Friday, 30 October 2015

Flying in the garden

A Rush Veneer flying after dark this evening as I went to make sure my magnificent stand of Nicotiana still had no customers. I wonder if anyone will catch any migrants.

Late Moths

It was another reasonable night in the garden last night with the actinic trap bringing in 49 moths of 20 species.  Amongst them were singletons of Common Marbled Carpet, Bordered Beauty and, on its last legs, an Engrailed.  The latter pair are the latest I've ever recorded them and in fact prior to this year I've never had an October record for either one (the Bordered Beauty is actually the third specimen seen here this month and was potted up on flowering ivy, seemingly unfazed by the trap running a few metres away).

Common Marbled Carpet, Westcott 29th October

Bordered Beauty, Westcott 29th October

Engrailed, Westcott 29th October

The remainder of the catch comprised Agonopterix arenella (1), Red-green Carpet (3), November Moth agg (4), Feathered Thorn (7), Turnip (1), Large Yellow Underwing (1), Black Rustic (1), Sprawler (2), Tawny Pinion (1), Grey Shoulder-knot (1), Green-brindled Crescent (1), Merveille du Jour (1), Dark Chestnut (4), Brick (7), Red-line Quaker (3), Beaded Chestnut (4) & Angle Shades (4).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Another quiet night in Cookham

It has been a quiet couple of weeks in my Cookham garden, with low moth numbers and nothing very exciting. I have come to the conclusion that all my moths have gone on a long vacation - to Westcott. There are quite a number of absentees - I have yet to see a Brick, Yellow-line Quaker or Sprawler this year to name just three.
Last night's trap had just 11 macro moths of 6 species - Red-green carpet (3), November Moth agg. (3), Lesser Yellow Underwing (2), Black Rustic (1), Red-line Quaker (1) and Beaded Chestnut (1).
However, there were also 7 micros, which is the most for quite awhile. There were 2 Epiphyas postvittana, 1 Plutella xylostella, 1 Acleris variegana and 3 other Acleris individuals. Of these, I am fairly sure that 2 are Acleris sparsana. The fw measures 9mm, and the appearance to the naked eye is more silvery grey than is apparent in the photo below.

The final moth is smaller and narrower than the one above, with a fw of 7mm. I thought possibly A. schalleriana, but that is only a guess.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Another busy night

They just keep on coming.  Last night, despite some quite heavy rain at one point, the garden actinic trap here produced just over 80 moths of 26 species plus a speckled bush cricket and the usual collection of ichneumons, caddis and crane flies.  The moths comprised a probable Caloptilia semifascia (1), Agonopterix heracliana (1), Common Marbled Carpet (5), Spruce Carpet (1), Red-green Carpet (9), November Moth agg (13), Feathered Thorn (8), Figure of Eight (1), Turnip (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (1), Sprawler (3), Blair's Shoulder-knot (1), Grey Shoulder-knot (1), Green-brindled Crescent (7), Merveille du Jour (1), Satellite (1), Chestnut (1), Dark Chestnut (5), Brick (5), Red-line Quaker (2), Yellow-line Quaker (3), Beaded Chestnut (4), Lunar Underwing (1), Sallow (1), Dusky-lemon Sallow (1) & Angle Shades (1).  Nothing at all unexpected, just nice still to have a trap load that takes more than thirty seconds to check in the morning!

Probable Caloptilia semifascia, Westcott

Figure of Eight, Westcott

Turnip, Westcott

Dusky-lemon Sallow, Westcott

The Caloptilia will need closer inspection because its wing markings aren't quite typical of either possibility (stigmatella is common in the garden here but semifascia has only been recorded once or twice previously).  Along with Angle Shades, Turnip has been a regular in the trap over the past couple of weeks and these could perhaps be migrants.  Like all of the sallows still around, last night's Dusky-lemon Sallow was looking distinctly tired.

