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Montgomeryshire Moth Group ~ Events 2011

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26/03/11 - Pont Llogel - SJ032153
Moth HQ - the new gazebo gets first outing

The first event of 2011 was at Pont Llogel SSSI. This well protected site alongside the river was chosen for this early event as the tree cover would offer a degree of protection in case the weather turned cold. In the event, the temperature didn’t fall below 7c., and the moths were coming readily to the traps.

We set up our HQ in the car park and the new pop-up gazebo was used for the first time, this proved to be a great bit of kit as it gave us a large dry working area where we could id the moths and sit and chat in relative comfort. At this point we felt the erection of the gazebo had to be celebrated, so out came the tuck….some things never change!!
Semioscopis avellanella

When the lights went on it wasn’t long before the first suspects were drawn to the light, we were hoping for a good rep
resentation of the early spring species and we weren’t let down. First up was the ubiquitous Hebrew Character followed closely by a Chestnut. During the course of the evening all the Quaker species were represented except for the Powdered Quaker which somehow eluded us? After about an hour our first micro and indeed best moth of the evening made an appearance, it was a Semioscopis avellanella which is a very local species and had only ever been recorded at one other site in the county before, an excellent record. Other micro species recorded were: - Diurnea fagella, Ypsolopha ustella, Agonopterix arenella, A. ocellana and a leaf mine that was found by Douglas was later confirmed as Stigmella aurella. Throughout the evening other macro species included the Engrailed, Pale Brindled Beauty, Early Thorn and Shoulder Stripe. The only migrant to make a show was the Red Sword-grass and the best macro was the White-marked.

By 11:30 we all decided to call it a night and as we were packing away the kit, Mike noticed a
Mottled Grey on one of the bags which gave us a grand total of 22 species (16 macro and 6 micro). I think I can safely say that the first event of the year went off very well indeed.

23/04/11 - Llandinam Gravels  - SO010865

With the weather set fair the second MMG event of the year at Llandinam Gravels had an air of anticipation about it.The general feeling being that it was going to be a good night’s trapping. After we set up base camp we had a short while before the traps were fired up, so the tuck made its usual early appearance. Moth trapping can be very hungry work!

The first species of the evening was a
Twin-spotted Quaker which is more or less at the end of its flight season. Conversely, this was followed by a Brimstone Moth which is just coming into season and a stunning Water Carpet. These were followed by an Alder Moth and Streamer, plus a beautiful Clouded Silver also turned up. Throughout the evening, four species of Pug were recorded: Brindled, Oak-tree, Common, and a lone first brood Double-striped. Not to be outdone, four species of Prominent also came to the traps: Pale, Great, Pebble and the Lesser Swallow.

Glaucous Shears
About half-way through the evening, Douglas brought a moth to the table that no-one could immediately identify. For a while we were all busily flicking through the pages of the reference books until finally we managed to track it down. It was a Glaucous Shears, a local species that none of us had seen before and a marvellous record for the evening.

In the meantime, more of the usual suspects were still coming to the table; these included
Oak Hook-tip, Red-green Carpet, Pale Tussock, Nut-tree Tussock and Purple Thorn. As the evening drew on, we dismantled the trap which had been most affected by a slight chill in the breeze and then the white sheet.  There was a flurry of activity at the final trap and we added several species to the evenings haul: Scorched Wing, Square Spot, Scalloped Hazel and the only migrant of the evening, Dark Sword-grass.

Micro species throughout the evening were low in number, but a twenty-plume moth Alucita hexadactyla arrived, as did Acleris literana, Epinotia immundana, Eriocrania subpurpurella. Syndemis musculana was present in small numbers. We also recorded a single Adela reaumurella, not an uncommon species, but we didn’t have a photo of it on the web site so this moth was retained until I could photograph it later.

The eight people who attended all had an excellent evening and with 45 species being recorded (which is a good species count for an April event) there was plenty of interest throughout the evening. The pick of course being the first
Glaucous Shears to be recorded in the county since 1977.

21/05/11 - Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve  - SO155958

The weather forecast wasn’t very good for Saturday evening so I’m pleased to say that until about the last hour, the forecasters were wrong. But, finally, the heavens did open up, the wind and rain reached a magnitude of biblical proportions as we all hung onto the gazebo. I had visions of it ending up in Newtown about five miles away, with us all hanging onto the legs, a very ‘Wizard of Oz’ moment.

