Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Chalk and Reeds

The best thing about BBOWT's College Lake reserve in Bucks is the variety of habitats.  I ran four MV lights there last night, two on the chalk grassland and two in amongst the youthful reed-beds.  There weren't all that many moths on offer thanks to the 'brisk northerly breeze' (...more like a gale where I was!) and as usual the Met Office prediction of solid cloud cover soon proved false, but there were still a few things of interest.  Amongst about 40 species seen on the chalk it was nice to get Light Feathered Rustic at both traps (six individuals altogether), backing up my feeling that this moth has had a bit of a renaissance in the Chilterns over the past few years and is now quite widespread in the right kind of habitat.  Species such as Hypochalcia ahenella and Shaded Pug were expected, but a rather late Pale Pinion was a bit of an oddity.  There was also a noticeable 'fall' of Plutella xylostella with a double-digit count of this migrant species (unusual considering the wind direction but something apparently echoed at other sites further east).

Light Feathered Rustic, College Lake 30th May

By the reeds there were far fewer species (about 25 in all), but here the habitat specialists Phalonidia manniana, Eudonia pallida & Obscure Wainscot were found.  Of more than passing interest was another very late Pine Beauty, the second I've seen in the last few days.

Phalonidia manniana, College Lake 30th May

Pine Beauty, College Lake 30th May

Obscure Wainscot, College Lake 30th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Poplar-Hawk-moth ova

Dear All

I have just supplied BBC Springwatch with some Poplar hawk ova. They didn't want all of them (she laid 35 overnight) so, assuming this batch get to Minsmere intact, that will leave me with about 20 I don't want. If anyone would like to take some or all of them off my hands please email me.

I also gave them some Winter Moth larvae for filming related to the long-term tit study in Wytham Wood. I watched last night and none of this was flagged, so thought I'd mention it.


Monday, 30 May 2016

Moth I D

Could someone help me with identification of these moths.
Thank you,
Paul Bowyer.

A garden first

Maybe not the rarest of moths, but i was pleased to get my first ever Poplar Kitten here in my Aylesbury garden trap yesterday. A few others caught were:- Lychnis (1), The Shears (1), Flame Shoulder (1), Grey Dagger (1), Small Square-spot (1), Pale Tussock (2 - one was a melanistic specimen), Scalloped Hazel (2), and Mottled Pug (1). Numbers are still low here - maybe suburban gardens don't fair so well these days!  Dave Maunder
Poplar Kitten, 29-5-2016

Lychnis, 29-5-2016

The Shears, 29-5-2016

Scalloped Hazel, 29-5-2016

Melanistic Pale Tussock, 30-5-2016

Melanistic Pale Tussock, 30-5-2016

Unidentified moth from my kitchen ceiling

Would appreciate some help to identify this, taken in my kitchen in Culham yesterday.  It's about 1cm long.  It's similar to a Nettle Tap, but is clearly different.

Still finding my way.

Especially when it comes to micro's!. I have this as Phtheochroa rugosana. Could someone confirm it?.
Also am I imagining it or are the Skinner traps not as good for micro's - they don't seem to be that regular here - or am I expecting too much?.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Greensand Ridge trapping

A successful joint event between invertebrate enthusiasts from Bucks and Beds was held yesterday at Stockgrove Country Park, which straddles the border between the two counties on the greensand between Great Brickhill and Heath and Reach.  Moth trapping in the evening took place on both sides of the boundary.  Although it got quite cool quite quickly there were still moths flying when we decided to call it a day at about half past midnight.  The traps on the Bucks side were all placed in amongst the heather on Rammamere Heath and between us we probably achieved about 60 species there.  Amongst the more interesting things caught were Incurvaria oehmanniella, Carpatolechia proximella, Eulia ministrana, May Highflyer, Grass Rivulet, Brindled White-spot, Grey Birch, Broom Moth, Pine Beauty (a very late fresh female), Miller & Alder Moth.

Eulia ministrana, Rammamere Heath 28th May

Grey Birch, Rammamere Heath 28th May

Broom Moth, Rammamere Heath 28th May
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


Garden Trap and Fields

Friday night's GMS produced a better catch and a few NFYs for me - 19 species, including Small Magpie, Codling (no! my poor apple trees!), Broken-barred Carpet, Light Brocade - new for the Garden list, Shears, Buff Tip and Silver-ground Carpet.

Also, this LBJ - can anyone tell me what it is?

Plus, a walk across grassy fields to a beer festival yesterday added Burnet Companion, Nemophora degeerella, Alabonia geoffrella and Dichrorampha petiverella - which is a lifer for me!

Dave Morris - Seer Green

Black Park

A walk in Black Park, Bucks this afternoon produced 50+ Glyphipterix thrasonella in damper parts of the heathland and 2 Speckled Yellows. There was a Downy Emerald dragonfly on a newly created pond.

