Sunday, 31 May 2015

Not such a bad May

The last night of the month brought me new arrivals for the year in the shape of Scalloped Hazel, White-pinion Spotted, Coronet and Juniper Pug. Doing an initial audit of my May arrivals, I'm surprised to find (because I've shared the slight frustration at wet and cold nights and meagre hauls aired here by others) that the tally is very close to last year's bumper 73. In fact it may match it, once my little corps of micros is sorted. Meanwhile can I ask if this moth in my picture is a Common Swift, which seems to come in so many colourways? Or could it possibly be a Map-winged, in which case my May happiness will be complete?  Btw, I'm the very last person to ID others' moths, but I did wonder if Tom's below might be a Rustic Shoulder-knot.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.


Poplar Hawk Moth last night (one of the few moths I don't need to check the book for), Shears x 2, Heart & dart and this thing. I'm tempted with Dusky Brocade but is it a bit early or something else entirely?

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Mea culpa

Hello again and here's the Gold Spot which I inadvertently Spangled a couple of posts below. While here, may I just check on the second moth shown which I have so far reckoned to be a Plain Golden Y.  All best  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Friday, 29 May 2015

Cochylis nana.

Cochylis nana would appear to be a scarce moth in Hertfordshire, although in Bucks this doesn't seem to be the case. I've seen it once before, in 2011, but have encountered it twice in two days this week: Once in Herts, whilst using a sweep-net and once in Bucks in a light-trap in my back garden. Andrew Wood in Herts reports that he has caught it for the first time just this week.

It might be interesting to see if there is a noticeable increase in the normal numbers in Bucks this year.
As the name implies, this is quite a small moth and it could easily be missed.
Andy King.

Baffled as ever

Things have been quietish in Thrupp but agreeable old familiars keep arriving: Peppered, Scorched Wing, Gold Spangle, Treble Lines, Figure of 80, White and Buff Ermine and a warehouse full of Carpets (and Pugs) which I may despairingly post here. Just for now, I can't track down the undeniably distinctive moth above and I also wondered if anyone might be able to ID the eggs below - apols for pic quality. I had a Puss Moth visit and - although uncertain of its sex - left it for a couple of days in a box with some willow. No Puss moth eggs resulted, but these appeared. I don't think they were there before I cut the willow but maybe there was another creature hidden away. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Cant match David

My garden list is only up to 24 species but I blame that on Benson's weather. Last night counts as good with Shears (4), Shuttle Shaped Dart (1) and this pug - any offers?

Thursday, 28 May 2015


Noting Darren Seaman's recent post containing D alpinana I thought I'd check an unusual site where I knew it existed - my favourite layby on the A41 (yes!). It was there again, as was Dichrorampha sequana, not well known in Bucks.

In fact, I've found 6 different species of Dichrorampha there in the past.
Andy King.  

Mother and Father Shipton!

I was checking our local field beside Coldharbour Way on the western edge of Aylesbury today, hoping the Marsh Pug would be on the wing, but no luck as yet. Instead I was lucky enough to find a mating pair of Mother Shipton moths in the grass - something I've not come across before even though I see plenty of single moths here. Other species seen here were Burnet Companion (1), Small Yellow Underwing (2), Silver-ground Carpet (1), Elachista argentella (2), and Drinker moth larvae (2).   Dave Maunder
Mother Shipton, 28-5-2015

Homefield Wood, Bucks

With the frontal rain (well, a bit of drizzle which is all we actually had) having blown through more quickly than expected I decided to take another look at Homefield Wood near Marlow last night.  Although the wind was quite strong it remained nice and sheltered amongst the trees and there was a reasonable amount of moth activity - just a pity that they didn't include much of interest!  There was no sign yet of Blomer's Rivulet which has been out in Herefordshire for a week now.  Around 40 macro and 20 micro species put in an appearance but only Map-winged Swift, Foxglove Pug, Maple Prominent, Puss Moth & Large Nutmeg are worthy of a mention.  Both forms of Map-winged Swift turned up, which was nice to see:

Map-winged Swift, Homefield Wood 27th May

Map-winged Swift, Homefield Wood 27th May

Earlier in the day I had another look at accessible areas around the incinerator being constructed at Greatmoor, on the southern edge of the Calvert land-fill site.  The chances are that the one and only known Five-spot Burnet Zygaena trifolii colony in Bucks has been destroyed thanks to an access road having been constructed over the best area of bird's-foot trefoil and much of the remainder of the field in which they used to be has been wrecked by heavy machinery.  The only interesting thing seen was a rather worn specimen of the pretty tortrix Commophila aeneana.