Still no sign here of Juniper Carpet or Large Wainscot, nor for that matter of the much-declined Autumn Green Carpet which I see has been confirmed from adjacent Bedfordshire - that's definitely one to keep an eye open for.  However, in all probability the only garden year-list additions I'll get now are Scarce Umber and December Moth, having seen Winter Moth way back in January.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Jeremy Moth

Is it just me, or can anyone else see our new Opposition Leader in this Spruce Carpet (I think) which came last night?  Here's the detail below and the man himself left.  And it's not yet Hallowe'en. Good moths at the moment with this lovely mild weather, but nothing else of great note.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Coleshill, Oxfordshire

A better night with warm SE wind keeping the overnight temperature higher than the previous weeks' frosty mornings. A good range of 46 moths of 26 species with Sprawler, Tawny Pinion and Grey Shoulder-knot new for the year. Highest numbers were Green-brindled Crescent (4) and Feathered Thorn (4). The Merveille du Jour count dropped to zero last night after having 3 or 4 per session last week. Also recorded were late in the year appearances of Dusky Thorn, Red Underwing and Burnished Brass.

Although it's quite worn I think this is White-point.
White-point Mythimna albipuncta 
Sprawler Asteroscopus sphinx
Tawny Pinion Lithophane semibrunnea
Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus
Olly Fox
Coleshill, Oxon.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Garden list additions

Leaf-fall seems to be happening quickly this year and there isn't all that much left to look at in our garden, but I did still manage to find two leaf-miners today which are completely new for the garden list.  Some grazed areas on the leaf of a cultivated rose prompted me to turn it over and there was an early case of Coleophora gryphipennella.  Three more cases were found elsewhere on the same plant.  A detailed search of our hornbeam hedge produced, as usual, many active and vacated mines of Stigmella microtheriella but amongst them I also found a small number of active mines of Stigmella floslactella.  A couple of the latter species have been retained in order to try and rear an adult, just to make sure that they aren't the much rarer Stigmella carpinella (not yet known from Bucks).

Coleophora gryphipennella, Westcott 25th October

Stigmella floslactella, Westcott 25th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Like the buses

You wait ages for a Feathered Thorn and then five arrive at once. Would this be a communal hatching? Or males attracted by a female? They're the first I've had this year.

I've also been getting some beautiful-condition Blair's Wainscots and last night brought another; presumably local now an not migrant?

Finally, may I ask if this is a Sprawler?  Many thanks in anticipation as always.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Loosley Row, Bucks

Not much in the trap last night but I did get my first December Moth of the year.


Ear and Novemberal?

Got my first Ear moth ever this morning. Don't suppose without the chop it can be determined which?

Also a very plain example of the November/ Autumnal group I think?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford


15 moths of 13 species last night including FFG Spruce Carpet and my second Merveille du Jour of the week. It also included this faded specimen (FW15mm) which I will enter on the GMS if I can get an identification. My best guess would be Brick. Any thoughts?.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Downland Plume

We don't often feature dissections on the blog, but I thought I'd make an exception today. Since Sam Carter's vague record from Beaconsfield back in 1964, this moth hadn't been seen anywhere in the UK since and was registered as extinct. It was then re-discovered in the Chilterns at a site not too far from Beaconsfield back in 2013 and has been found at that site every year since. The National Plume man, Colin Hart has been to visit and was very excited to see the moth in question at a trapping session one night in 2014. In fact he saw 3.

As I have been doing now for some years, the cooler months are spent with increasing activity in the study, peering down my various microscopes identifying those difficult moths that don't give up their identity from wing pattern. In the case of a moth caught at a well known Chiltern chalk grassland site on August 22nd, with Martin Albertini and Dave Wilton in tow, the plume was really tatty and had obviously spent some time enjoying life as an adult. I potted it as it looked interesting and I couldn't immediately put a name to it. It has just been chopped and identified and I was so surprised, I ran my identification past Colin Hart just to be sure. It was another Oxyptilus pilosellae. If I clump Nigel P's record in with the main site, as it is just up the road, this site is some miles away from this area and the nearest town is Princes Risborough. I've blocked off the exact location on the image, although I'm sure plume moths don't trigger so many moth twitchers. The image is of the male genitalia btw. Peter Hall

Friday, 23 October 2015

Seasonal Micros

Amongst the moths caught in last night's garden actinic trap was a particularly smart example of Epinotia nisella, while an MV run for the usual three hours in some local ancient woodland produced my first Diurnea lipsiella of the season as well as a single rather worn example of Epinotia maculana.  The latter is an aspen feeder and, with plenty of the foodplant available in most of my local woods, it is no great surprise that it is known from several of them.  However it never appears in numbers and this is the third local site I've caught it at over the past month, but all as singletons.

