Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Phyllocnistis xenia

While releasing last night's garden moths down the road at Woodham, Bucks this afternoon I noticed a number of very young White Poplar shoots adjacent to some mature trees.  The saplings were covered in active upper surface 'snail-trail' mines of the nationally scarce species Phyllocnistis xenia

The second image is a back-lit photo showing the larva.  In the first image the black area towards the bottom is actually the upper-side view of a vacated mine of Phyllonorycter comparella on the same leaf.

Westcott, Bucks

My turn at last

Much as I have been enjoying all the Clifden Nonpareil reports, I cannot deny that an element of envy has also been involved.

Not any more.  

Because of the accounts here thus far, I've been paying special attention to the trap's surroundings recently and even rousing myself from evening torpor to have a scout round before I turn in. In the event, this rigour proved unnecessary. The beautiful moth above was tucked under the rim of my MV trap's transparent cowl this morning, just where the plastic has lost a small chunk. I don't have any intention of dying, but I could now, content.

It would be very interesting to hear theories from UTM's many experts on why this wonderful moth is doing so well. Like Andrew, I always considered it the moth equivalent of the Camberwell Beauty. I also share Dave's slight sadness that its exalted status is being lost as it becomes almost common. But on the other hand, if that wasn't happening, I'm sure that I would never have hosted one. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Monday, 16 September 2019

Actinic versus MV

For quite a few years now I've been operating a "neighbour friendly" twin-30wt actinic conversion for the Robinson trap in the garden in place of the 125wt MV arrangement, but running the two together during the main summer months.  That's mostly only during June, July and August but with a few exceptions, for example so that hopefully I won't miss out during particularly good periods for migration!  Because I'm limited to where the traps can be placed if I run both of them, I really need leaves on our garden trees and shrubs so that the two lights don't interfere with each other.  They each have their advantages and disadvantages but during the quiet half of the year (early-November to late-April) I don't appear to miss anything at all by just running the actinic.

When they are run together during the summer they complement each other well and it is generally the case that the MV brings in more moths (both species and individuals).  However, in September and October this seems to be reversed and there is often a positive advantage in running the actinic over the MV.  Last night, when it was quite mild and I happened to run both lights, was quite a good example.  The MV brought in 137 moths of 25 species whereas the actinic managed 167 moths of 40 species.  The overall total was 304 moths of 49 species but none of the nine attracted only to the MV was one that I hadn't previously had to the actinic in the last week or two:

MV:  Tinea semifulvella (1), Plutella xylostella (1), Mompha epilobiella (1), Acleris variegana (2), Acleris emargana (1), Epiphyas postvittana (1), Celypha lacunana (2), Eudonia pallida (1), Hypsopygia costalis (1), Common Marbled Carpet (3), Brimstone Moth (1), Light Emerald (4), Large Yellow Underwing (11), Lesser Yellow Underwing (4), Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (27), Six-striped Rustic (1), Square-spot Rustic (56), Common Wainscot (7), Black Rustic (2), Centre-barred Sallow (1), Sallow (2), Vine's Rustic (2), Silver Y (1) & Snout (2).

Actinic:  Plutella xylostella (1), Agonopterix arenella (1), Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Cochylis molliculana (2), Agapeta hamana (1), Acleris variegana (1), Archips podana (1), Epiphyas postvittana (1), Epinotia nisella (1), Eudonia pallida (1), Eudonia angustea (3), Agriphila tristella (1), Catoptria falsella (1), Patania ruralis (1), Galleria mellonella (1), Small Dusty Wave (2), Garden Carpet (1), Cypress Pug (1), Brimstone Moth (1), Canary-shouldered Thorn (1), Dusky Thorn (2), Light Emerald (4), Turnip (1), Large Yellow Underwing (16), Lesser Yellow Underwing (3), Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (49), Square-spot Rustic (30), White-point (2), Common Wainscot (19), Black Rustic (2), Brown-spot Pinion (1), Lunar Underwing (1), Sallow (1), Angle Shades (1), Uncertain (1), Vine's Rustic (5), Pale Mottled Willow (1), Silver Y (1) & Snout (2).

The Brown-spot Pinion, a moth I usually see here only two or three times each season, was a first for the 2019 year-list but otherwise there was nothing exceptional amongst the above collection, although the Mother of Pearl Patania ruralis was the first I've had in the garden since 26th August.

