Thursday, 31 March 2016

Amphisbatis incongruella

I find it very satisfying to target a species and get it, which is what happened this morning at Stoke Common, near Fulmer in Bucks. Various books and websites state Amphisbatis incongruella flies in the morning in sunshine and is often associated with the various heathers, which is why I went to Stoke Common. I knew it was small, but it is a really tiny, dark unmarked brown and, in approaching two hours of searching, I only saw three definite flights. These were of about two or three feet, low down, from one heather to another. This is an obscure little moth! I originally caught it by sweeping the heather, but it was well over an hour before even that worked. The sun was in and out, so that might have influenced things, but I only encountered it between about 11.30 and 12.00-ish, so there is a good chance it hides deep in the heather for the rest of the time.
Good luck if you go looking for this one!
Andy King.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Psychoides verhuella

5 examples of Psychoides verhuella emerged this week from Hart's-tongue fronds collected from Adwell,Oxon in January. Thanks to DW for enlarging the picture. Pity it cannot show the purple sheen.

Ched George

They all count

Found indoors yesterday, this year's first of what I expect will be many examples here of Endrosis sarcitrella, the White-shouldered House Moth.

Endrosis sarcitrella, Westcott 29th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Can I have a moth on my finger, please?

A granddaughter's visit and her request, above, prompted me to put out the trap for the first time in nearly a month (the mixed weather having been the main deterrent). Her finger was well occupied as a result, with arrivals including an Oak Beauty, a March Moth, several Common Quakers and Hebrew Characters and a Clouded Drab.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Scarlet Tiger caterpillar observation

Found my first Scarlet Tiger caterpillar this afternoon, curled up as I was weeding. I usually see them about this time of year on warm days on stems of plants that aren't their foodplant, usually a couple of feet up. I've found them in the past on rose suckers, pear suckers, and rosemary. I assume they are sunning themselves? I've seen them go up and then shortly after they descend.

This one was smaller than I usually see them - whether it's because they are smaller this year or if it's only the bigger ones that climb up I don't know.

As far as I can tell they are feeding on Herb Bennett, Geum urbanum - I've found them in several places over the years and that was more or less the only thing growing there. Previously I've found them on nettle and another time I think one was feeding on forget-me-not which seems to have now died out in the garden.

Brindled Pug?

Having seen the comments on Andy's poorly marked Brindled should I change my decision on what I
have down as a Double-striped Pug?

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Brindled Pug?

As anticipated a much better night last night in terms of numbers of moths(30). However, my only new species for the year was this pug. I am not confident with pug identification but based on the UK moths website I have provisionally identified it as a Brindled Pug. I would appreciate confirmation before adding it to my records.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.


Is this crittur identifiable for GMS purposes?. My best guess would be Common Quaker.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Small numbers of moths in Longwick

My garden tends to not do too well early in the season - perhaps because the vegetation is restricted to hedgerows and shade trees predominantly with little of what could be called woodland.

Three moths last night - of three species. Common Quaker and Hebrew Character were at least joined by a Dotted Chestnut which gave a little more interest to the catch!

Andrew Kershaw

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Oak Beauties

Results are slowly picking up in my Aylesbury garden now, but still only up to ten species. These two Oak beauties were a welcome sight yesterday! Dave Maunder
Oak Beauty, males, 22-3-2016

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Another Orthosia

Lead-coloured Drab was out and about last night, two of them coming to an MV set up in local woodland.  This is a species to keep an eye open for now amongst the Clouded Drabs if you have Aspen or Black Poplar nearby.  The males are easily distinguished by their feathered antennae.

Lead-coloured Drab, 21st March

Lead-coloured Drabs, 21st March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Diurnea fagella?

Is this a poorly marked Diurnea fagella?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Buckinghamshire Invertebrate Group bulletins

We've just added our 2014 and 2015 Bulletins to the the Bucks Invertebrate Group resources page. Each Bulletin contains reports on moths in the county, as well as a range of other insect news. They're a good read, thanks to all the contributors under the strict but fair guidance of editor Peter Hall.

Click here to download any of the Bulletins. If you'd like to join the (free) mailing list for BIG, contact Bucks and Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre and ask to be added. BIG's programme of field meetings for 2016 will be available shortly.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Oak Beauty

Pleased to find this in the trap this morning. Didn't get any last year and I think only one the year before. Also Common Quaker, Common Plume and Hebrew Character. No Small Quakers yet.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Sunday, 20 March 2016

