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,

Same difference?

After reading the lugubrious warnings in Waring, Townsend & Lewington, I don't really want to have much more to do with the Epirrita. But if you can answer this question just from my pics, are all these four residents of this morning's trap the same species - eg November moths?  Martin Wainwright aka Baffled of Thrupp, Oxon.  PS  While going the extra mile, can anyone hazard a guess as to the battered visitor below?  A Wainscot of some kind is my best shot. Also in the trap: a very fresh-looking Common Marbled Carpet and three long-lasting Large Yellow Underwings.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Westcott, Bucks

Last night's collection to the garden actinic was actually quite good thanks to slightly warmer overnight conditions:  Epiphyas postvittana (1), Nomophila noctuella (2), Emmelina monodactyla (1), Red-green Carpet (5), Common Marbled Carpet (1), November Moth agg (18), Feathered Thorn (5), Dark Sword-grass (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (2), Square-spot Rustic (1), Black Rustic (2), Blair's Shoulder-knot (4), Green-brindled Crescent (1), Merveille du Jour (1) & Beaded Chestnut (8).  Better, certainly, than the previous few nights but other species caught during the week did include Pale November Moth, Autumnal Moth, Figure of Eight, Brick, Red-line Quaker, Yellow-line Quaker, Lunar Underwing, Pink-barred Sallow & Angle Shades.

Sprawler has yet to be seen in the garden but there were two in the Rothamsted trap at Marsh Gibbon, Bucks last night so its arrival here must be imminent.  December Moth, Mottled Umber and Scarce Umber are then the only macro species which I can reasonably expect before the end of 2016.  Winter Moth was seen way back in January and I suppose that Northern Winter Moth might be a possibility although I don't see that one here every year.

A couple of away trapping sessions in local woodland this week produced very little.  The only moth of any great interest was caught in Bernwood Forest on 27th October, a fresh specimen of Orthopygia glaucinalis which seemed rather late:

Orthopygia glaucinalis, Bernwood 27th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


I don't think this is Emmelina monodactyla, i know its a rubbish photo but can it be identified? Im thinking maybe Stenoptilia bipunctidactyla?
Looking again it could be E monodactyla, please someone help me!

Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.


Don't know what else it can be but a female Gem. Completely new for me after a very poor season here. Only a few moths in the trap but I got a fresh Feathered Thorn and Sallow, both new for the year.

 Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Friday, 28 October 2016

On cue

Dave's forecast of Feathered Thorn and Sprawler the other day was very helpful this morning, when I opened the trap to find these two new arrivals. Actually, there were three Feathered Thorns, one of them on the lawn about two feet from the trap and wonderfully similar to scattered leaves in the same area. One Merveille du Jour turned up, snuggled into an eggbox. Also five Red-green carpets, the same number of Beaded Chestnuts, a Red-line Quaker and two Black Rustics. So things continue well here, and it's a bonus to have newcomers.

A couple of behavioural points: the Sprawler was among the most sound-asleep of any moths I have ever trapped, rolling around on my pyjama-covered lap without waking and still dead to the world (but not, I think, actually dead) when I decanted it into a shrub. Also, when I first went out to turn off the trap in the dark, various moths (mostly Autumnal/November ones, I think) fluttered up off the grass and either scooted or went into the still-lit trap.  When I went out just now, in daylight, those moths still outside the trap did not stir.   Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Grey Pine Carpet?

My garden MV trap attracted 17 individuals last night, of 10 species. These included my first 2 Green-brindled Crescents of the year (I was beginning to think they were avoiding my garden this year). There were also 3 Merveille du Jour (1 on top of the trap and 2 inside).
The moth below looks to me like a Grey Pine Carpet, but I thought I would check.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Autumnal slowdown

We haven't bothered putting the trap out every night for the last few weeks in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, given the drop in temperatures and the fact that I'm quite often home from work several hours after dusk. When we have done, numbers have been distinctly down, of course; and we're still missing a number of species whose likelihood of showing decreases by the day: no Red Underwings this year, nor any Brick, Yellow-line Quaker or Satellite; and unlike some, we've never had MdJ... (I'm not sure hoisting our trap up to the level Martin W. showed in a recent photo, in the hope of attracting them, would meet with universal local approval).