Commophila aeneana, Greatmoor 27th May

Best sighting of the day, though, was back home at Westcott where a daisy in the lawn came up trumps once again, this time with the year's first addition to the all-time garden list:  a mated pair of the 'long-horn' micro Adela rufimitrella (or Cauchas rufimitrella as we are supposed to refer to it now).  Interesting that we have none of its food-plant (lady's smock) in the garden although there is plenty in the local area.

Adela rufimitrella, Westcott 27th May

Dave Wilton


Burial Park again...

The Burial Park trap held a couple of new for the year species, in the shape of Tawny-barred Angle and Silver-ground Carpet.

However, the main reason for the post, and especially for those who came along to the BIG session at the site last year, was this newly-emerged Red-necked Footman, not in such an easily photographed position as last year's, but here it is anyway:

Dave Morris

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Back to square one

Just two moths in the trap last night though it did get down to 2.6 °C in Benson last night. A Shears and this, which I guess is a Shuttle Shaped dart?

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Burial Park Moths

We ran our weekly GMS 6w trap in the Burial Park last night, with a few new species for the year in the shape of Pebble Hook-tip, Green Silver-lines, Maiden's Blush and Muslin Moth, with a small supporting cast of Brown SIlver-line, Scoparia ambigulis, Pale Tussock, Treble Lines and Marbled Brown (all but the last new for the site's year list) plus a single Cockchafer and a bunch of click beetles.

Elsewhere on the site was a newly-emerged Cinnabar, plus Nemophora degeerellaEulia ministrana and Caloptilia Gracillaria syringella and three Psyche casta cases on one of the security lights.

Dave Morris

Patience... a virtue.  I finally joined the 2015 migrant club today, albeit not in the garden at home.  A visit to the meadows adjacent to Bernwood Forest, Bucks this morning to see if Forester Moth was yet on the wing resulted in the moth below being kicked up from the grass:

Bordered Straw, Bernwood Meadows 26th May

Hopefully we're all going to be fed up with seeing Bordered Straw and Striped Hawk-moth by the autumn if they manage to breed here but it was nice to record one from the large migratory influx of recent weeks.

The first Forester was indeed seen (although just a single male).  Other species recorded were Adela rufimitrella (5), Glyphipterix fuscoviridella (70), Bactra lancealana (5), Pyrausta purpuralis (2), Opsibotys fuscalis (26), Grass Rivulet (6), Small Yellow Underwing (3) & Burnet Companion (7).

Forester Moth, Bernwood Meadows 26th May
Dave Wilton

Monday, 25 May 2015

Bacombe Hill

Much taken with your C drurella, Dave. Some of the small moths are amongst the most colourful. It bears similarities with a couple of Pancalia which I caught by sweep-net at Bacombe Hill, Bucks, 2 days ago.

A bit too fidgety to photograph easily, but full of metallic colours (and about 6 or7 mm long). However, I'm not sure which of the two species I've got; probably leeuvenhoekella (spelling?), but the signs seem a bit ambiguous. Anybody who would like to share an opinion would be very welcome.
At the same time I came across a Stephensia brunnichella, another moth with metallic markings - and even smaller:

Knocked out of a Juniper bush was the following caterpillar:

A Common Footman larva. Probably feeding on lichens on the bush - but there is now some debate about what else they will eat. Juniper itself seems unlikely.

Andy King.

Double Poplar

I had my first Hawkmoths last night, 2 Poplar HM along with single Mottled Pug, Brimstone and Garden Carpet. Friday night was the best of the weekend with 14 species, NFY's being Common Marbled Carpet(2), Flame Shoulder, Seraphim(2), Coronet, Heart and Dart(2) Pale Mottled Willow, Eulia ministrana and Hofmannophila pseudospretella.

Walking around Howe Park Wood today i saw a few micros, Celypha Lacunana(2) several Pyrausta aurata and Dichrorampha alpinana, it was in the meadows which has lots of Ox-eye Daisies.
Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.

