Friday, 31 March 2017

More Museum Moths

At the museum again, this time 29 species and 121 moths. New for the year were Frosted Green, Red-green Carpet, Pale Pinion, Brinded Beauty, Grey Shoulder-knot, Nut-tree Tussock, Common Pug, Least Black Arches (strikes me as being a little early...), Acleris literana , Acleris cristana, Semioscopis steinkellneriana and Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

 Acleris literana
Least Black Arches

 Dave Morris, Chalfont St Giles

First pug of the year

Been back in action with the Robinson trap at Ali's Pond LNR in Sonning, with Pale Pinion probably being the highlight so far. Satellite has cropped up more often than normal and I had my first Herald of the year this week too. Back at home a Brindled Pug taken indoors has been one of very few species coming to light so far.
Pale Pinion

Brindled Pug

Away trapping

Another visit to Finemere Wood, Bucks on Wednesday night produced a reasonable haul of just over 200 moths in each of the two MV traps, their combined species count reaching 25.  New sightings for me this year included Dyseriocrania subpurpurella, Semioscopis steinkellneriana, Frosted Green and Streamer, but pride of place goes to what appears to be Acleris logiana, supposedly a species that is spreading but at the moment still very uncommon in the county with only about a dozen records since the first in 2009.  This one will be given a close check to confirm.  The larval stage feeds on birch (there's plenty of that at Finemere) whereas the confusion species Acleris kochiella is an elm feeder of which there is only a little around the edge of the wood.  I get kochiella regularly at home (three times already this year) where we have plenty of elm in the garden.

Acleris logiana, Finemere 29th March

Frosted Green, Finemere 29th March

Last night I was tempted out onto National Trust chalk grassland near Ivinghoe Beacon, Bucks, overlooking Beds and Herts.  It is never the most productive habitat at this time of year and despite cloud cover and reasonable temperatures the terrain meant that it was almost impossible to get away from that moderate southerly breeze.  The two MV traps did eventually bring in 17 species but it was very slow going and Common Quaker (57) was the only moth to appear in any numbers.  Early examples of Scorched Carpet and Nut-tree Tussock were perhaps of interest, but just about the only reason for going there in the first place was to see my final Orthosia of the year and Northern Drab duly put in an appearance at each trap.  It is always a good trip when the target turns up! 

Northern Drab, Ivinghoe 30th March

Northern Drab, Ivinghoe 30th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Early Doors

30 Common Quakers this morning and early arrivals of Nut-tree Tussock, Bee Moth and a Pine Beauty (FFG).

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Museum Moths

Left a light on at Chiltern Open Air Museum last night. 15 species, 59 moths. Mostly Orthosias again, but NFY were Early Thorn, Water Carpet, Streamer and Shoulder Stripe.

Dave Morris, Chalfont St Giles

Expected more!

With last night being just about as good as it gets at this time of year I expected rather more quantity in the actinic trap here at Westcott (getting just 40 moths in all), especially from the Orthosias.  However there was certainly some variety (13 species) and I can't really complain about getting four that were new for the garden year list:  V-Pug, Purple Thorn, Early Grey and Oak Nycteoline.  Last night's two V-Pugs beat my previous earliest record by three days while the Purple Thorn equals my earliest ever date.  I wonder what will turn up following today's "heat-wave"!

V-Pug, Westcott 29th March

Purple Thorn, Westcott 29th March

Oak Nycteoline, Westcott 29th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

More moths, more puzzles

A handsome Brindled Beauty came calling last night along with two Twin-spotted Quakers, to keep my tally of new arrivals for the year healthy. I know it's dim of me after you've only just ID-ed a White-marked for Mark, but may I ask if this is another one, above?

I also append two terrible pics, one of what I take to be an Early Thorn (which scampered immediately afterwards) and the other of a Plume which I imagine is unidentifiable from this image. Finally, I am wrestling with the micro at the bottom...  Many thanks for any help as ever, in advance.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Stoke Common caterpillar.

I swept the above larva off either Heather or Heath at Stoke Common a couple of days ago. It's about a centimetre and a bit long and therefore fairly early instar and therefore I wouldn't put any money on my ID. But I think it's a Neglected Rustic.
Andy King.


hi, a couple for ID.

The first one - sorry about the poor picture - I managed to mess up on the camera so the proper shots were totally out of focus.

Re the second one - hoping it's a White-marked.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford


Nut-tree Tussock and spring pugs

Amongst the catch from last night's garden trap was my first Nut-tree Tussock of the year.

Also, the first pugs of the year made an appearance. I always find the pugs challenging to identify, but am reasonably confident that I had 2 Double-striped Pugs and 2 Brindled Pugs. Here is one of the Double-striped Pugs. -

And this is one of the Brindled Pugs -

As always, I am happy to receive confirmation or correction.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Garden Moths

A decent, for me, number of moths in my garden trap last night, a couple were NFY - Brimstone and Early Grey.

The rest were mainly 4 species of Orthosia, including one Hebrew Character with virtually no "character". If my card reader would work, I'd post a photo of it...

