Monday, 31 August 2015

A better weekend

The last 2 nights have been better here in Milton Keynes, averaging around 35 species. New for my garden Saturday came a female Bulrush Wainscot and Sundays NFS were Apotomis betuletana and Agriphila inquinatella. Saturday i got NFY Dotted Rustic and last nights NFY was Dusky Thorn.

Is Dotted Rustic a rare moth in Bucks? in Northants its hardly ever seen these days.

Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.

A mixed-up moth

A "gynandromorph" is an organism that contains both male and female characteristics, and it's a peculiarity of some insects, including moths, that they occasionally produce these 'half-and-half' creatures. The image here is from Richard Lewington in Appleford (vice-county Berkshire) and shows a Turnip moth which is male on the left half and female on the right (look closely and you can see the difference in the antennae). It was caught last night.

It's quite a rare event to see one of these mixed-up moths - presumably they don't happen very often and when they do it's likely that they are more than usually vulnerable to predators. As one of my mothing mentors used to say to me whenever we saw this species, "That's a turnip for the books" ...

Thanks to Richard for posting the image on Twitter and allowing me to re-post it here.

Another Gypsy

Richard Ellis had this rather battered male Gypsy Moth to his trap last night, a first for his garden in Chorleywood, Bucks.  Richard also had a Scarce Bordered Straw on 26th August.

Gypsy Moth, Chorleywood 30th August

Loosley Row, Bucks

I think this one is A. bonnetella, it was caught on the 18th. Is the ID correct?


Sunday, 30 August 2015

And (mainly) unknown micros

A few micros which we've not identified here from Wolvercote, Oxon: firstly, what may well be a faded Pyrausta aurata from 29th August; a mysterious hump-backed beastie from 22nd August (sorry for the digression from moths, but we're curious as to what it could be); a possible Cochylis species from 13th August; a very shiny micro from 22nd August; an obvious-looking one, but which we just can't find, from 12th August; and an awful photo of a rather lively, and again obvious-looking white-headed micro from 22nd August. All suggestions welcome!

Steve and Xander Goddard

Just a faded Pyrausta aurata?, 29/8/15

A fly species??, 22/8/15

Possible Cochylis species, 13/8/15

Shiny unknown micro, 22/8/15

Unknown micro, 12/8/15

White-headed micro, 22/8/15

Unknown macros

As mentioned, we have a few mysteries from the last few weeks in Wolvercote, Oxon, starting with macros, many of which are probably slightly unusual specimens of pretty familiar species, or just too faded to be identifiable. Firstly, what is probably some sort of rustic from 29th August; a rather faded specimen from 13th August; very possibly an individual of the same species as the first one, from 22nd August; a faded specimen from 27th August; what should surely be an identifiable individual from 22nd August; a likely Yellow Shell from 29th August, but which doesn't quite look right; and a pug - possibly unidentifiable - from 22nd August. As ever, all help gratefully received.

Steve and Xander Goddard

Some sort of rustic...?, 29/8/15

Unknown macro, 13/8/15

Possibly another rustic, 22/8/15

Faded macro, 27/8/15

Unknown macro, 22/8/15

Presumably a Yellow Shell, 29/8/15

Unknown pug, 22/8/15

Lots of rustics

We spent a week away in Devon this month (and came across Rosy and Four-spotted Footmen there, which were nice), so haven't posted in a while, but here are a few recent records from Wolvercote, Oxon, to be followed by some queries. Autumn has pretty clearly kicked in, not least in that, Large Yellow Underwings aside, most macros we get seem to have the word 'rustic' somewhere in their name. Below are a few exceptions: a Dark Spinach (a garden first for us) from 27th August; a Feathered Gothic from the same date; what I think was a Dusky Thorn from 14th August; a suspected Agonopterix yeatiana from 28th August; and a Swallow Prominent from 14th August. As I say, we're not wholly certain if the Dusky Thorn and the Agonopterix, so if it's possible to confirm them, we'd be grateful.

Steve and Xander Goddard

Dark Spinach, 27/8/15

Feathered Gothic, 27/8/15

Presumed Dusky Thorn, 14/8/15

Presumed Agonopterix yeatiana, 28/8/15

Swallow Prominent, 14/8/15

Give us a clue!