Catch numbers slowly improving

27 in total last night from my Tilehurst garden trap.
Peppered Moth (1) : Light Brown Apple (4) : Bee Moth (1) : Flame Shoulder (3) : Treble Lines (9) : Bright-line Brown-eye (1) : Heart and Dart (1) : White Ermine (1) : Light Brocade (1) : White-shouldered House-moth (1).
Also, a Carpet Moth that has escaped somewhere in the living room, but hopefully will show up sometime tonight!

3 Micro moths, 2 of which I have tried to photograph before escaping. Any help with these would be gratefully appreciated.
The first one maybe Phtheochroa rugosana? measured at 10mm.
The second one (awful photograph I know) - Well at first I thought it could be Metriotes lutarea, but looking at past posts it seems that Coleophora serratella has just recently emerged from Birch. There are Birch in the gardens near here but not Greater Stitchwort as far as I can tell. Measured at 6mm.

Micros improving at Westcott

New species for the year here at Westcott, Bucks over the past three nights have included Argyresthia trifasciata, Common Swift, Maiden's Blush, Broken-barred Carpet, Freyer's Pug & Clouded Silver (all 22nd), Silver-ground Carpet, Green Carpet, Clouded Border, Small Square-spot, Bright-line Brown-eye & Poplar Grey (all 23rd) and Figure of Eighty, Seraphim & Marbled Minor sp (all 24th).

A half-hour's wander around the garden this afternoon, camera and pots at the ready, produced no sign of Clepsis dumicolana on our copious amounts of ivy (see Martin Albertini's post below) but I did find several other species of micro-moth sitting around on the vegetation, waiting (like the rest of us) for a bit of decent sunshine.  Disturbed from a pile of rotting logs was an example of Esperia sulphurella, while another was found sitting on a nearby leaf of forsythia.  Two newly-emerged examples of Pyrausta aurata were resting on our cat-mint, on which they have been breeding since at least 2009, while hiding amongst the leaves of the same plant was a Celypha lacunana.  Waiting patiently nearby on the leaf of an unidentified weed was the tiny orange, silver and black gelechid Chrysoesthia drurella which I've had a couple of times before in the garden.  It is supposed to be a reasonably common species in southern England but if it wasn't for Neil Fletcher finding a mine on fat-hen in his allotment last year then my garden would appear to be the only site for it in Bucks - surely you don't all have manicured, weed-free gardens?!  Found on the inside windows of our shed were Bucculatrix thoracella (1), Mompha epilobiella (3) & Mompha subbistrigella (1).  That's the third time in as many days that I've found thoracella in the shed although there's no sign yet of them sitting out on the leaves of our nearby lime. 

Dave Wilton

Pyrausta aurata, Westcott 25th May

Chrysoesthia drurella, Westcott 25th May

Bucculatrix thoracella, Westcott 25th May

Clepsis dumicolana

Further to my post on 11th May about this recent arrival in the UK, eight examples of Clepsis dumicolana were seen at the Longwick, Bucks site on 24th May, flying in sunshine around ivy on the house wall.  Now is the time to look for it.

Martin Albertini, Bucks County Moth Recorder

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Another blasted Pug.

Yes - another in my trap last night together with a very dull looking thing with, as far as I can see, virtually no distinguishing features.

Also, slightly easier a Bee Moth and a Common Wave.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Moths. Where did they come from?

Radnage, Bucks. MV last night.
Chinese Character 1, Waved Umber (type) 2, Rustic Shoulder-knot 14, Brimstone 5, Red-green Carpet 1, Pebble Prominent 1, Oak Nycteoline 1, Orange Footman 1, Broken-barred Carpet 1, Common Swift 1, Poplar Hawk 1, Peppered ( 4, White Ermine 1, Treble-lines 3, White Pinion-spotted 1, Red Twin-spot Carpet 1, Scalloped Hazel 2, Flame shoulder 6, postvittana 1, Brindled Beauty 2, Pale Tussock 2, Privet Hawk 1, Oak Hook-tip 1, Shuttle-shaped Dart 1, and an Agonopteryx sp.
Ched George.

Best in Benson this year

But not at the same scale as others reporting here. 7 moths of 5 species. Common Marbled Carpet, Treble Lines, Common Swift plus a Pug that could be mottled? and a micro which is well beyond my capabilities.

