Friday, 30 December 2016

Hornet Moth at Bernwood Forest

Hornet Moth cocoons (upper photo - the lower of the two appears to have been predated) and exit holes (lower photo).  

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas Moths

Streatley on the evening of the 25th - a female Mottled Umber climbing up an illuminated fence-post.

Bernwood Forest today - a prolonged and largely futile search for the early stages of butterflies which turned up only a single egg of that honorary nepticulid, the Brown Hairstreak (this was 2 metres into the Bernwood Meadows BBOWT reserve).  Made worthwhile right at the end when I noticed a stand of mature poplars just around the corner back in the forest proper which had the emergence holes of Hornet Moth larvae at the base.  Lacking the means to extract the remains of the cocoons from the holes, I hacked off some chunks of bark which I have brought home, and there are at least 2 (vacated) cocoons inside (will post photos later).

The emergence holes and cocoons can remain in existence for at least 10 years after the emergence of the moth, so I do not know if the population there persists.  The holes are reasonably easy to find at the base of poplars where these are free of obstructing vegetation and I have found them in all three counties.  Still never seen the adult though...

Monday, 26 December 2016

Moth pupa on beech leaf?

I spotted this bright green pupa on a beech leaf, still on the tree, at Dancersend Reserve this morning. Can anyone point me in the right direction for an identification? I doubt it will be there long, unless it is very distasteful to birds.

Happy Xmas to everyone.

Mick Jones

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Day Moth

Not very exciting, but better than nothing at all - the example of Mompha epilobiella below was found indoors today, just to keep the interest going at this quiet time of year.  Needless to say, the twin-30wt actinic light is on in the garden right now and Mottled Umber has turned up already, so there are still one or two things out there when the weather is vaguely suitable.  Merry Christmas, one and all!

Mompha epilobiella, Westcott 25th December
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 19 December 2016

Merry Christmas

My trap is now serving for a couple of weeks as a Christmas illumination - but it's still attracting the odd moth. Last night's solitary arrival was this Winter Moth, actually sleeping just outside the bowl. Interesting how much dew it has collected without damage to itself.  Merry Christmas one and all, and thanks again for the outstanding help.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Update: more moths attracted by the curious structure last night - a Mottled Umber and what is probably a Winter Moth but am just submitting it for expert attention because of the amount of petticoat showing. MW

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Acleris hastiana

I had this Acleris hastiana on Friday night, a new moth for my life list. Northants moth group have its status as rare in the county, i was wondering what its Buckinghamshire status is?

Apart from a Scarce Umber on the 2nd December and a Rusty-dot Pearl on the 14th Dec, everything thing else has been expected. Winter Moths, Mottled Umbers, Dark Chestnuts, E postvittana, December Moths, Bricks, Red-line Quakers, Feathered Thorn and Satellite are the December species trapped.

Year end totals Macros 218, Micros 132.

Darren Seaman, Miton Keynes

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Presumed Amblyptilia

Not a great deal gained by putting out the trap a couple of recent nights in Wolvercote, Oxon., but the individual below was on top of the trap on 13th December. I'm assuming it's an Amblyptilia acanthadactyla lured out of hibernation by the mild temperatures, but it looks a little faded: if anyone knows of a similar species which ventures out on winter nights, do let me know!

Presumed Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, 13/12/16
Steve Goddard

Friday, 16 December 2016

Winter Moth?

I don't think I've had one of these before which is a suprise - can someone confirm? It did spend a fair amount of time with it's wings closed up - and played dead for some time.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Mottled Umber

4 moths attracted to my garden trap last night, of which the highlight for me was my first Mottled Umber. (It is not dissimilar to Dave's specimen - thanks for sending him down to Cookham Dave!)

The other moths were singles of December Moth, Epiphyas postvittana and Udea ferrugalis (Rusty-dot Pearl).

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Winding Down Again

On Thursday night the actinic at Westcott attracted Emmelina monodactyla (1), Winter Moth (4) and Mottled Umber (1), but in similar balmy weather conditions last night all that arrived was Angle Shades (1).  The Mottled Umber was a first for the year here and completes all that I can reasonably expect in the garden for 2016.  An Angle Shades at this time of year, one day later than an example caught in 2015 (which was my first adult December record), could well be a migrant.  I had one to MV light in Bernwood Forest last night too.   

Mottled Umber, Westcott 8th December

Angle Shades, Westcott 9th December

With dissections now complete (thankyou Peter) the garden moth list stands at 629 species for the year, 316 of them macros.  Even though for at least the first six months it didn't look as if it could possibly turn out to be 'a good year', that overall total is actually only four short of the number achieved in 2015.  Abundance is another matter, however, with some of the regular big-hitters producing far lower totals than usual. 

Only another three weeks and the year list starts off all over again - can't wait!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Not much in Longwick

Just one moth last night and one the night before. Last night's was a scarce umber - the night before a winter moth species. I have never seen a Northern so have posted the photo of Thursday nights moth for comment.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Happy times are here again

A quartet of moths from a trio of species, in the eggboxes after last, mild night.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

A late Turnip

Decent haul in the Robinson trap at Ali's Pond in Sonning last night - plenty of December Moths, Feathered Thorns and Winter Moths, plus Red-Green Carpet, Red-line Quaker, Satellite, Mottled Umber and a pristine-looking and unusually late Turnip Moth.


Double-striped Pug

My 4 moths this morning included a Double-striped Pug - brood 4 probably. The others were Winter Moth, Scrobipalpa costella and E. postvittana. No December Moths yet this year.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Caloptilia stigmatella

Rather than the usual postvittana it was nice to get the little chap illustrated below to light in the garden here last night.  Otherwise, though, the results were disappointing for such a warm night although the breeze early on may have had something to do with it.  The only other moths were December Moth (2), Winter Moth (4), Feathered Thorn (1) & Red-line Quaker (1, quite late).

Caloptilia stigmatella, Westcott 7th December

I also ran an MV trap in some local oak woodland for a few hours and the species tally there was equally as disappointing:  December Moth (62, including eight females), Winter Moth (23, not a single candidate for Northern Winter amongst them), Feathered Thorn (3) & Mottled Umber (3).  The count for December Moth might seem good but it is actually not at all unusual, being quite typical for woodland around here at this time of year. 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Moths are flying again

After nearly a fortnight of very cold nights and zero moths in my garden, last night stayed at a balmy 7 degrees and 16 moths arrived in the trap - 10 December Moths, singles of Red-green Carpet, Winter Moth and Dark Chestnut, and 3 Epiphyas postvittana.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Your Moth Records

Following a mammoth effort over the past month, tonight I've finally finished getting my records for 2016 into MapMate so I now feel justified in reminding everyone else of the importance of your own moth records and the need to get them to your County Moth Recorder as soon as possible!  The cut-off for data to be included in Butterfly Conservation's planned Atlas of Britain and Ireland's Larger Moths is the end of this year.  That data has to have been received by BC from the CMRs no later than 31st March 2017 and the CMRs need time to check it prior to that deadline, so the sooner you can get your records to them the better.

While data will never be turned away in whatever format it is submitted, our CMRs each have different preferences for the way(s) it should be sent so, if you haven't passed on records in previous years, please contact the appropriate Recorder first to find out how they would prefer to receive it.  Their contact details (and much more information besides) can be found by clicking on the "Your Records" tab at the top of this page.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Westcott, Bucks

I continue to run the twin-30wt actinic light here nightly at least until midnight and, apart from the weekend of the 12th/13th when I was away, at least one moth has appeared every time for the last two or three weeks so there is still good reason to continue trapping!  For example, the last few nights have produced Winter Moth (18th), Sprawler & Red-line Quaker (19th), Winter Moth (20th), Winter Moth, Feathered Thorn & Scarce Umber (21st), two Feathered Thorns (22nd), two December Moths (23rd) and Red-line Quaker (24th).  I'm still waiting for Mottled Umber here but did get a smart specimen in some private woodland in south-west Bucks last night while out trapping for Plumed Prominent.

