Tuesday 16 April 2024

Westcott, Bucks

In contrast to the number of new species I've been seeing in local woodland, the garden list has been progressing relatively slowly over the past two weeks.  There is often a lull in activity once the Orthosia species have begun to dwindle in number, although Clouded Drab, Powdered Quaker and Hebrew Character are still providing the bulk of each night's catch albeit in mainly single-digit counts.  New arrivals since 1st April have included the following, taking the site year-list up towards 90 species for 2024:

     (2nd)   Swallow Prominent
     (4th)    Streamer, Mullein
     (5th)    Lunar Marbled Brown, Tawny Pinion
     (6th)    Oak-tree Pug, Pebble Prominent, Great Prominent
     (8th)    Mompha subbistrigella (found indoors)
     (9th)    Muslin Moth
     (11th)  Tineola bisselliella (found indoors), White-spotted Pug
     (12th)  Incurvaria masculella
     (13th)  Grey Pine Carpet
     (14th)  Chamomile Shark
     (15th)  Chocolate-tip, Dark Sword-grass  

Incurvaria masculella, Westcott 12th April

White-spotted Pug, Westcott 11th April

Lunar Marbled Brown, Westcott 5th April

Great Prominent, Westcott 6th April

Chamomile Shark, Westcott 14th April

Mullein, Westcott 4th April

Dark Sword-grass, Westcott 15th April

Lunar Marbled Brown and Great Prominent are irregular visitors to the garden.  The appearance of a Lunar Marbled Brown one week later last year was the first to be seen here since 2009 while the Great Prominent above was the first since 2013, this despite them both being common in all the woods around here.  Mullein is a more regular visitor although can't be guaranteed every year.  However, the appearance of numerous larvae on some Great Mullein plants which sprung up in our front lawn last season meant that it was very much an expected visitor this Spring and indeed four different adults have appeared so far.  By far the best of this bunch, though, was the Chamomile Shark which is a completely new addition to the garden list (site macro number 461).  It is a species I've hoped to get here for a long time.  Its sightings appear to be quite random despite the food-plant being common locally, especially on disturbed ground such as arable field corners.

During sunnier interludes over this two-week period I've been trying a variety of pheromone lures in the garden but the only success I've had was mid-afternoon on the 14th when a single very obscurely marked tortrix turned up to the SUS lure (for Pammene suspectana).  It clearly wasn't the target species and its legs and thorax weren't "shaggy" enough to be Pammene giganteana, so it'll have to await dissection before its identity can be established.  In addition to the above, on the 13th I noticed the first very early larval webs of Yponomeuta cagnagella on our garden spindle.

Pammene species to SUS lure, Westcott 14th April

Larval web of Yponomeuta cagnagella, Westcott 13th April

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Saturday 13 April 2024

Woodland visits

On Thursday night I took a couple of MV traps to Wendover Woods which is one of two Forestry Commission sites in Bucks which I have permission to survey regularly this year.  Not having been to Wendover for more than a decade I'd forgotten just how many conifers are present and finding decent areas of deciduous trees wasn't that easy, but the ride I eventually chose had a lining of old hazel coppice as well as other tree varieties, with the conifers to the rear.  Thirty species turned up in the usual three-hour stint but the only ones of any real interest were singletons of Dotted Chestnut and White-marked.  The latter is a moth which I rarely encounter in Bucks and this was the first for three years, but unfortunately it wasn't a particularly well-marked specimen.  

White-marked, Wendover Woods 11th April

Last night (Friday 12th) I ran the same two MV traps for the same length of time at the other FC site, Bernwood Forest, and the results were significantly better with 40 species recorded.  The Prominents, which were noticeable by their complete absence at Wendover, were out in force here with Iron, Pebble, Great, Swallow, Lesser Swallow, Pale, Coxcomb & Scarce all recorded.  Great Prominent was actually the most numerous moth seen (68 of them), while next in line was Epinotia immundana with 60 (the most I've ever recorded of this micro on a single night).  Wendover produced very few micros but at Bernwood there was a reasonable selection, the others being Dyseriocrania subpurpurella, Caloptilia stigmatella, Semioscopis steinkellneriana, Esperia sulphurella, Acleris ferrugana/notana & Pammene argyrana.  Also of interest were Scalloped Hook-tip, Seraphim, Scalloped Hazel & Grey Birch, while a single Square Spot was, I believe, a new species for the already very extensive Bernwood site list.

Epinotia immundana, Bernwood 12th April

Seraphim, Bernwood 12th April

Square Spot, Bernwood 12th April

Scarce Prominent, Bernwood 12th April

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Early Tooth-striped

I had this Early Tooth-striped come to the garden trap last night. Not the most exciting moth to look at, but a new addition to the garden list after 12 years of trapping so exciting for me.
Steve Trigg, Cookham

Lesser Swallow Prominent

 Also in MV trap on 11/4

I am basing this on the very clear,short white wedge.I do struggle with these 2 though!


 Is this a dark Shears. Confused on this one.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Friday 12 April 2024

Emperor with eggs!

 I had this lovely Emperor in my MV trap this morning 

Note the eggs

Should I put it in a tree?

Thursday 11 April 2024



Things are humming along nicely here with Streamer, Frosted Green, Herald and Swallow Prominent livening up the eggboxes, but this visitor has me puzzled, especially by its pronounced veining. Is it just a Common Quaker or may I hope for something more interesting? I'm sorry that I'm neglectful on sizing but those familiar with eggboxes should get a pretty fair idea.  All help much appreciated as ever. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp Oxon

Monday 8 April 2024

Cuttlebrook Corridor, Oxon

A few nice moths last night at our temporary rental property in Thame next to Cuttlebrook. Highlights were Pinion-spotted Pug and Chamomile Shark  and also had Pine Beauty and Streamer and a couple of migrants, Diamond-back moth and Rusty-dot Pearl. The best night of the year so far with 21 species. 

Update 090424- also had an Orthosia reidentified by Martin which I wasn't sure of as a Northern Drab- a first for me. Thanks Martin for id. 

Garden year list now on 45 species. 

Pinion-spotted Pug
Chamomile Shark 
Northern Drab

Sunday 7 April 2024

Pugs, I'm afraid!

 OK - I'm really not good at these, but I'm going to suggest that the first is Double-striped and the second is Oak-tree. Please put me straight! Thanks, David

Saturday 6 April 2024

And another thing . . . .

 Just checking! I think I have here Dyseriocrania subpurpurella and (less sure about this next one) Ypsolopha ustella. I've lightened the second image a bit to show more detail.

Confirmation (or otherwise) appreciated.


Acleris literana?

Several appeared in my trap last night, but only one like the first image shown below. I'm assuming they're both the same species - is the first image a frequent form of  A literana? It's new to me.

Thanks, David