Pitstone Hill

With the forecast showers having disappeared, the breeze having died down and the temperature staying reasonably warm under cloudy skies, a hastily-arranged visit to the National Trust's Pitstone Hill, Bucks last night brought quite a decent return, the species count reaching 79 (58 of them macro-moths).  The target Light Feathered Rustic appeared in the highest numbers I've seen there, with 29 of them split between the three MV lights.  Other species new to me for the year included Nematopogon schwarziellus, Mompha miscella, Cochylimorpha straminea, Capua vulgana, Rhopobota stagnana, Pyrausta despicata, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Shaded Pug, Grey Pug, Clouded Silver, Shoulder-striped Wainscot, Poplar Grey, Marbled Minor sp, Marbled White Spot & Small Purple-barred.
Dave Wilton

Rhopobota stagnana, Pitstone Hill 22nd May

Pretty Chalk Carpet, Pitstone Hill 22nd May

Best Night So Far in Oxford

Like Dave last night I too had my best night of the year so far and similarly that's not saying very much. I caught a total of 29 moths of 14 species though more may have failed to run the gauntlet of our young cat who has developed a penchant for hunting down moths at night as the are draw to the trap. Certainly she seemed exhausted this morning! Details are: Yellow-barred Brindle, Common Marbled Carpet (4), Bee Moth (4), Light-brown Apple Moth (8), Common Pug (3), Garden Carpet, White-shouldered House Moth, Tinea trinotella, Small Waved Umber (NFY), Pale Mottled Willow, Mompha subbistrigella (2), Garden Pebble (NFY), Ingrailed Clay Small Square-spot (see comments) (NFY) and Vines Rustic (NFY). 

Ingrailed Clay
Vine's Rustic
Small Waved Umber
I also found this micro in some grasses yesterday evening in Burgess Field next to Port Meadow. I'm thinking that it's Elachista argentella though I just want to check that it's not Opostega salaciella instead (I can't see any "eye caps").

presumed Elachista argentella

Friday, 22 May 2015


And, come to think of it, I had a load of Coleophora serratella emerge from their cases, which I had collected at the same time as the Rhyacionia.

A really common Coleophora, all over the Birch trees on Stoke Common.
Andy King.

Rhyacionia pinicolana.

This emerged a couple of days ago, from some deformed buds I picked off sapling Scots Pine trees on Stoke Common (Bucks):

Rhyacionia pinicolana. It may be a little early, but I had kept the buds indoors.
Andy King.

Best night of the year...

...but that doesn't mean a lot!  Last night's garden trap here at Westcott, Bucks produced 33 moths of 25 species which, species-wise at least, is certainly a vast improvement when compared to the pitiful returns from each session over the previous few weeks:  Tinea trinotella (1), Elachista canapennella (1), Cnephasia sp (1), Aphomia sociella (2), Garden Carpet (1), Broken-barred Carpet (1), Common Pug (2), White-spotted Pug (1), Lesser Treble-bar (1), Small Elephant Hawk-moth (1), Buff-tip (1), White Ermine (1), Buff Ermine (1), Muslin Moth (1), Cinnabar (1), Heart & Dart (1), Shuttle-shaped Dart (1), Flame Shoulder (3), Powdered Quaker (1), Hebrew Character (1), Common Wainscot (1), Coronet (2), Rustic Shoulder-knot (3), Treble Lines (2) & Spectacle (1).
Dave Wilton

Aphomia sociella, Westcott 21st May

Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Westcott 21st May


Left a light on a timer at Chiltern Open Air Museum last night. Don't think the clouds came in at any point during the night so the haul wasn't great, but at least a few new for my year list (in bold).

In the trap were Pale Tussock, Red Twin-spotted Carpet, Sandy Carpet, Flame Shoulder, Oak Tree Pug, Orange Footman, Marbled Brown, Iron Prominent, Poplar Hawk-moth and Common Swift (plus a couple of micros that flew off before I spotted them...). And a bunch of Cockchafers.

Netted nearby were Crambus lathoniellus and Ancylis badiana, and a Scorched Carpet was seen.

Also, I found this larval case on Deadly Nightshade, if anyone can suggest an id?

Dave Morris

Wow 4 moths in one night!

White-shouldered House Moth, a Carpet - probably Common but was off before I managed a good look and these two. Suspect they are both Shears but as they are so different I'm not sure.