Scarce Umber & Feathered Thorn, 21st November

Red-line Quaker, 24th November

Mottled Umber, 24th November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Plumed Prominent Update 2

Thanks to the efforts of Martin Albertini, Ched George, Alan Gudge and myself, over the last couple of weeks Plumed Prominent has been confirmed from six different tetrads in Bucks (two new sites, one of them an excellent garden record, and four from previously known locations).  This scarce moth is obviously still doing quite well in the Chilterns between Marlow and Henley and the main barrier to finding the species at other sites in that general area is the difficulty of getting permission to search for it (most woodlands with potential are in private ownership, some of them on estates that don't appreciate visitors at night!).

Plumed Prominent, woodland near Frieth 23rd November

Plumed Prominent, woodland near Frieth 23rd November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Aberrant Barred Sallow

I got this a month ago, only now working my way through the records - this Barred Sallow seems to conform to the aberrant form in this link

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Mines on Snowberry

Back on 10th October I collected a couple of mines from leaves of Snowberry growing in our garden and I thought that they'd turn out to be Phyllonorycter trifasciella which I've had here previously as the adult moth as well as finding mines.  That species has three generations each year and adults should have emerged by now, so today I decided to open the mines to see what was inside.  I was very pleased to find that both actually contained the greenish rugby ball-shaped cocoons of Phyllonorycter emberizaepenella which is bivoltine and over-winters as a pupa (trifasciella doesn't form a recognisable cocoon).  There are just five previous records of emberizaepenella for Bucks so this seems to be quite a good discovery.  It becomes this year's 40th micro species found only as a leaf-mine here in the garden (there have been others where I've had the adult too) so shows how useful it can be to search out this stage of the life-cycle.  In this particular case I shall retain the cocoons and hope to see the adult moths emerge early next year.

Cocoon of Phyllonorycter emberizaepenella, Westcott
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks        

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Let there be light

Sorry, no moths in this post (though a couple of Sprawlers came last night). I just thought I'd share the latest use to which my Robinson trap is being put: floodlighting the launch of the Friends of Holy Cross church in Shipton-on-Cherwell.

It's on Saturday 3rd December at 7.30pm and the trap will be performing its usual function as well as illuminating the little church, which you may know from pottering along the Oxford Canal towpath or the circular walk via the romantic, ruined manor house at Hampton Gay. All welcome.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Agonopterix species

Despite the bright super moon the milder temperatures resulted in a better catch (17 moths, 8 species) last night including this one.

Is it possible to identify which species from the photo?

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Plumed Prominent update

The moth is now flying locally.  Last night I revisited the same site near Marlow, Bucks and ran traps under exactly the same field maples as I did last Thursday.  An MV under the oldest, most substantial tree I've ever seen produced five fresh males and another MV under a collection of much younger trees produced one further male.  They started to appear at about 6.30pm and I saw no further movement from them after 8pm (I packed up an hour after that).

Plumed Prominent, 14th November

December Moth was again very active (51 counted), while other species recorded on this occasion were Caloptilia semifascia, Ypsolopha parenthesella, Blastobasis lacticolella, Acleris sparsana, Acleris ferrugana/notana, Acleris variegana, Common Marbled Carpet, Red-green Carpet, Spruce Carpet, November Moth sp, Feathered Thorn, Chestnut, Brick, Yellow-line Quaker, Barred Sallow & Oak Nycteoline.

By the time I got back home to Westcott the 'conservatory actinic' had brought in a fleet of Feathered Thorns to the windows (11 in all).  In addition to my first garden December Moth and Scarce Umber of the season, there were also Caloptilia stigmatella, November Moth sp, Dark Sword-grass & Red-line Quaker.

