Sunday, 7 June 2015

Slow going...

Hi All,

Not been on so far this year - our mothing activities have been a little restricted by general busy-ness, and the unpromising weather, plus a desire to avoid annoying neighbours; we've been using an actinic bulb (doesn't seem to draw in that many moths) or locating the trap with a mercury bulb behind a timber studio at the bottom of the garden, which limits how widely it casts its light. It's a relief, in some ways, to know that others have found it slow going this year, too.

We've had a few records which seem to me noteworthy, and I've posted photos of most of the relevant moths below. I will post a few uncertainties over the next few days, once I've got things more sorted out, but these I'm pretty sure of. One I don't have a photo of was a Grass Rivulet from 23rd May, but I do have a photo of a Mother of Pearl (i.e. Pleuroptya ruralis) from the same date, which to judge by the books is unusually early - but I don't see what else it can be.

Rather early Pleuroptya ruralis, 23/5/15
We had a Telechrysis tripuncta on 3rd June, and then again on the 4th - sorry for the poor quality of the photo - and then this morning our first lifer of the year, and a good one: Lime Hawkmoth - we always like getting hawkmoths, so this was something of a treat.

Lime Hawkmoth, 6/6/15

Telechrysis tripuncta, 3/6/15
So a slow start to the year - notwithstanding that we may have a few unidentified individuals among our photos, we've only had 68 species, which feels rather down on previous years - but some quality among them. We're planning on branching out a little in terms of where we do our trapping over the summer, with the local churchyard, possibly the school and maybe a couple of Oxford college gardens on our list to explore. As I say, I'll probably post a few mystery moths over the next few days.

Steve and Xander Goddard


  1. Welcome back, Steve & Xander. I saw my first Grass Rivulet of the year on 18th May and they do stray into gardens so that seems OK. The first of your pictures looks to me more like Phlyctaenia (now Anania) perlucidalis but it would help to know the size - it is a slightly smaller moth than Mother of Pearl. Contrary to some of the older books and websites it is reasonably common locally so I see nothing wrong with that as a garden record for you.

  2. Hi Steve and Xander

    Just to say it's great to see you back. I've often thought about your light probs and hope for the day when a less intrusive but still powerful MV bulb is more widely available. But you've notched up a good tally anyway.

    all warm wishes


  3. Many thanks, both! -- a couple of Poplar Hawkmoths in this morning's catch, so things are steadily improving. And thanks especially to Dave for the tip about Anania perlucidalis: I'll have to file it under 'Why didn't I think of that?'. It was indeed measurably smaller than a typical Mother of Pearl, but I put that down to its being an early, undersized specimen, or some such unscientific rubbish. Anyway, it's another lifer for us, so good news.


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