However, we have had some handsome autumn species: as well as a nice range of sallows (Sallow itself, plus Barred, Centre-barred and Pink-barred - not all of those are annual for us), there have been several Angles Shades, a lovely Green-brindled Crescent and a Large Wainscot, all of them very nice to see. And although we won't, I think, reach 350 species, which I had hoped for earlier this year, the 340 we're at is considerably better than last year's 317 - and that in a year which, by all accounts, hasn't exactly been a vintage one.

Angle Shades, 7/10/16

Green-brindled Carpet, 14/10/16

Large Wainscot, 16/10/16
I'm assuming, by the way, that both the below individuals are Beaded Chestnut, but if anyone can say otherwise, please do let us know!

Presumed Beaded Chestnut, 7/10/16

Another presumed Beaded Chestnut, 8/10/16
Steve and Xander Goddard

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Westcott, Bucks

Another week, another reduction in numbers.  Last night's collection to the garden actinic trap comprised 18 moths of eleven species, probably more than I should have expected as we were close to having a frost by dawn this morning:   Emmelina monodactyla (2), Red-green Carpet (2), November Moth (1), Pale November Moth (1), Lesser Yellow Underwing (1), Green-brindled Crescent (3), Merveille du Jour (1), Black Rustic (1), Red-line Quaker (1), Beaded Chestnut (3) & Lunar Underwing (2).  However, others which have visited the trap over the past seven days include Agonopterix heracliana, Agonopterix arenella, Eudonia angustea, Blood-vein, Common Marbled Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Dark Sword-grass, Large Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Grey Shoulder-knot, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Dark Chestnut, Angle Shades & Snout so there is still a fair amount of variety out there.  The Blood-vein (17th) was a bat casualty, being just a set of four wings on the grass next to the trap. 

The ivy in our immediate area has been nowhere near as productive for moths this autumn as it was last year.  Brick, which seems to love ivy blossom, has so far reached the dismal total of 7 individuals here whereas the garden produced a record 156 of them in 2015.  The Xanthia species seem to have given up already (a Pink-barred Sallow on the 14th was my last sighting) and Sallow itself has had a very poor season (28 seen in the garden as opposed to 103 last year).  Looking forward, Feathered Thorn should start appearing any day now, followed by Sprawler. 

It was quite difficult, but I've managed to resist the temptation to upload another picture of that most photogenic of autumn moths, the Merveille du Jour ... so here's the Dark Sword-grass instead!

Dark Sword-grass, Westcott 17th October

Today I had a look for leaf-mines on some black poplars in the village  and quickly managed to find those of Stigmella trimaculella and Phyllocnistis unipunctella.  There was, however, no sign of the hoped-for Ectoedemia hannoverella, a rare species which has yet to be recorded in Bucks although it has been found in adjacent Bedfordshire and counties further east.  I also saw several feeding signs of what is probably the tortrix Gypsonoma oppressana (quite common locally) but, because Gypsonoma dealbana constructs similar 'feeding tubes' and can also use poplar, I don't think these constitute a safe record.

Active mine of Stigmella trimaculella, Westcott 22nd October

Vacated mine of Phyllocnistis unipunctella, Westcott

Grazing and vacated feeding tube of Gypsonoma sp, Westcott

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Red Sword-grass in Chorleywood

Last night (21st) Richard Ellis had a Red Sword-grass in his trap in Chorleywood, Bucks.
This is only the fourth record for this species in the Bucks database and one of the previous ones was also Richard's and again from Chorleywood, but in 2014.  Both were during October
The other two records were Longwick, near Princes Risborough in 2005 and Howe Park Wood, Milton Keynes.  Both during March.