Chris Williams turned up for this event so, with his four traps and my three, we were able to trap a large section of the woodland track. The conditions all pointed towards a good mothing evening and, from the moment the lights went on, the moths were coming to the table.

First up was a
Common Marbled Carpet and, after this, in amongst all the usual suspects, was a smattering of cracking species. Firstly, a beautiful Scorched Carpet arrived but this was a species I did not recognise, so some frenzied fingering through the books took place until we had a positive id. This was followed by a Beautiful Snout, a stunningly marked moth. The first hawk moth of the evening was a Lime Hawk and the only other hawk moth was an Elephant Hawk late in the evening. The next uncommon species to turn up were Blomer’s Rivulet and Clay Triple-lines. If anything, as the evening drew on, the moths came to the traps in even heavier numbers, Sandy Carpet, Red-necked Footman and White-pinion Spotted were mixed in with more of the common species. Then, at about midnight, we had the heavy rain and, even while we were packing the kit away, the species kept coming, Lunar Thorn, Alder Moth, Pine Carpet and finally Douglas found a very uncommon Ochreous Pug lurking on a trap.

Throughout the evening we also had a good selection of micro moths, the pick of the bunch was Carpatolechia notatella which was a new species for the county. Other notable species were Udea olivalis, Ancylis geminana, Ancylis mitterbacheriana, also, the second county record of an Epinotia subocellana, and the fourth county record of the stunning and unusual Alabonia geoffrella.

I think it can be safely said that the five of us who turned up all had an excellent evening, and had the event not been curtailed by the rain I feel we would have recorded many more species. 

18/06/11 - Carreg-y-big farm  - SH993033

Our hosts for this high altitude event, Alison and Gareth Davies, were sorry not to be able to attend, but left their son Evan, and daughter-in-law Bethan, in charge of the farm. We were very well looked after, with tea and biscuits flowing throughout the evening. A big thanks to both, especially as Evan was hobbling around on crutches after a recent accident.

Gareth had kindly allowed us to set up base camp in the tractor shed, which was dry and out of the breeze. As we all gathered there before the lights went on, Douglas was quickly pressed into action, netting Endrosis sarcitrella
(White-shouldered House Moth). Micro moths were then hard to come by during the evening as the weather conditions put them off flying, but we did record Scoparia ambigualis and one of the grass moths, Chrysoteuchia culmella.

The first macro moth to come in was a
Large Yellow Underwing and this was quickly followed by a fresh Green Carpet. The site was good for Ghost Moth as several males were brought to the table throughout the evening (although no females were seen). Green coloured species seemed to play a large part of this event as Green Silver-lines then, a beautiful Light Emerald were followed by a stunning Green Arches (this moth certainly had the biggest ‘wow’ factor amongst all the species). Other notable species to come in were Beautiful Golden Y, Burnished Brass and Devon Carpet. The only hawk moth of the night was a rather nice Elephant Hawk and the only prominent species was the ‘wood chipping’ look alike, Pale Prominent (which always amazes people, especially those new to mothing).  As usual, as we were packing up a few late comers were found, these included, Golden-rod Pug, Pale-shouldered Brocade and True Lover’s Knot - a moorland specialty.

Prior to the event, I had hoped that this isolated oak woodland would turn up an unusual species or two, but the rather chilly breeze which accompanied us throughout the evening kept moth numbers somewhat on the low side. I’m sure that this site has more secrets to yield – another day perhaps!

02/07/11 - Llanymynech Rocks  -SJ265217

Llanymynech Rocks is an excellent limestone quarry, sitting on the border of Montgomeryshire and Shropshire. As such, this event was jointly organised by the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) and Rhona Goddard of Shropshire Wildlife Trust. The MMG had attempted events here before but the weather had always intervened. Fortunately, this time the weather ‘played ball’ with warm air and cloud cover. As it turned out, this much anticipated event surpassed all expectations, with five new county records, and both the target species being found - we had a wonderful evening!

Base camp was set on a flat area near the path, and in total, we had six Skinner traps as well as the white sheet. The traps were positioned over a distance of a few hundred yards, more or less in a linear fashion, along the path. Even before the lights went on, moths were being brought to the table, and in fact, one of our target species
Haworth’s Pug was found during this period.

