A new month, a new leafmine challenge, and it’s got off to a very successful start for me. But let’s start at the beginning …
Our locally based Senior ecologist with Butterfly Conservation, George, kickstarted the challenge with a couple of tweets and some photos last Friday evening:
Ok #TeamLeafmine here’s another recent S. Wales colonist to look for; an easy one to identify too. Phyllocnistis saligna mines narrow-leaved willows, unusual because it mines both leaves & young stems. 3 recent records by the Taff in North Cardiff, must be out there elsewhere!
Cocoons are formed in a turned over leaf edge, see 3rd photo in original tweet. Quite a few Gwent records from the Levels and Monmouth/Abergavenny, also new to Carmarthenshire in 2021. Must be in & around Cardiff Bay! More info here: http://leafmines.co.uk/html/Lepidoptera/P.saligna.htm
I didn’t have any firm plans for Saturday’s walk so wended my merry way along the edges of the two local rivers, the Ely and the Taff. I soon realised that this challenge will be a little more difficult than previous ones, as narrow-leaved willows were few and far between and, when found, often inaccessible. However, I did manage to find mines in two locations along the River Taff, which has encouraged me to continue my search further up the river very soon. And, though I hope to find more mines, I doubt I’ll find one of the very lovely little adult Phyllocnistis saligna moths, the wonderfully named Willow bent-wings, which you can see on the UK Moths website.