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Thursday 19 October 2023
Wednesday 18 October 2023
It`s been quite some time that I have written an update, but today`s predicted heavy rain has motivated me into providing some highlights. The leaf-mining Eriocrania sparrmannella referred to in an earlier post in late June was subsequently noted at a couple of other sites near Llanelli in SE Carms - a small raised bog SW of Ty-llwyd (near Pont Abraham on the M4 extension) and on a planted, non-native birch at Pemberton Park (Trostre, Llanelli); Phyllonorycter platani was also seen on amenity plantings of London Plane at the latter site. Pachyrhabda streropodes larval workings on the underside of soft shield-ferns were found along a defunct mineral line (`Ffordd y Wagen`) near my previous home at Pwll - they were not there when I last looked in c 2018. This alien micro was also noted below the Five Fields allotments at Carmarthen where, again, it was noted on soft shield-ferns. I was informed that it was also found in Pembrokeshire this spring - near Haverfordwest (I had it in `far west` Carms at Pendine last year).
The home garden trap has been quite mediocre, in spite of quite regular trapping. There have been the usual `goodies` such leopard moths and a September spate of old lady moths with up to three of each comprising the maxima recorded. A series of about a dozen almost consecutive nights` trapping at the end of August/early September yielded quite unexceptional results - a few vestals, the odd rusty-dot pearl, silver y`s etc. I consider the l-album wainscots in those traps to be resident local moths. Box moths have increased in occurrence, being trapped on several occasions, including the scarcer brown phase. It`s a species that I most certainly do not want to see with my part-boundary hedge of tall box - I had just one record in 2022 but this year it has turned up much more frequently. A clay triple lines and Hypsopygia glaucinalis (an increasing species) were of modest interest. `Hummers` were spotted (briefly) on two occasions (7 & 14/8), at lavender flowers.
October, in contrast, has certainly brought some moth dividends. The first was on 5/10 when, among a rather undistinguished supporting cast that was much bothered by a restless hornet overnight, was a NCR - a Clancy`s rustic, a 2nd Welsh record with the first being noted in eastern Glamorgan only a few days earlier. More vestals, a few l-album wainscots and cypress carpets followed over the next few nights, along with some usual `seasonals` such as Merveille du jours, Blair`s shoulder-knots and large wainscots. On 7/10 there was another `good` migrant: Crocidsema plebejana (circa 4th/5th vcr).
A visit to the former coalmine site at Cynheidre (just N of Llanelli) to search for late season birch mines on 9/10 was a complete flop as the birch leaves had 99% fallen! However, success came out of adversity with the 2nd vcr of the oak leaf miner Acrocercops brongniardella spotted and, much better, an adult Caloptilia falconipennella, new to Carms. It had been observed briefly flying from a alder leaf to another - but, given the late season and the fact that I was `leaf mining`, I had no net. Carefully and very slowly an approach was made with an opened plastic tube which managed to catch it - most of such approaches fail but, luckily this time, I did n`t! It must be said that, at the time, I did n`t realise its identity and it was caught just to see what common/frequent species it was ie to provide `a record`. It was in the fridge for a couple of days before I remembered to check it - it was falconipennella, a micro that is spreading slowly north-westwards.
It was not the last as far as `moth luck` was concerned for 9/10. In the garden trap that night was a white speck and, best of all, an old world webworm, a migrant that was having a good season. It was resting on the side of the trap but not inside and it too was `potted up` with luck/care! I emailed Sam Bosanquet and George Tordoff very early the next morning with my photo.
After that, the migrant phase petered out, with just the odd vestal (and more of the colonising box moth!). Leucoptera malifoliella on pear was another rarely-noted Carms leaf miner, noted at an orchard at Stradey Home Farm on 10/10.
Thanks to SB & GT for confirming the more significant moth records.
Monday 16 October 2023
Wednesday 11 October 2023
Although it was nice to see five Black Rustics and four Angle Shades in this morning's trap, the only thing of interest was a small very white moth, which looked superficially like a Mother of Pearl. A close inspection showed it to be Palpita vitrealis.
Tuesday 10 October 2023
Last night's trap at first glance this morning, 10th October, didn't look too promising. There was a warm southerly and 14.6 degrees at dawn, but the trap looked pretty sparse.
However, I ended up with the my best migrant catch ever here! 2 Vestal, 2 Palpita vitrealis, 1 Udea ferrugalis (if that counts), 1 Delicate, 1 Nomophila noctuella and 3 Gem. I was pleased with this lot, and photographed most things. Plus a hornet and a Harlequin ladybird
Later on though around lunch time I disturbed a small moth from where the trap had been which landed on the patio. When I looked it was very clearly Hellula undalis, Old World Webworm. I rushed indoors for a pot and almost got the pot over it but not quite before it disappeared. Definitely a first for the garden here in Pontyberem!
Final moth tally 21 species, 38 moths.