Brown-spot Pinion, Westcott 15th September

While MV bulbs may become virtually unobtainable within a few years, there appear to be no such problems with the supply of actinics which is reassuring.  It will be interesting to learn how people get on with LEDs as a light source.  Traps using them are still in their infancy and very much experimental at the moment, both in terms of their ability to attract moths and their effect on our eyesight when using them, but in time they may well prove to be the way forward.  Does anyone here have experience of using LED traps yet? 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks



More VC22 (Berks) records of Cliden Nonpareil: A colleague of mine found a Clifden Nonpareil on the outside of their door in Wantage on 11th September (thank you Karsten and Chris for the record and images). I also had one in my garden trap in Didcot last night looking a little worse for wear. Marc Botham, Didcot

Clifden Nonpareil, Wantage

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Another one ticked off the list

Following on from Gordon Redford's posts, Dewick's Plusia came my way last night too (thanks for waving yours off in my direction, Gordon!).  It actually looked to be in better condition on one of the vanes of my actinic trap last night than it did in the light of day this morning, but still a very nice moth to see (my 442nd garden macro).  There have been several recent reports from adjacent counties and Richard Lewington had one in south Oxfordshire two nights ago, so I'm sure more records will come to light of what is probably now a resident species locally.

Dewick's Plusia, Westcott 14th September
While pottering around the garden in today's sunshine I noticed this fully-grown Knot Grass caterpillar munching away on a small potted buckthorn on our patio - I wondered why the plant had lost quite a few of its leaves! 

Knot Grass larva, Westcott 15th September

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Pinion-streaked Snout?

I had this last night in my garden at Beenham Berks. Not sure about this. Is it a Pinion-streaked Snout or a micro?

Saturday, 14 September 2019


I've seen more White-points Mythimna albipuncta this year in my garden in Walter's Ash (VC24) than I can recall seeing before.

I've seen them regularly at this time of year in the last few years, but only in ones and twos and not that often.

Over the past month I've had them everytime I put the 125 MV trap out and up to 10 at a time, I even had one yesterday feeding on a garden Sedum during the day.

I don't know if that is because the local population is now well established and we are just seeing more of them or because we've had an influx of immigrants?

Have others seen the same thing?

White-point at MV Light 31-Aug-2019
White-point, daytime on Sedum 13-Sep-2019
Neil Fletcher
Walter's Ash

Westcott, Bucks

After a few days away in North Wales seeing nice moths such as Grey Chi and Feathered Ranunculus, my first Lunar Underwing of the season turned up in the garden on 11th September.  I await the deluge...  There has been nothing else new for the year-list recently but there have been one or two interesting moths all the same, even if the images below all seem to be of boring brown jobs!

Since the 10th I've recorded 22 different adult micro species in the garden which seems to me to be quite a good total for the time of year.  Amongst them was Ypsolopha horridella which was the fourth example of the year for the garden after others in July and August.  On the 11th I had a fresh-looking specimen of one of the "lesser-spotted" Yponomeuta species which might suggest cagnagella but I'm not hopeful of getting that ID confirmed.  I've never found larvae on the spindle we have in the garden here.  Cochylis molliculana continues to appear regularly and has been by far the most common Cochylis species in the garden this year having only made its first appearance in 2017.

Ypsolopha horridella, Westcott 11th September

More than 40 different macro species have been recorded over the same period, including Dark Sword-grass which appeared in the trap on the 10th and 11th (the first was probably the darkest example I've ever seen). Another Bulrush Wainscot was caught on the 12th while a second-brood Mottled Rustic was found in the trap last night (13th).  I had September and October records of Mottled Rustic last year but otherwise just one September record in 2006, so an attempt at a second brood doesn't seem to be an annual occurrence just yet locally.    

Dark Sword-grass, Westcott 10th September

Lunar Underwing, Westcott 11th September
Bulrush Wainscot, Westcott 12th September

Mottled Rustic, Westcott 13th September

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Bedstraw Hawkmoth in Northampton

You may be interested to know that Ryan Clark found a Bedstraw Hawkmoth Hyles gallii larva yesterday just over the border in Northampton.  Might be worth checking Rosebay Willowherb, bedstraws and fuschias as you are out and about!


