Wednesday, 13 November 2019

(Lack of) Plumed Prominent

Last night I ran a couple of MV traps in Homefield Wood and a third in another nearby wood not far from Marlow, Bucks.  Both sites have in the past produced fair numbers of Plumed Prominent but on this occasion none at all came to light at either location between 5pm and 9pm (in my experience the males are usually active between 6pm and 8pm).  Weather-wise it was a reasonable evening at about 5C with just occasional light drizzle and from the very start there was activity around the traps from flies and lacewings which is always a good sign.  Indeed, a good selection of moths did appear for this time of year, including Caloptilia semifascia, Ypsolopha ustella, Plutella xylostella (the dark form), Diurnia lipsiella, Emmelina monodactyla, Acleris ferrugana/notana, Acleris sparsana, Pine Carpet, Spruce Carpet, Red-green Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, November moth agg., Green-brindled Crescent, Beaded Chestnut, Yellow-line Quaker, Brick, Satellite, Black Rustic & Oak Nycteoline,  In fact it was almost like stepping back a month because there was no sign at all of things like December Moth, Winter Moth, Feathered Thorn, Mottled Umber or Sprawler which I've been getting at home for some weeks now.

Ypsolopha ustella, Homefield Wood 12th November

Diurnea lipsiella, Homefield Wood 12th November

Spruce Carpet, Homefield Wood 12th November

Oak Nycteoline, Homefield Wood 12th November

The 12th is the latest November date on which I've tried and failed to see Plumed Prominent at a known site.  Leaving aside the fact that Marc Botham and I saw three at Warburg in Oxon last week (a different micro-climate, maybe?), another result of generally warming temperatures could be that the flight periods of some of our cold-loving moths are being pushed back.  Whatever the reason, perhaps I'll attempt to look for it again later this month if the opportunity arises.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Recent Leafmines

I've managed a few more trips out to sites around Oxford, looking for leafmines and larvae in recent weeks. Firstly to Wytham Woods on 31/10 where the highlight was more mines of Stephensia brunnichella on Wild Basil. This seems to be quite widespread on any unimproved calcareous grasslands around Oxford, and I found more on a verge by Bayswater Road and then at Sydlings Copse on 06/11.

Here I found just over 50 species of leaf miner and larvae in an enjoyable morning. The main highlight was the red data book Stigmella filipendulae on Meadowsweet (ID confirmed by John Langmaid) in the fen area of the site.

Stigmella filipendulae mine - Sydlings Copse

Stigmella filipendulae mines - Sydlings Copse
I also found a few mines of Parornix fagivora on Beech, and a case of Coleophora albitarsella on Ground Ivy, which were both new ones for me. Other notables were Ectoedemia angulifasciella on Dog Rose, Ectoedemia rubivora on Bramble, a Thiotricia subocellea case on Marjoram and a nice variety of birch-feeding stigmellas.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Westcott, Bucks

Numbers in the garden trap have dwindled over the past week.  On the 4th, 5th and 6th I was still getting around 15 species per night and even a migrant micro appeared on the 4th in the shape of Udea ferrugalis.  However, on the 7th and 8th the count plummeted to just three moths of two species each night (Sprawler & Red-line Quaker on the 7th, Red-green Carpet & Winter moth on the 8th).  We were away over this past weekend but I decided to switch on the light at 8pm when we arrived back last night, not really expecting to get anything at all because there was already a frost, but conditions improved as the night progressed and by dawn this morning thirteen moths of eight species had appeared:  Plutella xylostella (1), December Moth (1), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (1), Feathered Thorn (1), Mottled Umber (1), Sprawler (6) & Satellite (1).  I'm still waiting on Scarce Umber, which is the last macro species that I can reasonably expect this year.

Plutella xylostella, Westcott 10th November

Udea ferrugalis, Westcott 4th November

I imagine it won't have reached quite as far as here yet but one westwards-spreading species to look out for now is the Black-spotted Chestnut, a recent UK colonist which flies from November onwards throughout the winter months, sometimes in seemingly inhospitable conditions.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks    

Friday, 8 November 2019

Leaf mines on bramble, elm and hazel

Following on from Andrew's post yesterday, I have also found some it difficult to match some mines found while cutting shrubs in my garden with the info on the British Leafminers and other such sites.  However the first (on bramble) looks like a good fit for Stigmella aurella? The next one (on elm) has an active caterpillar and is possibly Stigmella lemnicella?  The third (on hazel) could be Stigmella microtheriella (as suggested for Andrew's leafminer), but does not appear to show the centralized frass line which is said to be characteristic of this mine.  The last (also on hazel) could possibly be Ectoedemia minimella - the caterpillar was in the central oval area and is also shown isolated.
Elm (detail)
Hazel 1

Hazel 2

Caterpillar from Hazel 2

John Thacker


Eudonia angustea

I haven't put moth trap out for a while
but found this micro resting on net curtains on
3rd November. Think Eudonia angustea? is it likely
to have emerged inside the house?

Alan Diver,

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Plumed Prominent

Marc Botham arranged to drop off a couple of MV lights at BBOWT's Warburg reserve near Nettlebed, Oxon last night and we met up there this morning to go through the contents.  The hope was that despite all the rain we would find the nationally scarce Plumed Prominent on the wing by now at this, one of its best sites in the Chilterns.  The moth is traditionally searched for from Bonfire Night onwards although in recent years I've had one or two wasted journeys to sites in Bucks this close to 5th November.  Thankfully there had indeed been some early emergences at Warburg and each trap contained the moth (two in one and one in the other, all males). 

Plumed Prominent, Warburg 6th November

The cold and very wet conditions conspired to ensure that there was little in the way of a supporting cast, the only other species recorded being Caloptilia betulicola, Acleris ferrugana/notana, December Moth, Red-green Carpet, Northern Winter Moth, November Moth agg., Mottled Umber, Satellite & Chestnut.  Surprisingly there was no sign of either Feathered Thorn or Sprawler which one might have thought would fly whatever the weather. 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Longwick leaf mines on Hazel

A quick walk to the village post office was stopped by my noticing a hazel growing out of a hedge on the main road. I noticed a number of, no longer tenanted, mines which you can see below.

I struggled a bit to align the photos with the UK leafminers website. I am assuming they must be Ectoedemia minimella? Although they are not entirely convincing. Help would be welcome!

Tuesday, 5 November 2019


I think that I have two Sprawlers this morning (my first of the year) but their difference unsettles me and I suspect that the one on the right, with the zebra legs, may be something else. Help appreciated - sorry to be dim. Incidentally, unlike Dave's nervous Sprawlers at Westcott, these were both in the trap, along with a Black Rustic, a Beaded Chestnut and three Caddis flies.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Sprawled Out

There were no migrants in the garden here last night but I did get a lot of Sprawlers, eleven of them being collected up off the lawn around the light just before dawn (not a single one had entered the trap).  This was the most numerous species, just ahead of Feathered Thorn (10) and Brick (10).  Only ten of the Sprawlers would co-operate for the group shot below (there's always one...!).

Sprawlers, Westcott 1st November

The total catch last night was 70 moths of 20 species, the remainder comprising Agonopterix arenella, Common Marbled Carpet, Winter Moth, November Moth agg., Mottled Umber, Green-brindled Crescent, Red-line Quaker, Lunar Underwing, Chestnut, Dark Chestnut, Grey Shoulder-knot, Satellite, Merveille du Jour, Black Rustic, Large Yellow Underwing & Setaceous Hebrew Character, along with my first December Moth of the year.

December Moth, Westcott 1st November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks