Friday, 15 October 2021

Westcott, Bucks

Another week has gone by and moth numbers are currently holding up reasonably well for the time of year, albeit with some fluctuations depending upon the amount (or lack) of night-time cloud cover.  Lunar Underwing has now declined to only one or two individuals per night, leaving Beaded Chestnut as the only species making regular double-digit counts, although now that they've started the November Moth species are catching up.  Southerly winds this coming weekend and into the first half of next week give hope for another short burst of possible migrant activity, although it will become wet and windy.  More importantly, the forecast suggests that we may escape any frosts here at least until we're in to November.

     (8th)  110 moths of 31 species; Radford's Flame Shoulder was new for the garden year list (see here).  Of note was a second example of Choreutis pariana and another Nomophila noctuella (Rush Veneer).
     (9th)  41 moths of 14 species; Phyllonorycter messaniella was new for the year-list.
     (10th)  35 moths of 10 species; nothing new for the year-list but of note was the first Grey Shoulder-knot to appear here this autumn.
     (11th)  34 moths of 14 species; nothing new for the year-list but of note was the tenth garden Clifden Nonpareil this year.
     (12th)  47 moths of 19 species; nothing new for the year-list.
     (13th)  79 moths of 22 species; Feathered Thorn & Figure of Eight were new for the year-list.  Of note were a diminutive Red-green Carpet and two late Light Emeralds.
     (14th)  77 moths of 24 species; nothing new for the year-list but of note were another couple of late moths, Pseudargyrotoza conwagana and a further Light Emerald. 

There have been second-brood records of Light Emerald in the garden since 2009, mostly in August and September although during 2011, 2013 and then annually from 2017 onwards they have stretched into the first couple of weeks of October.  The pair on the 13th and the singleton on the 14th were the latest I've seen them apart from one particularly late individual on the 20th last year. 

Feathered Thorn, Westcott 13th October

Red-green Carpet, Westcott 13th October

One of six Red-green Carpets which came to light on the 13th, the example illustrated above had a wing-length of 12mm, quite a bit smaller than the usual range for that species.  

Likely Epinotia nisella, Westcott 12th October

Pseudargyrotoza conwagana, Westcott 14th October

During September the garden traps were visited by 69 micro-moth species but, true to form, numbers have been much lower this month and have only reached 19 so far (and are unlikely to climb much higher).  At the moment it is just Acleris variegana and Epiphyas postvittana which are guaranteed each night.  What will probably turn out to be simply a grey Epinotia nisella visited on the 12th and has been retained in case it proves to be the less common Epinotia cinereana.  The two species can only be told apart by dissection.  I've had many looking like this one which have come back as nisella but on three occasions (including once in the garden) cinereana has been confirmed so it is worth making the effort.  The ash-feeding Pseudargyrotoza conwagana, quite a striking little tortrix, put in a late appearance on the 14th.  I've only had two other October records and they're both quite recent (on the 7th in 2019 and 23rd in 2017).  

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks



May I just check that I am right in thinking that both shoulder-knots, Blair’s and Grey, have visited me together? I remember that in the year that Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, Blair’s Shoulder-knot was recorded in his Scottish constituency for the first time. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon 

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Lunar Underwing???

 I can only assume this is 'Lunar' but have never seen a form anywhere near these colours. Please confirm or put me straight!

Thanks, David

Purple-brindled Crescent!

Presumably this is the capucina form of Green-brindled Crescent, although according to Waring & Townsend it should be "dark brown marked with tawny brown", with no mention of any purple hues.
So I wonder whether it is in fact the green form but with scales that are of slightly different thickness than normal for some reason resulting in purple rather than green iridescence? The photo here doesn't do it justice unfortunately as in the right light it was quite striking, almost reminiscent of Purple Emperor!

Monday, 11 October 2021

Not what I'd hoped for

Back on 11th September I found what looked like the underside mines of Phyllonorycter lantanella on leaves of Wayfaring Tree growing near Finemere Wood, Bucks.  Most were vacated but a couple still seemed to be active and one was brought home to try rearing through as I've never seen the moth and have only recorded the mine once previously in VC24 where it seems to be quite uncommon.  The following day I had suspicions that things weren't quite right so the "mine" was opened and the larva itself plus the amount of silk present immediately made me think that I'd got the identity wrong, confirmed after just a few more days by which time the caterpillar was feeding externally, had grown too large and was producing a considerable amount of frass which was also too large for any Phyllonorycter.  It had pupated by the end of September and all was revealed today when the adult moth emerged, an example of Acleris schalleriana

Larva on Viburnum lantana

Acleris schalleriana, emerged indoors 11th October

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Epirrita christyi?