That's more like it

One of my targets this year is the M40 Compensation Area on the south-east corner of Bernwood Forest.  This is former agricultural land which was converted into suitable habitat for the Black Hairstreak butterfly as a mitigation measure when part of the forest was lost in the late-1980s during the construction of the motorway.  It comprises sheltered bands of blackthorn and privet scrub with small areas of wildflower meadow in between.  The site is owned and supposedly managed by the Highways Agency but they've carried out no work at all there for a couple of decades now.  With the fence having been breached in many places, it has become the top grazing spot for every Fallow, Roe and Muntjac Deer in the local area.  As those who have visited will know, it is a very long walk (nearly 3 kilometres) from the main forest car-park, the entrance isn't easy to find and when you get there the traffic noise from the M40 is horrendous!  However, the Black Hairstreak currently does quite well there and I'm interested to find out what moths might also be present.  A visit last night for the usual three hours with one 125wt MV and one 15wt actinic brought in a very welcome 420 moths of 12 species (all macros).  There was nothing of real interest and nothing which hasn't already been reported on the blog, but it was brilliant to see so much activity despite the constant stream of speeding car headlights less than 20 metres away!  Needless to say, the top counts were provided by Small Quaker (134) and Common Quaker (264).

Part of catch, M40 Compensation Area 19th March

Back at Westcott the garden actinic caught 16 moths of five species, of which Early Thorn was new for this year's garden list.

Early Thorn, Westcott 19th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Moth trap bulbs

I just wondered whether anyone has any experience of using the 20W Eco bulbs supplied by Watkins and Doncaster.

On Friday night I caught 7 Common Quaker, 2 Hebrew Character and 1 Small Quaker using my usual 125W MV Robinson trap.

Last night (Saturday) I tried the 20W Eco bulb in the trap for the first time and was pleasantly surprised with a catch of 3 Common Quaker, 7 Hebrew Character and 1 Small Quaker.

The weather conditions on the two nights were similar. Based on this tiny piece of evidence the results with the Eco bulb certainly look encouraging and I will be experimenting further with the two different bulbs.

Andy Newbold.
Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Garden Moths in Seer Green

At last, moths have started appearing in my garden in Seer Green. I've only set the trap for the Garden Moth Scheme so far...

2 x Hebrew Character, 1 x Small Quaker, 3 x Common Quaker and 1 x Oak Beauty, a species which I didn't get at all last year.

I'm also trapping for GMS at the Chiltern Woodland Burial Park, with Yellow Horned (below), Hebrew Character, Chestnut, Small Quaker, March Moth and Diurnea fagella on the list for the year.

Dave Morris, Seer Green, Bucks.

Common Quaker?

Been running the trap quite a few times - last night is the first night I caught anything for months. I got a Clouded Drab, three Hebrew Characters and what I think is a Common Quaker. Can anyone confirm?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Your Records

Please have a read of Butterfly Conservation's updated policy here regarding the records you submit to the National Moth Recording Scheme through your County Moth Recorder.  Everyone should be aware not only of the good uses to which your information will be put but also the safeguards that are in place to protect personal information.  

First day-flyer of the year

There was quite a bit of insect activity in the garden this afternoon.  Lots of 7-spot Ladybirds including some mated pairs, my first solitary bee (Anthophora plumipes) and first hoverfly (Eristalis tenax) of the year, plus the little chap shown below who was flying around in the sunshine:

Mompha sp., Westcott 17th March

It is either Mompha bradleyi or (more likely) Mompha jurassicella, both of which I get in the garden, but will need to be dissected to confirm the species.  Both of them hibernate and their larval stages both feed on Great Willowherb Epilobium hirsutum which is widespread in ditches around the village.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   


Firstly let me apologise for the awful photo, my camera has broken so only option was to use my iPhone. I found this moth sitting on my trap last night, i would be grateful if someone can confirm as Acleris schalleriana. It would be a new species for my garden and for me.
It does have a darkish coastal blotch, but its rather faded. Other than this its been the usual Common Quakers, Clouded Drabs, Hebrew Characters, Small Quakers, March Moth, Oak Beauty and Satellites slowly increasing in numbers.

Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Woodland Moths

I ran a single MV trap in nearby woodland last night for the usual three hours from dusk.  Despite some welcome cloud cover at last, light drizzle and the chilly easterly breeze combined to ensure that it wasn't all that pleasant a night and it still became quite cold quite quickly.  However, numbers of the early spring species do now seem to be building up locally.  Only one micro, Diurnea fagella, was tempted out but there was a reasonable supply of macros:  Yellow Horned (1), March Moth (2), Shoulder Stripe (2), Brindled Pug (3), Small Brindled Beauty (4), Oak Beauty (2, one quite a dark specimen), Red Chestnut (5), Small Quaker (10), Common Quaker (36), Clouded Drab (5), Twin-spotted Quaker (1), Hebrew Character (2), Pale Pinion (1), Early Grey (1), Satellite (8) & Chestnut (14).

Oak Beauty, 15th March

Twin-spotted Quaker, 15th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Monday, 14 March 2016

An early Hummer!

David Glen had a Hummingbird Hawk-moth active in his garden in Radnage, Bucks on Sunday afternoon (thanks go to Ched George for passing on the details).  There are a handful of previous Bucks records for March, in 2004, 2007 & 2012, but this is the earliest ever by five days.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Radnage 13th March

Bit off more than it could chew...

