Thursday, 5 August 2021

Raspberry Clearwing and Dioryctria

 Having had a good first year with Clearwing lures and caught all the species I felt I could reasonably expect I decided to have one last go with the HYL lure as it wasn't going to attract anything sitting in the freezer. 

There was nothing in the trap last night at 7pm but much to my surprise this individual was there by 7:30 this morning.

Then in the MV trap there was this very large (19mm length) Dioryctria which looks to me more like sylvestrella than abietella. An expert opinion would be welcome.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon

Blurry question

This is probably a forlorn hope and many apologies for the awful pictures  - as well as the moth choosing to rest on the black bowl, I was being heavily distracted by grandchildren. But this seemed an unfamiliar visitor. It flew off pretty promptly but my initial impression was of something large carpet-sized.  Then I realised I was looking at it upside down, giving a misleadingly angular appearance, so it may have been a beauty of some kind.  It looks to have a pale blotch at the bottom of each wing and a distinct black rim and you can see from the pic below that it has TV aerial antennae, so presumably male. If you can make anything of it, I'd be very grateful.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Clearwing surprise

Having tried several times for Yellow-legged Clearwing in oak woods locally, but with no success, I decided to try the lure in the garden again today. There are a couple of young oaks in the garden, but it was more in hope than expectation that I put the VES lure out at around 12:30. Nothing happened until 15:30 when I spotted something flying around the lure which conveniently popped into the trap and proved to be a male Yellow-legged Clearwing.
Unfortunately I only managed a poor photo of the underside of it in the trap, as it made a quick escape while I was attempting a better shot! 
This is my fifth Clearwing species in the garden this year, the others being Lunar Hornet, Red-tipped, Red-belted and Orange-tailed. 

Phil T


Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Recent Moths

 Another load of belated sightings from June and July thanks to my slowness with the backlog of photos and ID-ing!

On the 15th of June I returned to Chilswell Valley for another fairly quiet session dusking. Highlights were Epermenia falciformis in the fen, Pretty Chalk Carpet flying around Traveller's Joy, Aethes smeathmanniana and Coleophora trochilella (kindly dissected by Peter Hall).

On the 20th, inspired by my visit to Otmoor I went over to Wendlebury Meads in search of larvae on Dyer's Greenweed. It was getting a little late for most of the species on this plant, and the fact it was raining heavily and the plants were in flower rather obscured any spinnings making things a little tricky. I had quite a long search before I found a few larvae of Mirificarma lentiginosella on a particularly large and lush plant. I'd initially been searching the plants systematically heading out from the site entrance, many of which were rather runty with few leaves and flowers. After finding the first larvae I switched to focusing on the largest, lushest plants and was soon rewarded with more, finding a total of 9. I think the advice is to rear these out to confirm the ID (and they are currently pupae in my garage!), but pretty sure they'll be this species. Other highlight here was another specimen of the lovely Devil's Bit Scabious feeding Aethes piercei.

Mirificarma lentiginosella larva

I returned to Otmoor on the 23rd, thanks to Nick Bowles, to have a look for larvae of Narrow-Bordered Bee Hawk after the sightings of adults and eggs a couple of weeks before. I only had a couple of hours and so didn't cover much of the site or the Devil's Bit Scabious, searching 23 plants. On these I found 30 larvae (2 in 3rd instar, 13 in 2nd instar and 15 in 1st instar) and 13 eggs. This seems to be an extremely high density for this species, which hopefully bodes well for the future of this new colony.

Narrow-Bordered Bee Hawk larva

Narrow-Bordered Bee Hawk larva and eggs

On the morning of the 16th of July I dug the LUN lure out the freezer and set it up in the orchard of Wytham Woods. By evening it had attracted one specimen of the rather scarce (but perhaps more under-recorded) tineid Triaxomasia caprimulgella, attracting several more as well as three Lunar Hornets over the next couple of days.

I also put the lure out at Sydlings Copse while trapping there on the 21st and managed to get 4 more caprimulgella between 20:00 and 22:00 (with none after when the lure was taken in at 01:00), which I think are the first Oxfordshire records. I put one LED trap on the heath, one under some large oaks near the site entrance, and two in the fen in the vain hope of Dentated Pug. There was still plenty of interest though, with a good selection of wetland species, including Phalonidia manniana, Dotted Fan Foot, Round-Winged Muslin, Lesser Cream Wave, Gelechia sororculella, Argyresthia pygmaella, Donacaula forficella, Limnaceia phragmitella and Hemp Agrimony Plume. Other interesting species were Parectopa ononidis, Haworth's Pug, Sorhagenia rhamniella, Argyresthia glaucinella, Schreckensteinia festaliella, Monochroa cytisella and Pediasia contaminella. Not sure how common the latter is in Oxfordshire, it was netted by the LED trap set on the sandy grassland on the heath, which seems like suitable breeding habitat.

Pediasia contaminella

Triaxomasia caprimulgella

A few days before, on the 17th I had a good visit to Aston Rowant, starting early afternoon to look for leafmines and day-fliers, before trapping on Linkey Down in the evening. Highlight of the day time session was definitely the mines of Parornix carpinella on the Hornbeams along the ridgeway. It's one I've been aiming to see for a little while, and I think it may also be new to Oxfordshire. Other mine interest was provided by Parornix fagivora on Beech (just the one mine, I've never found more than one or two at any given site) and Perritia obscurepunctella mines on Honeysuckle along Hill Lane. Sweeping on Beacon Hill was very productive, with Bucculatrix cristatella, Scythris picaepennis, 2 Nemophora minimella, and a single Trifurcula headleyella. The latter two are both the third records for Oxfordshire, following single records at Aston Rowant and elsewhere on the Chilterns in the last couple of years. As dusk drew in, I also saw Dusky Plume and Acompsia schmidtiellus flying around their respective foodplants.

Parornix carpinella mines

In the evening, trapping produced c130 species, with highlights of Argyresthia dilectella, Coleophora lixella (5), Royal Mantle (2), Satyr Pug, Beautiful Carpet, Large Twin-Spot Carpet, Haworth's Pug, Elachista subocellea and another Pimpinel Pug after one here last year (a lovely fresh one that sadly escaped before photography!).

One the 25th I joined Doug Boyes for a session at Wytham Woods with a few traps around the chalet that proved quite productive. Alongside a few more Parectopa ononidis the definite highlight was a single Olive Crescent (Doug's pic here: which seems to be the third VC22 record after a couple in 2017.

On the 26th Doug and I headed out again to trap at BBOWT's Warburg reserve on the Chilterns. With 9 traps mostly provided by Doug (a mixture of MVs, actinics and LEDs) there was lots of new stuff for both of us, even if the hoped for Campanula Pug didn't show. There's an old record from the site and we set a couple of MVs next to a fairly decent patch of Nettle-Leaved Bellflower, but it was always a long shot. Out of 220+ species, highlights were Waved Black, White Satin, Acompsia schmidtiellus, Lunar-Spotted Pinion, Maple Pug, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Triple-Spotted Pug, Mocha (plentiful!), Sorhagenia rhamniella, Caloptilia cuculipennella, Large Twin-Spot Carpet, Psoricoptera gibbosella, Haworth's Pug, Lunar-Spotted Pinion, Pine Hawk, Small Purple-Barred, Royal Mantle,  Dark Umber, Bucculatrix frangutella, Parachronistis albiceps and Carpatolechia alburnella.

Big thanks as always to Peter Hall who confirmed a number of the trickier species mentioned here by dissection.

Yellow-legged Clearwing

 After running the VES lure several times and getting large numbers Orange-tailed Clearwings I decided to put the lure away for a few weeks. I thought I'd give it a go today as I was interested in seeing if I could get any of the micro moths listed as by catch. But then I got my Yellow-Legged Clearwing! So this is now the fourth species to lures this year, Red-belted, Currant, Orange-tailed and Yellow-leggesd. I still have Raspberry and Six-belted but I am not expecting them to get the target species in my garden but I will give them a couple more goes.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Monday, 2 August 2021

Mocha on Cholesbury Common

 Hi there,

I know this is not a common species, but I'm not sure how unusual it is round here. It came to light in an edge-of-woodland garden on Saturday night. 

Best wishes


Hoary/Scarce Footman

As an illustration of how dodgy it can be to claim records of Hoary Footman without looking at the hind-wings (which are white), I had this candidate in the garden last night but it proved to be a worn Scarce Footman when the hind-wings were checked (creamy yellow).  Scarce Footman can fade quite significantly as its flight season progresses.  Luckily it doesn't usually last much beyond the third week of August and Hoary Footman can be found into October, so there's less of a problem as the summer goes on.  Up here in mid-Bucks I didn't start to see Hoary until 2014 and still only get two or three per year, so while it seems to have a toe-hold locally it is still far from being common.

Scarce Footman, Westcott 1st August

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Mecyna flavalis

Caught a single Mecyna flavalis in the Robinson trap in Sonning last night. I gather it is fairly rare but found in Berkshire. Is it on the increase?

Striped Lychnis - update

Back on 4th July I posted this picture of a possible Striped Lychnis that had come to the garden trap on the 2nd.
Having been examined by Peter Hall, I can now confirm that it was indeed a Striped Lychnis. When I next run the garden trap on 9th July I found a second Striped Lychnis (again confirmed by Peter), so it is quite possible that a colony has established itself close by. Steve Trigg, Cookham

A couple of queries from Longwick

 The increase in numbers, especially of various Footman!, was noticeable as others have said as the month drew to a close although a family holiday meant I missed the hot weather here. Straw Underwings and Dusky Sallow felt very autumnal!

Looking through recent posts I have attached a couple of similar photographs from Saturday's catch. The first would appear to be a candidate for Y Rorrella , which would be new for the garden. The second is a plume - which looks like the recent picture posted by Nigel from nearby Loosley Row of Dingy White Plume - however it was quite creamy-yellow and not at all dingy! Thoughts welcome.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

A few more questions

 Is this a rather worn White-spotted Pug? Wing span 22mm.

Secondly following recent posts I wondered if these could be Yponomeuta rorella. They did seem to have white along the costa but I am far from sure.

Finally could this be a slightly worn Acrobasis repandana? Length 13mm.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Westcott, Bucks

Just to complete the story for July, here are details for the last three days of the month at Westcott.  The new additions bring the garden species total up to 530 for the year, suggesting that we're still about 30 species behind because that total was achieved on 22nd July in 2020, but in actual fact there must be at least that number of moths awaiting dissection here which will need to be added to the list in due course so the catch-up will almost certainly have happened at last.  

     (29th)  391 moths of 97 species; Eulamprotes atrella, Acleris aspersana, Copper Underwing & Dark Sword-grass all new for the garden year-list 
     (30th)  194 moths of 67 species; Bryotropha domestica, Depressaria ultimella (retained) & Rosy Rustic all new for the year-list.
     (31st)  291 moths of 68 species; Ghost Moth the only species new for the year-list.

Bryotropha domestica, Westcott 30th July

Likely Depressaria ultimella, Westcott 30th July

Ghost Moth female, Westcott 31st July

Rosy Rustic, Westcott 30th July

There was nothing much in the way of interesting new species and the two micros illustrated above certainly don't get awards for being the prettiest of moths, but they all count!  Depressaria ultimella is an assumption at the moment but I've had it confirmed here several times previously at this time of year and the possible confusion species, Depressaria daucella, would be new for the garden.  Ghost Moth only used to make very intermittent appearances in the garden but has been an annual since 2017, although with only one or two records per year.  That's surprising really as it is a common moth and we have plenty of suitable habitat for it locally.  As the month ended it was still the Footman moths which were achieving the highest counts, Dingy increasing and Common and Scarce now reducing in number.  We're also in a change-over period with the "grass moths", Chrysoteuchia culmella winding down and the Agriphila species only just getting under way.  Nothing else is showing up in any significant numbers.  

The two Copper Underwing species are now on the wing.  For an acceptable record to species they need to have the underside of the hind-wing checked (illustrations are given in the Field Guide).  A view of the underside inside a pot isn't sufficient to see what is required.  The moth will need to be handled and the wing carefully extended but with practice this can be done easily with the loss of very few scales and it can then be released unharmed.  The alternative is to record them as the aggregate.  Forewing markings and the colour of the palps can be used as a guide on fresh specimens but they've been found to vary too much to be acceptable for ID purposes. 

Copper Underwing, Westcott 29th July

Copper Underwing, Westcott 29th July

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Some queries

I have built up a little list of queries and would be very grateful for help. I like to have a stab at micros which I cannot really match with pictures in books or on websites, but I am usually wrong.  Much appreciate all assistance.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Hedya salicella?

Cydia servillana?

Apotomis turbidana?

I fear too worn to be ID-ed

Can you have a Snout without a Snout?

Possible Blastobasis lacticolella

This micro was in the trap this morning. My best guess is Blastobasis lacticolella - is this right?



Poss rorella - better pic

 This is the possible Y. rorella from 27th July. This may or may not be the same individual, as per my original post, there were two. This is the one that got potted and died a few hours later. 




Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Tissue and a wave


In amongst all the willow beauties that settled on the garage wall next to the trap was a Tissue new for the garden and also a wave that was smaller than all the riband waves,is it just a small riband wave or maybe a small fan footed wave,help appreciated.

many thanks Mike Banbury

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Cydia interscindana

Robin Knill-Jones had another example of Cydia interscindana to MV light in his garden in Denham, Bucks last night.


 Based mainly on resting posture is the first of these September and the second August?

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Friday, 30 July 2021

Influx of Hoary Footman

Had at least half a dozen Hoary Footman in the trap last night in Sonning - in addition to a similar number of (not at all) Scarce Footman - the first of the year for me. I've only ever had the odd singleton of Hoary Footman before so either they are no longer just a coastal species or they were blown in on the winds last night. What do colleagues think?

Hoary Footman (Footmen?)

Yponomeuta rorrella?

 After seeing Dave's note about this species and having reviewed my photographs, I if this is Yponomeuta rorrella? I had two grey small ermines on 27th July. This is darker than Dave's I think but the terminum is grey and there is that little white patch in front. Can the ID of this one also be confirmed? Actually due to a mishap I still have one of the moths, it died a few hours after potting.


Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford. 

Merrifieldia baliodactylus

This plume came to our outside lights last night at Loosley Row, Bucks. After consulting Colin Hart's book I think it's Merrifieldia baliodactylus given the dark line along the costa which ends in a narrow spot. 

Opinions welcome.