Out of six Epirrita sp. a couple of nights ago, this I believe is christyi based on the spacing of the octavals, but would appreciate confirmation or otherwise. I checked one of the others which I am confident was dilutata, (based on one I had last year), with much wider spaced octavals, but it revived and escaped before I could get a photo for comparison. 

Dots and dashes


The Dotted Chestnut seems established here now and I've also been enjoying some lovely seasonal moths including Green-brindled Crescent, Brindled Green, Blair's Shoulder-knot and the beautiful Merveille du Jour, below. 

I'd meanwhile be very grateful for advice on this carpety character, below, with apologies for the poor photo.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Help with id for this moth please

 Would appreciate help with identification for this moth please.  Many thanks

Grey Pine / Spruce Carpet?

 It's rather worn, can it be ID'd? (Sorry about the pic quality).

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Figure of Eight, and Chestnut sp.

A Figure of Eight found this morning perched on the outside of one of my garden traps in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, was a lifer for me, and a welcome one in view of the species' decline over recent decades. Rather a dark specimen, but I'm confident of the ID.

Figure of Eight, 9/10/21

Figure of Eight, 9/10/21

In a case of less certain ID, the perennial question of Chestnut versus Dark Chestnut came up this morning, too: I think the individual below is Dark Chestnut, based on shape and to some extent upon colour (though it's interesting what a difference using a flash makes in the latter feature). I'd be grateful, as ever, for confirmation or correction.

Presumed Dark Chestnut, 9/10/21

Presumed Dark Chestnut, 9/10/21
Steve Goddard

The one that nearly got away

 Having been away for a week in Weymouth and seeing a few new moths for me at the portland bird observatory,i thought i would put the trap out more in hope than expectation,on inspection this morning there was nothing in the trap at all,i did check the fence and the wall next to the trap and found what i think is a Blairs shoulder knot(new for the garden)and a red green carpet ,lunar underwing,and a couple of Common marbled carpets.a few hours later i saw a moth fly onto my living room window,and was pleased to find a merveille du jour also new for the garden.

Mike Higgs Banbury

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Autumn in Cookham

Well, no Radford's Flame Shoulder here. However, last night's garden trap did bring in some new for year autumn moths - Feathered Thorn, Green-brindled Crescent, Beaded Chestnut, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Merveille du Jour, and Brindled Green. In addition, there was also a single Large Ranunculus, which was last recorded in my garden back in 2016.
Steve Trigg, Cookham

A bonus moth!

In my weekly summary yesterday I listed the species still expected in the garden this year and mentioned that anything else would be a bonus.  Well, one of those bonus moths turned up last night!  This Radford's Flame Shoulder Ochropleura leucogaster (a first for VC24) was amongst just over 100 moths attracted to the actinic light, of which the only other migrant was a single Nomophila noctuella (Rush Veneer). 

Radford's Flame Shoulder, Westcott 8th October

While records of Radford's Flame Shoulder always seem to occur in the autumn migrant season, the second brood of Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta is usually over by the end of September but it can sometimes be found later than that.  I've added a comparison shot below of a particularly late-flying example which may help to highlight some of the differences, in particular the wing length (those on Radford's are longer), the size and shape of the oval and kidney mark (both notably smaller on Radford's) and to my mind the scruffier appearance (Radford's generally shows cleaner lines).

Flame Shoulder, Westcott 3rd November 2015

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Unknown micro

 I'm trying to get caught up having had various computer problems.

This one is from last Wednesday wing length 7mm.

Also a Ypsolopha parenthesella I think which would be a new garden record.

The Yellow-line Quakers have got going in the last few nights with this rather well marked individual catching my eye.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Stoke Goldington, North Bucks: Palpita vitrealis

A good moth night for the time of year. 83 individuals of 30 species, including what I assume is Palpita vitrealis, which would be a garden first. Also a very small, dark Tortrix, making a change from endless E. postvittana, which I believe is Cacoecimorpha pronbana, but would like confirmation.

Friday, 8 October 2021

Damaged and worn!

 These two turned up last night and I'm confused! Can someone help me out, in spite of the poor specimens and poor photos? Many thanks, David.

Pine Carpet?

 Hi there,

Can someone confirm this as Pine Carpet - it's new to me, but 

came to light in a garden near Chesham. Thanks, David

Figure of Eight bonanza

A couple of MV lights run in Finemere Wood, Bucks last night for the usual three hour session produced only 22 species between them, all very much as expected although Epinotia maculana and my first Feathered Thorn of the year were nice to see.  The only moths around in any numbers were Acleris rhombana (28) and Figure of Eight (87).  Finemere has always been a good site for Figure of Eight but that count is my highest ever there, beating 80 between three lights on 23rd October 2009.

Figure of Eight, Finemere Wood 7th October

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Westcott, Bucks

Details of garden moths for the last two days of September are given below, with the final day of the month providing quite a reasonable return for the time of year:

     (29th)  63 moths of 16 species; nothing new for the garden year-list.
     (30th)  151 moths of 26 species, Yellow-line Quaker new for the year-list.  A migrant Plutella xylostella came to the MV trap, a species which has been in short supply here this year.

Red-line Quaker & Yellow-line Quaker, Westcott

Since 1st October I've been running just the actinic light on its own and, unless a particularly good potential migrant night is forecast, that's the way things will stay until next Spring.  The numbers of individual moths have reduced slightly as a consequence, but at this time of year I find that the actinic always brings in a greater variety of species than does the MV trap.  The first week of single-trap operations produced the following:

     (1st)  59 moths of 16 species; nothing new for the garden list.  Of note were a second-brood Swallow-tailed Moth and a dragonfly in the trap, a Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea.
     (2nd)  84 moths of 23 species; Merveille du Jour new for the year-list.
     (3rd)  57 moths of 15 species; Brick new for the year-list.  Of note was my first October record of Cochylis molliculana (or Neocochylis molliculana as we should now call it).
     (4th)  82 moths of 19 species; nothing new for the garden year-list.  Of note were a single migrant Udea ferrugalis and the ninth Clifden Nonpareil to appear in the garden this year.
     (5th)  53 moths of 17 species; nothing new for the garden year-list.
     (6th)  93 moths of 28 species; nothing new for the garden year-list.  Of note were a fairly late example of Carcina quercana (although records into October seem to occur quite frequently nowadays) and an exceedingly late Poplar Hawk-moth.
     (7th)  88 moths of 24 species; November Moth new for the year-list (octavals checked).

Swallow-tailed Moth, Westcott 1st October

Poplar Hawk-moth, Westcott 6th October

The pristine Swallow-tailed Moth (1st) was my latest ever and first October record, following one on 28th September last year.  Neocochylis molliculana (3rd) is interesting because I had the first for Bucks in Moulsoe Old Wood as recently as 2010 and since then it has increased massively in numbers to become by far the most frequently encountered Cochylis species locally.  It was first recorded in the garden during 2017 (11 individuals) and thereafter the annual count rose steadily to 223 in 2020.  The rather worn Poplar Hawk-moth (6th) was very unexpected, coming almost a month after my last example (7th September) which at the time was the latest I'd ever seen one.    

Lunar Underwing and Beaded Chestnut are currently the highest achievers (15-20 each per night) although neither is appearing in the numbers I've come to expect.  The same is true for Black Rustic and the various Sallows, none of which are doing as well as usual here.  The garden peak for Lunar Underwing is always either the last week of September or first week of October so theoretically it ought now to be in decline.  My highest nightly figure so far has been 88 on 26th September and the total up to 7th October comes to 710, so the 2,000+ counts of the last two years certainly aren't going to be repeated in 2021.

Moths yet to be recorded in the garden this year which I can reasonably expect will do so comprise Acleris sparsana, Pale November Moth, Feathered Thorn, Figure of Eight & Sprawler (all due this month) and then December Moth & Scarce Umber (both due in November).  Anything else will be a bonus!  Some of the other seasonal moths, of which Winter Moth, Mottled Umber & Chestnut spring to mind, were of course seen way back in January.

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Grey Pine Carpet?

I  had this moth in the trap last night (in Abingdon). It is rather faded but I think it is a Grey Pine Carpet.  It looks too brown to be a Spruce Carpet. Are there any other possibilities?