Epinotia nisella, 22nd October

Diurnea lipsiella, 22nd October

Epinotia maculana, 22nd October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Another pair of Large Wainscots

I trapped a female Large Wainscot in my Aylesbury garden recently, and found the male at lights in Fairford leys. Also had quite a few Green-brindled Crescents to my garden lamp. Dave Maunder
Male and female Large Wainscot, Aylesbury

A nice green pair

Wainscot help please!

I caught these two big Wainscots on consecutive nights in Sonning last weekend and have recorded the one on the left as Bulrush Wainscot, because I could see black dots along the outer forewing margins and the one on the right as Large Wainscot, because it doesn't have those dots and because it is more fawn coloured. However I am far from sure !
Can anyone confirm/correct me based on this photo?

Another surprise second brood

I made another visit to the Forestry Commission's Homefield Wood near Marlow, Bucks last night.  The results were about as disappointing as in all reality I expected them to be, with only 57 moths of 17 species caught between three MVs and a 15w actinic in the usual three hours from dusk.  Bat activity was at an all-time high there and, at the trap I sat beside, the three moths which arrived at it during the course of the final hour were all consumed before they could be identified!  Not the case for the beauty below, though, which may even trump Martin's post of half an hour ago!

Clouded Magpie, Homefield Wood 21st October

Apart from a battered Copper Underwing, the rest of the catch was all of the expected species of autumn.  Back at home the garden actinic trap managed 74 moths of 22 species, of which the only thing of interest was this Gold Triangle.

Hypsopygia costalis, Westcott 21st October

However, I see that this species can go on for a while yet and this is not even the latest date on which I've had it here (there is at least one Bucks record from November).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Buff Ermine

Got a surprise this morning this is the trap. 17 other species as well. Btw if anyone gets a Flame Shoulder take a picture and please keep it - there have been a few Radford's and the wind is still in the south.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Cafe latte

Things have been run-of-the-mill here in the last week, so it was nice to have a late first-for-the-year last night: this creamily handsome Large Wainscot. Other arrivals included Brown-spot Pinion, Red-line Quaker and various Sallows along with the customary supporting cast of Black Rustics and increasingly battered Large Yellow Underwings.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Red Red-line Quaker

I caught this moth last night, the only thing i can see it being is a Red-line Quaker, but its reddish? There is a mention of this in the Field Guide F. rufa but says its most frequent north and west. Is this what it is or am i overlooking something else? Sorry pics aren't great, light was disappearing fast.

Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.

Loosley Row, Bucks

The trap hasn't attracted much of note lately, but the house lights did bring in a Pearly Underwing last night (18th), which is a new species for the garden.


At last...

Left a trap overnight on the COAM site after a busy weekend running a bbq; amongst some commoner stuff, and a slightly late Copper Underwing (agg) pleased to have NFY Beaded Chestnut and more importantly a Merveille du Jour!

Dave Morris

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Leaf-mines at Dancer's End

A Bucks Invertebrate Group visit to Dancer's End NR organised by Neil Fletcher, gave several of us a chance to check out the leaf-mines there. Two of these were new to me and credit must go to Melissa and Andy Banthorpe for flagging them up:
First up is a Bucculatrix frangutella mine on Buckthorn, accompanied by feeding holes made by the larva after it had left the mine:
Second is a rather battered mine of Ectoedemia septembrella on Perforate St. John's Wort. I suspect it is unusual because the larva elected to pupate within the mine.