Scarce Umber, 14th November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Just a tad early, but timely for me

My moth-fixated granddaughter arrived late last night and I feared that my reputation (in her eyes) as a provider of endless moths would be in tatters this morning. But no. This December moth, probably the last new-for-the-year that I can expect, shared a very soggy pile of eggboxes with a Green-brindled Crescent. She was very satisfied with both of them.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Friday, 11 November 2016

Plumed Prominent

Although not its best local site (which is probably in Oxfordshire near Henley-on-Thames), yesterday afternoon I went to some woodland near Marlow which is the most reliable location for Plumed Prominent within Bucks.  Active during November and December, this is a nationally scarce species which in our area survives within just a few Chiltern woodlands where there is a reasonable supply of field maple.

The weather conditions last night were fine for the moths which fly at this time of year (6C at dusk, 5C at 9pm when I packed up) and I came away with nine species:  Emmelina monodactyla, December Moth, Red-green Carpet, Spruce Carpet, November Moth agg, Feathered Thorn, Sprawler, Brick & Yellow-line Quaker.  Of the target there was unfortunately no sign, suggesting that it may be a late year for it, so I'll probably try again next week.  Persistence usually pays off at this site (for example, in 2014 it took me three chilly visits before I got just the one male!).  My experience is that it flies from about 6pm onwards and if you haven't seen one by 8.30pm you might as well give up and try another day.

Of note amongst the adult moths were two of the seven Red-green Carpets caught, both of which were all-green females with no sign of red.  Perhaps the most interesting record of the evening was actually a caterpillar, a young (17mm) larva of Clouded Magpie being found on wych elm.  By this time of year it should be in the pupal stage which suggests that it was the off-spring of a second brood (see this report on the blog from the same general area last year).  Elms do tend to hang on to most of their leaves quite a bit longer than many other trees, but I would still have thought it unlikely that the caterpillar would survive to become fully grown before they fall.

Red-green Carpet female, 10th November

Clouded Magpie caterpillar, 10th November

Back home at Westcott, the actinic light has been run from inside the conservatory for the past couple of nights, a spot that I often use until bedtime during the winter months especially if a frost is forecast.  A check of the windows at midnight on Wednesday night produced a November Moth agg and four Winter Moths (my first of the season), while last night there was a pair of Feathered Thorns.

Winter Moth, Westcott 9th November
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Garden Moth Survey.

The G.M.S., which I take part in, involves putting our trap out every week, on the same night where possible, in the same position, from the beginning of March to the beginning of November. Comparing year on year catches for comparison becomes possible.

The last two years are:

                                           2015                                              2016
Species                                165                                                172
Total Moths                        2,680                                             1,269

Species have increased very slightly but the total is down just over 50%.
A large amount of the missing moths are accounted for by vast reductions in some of my gardens more common species. See below;

Dark Arches                   -75%
Large Yellow U/W         -65%
Heart and Dart                -65%
Common Rustic              -83%

Does these figures look familiar to other mothers or has it just been a poor year up here.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Monday, 7 November 2016

Westcott, Bucks

Judging by the lack of postings on the blog over the past few days I'm sure everyone, like me, is seeing very little at the moment!  Sprawler appeared in the garden here for the first time on 30th October and that night proved to be the last decent catch (37 moths of 13 species, including a second Large Wainscot and a late Silver Y).  Seven species appeared the following night, four on 1st November then just a singleton (Epiphyas postvittana) on the 2nd and that's been the story up until last night when I got my first zero return.  However, if the temperature is still a few degrees above freezing at dusk then it could still be worth running the trap even if only for a few hours because the moths which fly at this time of year are quite hardy individuals.

Sprawler, Westcott 30th October

Silver Y, Westcott 30th October

Yesterday I went out searching for leaf-mines again and there are still plenty to be found even though leaf-fall is well under way.  I went looking in particular for Ectoedemia argyropeza which is a late miner of aspen and managed to find one occupied mine on a fallen leaf at nearby Kingswood.  There were plenty of seemingly vacated mines, some of them much smaller in size than the occupied one which made me wonder if the larva sometimes retreats into the leaf petiole (where it starts mining) if it is disturbed.  Another search for the related Ectoedemia hannoverella on black poplar proved unproductive at a couple of sites near Grendon Underwood but, amongst others, I did find tenanted mines of Ectoedemia angulifasciella on dog rose and Stigmella roborella on oak.

