Because of on-going forestry work, in order to carry out the final M40 Compensation Area butterfly transect of the year this afternoon I had to walk through Bernwood Forest from the Oakley Wood car-park rather than driving through as usual. During the three mile round trip from car-park to site and back I inspected a large amount of fleabane in the ditches along the main forest track. Much of it was over for the year but there were still some flowers and, contrary to expectations, in Shabbington Wood I found two rather worn examples of the gelechid Apodia bifractella feeding on them. This is quite late for the moth, which normally flies in July and August, but it may well still be worth inspecting fleabane flowers if you have any locally because this appears to be an under-recorded species. It does also come to light (I had some that way on Ivinghoe Beacon back in July) but daytime searching is likely to be more productive because if present they are quite easy to spot on the flowers.
Apodia bifractella, Shabbington Wood 25th September
My first couple of attempts at identifying leaf mines turned out not to be moths.
However, this one found on beech this morning looked as if it might be Stigmella tityrella?
As I am new to looking at leaf mines confirmation or correction would be welcome.
Having had the occasional Turnip turn up over the last few weeks this one looked a little different.
I wondered if it was a Pearly Underwing? Although not shown in these images there was no sign of any feathering on the lower half of the antennae.
Otherwise a very small catch last night with an Angle Shades the only one of any note.
Heart and Dart seem to have finally come to an end. I got 5 on the 16th September. Although the books mention a small second brood these were all very worn individuals.
105 moths of 19 species braved the weather to reach the actinic trap here at Westcott last night, including a nice year-first Large Wainscot. Large Yellow Underwing and Setaceous Hebrew Character re-appeared, although only a handful of each, with the top performers being Lunar Underwing (57), Black Rustic (14) and Beaded Chestnut (9). I expect those last three species will make up the bulk of the catch here for the next few weeks.
Large Wainscot, Westcott 22nd September
Although I saw one at Finemere Wood three weeks ago, Brick is overdue in the garden and I expect Mallow, Feathered Thorn, Green-brindled Crescent and Blair's Shoulder-knot will appear any day now. As we head into early October there will be the Novembers, Merveille du Jour, Grey Shoulder-knot and (hopefully) Tawny Pinion to look forward to, then later in the month Figure of Eight, Sprawler and Scarce Umber, with December Moth to follow in November. Anything else for 2018 will be a bonus because Winter Moth and Mottled Umber were seen here way back in January and Red-green Carpet, Pale Pinion and the three Chestnuts (Dark, Dotted and Chestnut itself) were all recorded in the spring after hibernation.
One bonus autumn species I can see appearing here sooner or later is Oak Rustic which seems to be creeping its way northwards. It is already one to look out for in Berkshire and Oxfordshire during October, if not yet in Bucks.
Having been away for the past week, it is interesting to see how the contents of the garden trap at Westcott seem to have changed considerably over the intervening period. The weather last night wasn't conducive to much moth activity but 14 species did turn up: Acleris variegana (2), Brimstone Moth (1), Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (1), Square-spot Rustic (1), Common Wainscot (1), Brindled Green (1), Deep-brown Dart (1, the rather anonymous-looking specimen shown below), Black Rustic (16), Beaded Chestnut (2), Lunar Underwing (19), Pink-barred Sallow (1), Flounced Rustic (1), Frosted Orange (1) & Straw Dot (1). Nothing new there, but the lack of Large Yellow Underwings and Setaceous Hebrew Characters was a bit of a surprise.
Deep-brown Dart, Westcott 21st September
Over the previous week I'd trapped five times in a garden near Bideford in Devon and got just over 50 species between those sessions, with Large Yellow Underwing and Willow Beauty easily the most abundant. The others were all moths of late-summer and included none of the autumnal species caught here last night - there was not a single sallow of any description to be seen.
I had real trouble with this moth this morning, in spite of its being so distinctive and attractive. But I'm 99 percent sure that it's a Large Ranunculus which was here in September 2013 but not otherwise, albeit a notable lighter one than Dave's recent arrival and with much brighter orange than shown in Waring, Townsend and Lewington. The iPad Mini camera can mess things about - eg the bottom right picture is over-bright, but the actual specimen is both light and vividly-oranged.
A few nfys at the museum last night; Deep-brown Dart, Lunar Underwing, Beaded Chestnut, Brown-spot Pinion, Sallow, Orange Sallow and Acleris sparsana; the latter was new for the site also, as was Cypress Carpet.
But I'd appreciate a view on this micro (retained just in case...)
I have been reading about Hummingbird Hawk-moth sightings all over the place, and in particular daily sightings on the Westcott buddleia. However, on my own buddleia bushes there have been plenty of butterflies but not a single hawk-moth. Until that is yesterday, when finally a Hummingbird Hawk-moth decided my garden was worth a visit after all.
In the garden trap on Sunday night, I also found my first Old Lady of the year - another moth I had almost given up hope of seeing in 2018.
I also trapped a couple of micros I would like advice on. In his post the other day, Adam mentioned Epinotia nisella being a common moth in his garden. I wondered if this moth below is also an E. nisella?
The second micro shown below has a forewing length of 7mm and any suggestions as to its id would be appreciated.
On 22nd August I posted a photo of a dark, worn Ypsolopha. Then on 4th September Dave Wilton posted an image of Y. horridella which Nigel Partridge spotted as showing some similarities with my moth. Peter Hall has now checked the moth in question and it is indeed Y. horridella.
This reinforces the value of this blog - many thanks to all concerned.
Back on 22nd July I posted a picture of this moth.
Both Martin Harvey and Martin Townsend suggested it was a Brown-veined Wainscot. The moth has now been examined, and I can confirm that the Martins were absolutely correct. A new addition to my garden list.