Wednesday 21 December 2016

Unseasonal butterfly

Walking through central Swansea this morning I was more than a little surprised to see a Small White roosting on a shop window. Perhaps it alighted there during the mild, sunny weather we experienced yesterday afternoon. Whatever, it was a pleasure to see a butterfly on the shortest day of the year!

Sunday 18 December 2016

Creigiau - Friday night

A bit cooler on Friday night with the temperature dropping to 4.6C. Nevertheless, my first Mottled Umber of the year settled on the window and 2 December Moths (1 in the trap and another on the wall) also paid a visit.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Llangynwyd last night.

       Just 3 Mottled umber to the actinic. 2 Winter moth and a Chestnut were found resting on
       branches by torchlight but were not flying despite a mild night.

Monday 12 December 2016

Shrike Victim? "The Perils of Night Flying" Second Thoughts.

Athough, when I found the impaled Brick, I wondered whether a Shrike had been responsible, I dismissed the idea, because to my eyes, the site didn't seem suitable; leaving accidental death the other option. Following comments made by George, Dave and Howard about the ppssibility of it being the victim of a Shrike, I examined the specimen (Luckily, I collected it) and apart from the gaping hole made by the gorse spine, which is near the rear end of the abdomen, there is a large area of abdomen which has been crushed, close to the thorax.
Although it doesn't show up particularly well in the photo taken through my microscope, the crushed area is of a shape that could have been made by a bird's bill and on the thorax there is a discrete area where the hairs have been removed.
Based on the appearance of this damage, I think it entirely possible that a bird; probably a Shrike, was responsible for the impalement of the moth.

I wonder if it is still there???


The Perils of Night Flying!

Out and about locally, yesterday, I came across this melancholy sight. It appears to be a Brick, which has well and truly impaled itself on a gorse thorn and was long dead by the time I found it.

Ouch!  The sad demise of and unfortunate Brick.

Elsewhere, my winter GMS catch on Friday night were singletons of Winter Moth and Mottled Umber.

Saturday 10 December 2016

Creigiau - Winter GMS last night

A wet night but quite warm and more moths. Six species last night - Dark Sword-grass and Winter Moth were new for the year, and these were joined by December Moth (3 - including a female that almost immediately produced some eggs in the pot), Epiphyas postvittana, November Moth agg (2) & Red-green Carpet (2).

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Creigiau - last night - December Moth Rules!

Had an empty box for Winter GMS last Friday night, but last night, with temperatures barely dropping below 10C,  resulted in 23 December Moths in/around the trap. The only other thing in the trap was a Limnephilus lunatus caddisfly.

Monday 28 November 2016

Creigiau - 24 November

Box out on Thursday night for Winter GMS. Minimum  temperature of 5.2C but a bitterly cold NE wind. Two visitors - Yellow-line Quaker and my first December Moth of the year.

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Death's-head larva

I received the following email today:

Hi Barry,

Mark Winder passed your detail on to me and asked me to send you the photo of a Death-head Hawk-moth caterpillar we found at Three Cliffs in September.  Apologies for the delay in sending it to you.

One of my Beaver Scouts saw the caterpillar as we were coming off the board walk on our way back from the beach, it was about 13:00 in the afternoon on Saturday 17th September.  It was a nice warm day and the caterpillar was in the grass about 30 meters from the board walk and not far from the undergrowth.  It was alive and well, so we did not disturb it. 

We did not touch it, but did include an adult figure in the shot so we could see its size, it was incredible we spent the rest of the day trying to identify it from the photo!!

Best wishes Penny (Gruffydd)

Sunday 20 November 2016

Red Admiral

No moths in the trap for Winter GMS on Friday night, but a Red Admiral enjoying a rare spell of sunshine on the wall today. This beats last year's record (13 November) as my latest sighting for Red Admiral.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Parc Slip

Disappointing catch this morning given that it didn't drop below 12 last night - the mildest since mid-September. Only 3 moths with the first December moth of the year and the first Phyllonorycter messaniella for a couple of years joined by yet another November agg.

Monday 14 November 2016

Creigiau - 13 November

First box for the Winter GMS. A very mild night (min temp 9.7C) but not a lot about - 10 moths of 6 species. Highlights - another Merveille du Jour and the first Red-line Quaker of the year.

Gowerton Sunday 13th

This morning produced only 5 species, in spite of the mild night, but one was this surprise Gem. Also this Blastobasis sp. which looked small (7mm) plain silvery and extremely lively, jumping about like a mad thing. Unfortunately suffered an extinction event whilst trying to pot it. Maybe lacticolella, or maybe not?

