellanella.

There were also early examples of Brown Silver-line and Yellow-barred Brindle. The season is moving on!


I probably do this every year, but... Cameraria ohridella is now on the wing in good numbers and can be easily found sitting on Horse Chestnut trunks. I didn't see any last week in Bute Park, so they must have emerged in the last 7 days.

Parc Slip

90 moths of 23 species in and around the trap this morning. One migrant species - dark sword-grass was a highlight (2 were caught which is double my 2014 total for the species) as was grey birch which is a first for me at Parc Slip. Other firsts for the year included a couple of streamers (only the 3rd time i've caught one here), pale pinion, lunar marbled brown, common and double-striped pugs and Digitivalva pulicariae. 1st speckled woods seen on site yesterday too.

Wednesday 15 April 2015


This Phyllonorycter tristrigella hatched from a mine on elm collected last autumn and the Amblyptilia punctidactyla was flying in the conservatory yesterday.
Going to try trapping at the BC Median Farm reserve tonight to add to the present tally of zero records!
Phyllonorycter tristrigella female disbursing pheromones.

Amblyptilia punctidactyla

Monday 13 April 2015

Nantyffyllon this afternoon.

                                Several groups of Adela cuprella "dancing" over
                                the tops of Sallow trees.

Saturday 11 April 2015

Crymlyn Bog

I joined Chris Manley for a session at Crymlyn Bog on Thursday evening. Unfortunately the temperature plummeted as darkness fell and we only trapped around 19 species between 3 MVs and 2 actinics. Nevertheless, we caught a few nice species, including Pale Pinion, Yellow-horned, Early Tooth-striped and Digitivalva pulicariae (a fleabane feeder - not a surprise at this site).
Digitivalva pulicariae

Thanks to Chris and Barry for organising access permission etc.

Friday 10 April 2015

Unidentified micro moth

This tiny moth was in our catch a couple of nights ago. We're struggling with the identification, can anyone help?

Ta, Mike & Emma

Abercregan last night.

                                         Pine beauty
                                        Lunar marbled brown
                                        Red chestnut.
                                        61 moths of 16 species in total, including Oak beauty,
                                        Pale brindled beauty, Yellow horned, Early thorn and
                                        Small, Common and Twin spot quakers.

Parc Slip

Set the trap here on wednesday night - it started off warm before dropping to about 6 degrees. Caught 101 moths of 23 species with plenty new for the year: pine beauty, powdered quaker, nut-tree tussock, brindled beauty, early thorn, early tooth-striped and a few micros including Agonopterix arenella which was new to the site as far as my species lists go (cheers Paul for the id). A couple of others i'd like confirmation of too please. Is this a brindled pug?
And is this Amblyptilia acanthadactyla?

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Emperor moth at KNNR

I could not resist posting this photo of Emperor moth. It was found by one of the voluntary wardens at Kenfig NNR and shown to most of us at Steve Moon's wake. Even more fitting given that David Moon had included a picture of one in the order of service!

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Bridgend (MV) overnight

A decent haul of 25 spring moths of 6 species were in our trap this morning, 1 Emmelina monodactyla,  8 Early Grey, 8 Hebrew Character, 4 Common quaker, 1 Clouded Drab and 3 Brindled Beauty. Later on in the garden we had our first Peacock butterfly as well as a Green-veined White.

Margam railway sidings.

                              Several Agonopterix purpurea on the wing in the sun today.

Monday 6 April 2015

Brindled Plume in Bridgend

I found this lovely little plume on the kitchen / back door this morning - new for the garden and a lifer for Emma and I.

The 369th species for our garden.

Sunday 5 April 2015

Diamonds on the cliffs

Despite an absolutely glorious day on the cliffs, we saw very little Lep activity, the one exception being Plutella xylostella, with 100+ seen at Horse Cliff. The cliff tops in this section are powdered white with Danish Scurvey-grass at this time of year (see photo below) and I'm guessing this is the main foodplant of what is presumably a home-bred population, although the dominant form was the pale-sandy type, which could suggest migrants – I don’t know? Sorry lots of speculation here! Has there been any migrant activity yet? Several Small Tortoiseshells, the only other species noted.

Mompha divisella query

Found this on the wall close to where the moth box was placed in the garden last night. Best match I've come up with is Mompha divisella but I would appreciate confirmation/correction with this one.

The grid is 2mm.