Neil Fletcher

Friday, 13 September 2019

Well,well, well

Following on from yesterday's excitement,  these were from the Robinson trap in my Newport Pagnell garden this morning.  As the one Dewick's Plusia in my trap yesterday escaped in the garden as I took the egg box it was on to show my wife, I half expected that it may appear again but I certainly was not expecting to find another.  They were not next to each other in the trap, I moved one for the photograph.

I can't wait for tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

A couple of micros

Both of these from last night in my garden in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, would be new for the garden if correct. I think they are Celypha cespitana (but could possibly be rivulana) - admittedly this would be rather a late occurence, but it doesn't seem impossible - and a rather faded Epinotia tenerana. Any confirmation (or other ideas) would be welcome.

Celypha cespitana (or possibly rivulana), 11/9/19

Possible Epinotia tenerana, 11/9/19
Steve Goddard

Second brood Blotched Emerald

Amongst the rather poor number of moths caught in Bernwood Forest last night (117 individuals of 28 species between three traps) was the fresh Blotched Emerald shown below.  A second brood isn't unprecedented because I had a September record from Finemere Wood, Bucks back in 2009.

Blotched Emerald, Bernwood Forest 11th September

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Dewick's Plusia

This fine Dewick's Plusia was in the Robinson trap in my garden in Newport Pagnell this morning.  A fellow "mother" who lives about half a mile from my home reported one a few days ago which I believe she released so it may be the same specimen.

It made up for not finding a Clifden Nonpareil.


Sad to say in a way, but I can see Clifden Nonpareil becoming common everywhere locally within just a few years and therefore losing a bit of its magic!  Last night I had a final session in Bernwood Forest looking for Oak Lutestring (which wasn't found, so I conclude that it has probably been lost to the site).  The first moth to arrive at the Skinner MV trap which I monitored throughout the three hour session was a Clifden Nonpareil which circled the light for a good ten minutes before flying off.  Assumed for recording purposes to be the same individual, it re-appeared at packing-up time to walk around on the sheet before perching on the side of the trap (eight seconds of grotty video here).  Meanwhile, a second example had entered a twin-30wt actinic Skinner trap on a different ride some distance away and a third was found inside my other trap, a Robinson MV.  I had one in 2018 at the last spot so it is probably fair to say that the species is now resident at Bernwood.  There is certainly plenty of aspen throughout the forest.

Clifden Nonpareil, Bernwood Forest 11th September
Clifden Nonpareil, Bernwood 11th September

Back home at Westcott I could see that the garden trap itself held a Red Underwing but during a torchlight scan of the immediate area I happened to notice what was obviously a Clifden Nonpareil perched high up on the wall of the house about 15 metres away from the actinic light.  Luckily it was close enough to an upstairs bedroom window to be able to pot it up from indoors and then put inside the trap.  That's the fourth record for the garden over three years.  While there is no aspen in the immediate area (although there are lots of poplars), aspen is certainly plentiful in local woods within a mile or two of the village.

Clifden Nonpareil & Red Underwing, Westcott 11th September

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Eudonia angustea?

Here's a moth for which I'm not sure I have the correct ID.

To the naked eye, the white margin to the black cross-line at 1/3 is quite clear, and I could tell that there were a few other dark spots, but I didn't find an obvious match in the field guide: the closest I could see was Diurnea fagella, which I immediately rejected as the wrong size and the wrong season!

However, when I later looked at my photo, the overall pattern on this rather worn individual suggests Eudonia angustea.  On the other hand, the markings are rather indistinct, and the outer cross-line in the book is at best only partially present in the photo.  FW is 10mm.

What do other people think?  This is not a great photo: the focus/depth of field is slightly off, and both the dark inner cross-line and its pale margin were clearer to the naked eye than they are in the photo!

Tim Arnold
Newton Longville, Bucks

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Carpets etc

Red-green carpet.

Common carpet to join John's


Frosted orange

   Two fairly late specimens?
Yellow shell and Magpie.

While these Crambidae can be difficult to separate, 
the snout and beautifully clear markings suggest
Eudonia lacustrata to me.

Alan Diver,

Elephant Hawk-moth larvae

Yesterday Gaynor Norman found three fully-grown Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillars feeding on one of her garden fuchsias in Marlow, Bucks.

Thanks very much to Gaynor for letting us use her pictures.