Blastobasis sp?

Gem. Male

Saturday 5 November 2016

Creigiau - 03 November

Final box of the summer GMS campaign, and although the weather was mild (& wet) I was disappointed to find only 6 moths in/around the trap - Cypress Carpet, Merveille du Jour, November Moth agg (2), Spruce Carpet and Yellow-line Quaker.

Friday 4 November 2016

Parc Slip

Only 8 species in the trap last night but still managed another new one for the site with my first ever streak (as it were). Nothing else exciting really - spruce carpet, red-green carpet, feathered thorn, green-brindled crescent, red and yellow-line quakers and a handful of Epirrita sp.

When working out on the reserve later i disturbed this micro too - it looks well-marked but i'm still struggling with it annoyingly...

Sunday 30 October 2016


Nothing earth-shattering in the garden trap over the last two nights, highlights from the 24 species caught included Calybites phasianipennella (maybe the 6th or 7th Glamorgan record), Acleris sparsana, Udea ferrugalis, Cypress Carpet, Brick, Merveille du Jour, Large Ranunculus, Large Yellow Underwing and Square-spot Rustic.  Small numbers of the rather nondescript plant bug Pinalitus cervinus present in both sessions.
pot shot of phasianipennella
...this is the only other useable one I have Chris

Saturday 29 October 2016


Surprisingly quiet in spite of the very mild weather.
Nice to see 2 more Acrolepiopsis assectella (one hibernating in the garden shed, one to light) plus Ypsolopha ustella to light.
Best for me was Phyllonorycter trifasciella which landed on a window mid-morning, a very fresh 3rd brood from the honeysuckle in the garden.
Also in the debris beside the trap were several of these little hoppers, which didn't like being exposed to the light. Obviously not moths but perhaps someone can identify them.

15.083 Phyllonorycter trifasciella

17.011 Ypsolopha ustella

Hopper. 6mm

Cypress Carpet in Bridgend

A rather nice Cypress Carpet was among the 8 moths we caught last night in Bridgend (7 species). Also caught and new for the year was Acleris sparsana taking us to 161 species for the year.

Creigiau - last night

Box out for GMS - a mild night, though with quite a few drizzly showers.26 moths of 11 species, with 10 of those being November Moth agg.. Highlights were Beaded Chestnut, 2 very brightly coloured Red-green Carpet and Feathered Thorn.

A puzzle was the appearance of Double Line - are they supposed to be flying at this time of year?

and one I'm not sure of - Mompha subbistrigella ?

Merthyr mawr last night.

                            Cypress carpet.

                            Dark sword grass.

                           Scrobipalpa costella.

                          Caloptilia azaleella.
                          16 species between 18:30 and 21:35, when my bulb went!
                          Eudonia angustea, Epinotia nisella, Red green carpet, Silver Y,
                          Autumnal rustic, Feathered thorn, Yellow line quaker, Large
                          yellow underwing and numerous November moth agg.

Friday 28 October 2016

Broughton, NW Gower 26Oct16

Out went the 8W Actinic all night with high hopes after easterlies! Unfortunately a small catch just 3 Feathered Ranunculus, 1 Red-line Quaker and a Common Marbled Carpet - better than nothing!

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Creigiau - 25 October

Like Vaughan, I had the best catch for a couple of months last night. Not the same quantity, but I was more than happy with 17 moths of 11 species - especially as 4 of them were Merveille du Jour! Three moths made their first appearance of the year - Barred Sallow,  Phyllonorycter messaniella (if my ID is correct) and Red-green Carpet. The other highlight was the unexpected appearance of Pseudargyrotoza conwagana - all my previous records of this have been in June & July.

Acleris hyemana

A micro-moth flew across Mansel Street as I was walking from the BC Wales office to Swansea Railway Station this afternoon. 'Probably just a light brown apple moth' I thought. Luckily it came to rest on some iron railings by the road and I could hardly believe my eyes when it turned out to be Acleris hyemana, a moth I've long wanted to see

This is a moorland species with just 6 previous VC41 records, mostly from the western part of the county. There is a record from Kilvey Hill not too far away - perhaps it wandered from there? There is a little bit of heather closer to Mansel Street, on the steep slopes in the Mayhill and Townhill areas of Swansea but I'd be suprised if it's breeding up there.

Wherever it came from, it seemed a most unlikely moth to see flying in an urban street...which just goes to show that interesting moths can turn up almost anywhere.

