Sunday, 18 November 2018


Apologies for a rather academic post, but Ben Sale of Herts Moths Blog whose views I have found really helpful for many years, made an interesting comment on the moth above which I pictured here a couple of weeks ago after finding it dead in the trap. Marc and Dave suggested Brindled Green which strikes me as right (though I am always extremely nervous about my own inept attempts at ID).

Commenting on my own blog, Ben said: I think (I'm pretty sure, but if you still have the specimen or better photos?) that your boring grey moth is in fact the very rare Sombre Brocade.
It's very similar to a plain Brindled Green, but I think I can make out the markings from your photo. This prompted me to go a-Googling as I had never heard of the Sombre Brocade, and indeed it is not mentioned at all in the first edition of Townsend, Waring and Lewington because it only made landfall in the Channel Islands in 2006 and in Dorset two years later. But it appears to be spreading and so I felt it was worth posting closer-up pics of my moth (now gone, I am afraid), just to see what the many experts here think.

I have borrowed the 'standard' pics from a post in September from the Portland Bird Observatory which I think everyone will find interesting in any event.  As I said, I realise that the condition of the moth and the quality of my photos make this a rather academic exercise, but I'd be grateful for views. I still incline to Brindled Green.   Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Westcott, Bucks

A week has passed since the first appearance here this year by Scarce Umber and a further four have visited the trap in the intervening period.  10th November was quite a good night, 16 macro species coming to the twin-30wt actinic light:  December Moth, Winter Moth, Feathered Thorn, Scarce Umber, Mottled Umber, Figure of Eight, Turnip, Dark Sword-grass, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Black Rustic, Sprawler, Green-brindled Crescent, Chestnut, Brick, Red-line Quaker & Pink-barred Sallow.  Additional moths seen in the garden since then have comprised Red-green Carpet & November Moth sp (both 11th), Blastobasis lacticolella & Beaded Chestnut (both 12th), Satellite (13th), Epiphyas postvittana, Eudonia angustea, Emmelina monodactyla & Grey Shoulder-knot (all 14th) and Phyllonorycter messaniella, Scrobipalpa costella, Udea ferrugalis, Willow Beauty, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Large Yellow Underwing, Dark Chestnut & Vine's Rustic (all 15th), so there is still plenty of variety out there.  Last night's nine species didn't add anything further but amongst them was yet another Dark Sword-grass which was the 28th example seen here this year, the previous garden high being 21 in 2013. 

The particularly mild night of the 15th brought out quite an interesting selection of moths to the actinic (32 individuals of 17 species).  I'd almost given up hope of seeing the migrant Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis here this year.  Willow Beauty was my latest ever sighting by six days, Shuttle-shaped Dart was only my second November record after one here on the 7th, while the Vine's Rustic was my first ever November sighting.

Udea ferrugalis, Westcott 15th November

Willow Beauty, Westcott 15th November

Vine's Rustic, Westcott 15th November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Friday, 16 November 2018

Woodland Trapping

On Wednesday I had another session near Marlow in the south of Bucks looking for Plumed Prominent and it turned out to be the most successful evening I've ever had in the county searching for this nationally scarce species, with 24 of them recorded.  Three traps were run in the BBOWT-managed section of the Forestry Commission's Homefield Wood and between them they brought in a dozen Plumed Prominent males, five between two 125wt MVs and seven to a single 15wt actinic.  I monitored the two MVs quite closely and their plumigera arrivals were all between 6pm and 6.30pm.  The actinic was left to its own devices until packing-up time but all of the arrivals there were in by 7.30pm.  Apart from December Moth which put in a reasonable showing (20 individuals divided between all three lights), the only other moths seen were November Moth sp (3), Winter Moth (1), Feathered Thorn (2) & Yellow-line Quaker (1).  On my way to Homefield I'd dropped off a single 125wt MV trap in nearby Pullingshill Wood on the off-chance, even though I'd noticed only a few young and scraggly field maples there.  When I went back to collect it at 7.45pm there were no less than 12 male Plumed Prominents on the sheet or in the trap, making it the most numerous species present!  They were accompanied by December Moth (9), November Moth sp (1), Feathered Thorn (1), Mottled Umber (1), Satellite (3) & Brick (1).  Pullingshill is mixed woodland belonging to the Woodland Trust and is now a new county site (and tetrad) for plumigera

Plumed Prominents, Homefield Wood 14th November

I've always found woods in the Chilterns to be very quiet at this time of year and this visit was no exception.  You'd expect that to be true of the sterile beech-woods where very little else grows, but Homefield and many of its surrounding areas of woodland have a very diverse collection of mature deciduous trees and shrubs so I don't really understand why there weren't more seasonal moths about.  Last night (Thursday) I trapped in Finemere Wood out here in the Vale of Aylesbury and, much as expected and in direct contrast to the previous night's results, there was absolutely no shortage of moths even though the species count didn't break any records:  Diurnea lipsiella (2), Blastobasis lacticolella (2), December Moth (72), November Moth sp (25), Winter Moth (35, no candidates for Northern), Feathered Thorn (81), Scarce Umber (19), Mottled Umber (15), Figure of Eight (1), Satellite (2), Chestnut (11), Dark Chestnut (1) & Brick (11).  I was surprised not to see a single Sprawler but perhaps its season there is over already.  The picture below of the trap hasn't come out quite as well as I'd hoped but it does give an impression that there were plenty of moths to be seen!

MV trap at Finemere Wood 15th November

Diurnea lipsiella, Finemere Wood 15th November

Diurnea lipsiella may be a particularly boring moth to look at but it is always good to see because it is nowhere near as widespread as its springtime cousin Diurnea fagella.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks



I think that this is also a Brick, again somewhat worn, caught on the 4th of this month along with three Feathered Thorns (and 9 other species).  Overall in my garden I see only about one tenth of the numbers of moths found by Dave, but this is the first time I have seen either Brick or Feathered Thorn. Two nights ago I found only 2 moths, one a Scarce Umber (again a first) and the other a Red-green Carpet.

Scarce Umber

John Thacker
Harwell, Oxon

Wednesday, 14 November 2018


I was thinking I wasn't going to get one this year but I think what I first took to be a bigger worn Yellow-line Quaker this morning is actually a Brick? Can someone confirm?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Last One

Numbers have fallen somewhat over the past two nights but, even so, the ten species found in the trap this morning were more than I can usually expect at this time of year.  Amongst them was a single quite heavily-marked Scarce Umber, likely to be the final macro species added to the garden year list for 2018.  It proved to be the year's 328th garden macro as things currently stand although I would hope to get past 330 when dissections of a handful of Daggers, Minors and Common Rustics have been completed.

Scarce Umber, Westcott 9th November

The others brought in by the garden actinic last night were December Moth (1, a female), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (2), Feathered Thorn (8), Figure of Eight (1), Dark Sword-grass (1), Sprawler (5), Green-brindled Crescent (2) & Satellite (1).   

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Yellow/Red-line Quaker

Immediate reaction was Red-line Quaker,
but black spots near head might suggest
greyish form of Yellow-line Quaker?

Alan Diver

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Plumed Prominent

One good thing about this time of year is that you can drive to the other end of the county, get three or four hours of "away trapping" in and still be home for News at Ten!  That's what happened this evening when I went in search of Plumed Prominent in woodland at Medmenham, Bucks as I thought this rather scarce species might just have started flying by now.  Only one was seen, a male which arrived on the sheet next to one of my three MV lights at 7.10pm:

Plumed Prominent, Medmenham 8th November

Plumed Prominent, Medmenham 8th November

The traps were quite busy with November and December Moths, while other species seen included Plutella xylostella, Blastobasis lacticolella, Acleris sparsana, Red-green Carpet, Spruce Carpet, Winter Moth, Mottled Umber, Chestnut, Dark Chestnut, Brick & Yellow-line Quaker.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Another Late One

A surprise visitor to the garden actinic in last night's rain was this Garden Carpet.  It looks very tired so may simply be a hanger-on from the third generation but it is my first November record for the species.

Garden Carpet, Westcott 6th November

Despite the wind and rain there was still a decent collection of moths last night, the remainder of the catch being Plutella xylostella (1), Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Red-green Carpet (1), November Moth sp (4), Winter Moth (2), Feathered Thorn (14), Large Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (2), White-point (2), Black Rustic (6), Sprawler (20), Green-brindled Crescent (2), Merveille du Jour (1) & Yellow-line Quaker (1).  No Brick!  

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Dark Chestnut?

I think this is a Dark Chestnut? Also I got my first Feathered Thorn, a really pretty looking one.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford