Saturday, 8 December 2018

Westcott, Bucks

I've had moths to the actinic light every night in December so far, fourteen different species in all, but there's been nothing at all to shout about.  The wind direction on the 5th and 6th offered the chance of migrants but all that appeared here were Plutella xylostella and Dark Sword-grass.  The last three nights have each produced battered examples of Satellite tempted out of hibernation and two of them are illustrated below.

Satellites, Westcott 7th December

The other species comprised Agonopterix heracliana, Blastobasis lacticolella, Epiphyas postvittana, Emmelina monodactyla, December Moth, Red-green Carpet, Winter Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty (the single example on the 1st, already mentioned on the blog), Mottled Umber, Blair's Shoulder-knot (two December records now, most unusual here) & Brick.  My garden records for Scarce Umber have always been in November so it looks as though it may be running true to form because there have been none so far this month.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 3 December 2018

Double-striped pug?

Haven't put trap out for a few days but found this Double-striped
Pug on inside of bathroom window 1st December.
Don't see how it could have got in from outside,
might it have emerged inside?

Alan Diver

Sunday, 2 December 2018

A worn specimen

I don't know if there is enough left to identify this from last night's catch. A little larger than the Yellow-line Quakers I have been catching. I wondered about Brick? It would be my first of the year!

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Mild for December

The temperature stayed in double figures here last night and the moths responded quite well, with Plutella xylostella (1), Epiphyas postvittana (2), Emmelina monodactyla (1), December Moth (6), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (1), Pale Brindled Beauty (1), Mottled Umber (9) & Blair's Shoulder-knot (1) coming to the twin-30wt actinic.  It must be a while since I've had more than 20 moths to light in the garden during December.

Pale Brindled Beauty, Westcott 1st December

Blair's Shoulder-knot, Westcott 1st December

The Pale Brindled Beauty is really an early appearance by one of next year's species.  There have been two previous garden records for December but they were both in the week after Christmas so this one is now the earliest.  December records are not unusual though and in recent years I've had several away from the garden in mid-month, but it would be difficult to beat the earliest which was seen on 14th November 2008 while trapping for Plumed Prominent with Messers Albertini, Hall & Townsend.  The Blair's Shoulder-knot is the garden's first December record and my latest ever sighting by a couple of weeks.  It has actually had quite a poor year here (only 10 other individuals, the last on 22nd October) so this appearance was very unexpected.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Friday, 30 November 2018


The night of 25/26 November 2018 the RIS trap at Burnham Beeches, Bucks caught two macro-moths, a December Moth (which has had good numbers this year) and a rather unexpected Brimstone (in very good condition).
The Bucks database has two previous reliably dated records for November, both in the first week of the month from Willen, Milton Keynes. So this current record is almost 3 weeks later.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Slight Resurgence

On Monday night (26th) there was a noticeable increase in garden moths, with December Moth (5), Winter Moth (10), Feathered Thorn (1) & Scarce Umber (1) appearing at the conservatory windows where I'm currently running the twin-30wt actinic light indoors.  Tuesday (27th) was even better with Epiphyas postvittana (1), December Moth (6), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (16), Feathered Thorn (1), Mottled Umber (1), Dark Sword-grass (1), Dark Chestnut (1) & Brick (1) tempted out despite the poor weather.  That's the latest I've had Dark Sword-grass here by nearly two weeks (apologies for the dismal photo but there's a distinct lack of natural light available at the moment).

Dark Sword-grass, Westcott 27th November

Last night's collection was rather smaller thanks to all that wind and rain but December Moth (3), Winter Moth (4) & Scarce Umber (1) still appeared.  The December Moth total here has now reached 41 this season which is nearly double my previous best of 22 in 2017.  After a concerted effort over the past couple of weeks I'm now only a month behind with record input into MapMate so I'll soon be able to check how other species have performed, but I think it is going to be difficult to find very many garden moths which haven't done well in 2018.  I suspect many will have been helped as much by the preceding hard winter as they were by the glorious summer, so let's hope we have another 'proper' winter to look forward to! 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Sunday, 25 November 2018

First Blank Night

The frosts of the past week have probably finished off many of the autumn moth species still hanging around locally.  However, while it has been very poor for moths here at Westcott and included my first blank night of the season on the 20th, I've had at least one of the hardier winter species on every other night even if it was only a single Winter Moth (21st) or December Moth (22nd).  Things improved on Friday (23rd) to the extent that there was a double-digit count from six species:  Plutella xylostella (1), December Moth (3), Winter Moth (3), Scarce Umber (1), Mottled Umber (3) & Sprawler (1).  There was more of the same last night and I suspect that'll be about as good as it gets for the garden until well into the new year. 

Plutella xylostella, Westcott 23rd November

Your Records

Now is a good time to start thinking about getting your Records for 2018 into shape to pass on to your County Moth Recorder.  For those of you who are new to recording moths please have a look at the "Your Records" tab at the top of this page, where everything is explained. 

Moth Atlas

Don't forget that we have what should be an invaluable new resource to look forward to in the spring when the long-awaited Atlas of Britain & Ireland's Larger Moths is due to be published by Butterfly Conservation.  There is a pre-publication offer available here until 31st March which will save you £10.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

E-moth, November 2018

The latest version of Butterfly Conservation's occasional "E-moth" newsletter is available here, including details of the annual conference for recorders which will be held in Birmingham during January.