Parc Slip

It was pretty mild here last night - 11 degrees and we consequently had the best catch since mid-September. 44 moths of 11 species with the FFY of feathered thorn, red-line quaker and yellow-line quaker and our latest ever large yellow underwing. We also had our second latest record of straw dot and a black rustic, green-brindled crescent, merveille du jour and red-green carpet were other attractive species.

Llandaff - 25th October

Last night was mild and misty and lot warmer than the previous few evenings. Sum total of four moths, two Blair's Shoulder-Knot in the trap and two November Moth on the patio wall.

 It's getting time to pack away the trap.

Saturday 22 October 2016

Creigiau 21 October

Put the box out last night for GMS hoping for an improvement on last Friday when the box attracted exactly nothing! Minimum temperature that night was 9.4C and the min temp last night was 3.8C. It was an improvement, 4 moths of 3 species - Spruce Carpet, a very nice Merveille du Jour and the first appearance of the year of November Moth agg (2).

Thursday 20 October 2016

Coleophora virgaureae

To continue the recent Coleophora case theme, I found three cases of C. virgaureae while mapping Marsh Fritillary habitat along a forestry ride near Bryn, Neath Port Talbot yesterday. Cases were on the seedheads of goldenrod. MBGBI vol. 3 says the cases are hidden in the seedheads but two of the three were clearly visible without having to pick the seedheads apart (see circled case in photo below).

The larva makes a silken case to which it attaches fine hairs from the seedheads.


As far as I know there are just two previous county records, both from the 1920s, but given that I found it on the first plant I looked at it is likely to be very under-recorded. Timing is important - the larva only makes a case in its final instar, so there is probably only a brief window of opportunity in which the cases can be found.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Mallow at Whiteford

This time last week I arranged to go to Whiteford as the weather forecast looked good; warm, cloudy, humid.
It would have been a bit late for Mallow but might have been a chance. In the event the sky cleared and there was a fullish moon and it got very cold very quickly, total catch 3 moths: Silver Y, Autumnal Rustic, Pine Carpet.
However, Veronica in Cwm Ivy gave me hot chocolate and a chance to photograph one she had caught earlier, so not a total waste.

Mallow. 10th October 2016

Thursday 13 October 2016

Cypress Carpet in Bridgend

Another small catch overnight in the garden, but the highlights were Cypress Carpet and Blair's Shoulder-knot (both pictured) and Large Ranunculus.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Bridgend, night of 10th October

Out went the MV trap into the garden again and we were lucky to get a nice selection: 2 LB Apple moth, 3 CM Carpet, 1 Barred Sallow (first here since 2007), 1 Black Rustic, 1 Angle Shades and a Silver Y. Year list has reached 156 (109 macro) pretty poor compared to recent years.

Parc Slip

Only 15 moths of 9 species in the trap last night but it was worth setting for a new macro - my first ever barred sallow (it was on the site species list but without a date or recorder name). Also my first merveille du jours of the year, a smart black rustic, a couple of ab. capucina green-brindled crescents and my first November moth agg. of the year. Also a couple of micros in the form of a diamond-back and a light brown apple moth.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Coleophora violacea

Another nice Coleophora case in the Alun Valley. This C. violacea was spotted feeding on blackthorn during a site meeting on Monday. I think there is just one previous VC41 record, from Taff's Well in 1939.

Long-tailed Blue in Llantwit

I've just had a report of a Long-tailed Blue from Llantwit Major on the 3rd October. I don't think there are any photos, but you never know! Dave

Dunraven yesterday.

                             A Phyllonorycter query. this looks very much like P. joannisi
                             but is on Field, not Norway maple?

Monday 10 October 2016

Phyllonorycter trifasciella.

                        Netted on the wing at dawn in Kenfig west pool bushes yesterday.
                        Looks ok to me but wish I got a better photo! Comments welcome.

Sunday 9 October 2016

Broughton, Gower last night

The 8W Actinic did well for us last night with 30 moths of 15 species: 2 Eudonia angustea, 1 Monopis crocicapitella, 1 Agonopterix purpurea, 1 Brown House moth, 3 Large Yellow Underwing, 1 CM Carpet, 1 Sq Spot Rustic, 1 Anomalous, 1 Green-brindled Crescent, 3 Flounced Chestnut, 9 Feathered Ranunculus, 1 Red-line Quaker, 1 Snout, 1 Angle Shades and 3 Lunar Underwing:-

Creigiau - Friday 07 October

Box out in promising conditions for GMS but low numbers persist - 15 moths of 10 species. The catch did include a nice Spruce Carpet and a first visit of the year of Feathered Thorn.