Thursday, 2 July 2015

A couple of macro queries

I can't match Dave Wilton's large garden totals, but I did get 368 moths (plus a few escapees) in my garden trap on Tuesday night, including 174 micros which is a record for me.
Counting and identifying them all is a labour of love ( I generally need to pot the more tricky ones before I can id them), so any tips on how to make the job easier would be welcome. I particularly find getting moths (especially micros) from the comfort of their egg box into a pot quite difficult at times.

I had 3 new macros for my garden list - a Lobster Moth, a Vapourer, and this Cypress Carpet which was not easy to photograph.

I have 2 moths I need advice on. The first is a footman (fw 15mm) that had quite a large orange band on the wing - is it a Scarce Footman?

The second is probably a minor agg. It looked as if it had a greenish tinge in bright light, but otherwise looked brown (fw 10mm).

I shall no doubt need some help with the micros once I have gone through them all.
Steve Trigg, Cookham


  1. Hello Steve, Buff Footman for the first (Scarce rolls its wings up almost into a tube when at rest) and you are correct with Marbled Minor agg. for the second.

    I'm glad you are a 'counter' - I've always counted (or on desperately busy nights approximated) and I think the information obtained is then of more use to those people involved with trying to help our moths.

    As to potting up, I'm afraid that's a skill you'll have to develop yourself! Having a range of pot sizes easily to hand, with lids off ready for action, is all I can suggest. That and not worrying too much if you lose a Heart and Dart or two while attempting to coax something you know is interesting into the pot. I imagine you are already getting quite good at scanning each egg-box and picking out quickly what you'll need to retain for closer inspection.

  2. Hi Steve, in addition to Dave's advice on potting I use a 10cm square of white card. I place the pot over the moth and then gently slip the card underneath, this usually prompts the moth up into the pot. I find it much easier then to pick your moment to slide the card away as the lid goes on.

    White card works best for me as the moths show up better against it.


  3. Many thanks Dave and Nigel. I really should have recognised the Buff Footman but I think I looked at so many moths yesterday that my brain went into meltdown - and no doubt the very warm weather was a factor!
    Thanks for the advice re potting the moths. I tend to use some white paper to slip under the pot when capturing the moths, but I think Nigel's idea of stiff card might work better so I will give that a try as well. I have a range of pot sizes, but I have just ordered some extra supplies to cope with the summer rush.


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