Pretty Chalk Carpet
Once the trap lights were on, species quickly arrived in good numbers, including Short-cloaked Moth, Small Blood-vein and Yellow Shell. After about fifteen minutes, our second target species the Pretty Chalk Carpet (not seen since 1989) was found. What a lovely species! None of us had seen it before. Both target species had already been trapped. Great!  But this was just the start, much more was to follow.

Things were hotting up and species were being brought to the table in great numbers, I was even having a job keeping up with identification. After about an hour we were treated to
Heart & Club, a new species for the county. There had been much conjecture over the years as to whether this species was in fact found in the Montgomeryshire and now we have proof that it’s here. Other notable species during this period were Clouded Brindle, Beautiful Hook-tip and a huge Northern Eggar (definitely a crowd pleaser). After a couple of hours or so Mike brought in a moth, stating right away that it was Small Waved Umber; it was the second new county record of the night and in fact we saw three individuals of this species during the evening. Still more good species were coming in, Larch Pug, Green Pug, Tawny Barred-angle, Small Yellow Wave, Poplar Grey, Barred Red, Dot MothLight Arches and Marbled Beauty were seen just as we were packing up.

Throughout the evening micro moths were also very numerous, and three new county records were recorded, Epiblema foenella, Hellinsia osteodactylus and Cochylis hybridella. Other excellent records were Aethes smeathmanniana (not recorded since 1975), Trachycera marmorea (not recorded since 1989), Epiblema costipunctana, Tinea semifulvella, Lozotaenia forsterana, Euzophera pinguis and Coleophora mayrella.

In all, 81 species of macro, and 47 species of micro moth were recorded, giving a grand total of 128 species. Of these 5 were new county records and others hadn’t been recorded for many years, making this event one of the most successful events we’ve ever had. A truly exciting evening.

16/07/11 - Cors Dyfi  -SN704984

The weather forecast for this event was really rather poor with heavy rain and strong winds predicted. However, when Saturday arrived, apart from showers, it was nowhere near as bad as we were led to believe, in fact, conditions were really rather good for mothing. So this event, jointly organised by the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) and Emyr of the Osprey project - Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, went ahead as planned.

The land at Cors Dyfi has seen many changes, once estuary, reclaimed grazing, then conifer plantation and finally wildlife-rich wetland. Today the reserve is a mixture of bog, swamp, wet woodland and scrub, supporting many animals and plants, and such diversity means that there are a great number of moth species to be found throughout the year, and tonight was no exception.

Once we had got base camp set up in the osprey visitor centre and all the traps up and running I gave a small introductory talk.

First moth in was a
Smoky Wainscot, this would be the first of three wainscot species; Striped Wainscot and Southern Wainscot were to follow later; the Round-winged Muslin was also found. All these species are associated with water, as is
the UK’s smallest macro species, Marsh Oblique-barred, which was found in small numbers (this is a nationally scarce B species). Other usual suspects were turning up; a fresh Sallow Kitten was admired by all, as was a Peach Blossom and later in the evening, a Buff Arches also had the same effect on people. Two species of Hawk moth were recorded: the Elephant Hawk-moth and the Poplar Hawk-moth, both good crowd pleasers. Other good records for the event were: Rosy footman, Chevron, Dot Moth, Marbled White Spot and Suspected. The only migrant to turn up was the Silver Y.

A good number of micro moth species were found, including; Apotomis semifasciana, Eudemis profundana and Epinotia nisella. The best micros of the night were Epinotia cruciana and Anacampsis populella, both of which became new county records earlier this year at this site (in A. populella’s case only a few days ago).

Unfortunately our target species, the Rosy Marsh Moth once again didn’t show. Still, it gives us an excuse to return to Cors Dyfi again next year.

Thanks to Emyr, his team, and all those involved in collecting the moths for making this a very successful event. I’m sure everyone had an excellent evening.

13/08/11 - Gregynog  -SO085976

As we approached this event, the weather conditions were ideal and we expected a good evening but, unfortunately, the trapping didn’t quite live up to the billing. It was just one of those strange evenings, where no-one had told the moths that it was a good night to be on the wing.