Andy King.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Moth Magnet

Is no-one else catching anything?  134 moths of 32 species came to the garden actinic here last night and amongst them was the first Tawny Pinion I've seen for five years.  Numbers of Brick are now at unprecedented levels (20 in the trap last night, more than any other species).

Tawny Pinion (upper) & Pale Pinion (lower), 16th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

New Moth Book

John and Brenda Ward have recently self-published "The Larger Moths of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough".  The book covers the moths of one of our adjacent vice-counties (vc32) and comprises 190 pages in full colour, is A5 size, and deals with 648 species.  It is currently available direct from the authors at cost price of £16.50 plus postage and packing of £2.05 (2nd class postage within the UK).  If you would like to obtain a copy, full details are given on the flyer below.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Don't give up just yet

More than 80 moths of 25 species came to the garden actinic trap last night, a catch I would have been more than pleased to find after any night back in May or June when we were getting such dismal totals.  Caught were Common Marbled Carpet, Red-green Carpet, November Moth, Bordered Beauty, Feathered Thorn, Turnip, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Black Rustic, Pale Pinion, Grey Shoulder-knot, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Green-brindled Crescent, Merveille du Jour, Satellite, Chestnut, Dark Chestnut, Brick, Red-line Quaker, Yellow-line Quaker, Beaded Chestnut, Lunar Underwing, Pink-barred Sallow, Sallow & Angle Shades.  Additions amongst the 20 species caught the previous night were Mottled Umber, Square-spot Rustic, Barred Sallow & Dusky-lemon Sallow.  There was nothing outstanding and certainly nothing like Feathered Ranunculus here (in fact I'd be happy with one or other of the two species of Ranunculus which do occur locally, not having seen either in the garden for two or three years!), but all the same it was an interesting and colourful collection to remind you that the season is far from over yet.

Westcott 15th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Is your Ranunculus Feathered?

We normally have Large Ranunculus in the Upper Thames area, but it is not unknown for the Feathered Ranunculus to wander quite a lot further inland from its normal Southern coastal areas.
This happened on the night of 11 October when one turned up at the trap run by Richard Ellis at Chorleywood (just in Bucks).  The identity has been confirmed.
It is usually a bit smaller and duller than Large Ranunculus, but in males the antennae (apart from the final 20%) are obviously feathered. There has been a previous Bucks record, 1992 at Lavendon right at the Northern tip.
I don't know about Berks or Oxon.
If you spot one your county recorder will want conclusive proof, so make sure any pictures (of a male) shows most of the feathering of the antennae, also save the specimen and let him know immediately.

A few colourful autumn moths at last ---

A few nights ago i managed my first Merveille du jour of the autumn, plus a few more of the more colourful autumn species here in Aylesbury.  Dave Maunder
Sallow moths, Pink-barred sallow and Merveille du jour

Feathered Thorn

Surprisingly Busy

For some reason there was quite a lot of activity around the garden actinic trap here last night.  Just over 70 moths of 20 species were present in it by 6am this morning and they included the garden's first Merveille du Jour of the year (at last) as well as Mottled Umber (1), Satellite (1) and Dark Chestnut (2) which are firsts for this autumn.  The fact that the garden is surrounded by ivy may account for the greater numbers but just why last night was better than the previous few nights is not really obvious because there was little difference in the weather.  If you've got flowering ivy in or near your garden it is well worth going out to look at it with a torch after dark at the moment, especially if you've yet to see Brick this year because that is certainly the most common species found on it around here. A quick check of our ivy just now this evening (7.30pm) produced Pale Pinion (1), Grey Shoulder-knot (1), Dark Chestnut (3), Brick (5), Red-line Quaker (1) & Lunar Underwing (1), of which Pale Pinion and Grey Shoulder-knot were not amongst the moths in last night's trap.

Mottled Umber, Westcott 14th October

Dark Chestnut & Satellite, Westcott 14th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Cold and windy.

It's been another windy night up here on the hill, 7 moths of 6 species though which included FFY Red and Yellow-line Quakers, so it was worth persevering!. Mind you LYU's still at no.1 with 2 specimens.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)