Active mine of Ectoedemia argyropeza on aspen,
Kingswood 6th November

Active and vacated mines of Ectoedemia angulifasciella on
dog rose, Grendon Underwood 6th November

Mines of Ectoedemia angulifasciella on dog rose,
Grendon Underwood 6th November
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Leaf-mines - making a start

Inspired by Dave's earlier post, I thought I would examine some leaves in my garden before I raked them up. The 2 pictures below are of an apple leaf and then an ornamental cherry.
Having looked at the leaf-mines guide, the mines look to me like Lyonetia clerkella - a moth I regularly see as an adult in the summer. Have I got that right?

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Leaf-mine success

A wander around the garden at Westcott, Bucks in today's sunshine, looking at fallen leaves on the lawn before they were chomped by the mower, produced two good finds.  The first was an active mine on Birch of Stigmella luteella.  This species was new for the garden back on 14th October when I found a vacated mine, but it is always better to see one that is tenanted and in this case it was within a very obvious "green island" on an otherwise brown leaf, the larva being able to stimulate the leaf chemically into continuing to produce chlorophyll for it to eat. 

Mine of Stigmella luteella on Birch, Westcott 1st November

The other was a vacated mine on a fallen leaf of Norway Maple Acer platanoides.  This can only be Stigmella aceris, which is an excellent discovery here.  Back in 2012 I found a single mine on a Norway Maple in Upper Winchendon, just a few miles away, but that and today's find are the only Bucks records that I know of away from the Chilterns where the majority have been found on Field Maple Acer campestre.  Not at all a common species in the county.  

Mine of Stigmella aceris on Norway Maple, Westcott 1st Nov
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks



Two seen by Wapsey's Wood WDS (near Beaconsfield, Bucks) in rough grassland and scrub. Fw c7mm. My guess is a faded Celypha rosaceana but they shouldn't be flying now. All help appreciated.

Dave Ferguson

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Mystery bedroom micro

I rescued the micro below from the bedroom curtains this afternoon (fw 5mm). Can anyone suggest what it might be? I know the picture quality is not great.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Monday, 31 October 2016

October December

I trapped in Bernwood Forest, Bucks again last night, in a different area to my last session there on the 27th, and this time had a far better result.  Even though it got progressively mistier as the evening wore on, by 11pm I'd seen the following 22 species:  Diurnea lipsiella, Acleris rhombana, Acleris emargana, Nomophila noctuella, December Moth, Red-green Carpet, Spruce Carpet, November Moth, Pale November Moth, Autumnal Moth, Feathered Thorn, Figure of Eight, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Black Rustic, Green-brindled Crescent, Merveille du Jour, Brindled Green, Satellite, Brick, Yellow-line Quaker, Pink-barred Sallow & Large Wainscot.  The total was 198 moths, which is not to be sniffed at in late-October even if 140 of them were Epirrita species!

Although nothing much to look at, it is always good to see Diurnea lipsiella which appears to be far less common than its springtime counterpart Diurnea fagella.  The single December Moth was my first ever October record for the species although it only beats my previous earliest sighting by three days.

Diurnea lipsiella, Bernwood Forest 30th October

December Moth, Bernwood Forest 30th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Only a matter of time

Having bumped into Brian Clews at the recent Thames Valley Environmental Recorders Conference, I was aware that he had been catching Box Tree Moth (Cydalima perspectalis) for fun lately near Maidenhead and so I have been half-expecting this large "imported" micro to turn up since then - and so it did last night in my trap at Ali's Pond LNR in Sonning. Other species caught at the reserve this weekend were November Moth agg (several coming your way Peter Hall!), Red-green Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, Pine Carpet, Spruce Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Merveille du Jour (wonderfully frequent now), Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Barred Sallow, Green-brindled Crescent, Angle Shades, Red-line Quaker and Yellow line Quaker.

                          Cydalima perspectalis (Box Tree Moth), Spruce Carpet and Feathered Thorns,