Saturday, 27 February 2016

At last

Last night 11 moths came to my trap, NFY Satellite x 2, NFY Diurnea Fagella, NFY Oak Beauty, 2 Hebrew Character and 5 Common Quaker. Lets hope this is the start to seeing more moths, up till now its only been ones and twos now and then.

Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Bagley moths

Took advantage of the mild, if a little bit wet and windy, start to the weekend on Friday evening to get my February survey done at Bagley Woods. I also sat with an MV in a different part of the wood to where I run the monthly surveys for an hour just to see if anything was about. Numbers were low but there were a few moths about including a smart Dotted Chestnut and my earliest ever Water Carpets. Brindled Pug was by far the most common moth, the only species into double figures. No Orthosia's during the hour and only one Hebrew Character and one Common Quaker in the traps left out overnight. Strangely, given numerous reports elsewhere I had no Oak Beauty and only 4 Small Brindled Beauty. Chestnut was the most abundant moth in the traps left overnight with over 40 in one 6W Actinic alone. Otherwise numbers were poor but never-the-less managed a total of 15 species even with quite a few notable absentees. Species caught: Early Moth, March Moth, Dotted Border, Pale Brindled Beauty, Small Brindled Beauty, Brindled Pug, Water Carpet, Chestnut, Dotted Chestnut, Satellite, Red Chestnut, Hebrew Character, Common Quaker, Torticodes alternella, Acleris notana/ferrugana. Marc Botham

Dotted Chestnut, Bagley Wood 19-Feb 2016

Water Carpet, Bagley Wood 19-Feb 2016

A bit too windy

I tried an MV in local woodland last night and persevered for the usual three hours even though the trap was blown over at one stage!  Gusts of over 40mph meant that the air was quite turbulent even in what should have been a relatively sheltered environment.  The final count was just over 30 brave moths, of which Diurnea fagella and Oak Beauty were new for me for the year.

Diurnea fagella, 20th February

Oak Beauty, 20th February

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Friday, 19 February 2016

New Sites

Making the most of the sunshine, I carried out a couple of daytime reconnaissance visits to locations which I plan to trap at regularly this year, yesterday at some wetland sites in Milton Keynes and today on chalk grassland near Stokenchurch, Bucks.  I got a couple of records for my trouble, a larva of Endothenia gentianaeana inside the first teasel I opened at the former (checked back at home to make sure it wasn't E.marginana), plus several active leaf-mines of Stigmella aurella on bramble at the latter.

Larva of Endothenia gentianaeana inside teasel

Larvae of Stigmella aurella mining a leaf of bramble

Hopefully the warmer (if rather windy) nights this weekend will tempt out a few more adult moths.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 13 February 2016

First moth in my trap since OCTOBER!

Looks to me like a Chestnut but I'm sorely out or practice and I've not caught one in my garden before so grateful of confirmation - or otherwise!

Friday, 12 February 2016

Early moth

Despite the temperature of minus 1 centigrade, an Early moth came to the front door light here in Radnage by 11pm last night.

First moth for a week

Nothing to get excited about although still nice to see, a Dotted Border appeared at the actinic trap last night, the first garden moth for a week.

Dotted Border, Westcott 11th February
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

The Garden Moth Scheme

If you're thinking of joining in with the Garden Moth Scheme, now would be a good time to make plans, as the new season starts on 4 March. Run a moth trap in your garden once a week through the year and join in with a project that is helping to monitor moths and study changes in their numbers. 

For full details go to the GMS website. A good place to start is to go to the "Information" menu, and click on "Getting involved". 

Please send your GMS records in to your county recorder as well.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

2015 records -follow up

These are my photos of the Beauty and Marbled Green from 10th July and 6th August 2015 respectively as mentioned in my post yesterday. Once these are sorted and the weather improves (hopefully) I can concentrate on 2016.

Andy Newbold. Sibford Ferris. Oxfordshire.