Is this a good enough photo for someone to identify this micro from?, I have several idea's none of which I'm completely happy with. Any help greatly appreciated.
Many thanks,
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Garden beats Chalk Grassland

Last night I joined Martin Albertini and Marc Botham trapping on National Trust land at Bradenham, Bucks.  We drew the short straw when it came to the weather, with drizzle for most of the three hours we were there and then heavier rain as we finished packing up.  Between six lights we managed about 80 species with nothing exceptional amongst them apart from first sightings of Feathered Gothic and Centre-barred Sallow, chalk grassland specialists being noticeable by their absence.  During the gaps between moth arrivals we were kept amused by the chattering Glis glis in the hedgerows and this time, unusually, a youngster decided to show itself and was captured for posterity on Marc's phone camera:

Edible Dormouse, Bradenham 29th August 

In contrast, back home at Westcott, Bucks there was no rain at all until I went out to secure the moths at 5am.  The catch was a reasonable 55 species, of which Epinotia demarniana, Feathered Gothic, Centre-barred Sallow & Gold Spot were new for the garden year list.  Unfortunately the only Hawk-moth present was a second-brood Elephant, but as a consolation prize I got my second Ni Moth of the month (that being the only migrant trapped apart from a couple of Silver Ys).

Elephant Hawk-moth, Westcott 29th August

Feathered Gothic, Westcott 29th August

Centre-barred Sallow, Westcott 29th August

Ni Moth, Westcott 29th August
Dave Wilton   

Help please

These two giving me problems - what's even more embarrassing I think I might have asked before! My best guesses are Square Spot Rustic and Uncertain/Rustic - please put me out of my misery.


I ran two MVs in fields near Fernham, Oxon (VC22 Berks) last night. Conditions were perfect with a gentle southerly breeze and cloud cover all night. I took Nikita the Nicotiana plant on her first field trip, but sadly she failed to deliver the goods!

 74 species were recorded, including a few migrants -

3 Plutella xylostella (Diamond-back moth)
2 Nomophila noctuella (Rush Veneer)
1 Rhodometra sacraria (The Vestal)
1 Trichoplusia ni (Ni Moth)
28 Autograph gamma (Silver Y)

Plus 2 Turnip Moth (A. segetum) and 1 Nephopterix angustella, which may have been migrants.
The best of the local species for the site were Ypsolopha horridella, a presumed Depressaria douglasella, Barred Hook-tip and moth of the night a Pale Eggar (Trichiura crataegi) - last recorded there in 2003.

Distant relative

I'm afraid this is cheating but maybe it adds to the growing impression that the Convolvulus Hawk is having a good year. My wife Penny (and ace moth spotter) pointed out this one, above, on the bunting at a wedding we were at in St Austell yesterday.  Back home, the best I can do so far immigrants are concerned is this Dark Swordgrass, below, which came on Thursday night.  Here's hoping, though it's currently too wet to hang washing out.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

IDs and ouch

Got stung this morning. After carefully removing the wasps in the trap, including the "dead ones", it seems one was crawling under the trap and I got stung emptying out the final large yellow underwings at my release point.

I got a Flounced Rustic that looked a bit difeernt, both in the way it sat and some of the markings - but I'm not sure what else it would be.

The second moth - some kind of Chestnut?

Got a worn looking Centre-barred Sallow yesterday - it's feeling very autumnal. Where's my Convolvulus Hawk-Moth then?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Convolvulus Hawk-moth

Ken Poole reports finding one (in his washing) at Tingewick yesterday. So if you put on your jeans and feel something stirring...Peter Hall

Micro ID

Ive got a couple of micros this week that I'm not sure about, Second one looks like it should be easy to identify but can't see it. I think the third may be Grapholita janthinana but it is a bit late. Fourth possibly Bryotropha domestica, Forewing length is 5mm.

Also this Coleophora, Forewing length was 5.5mm so probably one of the ones that needs chopping, it did escape though so that won't happen.
The only new macro in the last week was Centre-barred Sallow last night (28th).
Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes

ID help please

Hi, all having a bit of trouble identifying these moths from the other night, in grove. Any help would be much appreciated.