Thanks to Richard for allowing me to post this record.

Attracting Marvels

In case anyone hasn't had a Merveille du Jour yet this year, here is my method of attracting them, above.  They seem to come when the lamp has the widest 'view' possible.

Moths continue good here, with Large Wainscot, lots of Black Rustics, Blair's Shoulder-knot and Barred Sallow also in the trap last night. Friday morning saw Beaded Chestnut as well, plenty of Autumnals of one sort or another and both forms of the Green-brindled Crescent. For me, the standard green one gives the MduJ a run for its money.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Burial Park Leaf Mines

I picked up a few leaf mines from the Burial Park this morning; tried looking at the Leafmines website, but I would appreciate some confirmation or assistance. I stuck the leaves in my flatbed scanner for the pics although I can try again with a camera when there's a bit more light around if they're not good enough...

1) On birch, is this Stigmella continuella?
2) On hornbeam; is this Phyllonorycter esperella?

3) This I'm not sure about (birch again)...

4) Another Hornbeam feeder I can't get:

5) One on hazel (shows equally well on both sides of the leaf):

6) Thinking this on blackthorn is Phyllonorycter spinicolella?
 7) On sallow...
8) And a final birch feeder which looks a bit like Phyllonorycter cavella?...

Dave Morris, Seer Green

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Cumnor Hill leaf mines

Plenty of leaf mines found on a weekend visit - Lyonetia clerkella, Stigmella anomalella, catharticella, microtheriella, floslactella, hybnerella & lemniscella, Caloptilia syringella, semifascia & rufipennella, Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae, cerasicolella, schreberella, tristrigella & acerifoliella, Parornix anglicella & devoniella.  Especially nice to find Stigmella catharticella, both because it is a new species for me and because I found the mines on buckthorn I planted here five or so years ago.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Acleris literana

The only thing of any real interest lately has been another A literana last night, following the one i had back in April. In October the NFY's have been Barred Sallow (2nd), Deep-brown Dart (6th), Blair's Shoulder-knot and Black Rustic NFG (7th), Green-brindled Crescent and November Moth  (11th), and finally Red-line Quaker (13th).
Acleris literana 14/10/16
The November Moth was checked, which i didn't find easy. The drawings in the Field Guide make it look like it should be. I found it better to look on the Dissection website for a comparison.

Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.

Westcott, Bucks

New for the year to the garden actinic trap over the past week have been Acrolepia autumnitella, November Moth, Merveille du Jour (all 8th) and Pale November Moth, Tawny Pinion (both 12th).  Needless to say, the two Novembers underwent the appropriate examination.  Overall numbers have certainly fallen now that Lunar Underwing seems to be heading towards the end of its flight season.  The number of species is still holding up fairly well though, or at least it was until Thursday night when that day's heavy rain showers seemed to make the local ivy blossom unpalatable by dusk (no moths found on it) and only 14 individuals of seven species entered the trap even though the overnight conditions were little different to the previous couple of nights.  However, amongst those seven species were Orange Sallow and Large Wainscot, neither of which are particularly common here.

The previous night (Wednesday 12th) was more typical of recent results:  Scrobipalpa costella (1), Emmelina monodactyla (1), Red-green Carpet (4), Common Marbled Carpet (4), November Moth (1), Pale November Moth (1), Large Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (1), Green-brindled Crescent (1), Black Rustic (2), Tawny Pinion (1), Dark Chestnut (2), Dotted Chestnut (1), Brick (1), Red-line Quaker (3), Beaded Chestnut (6), Lunar Underwing (3), Pink-barred Sallow (1) & Sallow (2).

