Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Pont Llogel Event

Our penultimate event of the year was at Pont Llogel SSSI. Earlier in the day it looked as though it was going to be a rather ‘wet one’ as it was heavy rain from early Saturday morning until mid afternoon, but then it stopped, leaving overcast conditions, giving more hope of a dry event.

The trapping site from the bridge
The trapping area along footpath
We were on site by 7:15pm and while we were setting up the traps light drizzle began to fall so the gazebo had to be erected pretty sharply to give us a dry base camp. Although rather damp, the overall weather conditions were quite good as the air was still, with a mild temperature, so we all anticipated a fairly good evening’s trapping and the trap lights were switched on at 8pm.
Setting up the white sheet

First species in was a Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing followed by a really nice Blue-bordered Carpet which Meurig was quick to photograph. The time of the year meant that we were very likely to catch several sallow species and we weren’t disappointed as we recorded the Centre-barred Sallow, Pink-barred Sallow and the Sallow, all of which are ‘crowd pleasers’ due to their bright colours. Another crowd pleaser, a stunning Herald, also put in an appearance.

Blue-bordered Carpet
Centre-barred Sallow
After an hour or so the drizzle stopped but, unfortunately, a rather gusty wind ‘got up’ so we all had to occasionally hang onto the gazebo in case it took off. The moths however, continued to come in; Gavin potted up the fairly uncommon Clay Triple-lines, and a fresh Purple Bar and Barred Chestnut were brought to the table – Meurig was certainly kept busy with his camera as he was on ‘photo duty’ for the evening.

Clay Triple-lines

As far as Micro species were concerned, the list was rather smaller, but, a really nice Ypsolopha parenthesella was trapped and good examples of Epinotia nisella and Epinotia tenerana were also recorded. Only one migrant species was recorded; a Silver Y. For a full species list please click here.

Later in the evening Sue brought out the cake and we all had a ‘chocolate fix’ which kept us buzzing for the rest of the evening – the cake tin was soon emptied and our attention was turned back once again to the moths!
Barred Chestnut

As is often the way at these events we include a number of ‘identification workshops’ on the diagnostic features of those species which closely resemble each other. One of the workshops on this occasion was how to separate the Common Marbled from the Dark Marbled Carpet. Throughout the evening examples were brought to the table which all turned out to be the Common Marbled Carpet, so I was more than delighted when, late evening, Paul managed to pot a Dark Marbled Carpet and everyone was able to see the diagnostic features on the underside of the wing, showing it clearly to be this species.

Purple Bar
Dusky Thorn

The river bank from the footpath

Soon after midnight we decided to call it a day and started to pack the kit away. Several species were then added to list, these included a Rosy Rustic, a Canary-shouldered Thorn, and Mel potted a rather nice Dusky Thorn – however the rain had the last say - it tipped it down just as we were dismantling the last traps, which made a rather soggy finish to the evening.

Many thanks to those who brought along extra traps and to everyone who helped with setting up and taking down the kit - this is always much appreciated (particularly with an aging back!). Also thanks to Meurig for taking and processing the event photos and to Sue for the excellent cake.


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Pont Llogel mothing event

Hello Moth-ers,

Our penultimate mothing event of the year is this Saturday (3rd September) at the Pont Llogel SSSI. This has been a very productive site over the years and once again we’re hoping to get a few new dots on the distribution maps. If you’ve never been to one of these events before, treat yourself, please come along and join us, for a great night’s mothing.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Pont Llogel SSSI.
Event Date: Saturday 3 September 2016.
Event time: 8:00pm onwards, at the reserve car park.
Directions: On the A458 between Foel and Llangadfan take the B4395 which passes through Pont Llogel, the car park is next to the river bridge
Grid reference: SJ032154

Montgomeryshire Moth Group (MMG) is an independent voluntary group of people interested in moths. All ages are welcome to attend events whether experts or beginners.
This year all the events are light trapping events. We set up the light traps at dusk to attract moths and then release them after identification.

As with all our evening events, please bring a torch and wear suitable outdoor clothing.

You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening that suits you, we are likely to stay for several hours. However, in case of cancellation, due to poor weather or unforeseen circumstances, always ring or e-mail to check the event is on before joining us.

