In 2015 we wrote about a rare moth (only caught twice in Wales before); Anania perlucidalis, that we found at Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve, the site in Barry that The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales manage on behalf of Dow Corning. Since then we have continued to carry out a range of surveys as well as managing the grassland, woodland and scrub for the benefit of the species present.
Towards the end of July this year we put the moth trap out again despite slightly dubious weather forecast. When we got there in the morning we were pleasantly surprised to find the trap alive with moths of all shapes and sizes – over 340 individuals of 93 different species! These ranged from tiny little micro-moths of only a couple of millimetres long to huge Poplar Hawkmoths, moths disguised as bits of broken twig to bright pink and green Elephant Hawkmoths!
Unsurprisingly given the number of creatures involved, it took us quite a while to sort through the trap, identifying everything we could before releasing them unharmed in the surrounding vegetation (hopefully out of reach of the robins loitering around on the lookout for an easy meal…).
Cadoxton Ponds has a lot of potential for many species, including moths, due to the range of habitats present and its location near the coast which means it is a potential stop-off for migrating animals. As it was, we caught two migrant moth species and over 25 other species that we’d never caught at the site before.
We didn’t catch anything quite as rare as the moth I wrote about last time but the highlight was definitely a small, unprepossessing-looking species called Monochroa palustrellus which is only the second time that it has been recorded in Glamorgan! Other uncommon species include a Dusky Sallow which is a very smart moth that is scarce in the county and mainly confined to the coast; its caterpillars feeding on various grasses. The other good record was a micromoth called Epiblema foenella whose caterpillars feed on mugwort, which is present in good numbers at Cadoxton Ponds.
We will hopefully (weather permitting…) be running a couple more traps at the reserve in the coming months as well as surveys for other invertebrates and birds amongst other things. If we find anything of note we will let you know! Until then we’ll be managing the grassland to ensure that it doesn’t get completely swamped in brambles as well as preventing the reedbeds from encroaching too far into areas of open water on the site; maintaining a good mosaic of habitats in the reserve is essential to keep it in suitable condition for as many different species as possible.
< Dow Corning Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve
Cadoxton Ponds is 30 acre nature reserve created by Dow Corning on land adjacent to the manufacturing site. The reserve hosts educational visits to support the sustainability curriculum. Further information is available.