Acrolepia autumnitella, Westcott 8th October

Tawny Pinion, Westcott 12th October

Dotted Chestnut, Westcott 12th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Larva ID help

With the cooler nights my moth numbers have dropped significantly and I still have quite a list of commoner moths I am hoping to see this year (e.g. Brick, Feathered Thorn, any Quakers). However, I was pleased to add Grey Shoulder-knot to my list on Sunday night with a second on Tuesday.

Grey Shoulder-knot

This morning I found this larva on a dead twig beneath an oak tree although it could just as easily have come from the surrounding grasses or other low-growing vegetation. Any help with its identification would be appreciated.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Numbers low in Aylesbury

I know i can't compete with the likes of Dave Wilton for numbers and variety as i live on the edge of Aylesbury, but i've noticed quite low numbers of some common species throughout the year. I haven't seen a Large Ranunculus here for two years, or Sallow moth. I was pleased to get everyone's favourite Sunday night, a pristine Merveille Du Jour which was a garden first, and just a sprinkling of the more common species such as Barred Sallow. Dave Maunder
Merveille Du Jour, 10-10-2016

Barred Sallow, 11-10-2016

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Shades of Green

Three of my favourite moth visited last night. The trap was on the highest point in our garden (the ramparts of a fort I'm building for the grandchildren) but I don't know if this helped. I always longed to see a Merveille du Jour in Leeds but never did, though a friend had them regularly in Scarborough. Down here, my first and only one in 2013 came on October 16/17, my first (of several) in 2014 came on October 9/10 and last year, my first (again of several) was on October 10/11.  Consistency, eh. Here's one of them again, left, discussing things dozily with an ichneumon wasp, followed by what I think is be a Large Wainscot, below:

I told the MdJs to head for Westcott as I released them, Dave.

Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Westcott, Bucks

The only additions to this year's garden list over the past week have been Green-brindled Crescent (3rd), Large Wainscot (6th) and Brick (7th).  Last night's catch, comprising just over 90 moths of 19 species, was fairly typical of the week's results apart from a notable increase in Large Yellow Underwings:  Acleris variegana (1), Nomophila noctuella (1), Emmelina monodactyla (1), Mallow (1), Red-green Carpet (1), Common Marbled Carpet (1), Turnip (1), Large Yellow Underwing (11), Setaceous Hebrew Character (7), Deep-brown Dart (1), Black Rustic (3), Green-brindled Crescent (2), Satellite (1), Brick (1), Red-line Quaker (1), Beaded Chestnut (14), Lunar Underwing (40), Dusky-lemon Sallow (1) & Angle Shades (3).  Lunar Underwing is doing its best but my current cumulative total for the garden stands at only 650, two-thirds of the way through its flight period.  The moth certainly isn't going to break any records here in 2016 (totals for the previous three years have all been above 1,600 and in 2014 they reached 3,570).

Other species seen earlier in the week included Blastobasis lacticolella, Epiphyas postvittana, Eudonia angustea, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Square-spot Rustic, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Pink-barred Sallow, Sallow (not doing at all well here this year) & Pale Mottled Willow, while Yellow-line Quaker has been noticeable by its absence since the end of September.  I still await my first Merveille du Jour of the season.

Brick, Westcott 7th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

What Tortrix?

Is it possible to put an identification to this faintly marked Pandemis Tortrix?. Any help appreciated.
 Steve Lockey (Garsington)

GMS Lifer!

Ran my garden trap for the Garden Moth Scheme last night; 20% of the moths (ie one) was a lifer for me in the form of Cypress Pug.

Other than that, things have been very quiet of late.

Dave Morris, Seer Green

Friday, 7 October 2016

Autumn in Sibford

Only 14 moths last night (7 species) but my first 2 November Moths (agg) as well as 2 Green-brindled Crescent and the micro shown in the second image. Just under 6mm in length - maybe Caloptilia rufipennella?

November agg.

Caloptilia rufipennella ?

Perhaps I could also check that this is a Flounced Chestnut. Caught last week just south of Keynsham in a friend's garden. It is not a species I have encountered previously.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.