Please note that some sites are not easy to find, so please make sure you know where the venue is before you set off.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

'Ton up' of moth species at Llandinam Gravels event

On the day of the event the general weather conditions looked very good so we were very hopeful for a big species list and perhaps a few good records amongst them.

We got on site early to give ourselves plenty of time to set our traps in the best positions. The weather was very mild, but, there was a rather gusty breeze which got up from time to time, so, the placement of our eight traps was quite important. The first species of the evening was in fact a Small White butterfly which Douglas noticed roosting as he was placing the Heath trap in the upper woods. Just after 9:00pm the lights were switched on and the first moth species, a Small Rivulet was soon netted by Douglas; this was swiftly followed by a Ruby Tiger, Dingy Footman and a Snout at the white sheet. It was certainly going to be busy, so we wasted no time in doing the first ‘round’ of checking the traps. More good species were potted throughout the evening - Double Kidney, Twin-spot Carpet, Argyresthia retinella, Argyresthia albistria, Ypsolopha dentella, Cataclysta lemnata, Magpie and Clouded Magpie. Interestingly, one Robinson trap, which was placed in amongst the black poplars and alders, produced a good number of Blue-bordered Carpets, a species which is normally seen in very low single numbers.

Barred Hook-tip
The best species of the evening were Psoricoptera gibbosella 2nd county record, Achroia grisella 3rd county record, Caloptilia robustella 7th county record, Barred Hook-tip 10th county record. Other noticeable species were Barred Chestnut, Dingy Shears and Bordered Beauty. 

For a full list of all species recorded during the event please click here.
Also, to see all the event photos please click here (All the individual images are captioned though it may be necessary to press the 'i' symbol in the top right of each photo to display them).

Two migrant species were recorded: A Silver Y and a Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella.
Barred Chestnut
After midnight we had several periods of very light drizzle, but, this didn’t perturb the moths at all and the white sheet was covered; it was certainly some time since we had seen it that busy. At 1:30am we decided to start packing up and as is often the case at packing up, the traps yielded new moths for the species list – these included the Canary-shouldered Thorn, Yellow-tail, Dotted Clay, Light Emerald, Scalloped Oak, Fan-foot, Bordered Beauty, Barred Chestnut and the only hawk moth species of the evening -the Poplar Hawk-moth. We left the site just after 2:30am very satisfied by such an excellent night’s trapping.

It was a great evening and despite the drizzle and breeze the temperature was mild and stayed above 18c. all evening, so it was unfortunate that just the two of us were there to enjoy it. Hopefully our next event at Pont Llogel will be better attended.


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Public mothing event at Llandinam Gravels

Hello All,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) are holding a mothing event at Llandinam Gravels, just south of the Llandinam in the south of the county. We still have very few records from this particular site, so we’re hopeful that we will put a few extra dots on the map. So please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this excellent site near the banks of the River Severn.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Llandinam Gravels
Event Date: Saturday 6th August
Event Time: 7:30 onwards.
Directions: As you approach Llandinam on the A470 from Newtown, take the first right by the statue and cross the river Severn over the narrow bridge; turn first left down a lane for about a mile and a half, we will be trapping at the end of this lane.
Grid Reference: SO022876


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Mothing event at the Bro Dyfi Community Garden

This was the first time that we had organised a mothing event at the Bro Dyfi Community Garden in Machynlleth. Unfortunately, the evening was rather wet which does tend to put people off from attending; however, 15 people did brave the conditions for what turned out to be an excellent evening of mothing. As far as the weather was concerned we had heavy showers interspersed with drizzle throughout, but it was very mild and humid which were good conditions for active moths.

People turning up for the event
Skinner trap under an Oak tree

On this occasion the Bro Dyfi volunteer gardening group had arranged for a reporter from the Cambrian News to take a few pictures of the event, so there was quite a bit of photographic activity before the trapping began.

Heath trap near the water feature
 With gloomy conditions, due to the rain, the lights were switched on early and by 9:00pm moths were already being potted and brought to the table.

Recording the species

First up were the very common species of Large Yellow Underwing and a Lesser Yellow Underwing. Soon, a lovely Swallow-tailed Moth was potted, a beautiful species, especially to those who hadn’t seen one before. A cracking Peppered Moth led us all into debate on how this is an ‘indicator species’ as to the cleanliness of
Head shot of a Large Elephant Hawk-moth
our air quality (the darker the moth, the more pollutants are in the air). Late on in the evening a couple of stunning Large Elephant Hawk-moths came to the traps, but as is often the case with hawk moths, who are usually a late flying species, about half the people attending missed  them as they had left the event by then.