Dave Ferguson

Improved numbers in Coleshill (VC22)

After weeks of small numbers in the garden MV trap, last night's effort amassed the first catch of the year to go over 100 moths and included some fresh specimens of old favourites not yet seen this year. 119 moths of 28 species were recorded with Treble Lines and Small Square-spot leading the way.

Nothing particularly rare, the count consisted of: Shears (1), Chocolate-tip (1), Pebble Prominent (1), Angle Shades (1), Silver-ground Carpet (1), Blood-vein (1), Shoulder-stiped Wainscot (1), Peppered Moth (1), Common Pug (1), May Highflyer (1), Light Brocade (1), Small Magpie (1), Nematopogon metaxella (1), Celypha lacunana (1), Coronet (2), Orange Footman (2), Buff Ermine (3), Green Carpet (4), Rustic-shoulder Knot (4), Scorched Wing (5), Clouded-Bordered Brindle (5), Marbled Minor agg. (5), Setaceous Hebrew Character (5), Brown Rustic (6), Flame Shoulder (6), White Ermine (8), Small Square-spot (15) & Treble Lines (35).

Hopefully things should pick up from now on.

Olly Fox

Coleshill (VC22)

Shoulder-striped Wainscot Leucania comma (Coleshill, 29th May)
Light Brocade Lacanobia w-latinum (Coleshill, 29th May)
May Highflyer Hydriomena impluviata (Coleshill, 29th May)

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Slow but steady

An outing for the mercury bulb in our garden in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, brought a reasonable haul of 18 species, 39 individuals - some nice NFYs, including Scalloped Hazel and Rustic Shoulder-knot. We had on the previous night a pug (rejoice!) of which I got some OKish pictures: its main feature was that it was strikingly small - 8mm at most - and its elongated forewing dot, plus leading edge blotches made me wonder about Slender Pug, which would be a garden first. Any thoughts, as ever, would be gratefully received.

Steve and Xander Goddard

Possible Slender Pug, 26/5/16

Rustic Shoulder-knot, 27/5/16

Scalloped Hazel, 27/5/16

Marbled Minor agg.?

I think this is one of the Marbled Minor agg. - can someone confirm?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Some moths at last

Still not that good here in Benson with just 8 moths of 7 or 8 species. Not only do I not know what these are or even whether they are the same or different species. Help please!

Aethes species

A few more moths here in Longwick last night including Buff Tip and Muslin Moth.

There was also the Aethes pictured here. I would appreciate thoughts on it - it looks closest to Smeathmanniana but I know these can be tricky!

Numbers gradually increasing

Over the last few nights i've had a few new species to my garden trap here in Aylesbury, including Campion (1), Treble lines (3), Vine's Rustic (1), Pale Tussock (2), Large Nutmeg (2), Pale Mottled Willow (1), Chinese Character (1), Heart and Dart (5), Currant Pug (1), Mottled Pug (2), Common Pug (7), Scalloped Hazel (2), Common Marbled Carpet (2), Garden Carpet (2), Red Twin-spot Carpet (1), Willow Beauty (1), Clouded Border (1), Clouded Silver (1), Iron Prominent (1), Eulia Ministrana (1),
Vine's Rustic, 26-5-2016
and my latest ever Hebrew Character on the 26th May!    Dave Maunder
The Campion, 24-5-2016

May Moths - Hook Norton

I am new to this group having moved down from Skye to Oxfordshire last August.   I regularly trapped moths there and ended up with a species count of around 170, rather derisory I suspect compared to Oxfordshire.   I am now trapping in my garden in Hook Norton, once or twice per month, using a home made Skinner trap.

Swallow Prominent

Treble Lines
   On the 27th I had a count of 16 moths (excluding one escapee), 9 species - Buff ermine, Pale tussock, Spectacle, Small phoenix, Muslin moth, Treble lines, Shuttle-shaped dart, Swallow prominent and what I think is a Tawny shears.   Confirmation would be great!

Probably Tawny Shears

Terry Swainbank

Cauchas fibulella?

One of the many good things about this website is that it sometimes highlights the appearance of moths that might otherwise be overlooked. So, many thanks to Dave Wilton for his post about seeing Cauchas fibulella. I happen to have some speedwell in my garden. More importantly, I mentioned to my wife that there might be a tiny moth lurking on it. She seems to have much keener eyesight than me when it comes to spotting small creatures on vegetation, and the result is below.

I am a complete beginner when it comes to recognising longhorn moths, but this does look to me like C. fibulella.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Friday, 27 May 2016

An easy Pug!

In my opinion this is the smartest British Pug and one that nobody should have any trouble identifying!

Netted Pug, Hughenden Valley 26th May

It came to light last night on National Trust chalk grassland in the Hughenden Valley above High Wycombe, Bucks.  I ran four MV lights there for the usual three hours from dusk and was very pleasantly surprised to amass a total of 85 species.  Apart from the Netted Pug there was nothing particularly noteworthy but it was so nice to get a half-decent result somewhere this year.  Macros comprised 64 species:  Common Swift, Chinese Character, Figure of Eighty, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Large Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, Green Carpet, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Small Waved Umber, Grass Rivulet, Foxglove Pug, Mottled Pug, Netted Pug, Lime-speck Pug, Common Pug, Shaded Pug, V-Pug, Double-striped Pug, Treble-bar, Yellow-barred Brindle, Scorched Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Scalloped Hazel, Peppered Moth, Waved Umber, Common White Wave, White-pinion Spotted, Clouded Silver, Lime Hawk-moth, Poplar Hawk-moth, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Puss Moth, Swallow Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, Marbled Brown, Lobster Moth, Pale Tussock, Orange Footman, White Ermine, Cinnabar, Least Black Arches, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Small Square-spot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Shears, Light Brocade, Bright-line Brown-eye, Hebrew Character, Shoulder-striped Wainscot, Alder Moth, Dark/Grey Dagger, Coronet, Brown Rustic, Angle Shades, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Rustic Shoulder-knot, Marbled Minor agg, Treble Lines & Nut-tree Tussock, along with a couple more Pug species still to be confirmed.  Of the macros, Green Carpet, Light Brocade and Treble Lines appeared in some numbers, as would be expected in that kind of habitat.  The micro turn-out was 21 species, mostly as singletons apart from Syndemis musculana, Crambus lathoniellus and Scoparia pyralella.  Another pleasant surprise was to get only the one Cockchafer! 

Back home at Westcott the actinic trap showed a small improvement last night with 22 species appearing, including Sandy Carpet, Ochreous Pug, Seraphim & Buff Ermine which were new for the garden list this year.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Slight upturn

It's been nice to welcome back, to our garden trap in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, some pleasantly spectacular Poplar Hawkmoths - always the commonest hawkmoth hereabouts. Numbers are gradually increasing, although it wasn't atypical that last night we had just one each of eleven species. These included a Lime-speck Pug: always nice to have a pug which is straightforward to identify (and which isn't a guaranteed species here each year); and an individual I thought at first was a Heart and Dart, but concluded is likelier a Turnip Moth (on the basis at least partly of its 'dart' being hollow-centred) - does that seem correct?

Steve and Xander Goddard
Presumed Turnip Moth, 25/5/16
Lime-speck Pug, 25/5/16

Poplar Hawkmoth, 23/5/16

Another Central Oxford Toadflax Brocade

I only caught two moths last night: one was a very worn Rustic Shoulder Knot, the other was my second Toadflax Brocade of the year. Given how poor my catches have been it's one of the most numerous species that I've had so far this year!

Another Toadflax Brocade
I also went to pay homage to the new colony of Clepsis Dumicolana this afternoon in Longwick, Bucks and found at least seven or eight of them flying around their ivy patch. Thanks to Andrew Kershaw for all his help in allowing me to visit and see this rather attractive new micro for myself.

One of only the second UK colony of Clepsis Dumicolana

Cauchas fibulella

Having failed to find it at a known local site four days ago, a search for the long-horn micro-moth Cauchas (Adela) fibulella this afternoon proved successful at Calvert, Bucks where copious amounts of Germander Speedwell produced at least four of the tiny adults patrolling the flower heads.  Cydia ulicetana (swarms on gorse), Common Heath (3) and Small Yellow Underwing (1) were also recorded.

Cauchas fibulella, Calvert 26th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Large Yellow Underwing

It's been a bit of an odd week, catches remain absolutely dire, had a hornet a few days ago that got really irate and was attempting to give me "the finger" with it's sting, an almost completely plain male Common Swift and this morning I got a Large yellow Underwing. Summer's over!

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Shears, White Ermine, Poplar Hawkmoth at Shotover

This is my first blog, and therefore something of an experiment !  Dave Wilton has identified the Shears (shown in the first photo) for me.  Apart from the three moths mentioned in the heading and a number of Treble Lines, I caught only one other small moth (shown in second photo) in my Robinson trap last night - can anyone ID this from my rather unclear photo ?

Chocolate-tip & Plutella porrectella

The only species to appear in any number at last night's garden trap were Light Brocade (12) and Treble Lines (4). All other visitors arrived as singles.
Amongst the singles were 2 moths that I haven't seen since 2014. The first was Chocolate-tip -

and the other was the micro Plutella porrectella.

Steve Trigg, Cookham