Wednesday, 17 January 2018

First moth of 2018

I haven't yet put the trap out and the house lights haven't attracted any moths yet either, so my first moth of the year is from indoors.  Similar to last year, my first moth is Cydia pomonella - last year one appeared on 22nd Jan in the kitchen and today's moth was also in the kitchen.  Although there were plenty of apples in the kitchen in the Autumn, there haven't been any there for at least a couple of months, so once again, I'm intrigued as to where this has emerged from.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Help with ID

Happy New Year all!

I put my trap out for the first time this year, last night. I caught two moths, one I think is a Pale Brindled Beauty and the other a Spring Usher. Am I correct?
Also to my surprise, underneath the trap was a lovely caterpillar. Can anyone ID it?

Pale Brindled Beauty?
Spring Usher?

Many thanks


Friday, 12 January 2018


Came to light 11/12 January.

Couldn't persuade it to open wings. Northern winter moth?

Alan Diver

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Burnham Beeches, Bucks

Like Dave's trap at Westcott there has been little action at the Burnham Beeches Rothamsted trap over the last week. A total of 4 macros - Winter, Chestnut, Mottled Umber and last night (10th) an Oak Beauty.  The latter being the second earliest ever in the Bucks database which has only four January records for the species.  Three towards the end of the month and the earliest being 5 Jan 2007.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Westcott, Bucks

It has been particularly quiet here over the past week with no moths seen other than the occasional Pale Brindled Beauty, the garden's first example for this season having appeared back on 30th December.

Pale Brindled Beauties, Westcott 5th January

Peter Hall is currently working his way through my dissections for 2017 and has completed those for Westcott so I can now produce some accurate garden statistics for the year to bore you with.  2017 was definitely a good one so far as I'm concerned!

  • The garden twin-30wt actinic trap was run on 279 nights throughout the year as follows:  Jan (6 nights), Feb (20), Mar (31), Apr (27), May (31), Jun (29), Jul (29), Aug (13), Sep (30), Oct (31), Nov (19) and Dec (13). 
  • The actinic was joined by a 125wt MV for 32 nights between May and October (no trapping was done using the MV on its own).
  • 16 nights between mid-June and late-July produced a 100+ species count. Three of them were by the actinic on its own, the remainder using the two traps.
  • The top ten highest nightly species counts were 148 (21st June), 146 (6th July), 143 (18th June), 135 (19th July), 134 (9th July), 133 (17th July), 128 (10th July), 125 (5th July) and 121 (19th June & 1st July), all using two traps except for 19th June which was achieved by the actinic on its own.
  • 28,860 individual moths were caught in the garden.  This was better than 2016 but nowhere near as good as the totals achieved in 2014 (32,910) or 2015 (33,941).  The 2017 total might have passed the 30k mark if I hadn't been absent in Devon for a significant part of August.   
  • 662 moth species were identified in the garden (326 micros, 336 macros), significantly better than the previous highest annual count of 633 in 2015.
  • 25 of those 662 species currently have national status:  20 Nationally Scarce B-list (known from between 31 and 100 10km squares in the UK), four Nationally Scarce A-list (16-30 10km squares) and one Red Data Book (15 or fewer 10km squares). The RDB species was Pauper Pug which seems to be spreading and may no longer deserve that status. 
  • 30 moth species were new for the garden list (21 micros, 9 macros).  One of them (Cosmopterix scribaiella) was a county first while three more (Ptocheuusa paupella, Elachista utonella & Phaulernis dentella) appear to have been only the second records for Bucks.
  • After 13 years of recording at this site the garden Lepidoptera species list now stands at 967, comprising 31 butterflies and 936 moths (423 macros).  At current progress the magic 1,000 could be in reach within a year or three.
  • Which makes me wonder ... have any specific sites in our three counties already achieved that figure?  Pucketty Farm near Faringdon strikes me as a possibility.  Several of our 10km squares certainly have done so, for example those which include Bernwood Forest and Burnham Beeches.  Other than being a countryside rather than an urban location, the habitat here at Westcott is nothing particularly special and the garden species list is probably down to perseverance in holding on to otherwise unidentifiable micro-moth species for dissection and having someone keen (and kind) enough to do the job!
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Mottled umber

6th January 2018

This mottled umber came to light on the night of 3/4 January

Comparing it to the one that was taken on the 20/21 December (below) shows some of the range of variations exhibited by the males of this species.

Alan Diver

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Off the Blocks

A single Winter Moth braved the winds last night to get my garden list for Westcott started for 2018.  A quick look around today produced the expected active mines of Phyllonorycter leucographella (on pyracantha) and Stigmella aurella (on bramble).  The aurella larva in the image below doesn't look all that well and may be parasitized but it was still moving.

Mine of Stigmella aurella, Westcott 3rd January

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks