Sunday, 10 December 2017

Snow cats in the Chilterns

Wasn't really expecting to see moths today, but did find caterpillars in numbers! I never knew Large Yellow Underwing caterpillars had a fondness for snow-top excursions, but it seems to be a known behaviour, at least in America. See this blog post for further details.

A caterpillar curled up on the snow after I disturbed it

The dark speck in the middle of the lower part of this
photo is a Large Yellow Underwing caterpillar, honest!

Friday, 8 December 2017

See, amid the Winter snow


Last night and this morning in Thrupp.  Thank Goodness that December Moths are well wrapped-up! Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Red-line Quaker

My last Red-line Quaker sighting this year was on 2nd November so this specimen in the garden last night was rather unexpected, more than a month later.  I have had one other December record (7th December 2016, one day later) so it isn't entirely without precedent here, but noteworthy all the same.

Red-line Quaker, Westcott 6th December

Despite the relative warmth, ever-increasing wind overnight from Storm Caroline was probably the reason why December Moth (1) and Winter Moth (3) were the only other moths which came to the actinic light.  The forecast suggests that it is now time to go back into hibernation for at least a week or so! 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Tinea pellionella?

Tried running the trap within the garage and got a nice December moth and Light Brown Apple Moth so it seems to work for me.

Also found this inside the house - can it be ID'd as Tinea pellionella?

If it needs it's bits checked can someone tell me how I need to prepare it and and where to send it?





Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford


Monday, 4 December 2017

Westcott, Bucks

I ran the actinic light in the conservatory here from dusk until 10.30pm last night, when the sky cleared to reveal that very bright moon, and in that time 16 moths had appeared at the windows:  December Moth (5, including two females), Winter Moth (7), Mottled Umber (2) & Dark Chestnut (1) along with what I thought in the dark was a faded Scarce Umber but on reflection in daylight now looks much more like a small, poorly marked and very early Dotted Border.  There is one other December record for Dotted Border in Bucks, from exactly the same date in 2004.  Unlike Mottled Umber which may go on until February, the flight period locally for Scarce Umber is usually only about four weeks long and almost all of my records are confined to November.  This year I had my first in the garden on 31st October so theoretically it should be over here by now anyway.

Westcott, 3rd December

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 2 December 2017

When do you trap in winter?

Hope this is ok to post.

As per the title when do you trap in winter? What is the lowest temperature that it's worth putting the trap out for?

I've had a series of no show trappings - I didn't trap last week but I'm wondering if I'm attempting the impossible due to the temperature.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Links to help with identification of Winter Moth and Northern Winter Moth

I posted this as a comment to Steve Trigg's question below, but the links don't work in comments, so I'm repeating it here - these are links to comparison images for Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) and Northern Winter Moth (Operophtera fagata).

Main thing to look for is that Northern Winter Moth is a bit larger and paler (especially on the hindwing) than Winter Moth (but as ever worn specimens can be confusing). Check the undersides as well. If you can find the females they a bit easier to distinguish: both have reduced wings but Northern Winter's wings are less reduced than Winter.

And as Dave said below, Northern Winter is more closely tied to Birch and Alder trees, while Winter Moth feeds on a wider range of trees and shrubs.


The specimen images on Lepiforum suggest that the underside of Northern Winter is noticeably paler than the underside of 'normal' Winter Moth, which may be a useful clue for moths on windows!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Winter moth question

My first Winter Moth of the year appeared at my kitchen window last night.


I wondered, is the Northern Winter Moth also found in our area of Berks/Bucks/Oxon? I don't recall the Northern Winter Moth ever being mentioned on this blog.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Friday, 24 November 2017

Migrants again (2)

Well, that little warm but very windy patch produced no further migrants at all here!  On the 21st I had a Winter Moth and two Satellites, on the 22nd just a Dingy Footman caterpillar, while last night there were two December Moths and singletons of Red-green Carpet, Winter Moth, Feathered Thorn & Scarce Umber.  The 8mm Dingy Footman caterpillar had presumably been tempted out of hibernation and was found climbing one of our conservatory windows beside the actinic light which was being run indoors against the glass.

Dingy Footman caterpillar, Westcott 23rd November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Your Records!

After a concerted effort over the past couple of weeks I've now entered nearly 17,000 records from 2017 into MapMate and, barring dissections and data from the Marsh Gibbon RIS trap, I'm at last almost up-to-date with inputs.  I therefore now feel comfortable reminding everyone else how vitally important your records are.  If you haven't already done so, you too should now be considering getting them together in whatever form you use to pass on to your County Moth Recorder.

That data doesn't just sit on your CMR's computer (honest!).  It gets passed on to the National Moth Recording Scheme which is managed by Butterfly Conservation and is used to inform conservation activities for moths throughout the UK.

If you haven't contributed records before (or if you've forgotten how to go about doing so), you'll find all the information you need under the "YOUR RECORDS" tab at the top of this page. 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks       

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Migrants again

We seem to have another small window for immigration with a warmer southerly airflow now and for the next two or three nights.  Last night the actinic light was run inside the conservatory here, bringing ten species to the windows and amongst which were Udea ferrugalis (1) & Silver Y (1) which may have been migrants, although the Silver Y seemed to be on its last legs whereas migrants are usually very fresh-looking.

Udea ferrugalis, Westcott 20th November

Silver Y, Westcott 20th November

The other moths comprised Emmelina monodactyla (1), December Moth (1, another female), Common Marbled Carpet (1), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (6), Feathered Thorn (1), Mottled Umber (1) & Angle Shades (1).  The Common Marbled Carpet was my latest sighting by a week.

Common Marbled Carpet, Westcott 20th November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Tachystola acroxantha

The trio of moths caught on the night of 15th/16th November included this Ruddy Streak (Tachystola acroxantha).


The other two were Red-line Quaker and Spruce Carpet.

Dave Ferguson, Beaconsfield


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Hebrew Character

I was starting to wonder where the December moths had got to and then caught 17 on Tuesday night along with 9 other species including a very worn Setaceous Hebrew Character. I decided to put the trap out again last night hoping for a Grey Shoulder-knot or a Scarce Umber to add to the 2017 list and was quite surprised to get this Hebrew Character.


Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Plumed Prominent

Martin Albertini and I trapped speculatively in some mixed woodland near Marlow, Bucks last night in the hope of finding Plumed Prominent at a new site.  Four MV traps were run from dusk (just before 5pm) and it proved to be a successful evening with four males appearing at around about their usual time (between 6pm and 7pm), divided between three of our four lights.  The session added two new tetrads to the known distribution in our area of this Nationally Scarce 'A' list species which only flies at this time of year.

Plumed Prominent, near Marlow 15th November

There wasn't much else flying, although it was nice to confirm both Autumnal Moth and Northern Winter Moth amongst those which did appear.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

December Eggs

Although rather damp, but because it was distinctly warmer I decided to run the actinic light my usual lazy winter way last night (inside the conservatory and recording what comes to the windows).  Ten moths put in an appearance:  Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Emmelina monodactyla (1), December Moth (3), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (2), Feathered Thorn (1) & Mottled Umber (1).  One of the Decembers was a female and when I photographed her this morning she wouldn't stop laying eggs.  I'll probably keep them safe until the caterpillars emerge in the spring and then release them locally.

December Moth female and eggs, Westcott 14th November
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 13 November 2017

December moth

I too put my trap out on Thursday 9th in the hope of catching another Oak Rustic. Unfortunately one didn't show up but I did catch 26 moths of 7 species. December moth 10, Feathered Thorn 5, Red green carpet 3, Yellow line Quaker 3, November moth 3, Mottled Umber 1 and Brick 1.
I couldn't get over how fluffy the December moth was. Definitely got his winter coat on!

Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon

Friday, 10 November 2017

Like Westcott, like Thrupp


The moths here faithfully copied Dave's last night, though I admit to ignorance about the one on the bottom right, being permanently unable to tell the various contenders apart.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Westcott, Bucks

Back on 6th November I had December Moth, my final guaranteed species for the 2017 garden year-list, so I can now be selective as to when I run the light.  Following two nights off, the weather last night seemed quite reasonable and the moths seemed to think so too, with 18 individuals of six species appearing:  December Moth (1), November Moth sp (1), Winter Moth (5), Feathered Thorn (2), Scarce Umber (2) & Sprawler (7).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Couple of mysteries

The mothing year is clearly drawing to a close here in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, with catches (when I've bothered putting the trap out, which has been comparatively rarely in recent weeks) diminishing to the point where last night's was a complete blank. I've had a couple of migrants - a Silver Y on 24th October, and a Vestal (first of the year) on the 26th; but relatively little else of note, and the garden year list will be in the 360s; not bad, but certainly not record-breaking. A couple of uncertainties from recent weeks: first this, from 15th October, which may simply be a very pale and tired individual of a familiar species, but if so, I can't make out which one:

Unknown, 15/10/17
This latter, I suspect, is a Yellow-line Quaker, and would be the first of the year here, although I'm very much open to correction:

Possible Yellow-line Quaker, 28/11/17
As ever, I'd be grateful for suggestions and corrections: especially on the first individual, for which I've been cudgelling my brains and getting nowhere for some time.

Steve Goddard

No Plumed Prominent - yet

Getting a quick visit in before the weather turns much colder for the next week or two, last night I checked a known site near Marlow, Bucks for Plumed Prominent even though it is perhaps still a few days early for this nationally scarce species to be flying locally.  It didn't appear and I had to make do with December Moth which does itself have quite an impressive set of antennae!

December Moth, near Marlow 3rd November

Back home at Westcott the garden actinic trap produced 21 moths of eleven species, comprising Mompha jurassicella (1), Blastobasis lacticolella (2), Acleris hastiana (1), Vestal (1), Red-green Carpet (1), November Moth sp (3), Feathered Thorn (4), Sprawler (5), Dark Chestnut (1), Brick (1) & Beaded Chestnut (1).  The Vestal was the eighth example (and the second female) I've had in the garden in three weeks during this current wave of migration.

Vestal, Westcott 3rd November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks
 

Stenoptilia pterodactyla?

hi, can anyone confirm an ID on this as Stenoptilia pterodactyla (Brown Plume)?



Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Friday, 3 November 2017

What a Gem!

Last night's collection of moths to the garden actinic comprised just ten individuals of eight species but amongst them was this rather worn female Gem, showing that there are still some interesting migrants out there.  Not quite up to the rarity value of Martin's Cosmopolitan from last Saturday night but I was still more than happy to see it!

Gem, Westcott 2nd November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Sponsor a Moth for the Atlas

Steve Wheatley, BC's Regional Officer for the south-east, sent out the message below this morning regarding the campaign to raise money for the forthcoming Atlas:

Hi,
 
As you probably know, Butterfly Conservation is running the Sponsor a Moth campaign in preparation for the Macro Moth Atlas. There are a few regional top priority species that still need a sponsor:
 
·         Barberry Carpet (Oxon)
·         Shoulder-striped Clover (Heaths, especially New Forest)
·         Silvery Arches (Heaths)
·         Pale Shining Brown (Oxon)
·         Sloe Carpet (difficult to pin down – pardon the pun)
 
Let’s try to get them all sponsored! Please can you promote these in your area and to your moth recorder contacts?  Click on this link to the BC website.
 
Please help. I can’t really afford to sponsor them all. I’ve already sponsored Clay Fan-foot – a favourite of mine and much overlooked.
 
Best wishes,
 
Steve
 

Another Oak Rustic

Further to Lorna's entry this little fellow turned up last night as well
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Oak Rustic?

I put my trap out last night in the beech woods on the Estate that I work on (Checkendon, South Oxon) and caught this little chap. Am I right in thinking that it is an Oak Rustic?


Lorna, Checkendon South Oxfordshire

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Leaf Mines

Inspired by a post by Colin Plant on the Herts & Middx. Moths yahoo group, I went looking at the extensive collection of Field Maple at the Chiltern Open Air Museum site, for mines of Stigmella aceris. Since the site is not in Herts (even though the county border forms one of the edges of the site) my results are not relevant to their records.

I managed to find at least three mines of the species in the fallen leaves (I've found it there before), and also, in the fallen leaves of Black Poplar, I found a couple of mines of Phyllocnistis unipunctella.

The other target species in Colin's post was Stigmella speciosa; a sycamore leaf from my home village of Seer Green contains two mines which I think are this species, although both are somewhat shorter than examples shown on leafmines.

Dave Morris

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Scarce Umber

The frosts of the previous two nights resulted in very slim pickings for the garden actinic trap here at Westcott, with Brick (4) on the 29th and Sprawler (1) on the 30th, but there was a slight improvement last night:  Emmelina monodactyla (5), Red-green Carpet (3), November Moth sp (3), Feathered Thorn (3), Scarce Umber (1), Turnip Moth (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (2), Sprawler (3), Dark Chestnut (1) & Brick (1).  The Scarce Umber was the earliest sighting I've had of that species in the garden although only by a couple of days.  Just December Moth to go now, then...

Scarce Umber, Westcott 31st October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Autumn collection starring Oak Rustic

Spurred on by Marc Botham's recent report of Oak Rustic, and other contributors' assorted Vestals, Delicates and Cosmopolitans, I set the trap at Ali's Pond LNR in Sonning over the weekend when normally I would have considered it too cold and breezy to be worth it. Indeed on Friday night I blanked completely and even last night only a paltry total of 4 moths appeared in the trap. However they were a pretty fab four: Brick, Merveille du Jour, my first ever Oak Rustic and my first Sprawler of the year.

No surprises here

No Cosmopolitan or Pearly Underwing for me last night, unfortunately, but I did get yet another Vestal (a female this time) along with Turnip (1), Angle Shades (3) & Silver Y (1) which could possibly have been migrants.  The remainder of the catch comprised Red-green Carpet (2), November Moth sp (11), Feathered Thorn (3, including a female), Figure of Eight (2), Setaceous Hebrew Character (1), Green-brindled Crescent (2), Sprawler (2), Blair's Shoulder-knot (1), Brick (1) & Beaded Chestnut (3).

Vestal, Westcott 28th October

Silver Y, Westcott 28th October

With the first frost of the season expected here tonight maybe it will soon be time to start thinking about picking and choosing which nights to trap, but with so many nice moths still around at the moment I'll probably continue every night for a little while longer yet.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Cosmopolitan

Having thoroughly enjoyed the Upper Thames BC Branch members' day yesterday I was inspired to put out my garden moth trap for the first time in ages, and I'm very glad I did: ten species resulted, including this Cosmopolitan. It's the first time I've ever seen this scarce migrant - not sure how often it's been found in Bucks before (there are only four records in Berkshire).

Cosmopolitan, Great Kimble
Cosmopolitan, Great Kimble

Alongside this were Red-green Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Featherd Thorn, Angle Shades, Black Rustic, Beaded Chestnut, Common Wainscot, Straw Dot and Light Brown Apple Moth.

Martin

Migrants

Still haven't managed that Vestal but last night Silver Y, Udea ferrugalis and this first for the year Pearly Underwing.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Dewy pair


Quiet times but it was nice to find these two on the trap cowl the night before last. My guess is a Juniper Carpet and I'd be grateful for confirmation or otherwise.  Other arrivals include Vestal Satellite and f.cappucino of the Green-brindled Crescent. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon



Friday, 27 October 2017

Winter Moth

It got quite chilly here last night and just 16 species came to the garden actinic trap:  Vestal (1), November Moth sp (13), Winter Moth (1), Feathered Thorn (6), Large Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (1), Sprawler (3), Black Rustic (2), Grey Shoulder-knot (1), Green-brindled Crescent (1), Merveille du Jour (2), Satellite (3), Brick (1), Yellow-line Quaker (2), Beaded Chestnut (3) & Straw Dot (1).  Winter Moth doesn't usually appear here until the first week of November and up until last night the only other October record for the garden had been 30th October 2005.  Sprawler was also new for this year's garden list.

Winter Moth, Westcott 26th October

Sprawler, Westcott 26th October

Black Rustic is having a fantastic season here, the garden count having now reached 304, beating last year's record of 205 by a significant margin.  Although at a much lower level, Merveille du Jour also seems to be having a good year locally.  The garden averages four annual sightings but this year's count now stands at a dozen - not bad considering that we have no mature oaks in the immediate area.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Help with ID

I put my trap out again in my garden last night and was delighted to get my first Merveille du Jour. What a beauty!
There were a couple of moths that I am unsure of. I thought that they might be Pearly Underwing and a Dark Sword-grass, but I'm really not sure!
Photo 1

Photo 2
Thanks in advance 
Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxfordshire 

Acleris logiana?

The elm-feeding Acleris kochiella, which is quite a variable species, has been recorded regularly here at Westcott for more than ten years now, both in its summer generation (June/July) and its autumn generation (which I've only ever seen in Feb/Mar/Apr after over-wintering).  Two fairly typical examples of kochiella are illustrated below, the first a summer brood specimen from 2012 and the second an over-wintered autumn specimen from earlier this year.

Acleris kochiella, Westcott 7th July 2012

Acleris kochiella, Westcott 3rd February 2017

Amongst the 14 species which came to the actinic trap here last night was the moth below which I think could be a good candidate for its confusion species, Acleris logiana (a birch feeder).  Since the millennium logiana has been spreading across the south of England, having previously been confined to the north of Scotland.  This one awaits dissection but if correct it would be a first for the garden and the Aylesbury Vale area, as well as only the 12th for Bucks since the first county record in 2009. 

Candidate Acleris logiana, Westcott 25th October 2017

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

First Nutmeg?

Is this my first Nutmeg?. Large Nutmeg is fairly common during the year but this I think is new for me. Only eight moths last night but eight different species - which was nice.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Bernwood Forest, Bucks

Three hours with a couple of MV lights in different areas of Bernwood last night produced only 24 species but at least there were loads of moths.  As expected, the highest totals were provided by the Novembers (161) and Feathered Thorn (44) with the only other species to get into double digits being Red-green Carpet and Figure of Eight.  One Vestal was the solitary migrant, a single smart Mottled Umber was a sign that winter is nearly here, while late examples of Willow Beauty and Buff Footman were perhaps worthy of note. 

Mottled Umber, Bernwood 24th October

Buff Footman, Bernwood 24th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Another perspectalis

I guess most people have had Cydalima perspectalis now, though I remember a few were new for their gardens this year.  My first turned up last night, so is presumably a second brood.  I'll have to keep an eye on my box bushes!


Otherwise, little of note, 33 moths of 15 species: November agg, Spruce Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Red-green Carpet, Feathered Thorn, Yellow-line Quaker, Brick, Large Yellow Underwing, Snout, Blastobasis lacticolella, Epiphyas postvittana (most numerous), Acleris sparsana, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla and a very worn specimen that looks like it might be Epinotia nisella (one for Peter).

One of the November aggs looked quite distinctive.  It is small (about the size of a small Carpet moth like Grey Pine), so presumably a female and has a broad blackish central bar and obvious dark bases to the wings.  Does this well marked pattern make it more likely to be one of the particular three species?  I've kept it for Peter anyway, but all those that have been checked in the past have been November.


Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Oak Rustic

Seeing Marc's Didcot Oak Rustic from a few days ago I wondered if it might turn up at my Maidenhead garden trap.  Just before mid-night last night it did and was one of seven macros in this morning's catch of five species.  There are a few Holm oaks around within a few 100m of the garden, so could it be a resident or was it a migrant?

Martin Albertini
Maidenhead

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Hummingbird Hawk

Hummingbird Hawkmoth seen in my Radnage, Bucks garden today.
Ched George

Confirmations please

I'm not sure if the first one is a Winter agg. or November agg.

I think the second one is a Brick.

I got a Vestal last night which was NFY for me.







Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford


Thaumatotibia leucotreta

Migrant moths continue to grace my garden trap, last night being the best night so far this autumn with 29 species altogether. Migrant species included a nice Four-spotted Footman (this could be resident I guess but given what else arrived I think more likely a migrant), 2 Vestal, Silver Y, Rusty Dot Pearl, and Rush Veneer. Star moth for me though was a False Codling Moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta, a moth I haven't seen before. Marc Botham, Didcot

---apologies for terrible photos

False Codling Moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta) Didcot 23/10/17

Four-spotted Footman Didcot 23/10/17