There were zero moths in the garden actinic trap here at Westcott last night.  However, during a glance outside from indoors at about 8pm I could see something fairly large, I thought possibly a beetle, zooming around the trap so went out with the net.  Of course, actinics don't put out much visible light so this really was a stab in the dark (and people I've been trapping with will concur that my netting skills are in any case sadly lacking!).  Just for once, though, I did catch something only it wasn't quite what I expected. 

Brown Long-eared Bat, Westcott 13th March

Unknown to me this bat had obviously been chasing the beetle too and ended up in the net instead!  It must have caught up with its prey a second or two beforehand because a subsequent torchlight search of the grass around the trap produced the headless body of a Great Diving Beetle Dytiscus marginalis, possibly too large and crunchy a meal even for a Brown Long-eared.

Deceased Dytiscus marginalis, Westcott 13th March

Running the light trap means that I get regular visits from bats but they're just as entitled to be there and I doubt that they really make all that much difference to the numbers of moths caught.  All bat species in the UK are protected so it would be illegal to interfere with them anyway, even if one wanted to.  After his photo had been taken this one was quickly released and flew off, seemingly unfazed by the experience!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks           

Up and running

On the hill here at Garsington 1.4 degrees and pretty strong N.E. wind last night. I was rewarded with 2 Common Quaker and a Clouded Drab, my first moths since the end of November.

Steve Lockey.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Moths are a bit sparse in Aylesbury ---

So far this year i've only recorded two moths in my Aylesbury garden - Chestnut moth back in January, and last night a March moth. Still, better than nothing i suppose! Now i'm unable to get out to local places with my portable trap due to MND, i'm relying on my garden trap and my family to help me continue my mothing interest for as long as possible. Dave Maunder
March moth, 12-3-2016

Chestnut moth, 25-1-2016

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Some cool moths from Wokefield Common

Although it was a bit chilly last night, Marc Botham and I spent a couple of hours mothing at Wokefield Common, now a BBOWT reserve. We were rewarded with 21 moths of six species: Yellow-horned (the most numerous with 12 individuals), Chestnut, Common Quaker, March Moth, Oak Beauty and Diurnea fagella.

Woodcock, toad and three-spined sticklebacks were bonuses (not in the moth traps though).
Martin Harvey

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Not quite double digits

My garden moth trap only attracted 7 moths last night, but there were 5 species, including my first micro of the year - an Acleris ferrugana/notana. The others were Common Quaker (2), Hebrew Character (2), March Moth (1) and this rather worn looking specimen below that looks like a Dark Chestnut to me - but I am happy to be corrected.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Double Digits

Only three species had arrived at the actinic trap last night by the time I switched it off at midnight in advance of the heavy rain.  However, it proved to be the first double-digit garden moth count for 2016:  Agonopterix heracliana (1), Clouded Drab (1) & Common Quaker (10). 

Clouded Drab, Westcott 8th March
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Esperia sulphurella

On Monday i found this moth flying around my garden, its an Esperia sulphurella that should be out in April or May flying around in warmish early morning sunshine. I think its going to have to try to hibernate now. A new species for my garden.
Esperia sulphurella 29.2.16 
Other NFY's this week are March Moth on 28th Feb and Clouded Drab on 1st March.

Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.

NMRS starts collecting Micro-moth records...

...from 1st April 2016.  Further information has now been released by the Moths Count team and can be found here.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

An early Phoenix

For those with an interest in that angle of moth identification, the recent demise of the Moth Dissection website came as quite a shock, although we were allowed to download the final version of it to carry on using. Behind the scenes a new phoenix has risen from the ashes and with a lot of frantic work from a small group of us, and expertise from Jim Wheeler in website building, it was launched today. You can take a peek here:
Peter Hall

Two more for the Garden

With the final chance for some February records and with the temperature holding up above freezing, the actinic trap was run overnight last night here at Westcott and managed five moths of five species.  Continuing this year's trend, an Early Grey was indeed a little early (my first February sighting).  The others were all Orthosia species of which Small Quaker was the only newcomer to the 2016 garden list.

Despite February's long period with cold nights the garden has so far produced 17 adult moth species (4 micros, 13 macros), a significant improvement over last year's end-of-February total of 11 (2 micros, 9 macros).  To date, this year the totals are identical to those of 2011 when I got my best ever garden result for the first quarter of the year (11 micros, 26 macros by the end of March).  With moths appearing ever earlier, it will be interesting to see how things turn out for 2016.

Early Grey, Westcott 29th February

Small Quaker, Westcott 29th February

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Quaker meeting

St David's Eve finally saw me trundle into action this year, other than indoor sightings of sleepy or dead moth intruders. March duly came in with a lovely Pale Brindled Beauty - greenish to my eye as well as the camera, but I suspect this is eggbox colour transference if that is the right phraseology. Its beauty failed to attract the attention of ten Common Quakers which were all fast asleep, most of them having sought out the various nooks and crannies which eggboxes provide.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon