Thursday, 23 April 2015

Bucks/Beds Border last night

Having trapped there last October and found Streak, I revisited Old Wavendon Heath last night (north-west of Woburn, within VC24 Bucks but currently in administrative Bedfordshire) to look for that far less common broom-feeder, the Broom-tip.  The visit was very successful in that Broom-tip was the first moth to appear at the trap before it was even properly dark and by the time I packed up 90 minutes later I'd seen 14 of them.  Very few moths were active, the only other species to visit the light being Double-striped Pug (3), Grey Birch (1), Hebrew Character (5) & Nut-tree Tussock (2).  There are only two previous Bucks records of Broom-tip, one in 1940 and the other in 1984 both from the area around Cliveden.  It might be worth checking Burnham Beeches where other species which feed on broom have been recorded. 
     Although none came to the trap, a dozen or more Agonopterix sp moths were seen sitting around on the broom at Old Wavendon Heath and, while at first glance they looked rather like one of the more common species, I'm now reasonably sure that they were the broom-feeding Agonopterix scopariella for which there are only two previous VC24 records, both from the RIS trap at Burnham Beeches.  A torchlight search also produced a couple of active spinnings on the broom which each contained the brown larvae of Agonopterix assimilella.   
Dave Wilton  

Broom-tip, Old Wavendon Heath 22nd April

Agonopterix scopariella? Old Wavendon Heath 22nd April


  1. Yes, must be my shortest trapping session ever! I did consider going home after the first Broom-tip turned up (job done) but then noticed the Agonopterix sp sitting around and they kept me side-tracked for a while.

  2. Well done, Dave, the Broom-tips were good moths to catch. But I hadn't realized Agonopterix scopariella was so unusual in Bucks. It's not in Bucks records yet, because I only ID'd it this year (actually somebody else did), but I caught a male at Philipshill Wood in Chorleywood on April Fool's Day last year. The surprise was that there is absolutely no Broom at Philipshill Wood. Martin Corley pointed out that, by April, the moth would have been 7/8/9 months old and it could have moved a long way in that time.
    Talking about cold nights, 90 minutes was all I gave it last night, when I ran 3 lights in a SSSI for a grand total of 2 moths. The crunch being this was in Sussex - Sussex is a long way to go for 2 moths!


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