Sunday, 21 October 2018

Tachystola acroxantha?

Is this Tachystola acroxantha?. Most of the images show a much browner moth with a slightly different shape.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Saturday, 20 October 2018

More Mines

It didn't take long to go through last night's garden trap (17 moths of eight species and nothing of particular interest) so I decided to have another look around the garden for leaf-mines in this morning's sunshine.  I concentrated on our willow Salix babylonica and apple Malus domestica which still have the majority of their leaves and found evidence of three species new to this year's garden list.  On the former were two active mines of Stigmella obliquella, while the latter produced a vacated mine of Stigmella oxyacanthella and an active mine of Stigmella incognitella which is a first for the site.  It takes the number of Nepticulid species (Stigmella and Ectoedemia) found in the garden to 26 of which only five have been confirmed via dissection at the adult stage, the remainder having been identified solely by finding their distinctive larval mines.

Mine of Stigmella obliquella on willow, Westcott 20th October

Mine of Stigmella incognitella on apple, Westcott 20th October
(ignore the mine of Lyonetia clerkella running top to bottom on
the left hand side of the image)

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Friday, 19 October 2018

Second generations

Dave has noted earlier that some moths are having a second (late) generation, when the guides say that they only have one - presumably because of the relatively unusual weather conditions earlier in the year.  A couple of nights ago I trapped a Beautiful Hook-tip (within the usual size range) and a very lively Heart & Club (the 'club' not very evident), both of which I have only seen previously in June and July.

John Thacker

red-green carpet

Rather nice red-green carpet

Can this pug? be identified, please?

Alan Diver


Down to 4.5C here last night, the coldest so far this autumn, so only 18 moths one of which was a Vestal, the first I have seen here this year:

Richard Ellis

Thursday, 18 October 2018


Despite running the mercury light last night in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, my catch was pretty unmemorable - apart from the beast sat on top of the uppermost eggbox. I knew what it was the moment I glimpsed it, and although it was a pretty battered specimen, its colours rather faded, it remained a thrill to have my first ever Clifden Nonpareil. They aren't, obviously, such a rarity as they were just a few years ago, but its star value was evident, not least because of its sheer size.

Clifden Nonpareil, 17/10/18

Clifden Nonpareil, 17/10/18

Clifden Nonpareil, 17/10/18
In what might be slightly less welcome news for owners of topiaries in Wolvercote, a late-season flurry of NFGs included the Cydalima perspectalis pictured below on 10th October. Again, that would have had a lot more rarity value a few years ago.

Cydalima perspectalis, 10/10/18
Steve Goddard

Tiny Hook-tip

There was a much reduced catch in the garden last night (55 moths of 18 species) but of interest was this pint-sized and rather battered Beautiful Hook-tip.  Just how small it was won't be entirely apparent from the photo below but the forewing length was only 11mm. 

Beautiful Hook-tip, Westcott 17th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

December already!

My first December Moth turned up this morning, along with what I think is a Dark Chestnut?
Haven't trapped these before, but have been experimenting with Heath traps in different parts of the garden.
December Moth

Dark Chestnut?

Help needed

I feel I ought to know this one but can't find it in the book!

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Cypress Carpet

No exciting migrants from my trap last weekend (13th), but Cypress Carpet was new for my garden.  Cydalima perspectalis is also rising in numbers quite considerably with seven in the trap.  A very respectable 40 species seen and it was amazing to be on the patio at midnight in a T-shirt.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Another first for Berkshire?

Last week Marc Botham added Feathered Ranunculus to the Berkshire county list, which was the 640th macro-moth species to be found in the county. It looks like Paul Black has now added the 641st!

Paul and I believe that this is Southern Chestnut, which Paul found at Snelsmore Common (I think this was from last night). It was flying at around 7.30pm, which is exactly when the books say that Southern Chestnut is normally active.

Until now Southern Chestnut was a species known from the heathlands of Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset. I've not heard of any records from other counties, nor from so far inland before, and as far as I know Paul's record from Snelsmore must be about 50km north of the nearest Hampshire populations.

Paul has passd on the specimen and I want to check the moth against a museum collection before finally confirming it, but Paul and I think this does look like a good candidate for Southern Chestnut - please let us know if you disagree! (The moth is a bit worn, and my photos aren't brilliant, so that makes things a bit harder.)

I guess the likelihood is that this moth has been assisted in its trip to Berkshire by the recent high winds, but Paul found it among heather heath at Snelsmore, raising the intriguing possibility that it could perhaps be resident there.

Few migrants but still some interest in Longwick

I've said before I don't really get large numbers of migrants here unless they really are in large concentrations and the weekend produced none of the excitement seen by others - a Silver Y and a Diamond Back being the total migrant haul. However there was still some interest amongst the routine autumn fayre including my first Endotricha Flammealis for some time and the rather attractive choreutis pariana which was on the trap side last night. Apologies for the poor photo as there wasn't a great deal of light! (Now replaced with slightly brighter image) The bright red line close to the termen was what drew my attention in the torchlight. Also I trapped a Clepsis Dumicolana for the second time this year - so maybe they can disperse a little!

Sprawler and Streak

An unexpectedly good garden catch of 36 species last night included my first Sprawler of the year.  The only migrants amongst them were another Vestal and Dark Sword-grass, although a pair of White-points may perhaps have been migratory rather than locally-bred because over the past few days there seem to have been quite a few seen around the UK in places where the moth is not as yet resident.  I also had a single Silver Y.  Amongst the remainder were no less than five Merveille du Jours (the moth seems to be having an excellent season!) and a pair of Large Wainscots.  However, it was my nightly torchlight check for moths on our ivy blossom which produced the most interesting garden visitor, a Western Conifer Seed Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis.  A native of the USA which arrived here about ten years ago from continental Europe, it is twice the size of our largest native squash-bugs.  Apologies for including a picture of this impressive non-moth!

Sprawler, Westcott 16th October

Vestal, Westcott 16th October

Leptoglossus occidentalis, Westcott 16th October

Last night I also completed what will probably be my final monthly trapping session of the year at Rowley Wood to the north of Slough.  Three MV lights were run for the usual three hours and a very acceptable 35 species turned up, including late-brood examples of Least Carpet and Treble Brown Spot.  The eastern part of the wood is a mixed plantation including quite a lot of gorse and broom so my target for this visit was Streak which is not a particularly common moth in Bucks, most of the post-millennium records for the county being provided by the RIS trap at Burnham Beeches.  It was good to find that the moth is indeed a resident of Rowley Wood with seven examples coming to light, spread over all three traps.

Streak, Rowley Wood 16th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Eudonia angustea?

I'm thinking this is Eudonia angustea, can anyone confirm?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

2nd for VC24?

Having read yesterday's blog, I had no difficulty identifying this little chappie today as Spoladea recurvalis when I opened the Robinson trap in my garden in Newport Pagnell.  Thanks are due to you Mr.Wilton.

Below is a late for me Yellow-tail that rather surprised me when I opened one of the 40w Skinner traps I run regularly at Linford Lakes Nature reserve.  8th October is the latest I have ever seen one.

 The coupled Willow Beauties below were on the wall of the shed in the garden in Newport Pagnell by the Robinson trap and are only the third time in 30+years of moth trapping that I have found moths coupled in or around the moth trap.  This has always puzzled me as the flying stage is all about reproduction.  I have read that most of the moths that come to light are male so that may be the reason or may be they just hear me coming.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Phyllonorycter froelichiella

Hundreds of mines of Phyllonorycter froelichiella on common alder at Dry Sandford Pit last Saturday.  I find this to be usually a scarce species, and I may have seen more on Saturday than in the whole of the previous decade.

Further Migrants

I was away over the weekend but left the actinic trap running in the garden because the weather looked as though it might be good for migrants.  The combined catch for Saturday and Sunday nights (30 species) included a Vestal and a Dark Sword-grass, while last night's collection (27 species) included a Silver Y and the splendid crambid illustrated below which is a first for VC24:

Spoladea recurvalis, Westcott 15th October

Spoladea recurvalis, Westcott 15th October

Found mainly in tropical areas where it can be a pest on some agricultural crops, Spoladea recurvalis is an uncommon migrant to the UK and to get it this far inland is quite an event.  There were also first county records of the moth for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire last night as well as more typical coastal county sightings in Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent and Hampshire at least, so there must be more out there waiting to be caught!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 15 October 2018

Migrants in the rain

Got thoroughly soaked going through traps on Sunday morning, but worth it as the storm brought rewards: 2  Palpita vitrealis in the garden trap, and 3 Vestal at local wood (VC22) along with another Clifden Nonpareil and plenty of Merveille du Jour.

Marc Botham, Didcot

Palpita vitrealis Didcot 13/10/18

Vestal 13/10/18