The evening started well enough with a Devon Carpet which is a nationally scarce B species. This was followed by a Small Phoenix, Antler Moth, and the ever-present Large Yellow Underwing. Single examples of Pebble Prominent, Pale Prominent, Snout and Flame Carpet were also brought to the table during the evening. The Dingy Footman was present in good numbers with a few Common Footman mixed in with them. Riband Wave, Dun-bar and Common Carpet were seen in small numbers throughout the evening. As we were about to call it a night, a dark form of Brussels Lace was also added to the evening’s list.

Compared with the macro moths, the micro moths did show comparatively well throughout the evening. The first species to show up was Ypsolopha ustella, a long lived species which is on the wing from the end of July, then again after hibernation in the spring. Two species of grass moth were recorded, Agriphila tristella, which was the most common species of the evening, topped up with a few examples of Agriphila straminella. Nice singletons of Pandemis corylana and Carcina quercana were also found. The best micro of the evening was probably a single Scoparia ancipitella, an uncommon species in mid Wales.

Despite the poor showing of moths the nine people who turned up for the event all had an enjoyable evening and I’m sure we’ll have another event at Gregynog in due course - it has great potential.
10/09/11 - Middletown  -SJ305121

The penultimate MMG event of the year was held at Bridge Cottage in Middletown. It was a quite a breezy evening which probably put off many species from flying, however, we did manage to record 38 species, which isn’t too bad at all, given the windy conditions.

A stunning Brindled Green was the first to appear, closely followed by a Brown-spot Pinion, a species which is mainly restricted to the east of the county. Several of the late summer species were still to be found, these included, Green Carpet, Straw Dot, Brimstone Moth, Snout, Flame Shoulder and Small Phoenix. But it was the autumn species which really stood out, especially the striking Sallows:  Pink-barred Sallow, Centre-barred Sallow and Sallow were all seen in good numbers. Other autumn species were the Frosted Orange, Autumnal Rustic, Rosy Rustic, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Angle Shades and Copper Underwing Sp.

Singletons of September Thorn, Pinion-streaked Snout, Common Wainscot and a very early Brick were also noted. The best records of the night were a Figure of Eight and a Pale Eggar which are both local and fairly uncommon in the county. The Silver Y was the only migrant macro species of the evening.

Micro moths were very thin on the ground with singletons of only five species recorded, these were, Argyresthia goedartella, Agonopterix arenella, Acleris comariana, Celypha lacunana and the only migrant species was Udea ferrugalis.

I would like to thank Clare Boyes for hosting the event and for keeping us topped up with drinks and nibbles. The seven of us enjoyed a very pleasant evening. 
08/10/11 - Lake Vyrnwy -SH967241

So, we’ve finally arrived at the last event of 2011.

The two days prior to the event were overcast, with either rain, wind or drizzle, and that’s exactly what we got on the night, but as it happened, these conditions worked for us rather than against us and we did very well indeed.

As I was setting one of the traps up, the first moth gave itself up, a Chestnut, which flew onto my hand, an indicator that moths were on the wing, and as soon as we switched the traps on, species began to readily come to the light. Spruce Carpet was soon recorded, and as it turned out, was to be the most numerous species of the evening, it was everywhere! Other very common species were Red-green Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet. Green-brindled Crescent. Red-line Quaker, Yellow-line Quaker, Flounced Chestnut and November Moth Sp were also quite common.

Of the more notable moths to make an appearance was a very late Larch Pug, a Barred Sallow which is normally restricted to the east of the county and the fairly uncommon Oak Nycteoline. A few ‘crowd pleasers’ made a show, these were: the stunningly beautiful Merveille du Jour, a Vapourer (which is not strongly attracted to light so isn’t recorded as an adult very often), and an Autumn Green Carpet, a local species which is not often recorded in the county.

I suppose the only slight disappointment of the evening was absence of a good migrant species, (an appearance was a possibility due to the mild weather we’d been experiencing since the beginning of the month), however, we did catch a couple of the more common migrant species, a Silver Y and the micro moth Udea ferrugalis.

In general, Micro moths were thin on the ground, but we did find Acleris notana, Acleris emargana and a rather stunning Ypsolopha sequella (a species which I hadn’t personally seen before).

I would like to thank Clare for bringing some very scrumptious fudge brownies and other goodies which were very quickly devoured, and for everyone who turned up in not very good weather conditions. An October event can be difficult depending on the weather, but on this occasion I think we did rather well and everyone went home happy.

During the winter months we will sort out the events programme for 2012 and I hope they turn out to be as successful as those of 2011.  I hope to see you all again next year.
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