Sunday, 22 April 2018

Rhoslan Farm Event - 14th Apr 2018

The first moth event of the year took place at Rhoslan Farm near Llanfyllin on the 14th April and despite winter seemingly dragging on into April we were fortunate to have a nicely timed increase in temperature. With intermittent cloud cover all 6 traps and the white sheet were turned on by 20:30 with a light breeze blowing through the garden and fields. Four traps were set up in surrounding fields and 2 more immediately around the farm house.

The white sheet
Bulbs had barely warmed up when the first moth was potted and was the first sign that moths were perhaps emerging a little later than normal this year as it was a March Moth. One of the highlights of the night was surprisingly second to be found, a Dark Chestnut, which gave some of us a chance to scrutinise a species not often caught by most, if at all.

March Moth
There was then a trickle of the more typical early Spring species; Red Chestnut, Hebrew Character and a hat-trick of quakers; Twin-Spot, Common and Small. At about this time we were all invited in for light refreshments in the warm conservatory by our host, Simon Spencer, where we found quiche, sandwiches and a range of delicious cakes. It was therefore not surprising that the next moth took quite a while to be found!!

Tissue
Sometime later, with Early Grey and Early Tooth-striped potted, the star of the event showed up in the form of a Tissue, which was followed by a chorus of Bless You! It appeared to be in pristine condition with a great patterning and pink flush. Perhaps the smartest looking moth was the Red Sword-grass that Peter managed to predict before it appeared by the white sheet. A moth of great disguise that could have easily just been a broken twig among leaf litter, though not so useful on a white sheet.

Red Sword-grass
There were just a couple of micros found, Agonopterix heracliana and Diurnea fagella. The night was then finished with a smart quartet of a Herald, Yellow Horned, White Marked and an Oak Beauty making it a total of 23 macro species and the 2 micros. With a huge thanks to Simon for his hospitality and use of his farm we packed up and were off around 00:30.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Keep an eye open for those tricky spring species

We all need to be very vigilant when checking the trap at this time of year as some of the more uncommon spring species can be easily overlooked or misidentified in among the more common species. The following list shows what we should be checking for in the trap.

·         The Small Quaker can be a very numerous species, but check them carefully as there might just be the similar looking, but very uncommon Blossom Underwing in amongst them.
·         Clouded Drab and the Twin-spotted Quaker both have very variable colour forms and one colour form of Clouded Drab in particular can look like a form of Twin-spotted Quaker, so we need also to be on our toes here.
·         The Powdered Quaker will be on the wing soon. This species has a dusting of speckles and is slightly bigger than the Common Quaker, but if the speckles aren’t very prominent it can easily be mistaken for the latter.
·         The Lead-coloured Drab has been recorded in a few sites in the east and south of the county. This species can easily be confused with the Common Quaker, so all individuals much be checked thoroughly. The Lead Drab has a more even lead colour and the apex of the forewing is more rounded. It would be great if we could get some more confirmed records of this species, so again, be vigilant.
·         Our first two specifies of Pugs are also on the wing now, i.e. Brindled Pug and Double-striped Pug and while they’re not that similar, care should be taken with id.
·         Several species of Agonopterix and Depressaria are also on the wing at this time of year, many of which can be confused with others.

If you’re in any doubt with identification, of any of the above species, as always, send me a photo and I’ll do my best to confirm it for you.  

Other good early species to look out for now are; Pine Beauty, Brindled Beauty, Glaucous Shears, Broom-tip and Grey Birch.

Happy mothing

Peter.