Monday, 8 February 2016

2015 stats and distribution maps

Having read other contributors 2015 statistics and high-lights I thought I'd have a quick look at mine.
As I only started trapping in late May and have only got 15 night's records my overall totals are not great (108 species of macro) but did include some species that others had noted as high-lights (e.g. Tawny Pinion, Chocolate-tip, Bordered Straw).
In order to try pick out the more noteworthy species I tried using the distribution maps on the UK moths website but found that these often came up blank (maybe a problem with my computer?). However, when I logged into the nbn gateway website directly and found how to use the browse sites and browse species facilities and to focus in on Oxfordshire Vice county I found the results interesting. Firstly, of the 108 species I recorded 27 were not on the nbn records for the SP33 10km square. I than decided to look at the surrounding 10km squares and found that only 2 species were recorded for all 9 squares (cinnabar and silver Y) but this was largely due to a lack of records in SP44 and SP42 with only 16 and 42 records respectively (some work to be done here if the nbn records are up-to-date).  At the other extreme the only species I  recorded that was not previously recorded for any of the 9 squares was what I had identified as an Obscure Wainscot. I hope this is correct as there seem to be few records for Oxfordshire and the habitat doesn't seem quite right.

Sorry about the length of this contribution but I am waiting for the wind to stop blowing!

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

The full list of species that I recorded but were only on 2 or fewer of the surrounding 10km squares were as follows.

Obscure Wainscot
Scarlet Tiger (day flying)
Blair's Shoulder Knot
Red-green Carpet
Satin Beauty
Barred Sallow
Bordered Straw
Dark Chestnut
Heart & Club
Marbled Green

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Bagworm larva question

I found this bagworm larval case in my house today. While looking at it, it started moving along and I realised there was a live larva inside - it pokes its head out every so often.

My question is, is it worth trying to rear it on, in the hope that I might get an adult moth later in the year?

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Friday, 5 February 2016

milder weather

The surge in temperature along with a promised lack of rain, encouraged me to run the Radnage garden MV trap last night.
   By 9pm a male Oak Beauty and male Pale Brindled beauty were at rest close to the trap. A micro, probably heracliana ; visited the back door light. A Common Quaker added to the haul by 10.30pm and overnight a very melanic Dotted Border male plus 2 Chestnuts were present. On the Chiltern scarp in Radnage, rhe catches tend to be a week or two behind those reported by the Travelling Wiltonbury.

Woodland Moths

Last night I ran an MV trap again in the local woodland which I'm surveying regularly this year and got 114 moths of a very welcome 17 species in the usual three hours from dusk:  Agonopterix heracliana (1), Acleris ferrugana/notana (1), Tortricodes alternella (3), March Moth (8), Shoulder Stripe (1), Brindled Pug (3), Small Brindled Beauty (1), Pale Brindled Beauty (53), Spring Usher (3), Dotted Border (2, one f. fuscata), Early Moth (2), Red Chestnut (4), Common Quaker (5), Clouded Drab (1), Hebrew Character (1), Satellite (2) & Chestnut (23).  Three of those species were my earliest ever records, Shoulder Stripe by ten days, Brindled Pug by six weeks and Red Chestnut by nine days.  It looks as though it is going to be another interesting year!

Shoulder Stripe, 4th February

Small Brindled Beauty, 4th February

Red Chestnut, 4th February

Back at home, the garden actinic managed its best performance of the year so far, bringing in a grand total of six moths:  Agonopterix heracliana (1), Tortricodes alternella (1), Common Quaker (1), Hebrew Character (1) & Chestnut (2).  No complaints here though, because I've now had two species this year which I didn't see at all in the garden in 2015 (Spring Usher which came to the actinic on 1st February and last night's Tortricodes alternella).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks    

Pale Tussock

Francis Gomme reports that he had a female Pale Tussock flying around in his kitchen in Princes Risborough, Bucks on Tuesday morning, presumably the result of a caterpillar having accidentally wandered in or been brought indoors last autumn. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

Helping the Striped Lychnis

As many of you will already know, Striped Lychnis Shargacucullia lychnitis is a nationally scarce moth whose surviving strongholds are now restricted to the Chilterns, Hampshire and Sussex.  The adult moth is rarely seen so surveying for the species is carried out by looking for its brightly-coloured caterpillars in July and August.  They feed almost exclusively on the flowers of dark mullein Verbascum nigrum

To try and help this priority species, BC Upper Thames Branch and its members have over the past year been successfully growing lots of dark mullein plants from seed.  We still have a supply of seeds available.  If you would like to try your hand at growing some for your garden, provided that you live within the area ringed in red on the map below and would be able to offer the plants an open, sunny position to maximise their appeal to the moth, then please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Dr Tony Gillie at 53 Ramsay Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 8AY.  The seeds are available free of charge on a first-come first-served basis while stocks last. 

Agonopterix heracliana?

This little fellow turned up in the house over the weekend. I think it's Agonopterix heracliana.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.