Monday, 23 June 2014

Clearwing weekend

A nice sunny weekend and finally a bit of free time meant I got chance to go out with my pheromone lures for a bit. I dropped in at the local fruit farm in Wallingford (VC22) and asked for a punnet of strawberries and whether I could also look for moths in the ladies currants. I can't describe the look I got but you can probably imagine. However, that was successful with 5 Currant Clearwings in 5 minutes. I took them to show the lady and got a cheaper punnet of strawberries as a result - a win, win situation, although i suddenly realised I had to make sure the currants weren't to be sprayed in the future when asked how to get rid of them.

This trip to the fruit farm came on the back of a rather surprising find during my butterfly transect at Hill Farm in Little Wittenham (VC22) earlier in the day. I stumbled across the beautiful little tortrix, Commophila aeneana. Listed as 'very local' I don't know how common this stunning species is around this area, but I have never seen it before I don't think.

Commophila aeneana - Little Wittenham
Sunday I went looking for my bogey moth - Hornet Clearwing - again, after several fruitless searches last week. I have now located several trees that have holes and even found a recently emptied pupal case so my hopes were high. These are on the Crowmarsh side of the river so I believe them to be VC23 records. I went down for 8am and finally found an adult just emerged and drying its wings. Fantastic. After this I took a trip to Cothill Fen/Dry Sandford to look for other clearwing species. I had Red-belted Clearwing (Parsonage Moor) to CUL lure, and Red-tipped Clearwing (Dry Sandford) to FOR lure. A very successful weekend despite light traps overnight being fairly poor. Marc Botham, Benson

My first ever adult Hornet Clearwing - Crowmarsh Gifford


  1. Hi Marc, sounds like a really good weekend! One day I'll find a site in Bucks for Red-tipped (we only have two records, both from north of Milton Keynes). I've found Commophila aeneana at a few sites in Bucks, almost always in the daytime - difficult to miss, isn't it! It seems to be another species that particularly likes brown-field sites.

  2. Glad you found the Hornet clearwing, Mark - only found one adult so far this year in Aston clinton, plus one excuvia at Broughton, Aylesbury today.

  3. Marc, that's a very welcome VC22 record for Commophila aeneana - only two previous records in the county, both from Norman Hall and both at Knowl Hill, in 1984 and 1990.

  4. Great stuff Martin, I didn't think it was too common, and every time I looked through the tortricids I always saw it and thought how nice it would be to see it. Little Wittenham Hill Farm has yet another little surprise. I'll be trapping at Salisbury Plain this weekend after the BRC event - both nights Friday and Saturday - if you fancy joining me. Apparently I'm allowed six 'guests' with my conservation member red card pass :). Other Imber Conservation Group members are coming too. On Friday we're looking for Pale Shining Brown and Lunar Yellow Underwing.


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