Small Magpie anania hortulata
16 species of micro moth were recorded; these included a stunningly marked Prays fraxinella and the seldom recorded Large Tabby Aglossa pinguinalis.

Silver Y
We also recorded two migrant species, the Silver Y and the Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella– both these species would have been carried to the UK during recent spells of southerly winds from the near continent.


Wood Carpet

In all 54 species were recorded – the best being the Wood Carpet, a local species; a Cloaked Minor, a species which hasn’t been recorded on the western side of Montgomeryshire before and the best record of the night, a Large Tabby

Aglossa pinguialis
Aglossa pinguinalis which has only been recorded in Montgomeryshire on three previous occasion, all previously on the eastern side of the county. For a full species list please click here.

In all, (despite the weather), it was an excellent evening’s moth trapping, everybody enjoyed themselves and we finally decided to call it a night at 1:00am. We will certainly return to these community gardens again to hold another event.


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Bro Dyfi Gardens - public mothing event

Hello Everyone,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a public mothing event at Bro Dyfi Gardens, Machynlleth. This is the first time that we have held an event at this site, so who knows what we might trap. So please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this lovely natural garden site.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Bro Dyfi Gardens
Event Date: Saturday 9th July
Event Time: 8:30 onwards, at the car park.
Directions: From the clock tower in the town take the A487 towards Aberystwyth. About 300 yds along the road do a sharp left hand turn back on yourself into the Y Plas and find the parking area directly on the left hand side. The trapping area will be signposted from here.
Grid Reference: SH746004


Friday, 24 June 2016

Dolforwyn Woods 'Moth Night' event

Erecting the white sheet with the
help of Al - a visiting 'new moth-er'
from New Zealand

A view along the track
Setting up base camp

This event was held on Butterfly Conservations’ “Moth Night”, which this year had the theme of  “Hawk-moths”. The rain fell steadily throughout the day but cleared in the evening, so we were optimistic that we might catch one or two Hawk-moth species. The event was also in conjunction with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, who where as usual represented by Tammy, who brought along a plethora of electronic devices for detecting bats. As the light faded Tammy led the 10 attendees on a walk through the woods listening for bat calls. Common and Soprano Pipistrelle bats were both recorded.
Blomer's Rivulet

Lime Hawk-moth
A total of 4 moth traps were used, with a 125W MV lamp and white sheet at ‘base camp’, 2 125W MV Skinners along the main track, and a 9W Actinic Heath trap at the top end of the track. The traps were switched on at 9.15pm, and it wasn’t long before the first moths arrived. Among the early visitors to the traps were a Map-winged Swift, a new species for this site, and then the first Hawk-moth of the evening, a Lime Hawk-moth.

Green Arches
'Lights on' for the white sheet

Ghost Moth
With a minimum temperature of 14C the moths were plentiful. Peter was kept very busy identifying the moths as they were returned to base, and at one stage we were nearly out of empty pots. Highlights were Blomer’s Rivulet, a nicely marked Beautiful Snout, and then the second Hawk-moth of the evening, Elephant Hawk-moth.

Clouded Magpie
The only migrant moth recorded was Plutella xylostella, the Diamond-back Moth, which has made the news recently as higher numbers than normal have arrived from the continent. As their food plant is brassicas this has led to sensational headlines about devastation of the cabbage crop. Only 3 were recorded during the evening, so I don’t think we need to be too concerned for the Abermule area harvest.

Ingrailed Clay
Around 1am the moth activity was starting to diminish, and we began to pack up. Last checks of the traps produced a few more species to add to the list, including Clouded Magpie and Little Emerald, a scarce species for the County, and the first time it has been found at Dolforwyn. 

Beautiful Snout
The Heath trap was left overnight on site. Heavy rain fell in the early hours resulting in a very soggy mush of egg boxes in the trap the next morning. Despite this a Poplar Hawk Moth and a Dagger had taken refuge in there, bringing the number of Hawk-moth species to 3, and the total number of species for the night to 54, of which 10 were new species for the site. A full list of species can be found here.