Dave Morris, Seer Green


Hello again. May I just check on the ID of the slightly battered moth above; and whether the one below is Diurnea fagella?  Many thanks in anticipation.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Add caption

Monday, 27 March 2017

Red and green

I think that last night's newcomer is a Red-green Carpet, newly-woken from hibernation. Otherwise, the assorted Drabs and Quakers were enlivened by a very nice Oak Beauty.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Orange Underwings

Back on 9th March I saw my first Orange Underwing of the year flying around the ancient birches behind the Oakley Wood car-park in Bernwood Forest, Bucks.  Having checked regularly over the intervening period, this afternoon I had my first sightings of Light Orange Underwing amongst aspen at Kingswood, Bucks.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Not many moths, but...

I've had the trap out a few times over the last month in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, and like most people only had a stream of Quakers, plus a few Hebrew Characters. However (and with apologies for being off-topic), this rather attractive creature showed up on our wheelie bin just over a week ago: it seems to be Staphylinus dimidiaticornis, and as far as I can tell, not very common. Does anyone know where such things should be reported (if indeed they need reporting)?

Staphylinus dimidiaticornis, 15/3/17
Steve Goddard

A fairly early Muslin moth

There seem to be quite a few common species that I haven't caught (yet?) this year but this Muslin moth was an fairly unexpected visitor to my trap on Friday night.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Palely loitering

Nice to have a Pale Pinion tempted out of its winter's sleep by the lovely warm weather (though the nights are chilly). Otherwise, apart from a solitary March moth, the reign of Quaker Drabbery continues. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon  

Friday, 24 March 2017

Record Species Count

Despite chilly temperatures and very strong winds there was still a small catch of moths (13 individuals of seven species) in last night's garden trap.  Amongst them was this female Powdered Quaker:

Powdered Quaker, Westcott 23rd March

Powdered Quaker takes the number of adult moth species seen in the garden this year to 40, of which 27 are macros.  That is the highest number of macro species ever recorded here before 31st March and we still have a week to go before the end of the month (previous first-quarter records being 26 in 2011 and 25 in 2012).  However, at present the number of individual moths is only just over 600 which, although better than average, is less than half the total recorded in 2012.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Return of the Prodigal Carpet

Well, that was unexpected!  32 moths of nine species in last night's trap at Westcott despite the very cold, windy conditions and one of them was my first garden year-list addition since a Pale Pinion on the 15th.  In fact it was a species that wasn't even on my home moth radar, having last been seen here in 2005:  a smart Water Carpet:

Water Carpet, Westcott 20th March

This is actually my earliest ever sighting for Water Carpet by about a week but I note that there are some half a dozen earlier records for Bucks going back to 9th March.

The conditions were such that I wouldn't normally have bothered running traps elsewhere, but with a need to check on whether Small Quaker had reached its peak yet I took two 125wt MV Robinsons and a single 15wt Heath trap to Bernwood Forest.  I might as well not have bothered with the actinic as it brought in a grand total of 14 moths of seven species, but the two Robinsons performed exceptionally well considering how windy and chilly it became.  Small Quaker is a hardy little beast and I'd counted 347 (130 in one trap, 217 in the other) by the time I packed up at 11pm and they were still arriving in numbers.  Common Quaker (53) and Oak Beauty (21) were the only other species to give a double-digit count but amongst the remainder were my first Brindled Pugs (3), Early Tooth-striped (1), Pine Beauty (1) & Blossom Underwings (5) of the season.  Definitely a worthwhile visit.

Early Tooth-striped, Bernwood Forest 20th March

Pine Beauty, Bernwood Forest 20th March

Blossom Underwing, Bernwood Forest 20th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Monday, 20 March 2017

A better catch at last

Having been away for 10 days it was good to have a couple of mild, if windy, nights to catch up on my moths for this month.
Last night's 52 moths of 8 species (all macros) was encouraging with my first Early Grey and Twin-spotted Quakers of the year. Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Clouded Drab all in double figures.

I thought this Hebrew Character was particularly well marked and this Dotted Border seemed to have an extra cross line compared to most images I have seen.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Very blurred photo and a wing

Sorry about the pic - I don't know if it's possible to do an ID from this - unfortunately it was in probably the worst place to photograph (or subsequently catch) on the funnel of the trap.

Then a wing that turned up a week or so ago

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Red Sword-grass at Lavendon, Bucks

It is only 6 months (22 Oct 2016) since I posted a record for someone else of Red Sword-grass.
This time it is a record for Geoff Moss, found in his trap this morning 19 March 2017 at Lavendon which is only about 2km from the Northern-most tip of Bucks and about 60km from last October's record at Chorleywood.  This record will bring the Buck moth database records to five, of which three have been in the last three years.
Thanks to Geoff for supplying the record.

Martin Albertini

W T & L

I was surprised to see a review of the third edition of the Waring, Townsend and Lewington field guide in this week's Spectator magazine. A two-page spread, no less. Not, perhaps where you might expect to find one.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Garden Micro Update

Micros haven't done too badly in the garden so far this year.  Recent activity has included Ypsolopha mucronella, a daytime sighting on 11th March when it was disturbed from vegetation while I was mowing the lawn.  Acleris kochiella was caught again in the trap last night (its third appearance this year), while Agonopterix ocellana was added to the year list on 9th March and has appeared on four subsequent occasions.  Mompha jurassicella, a garden regular, has been found three or four times already both indoors and out, while a good candidate for the very similar Mompha bradleyi was netted during the daytime yesterday but will have to await closer inspection (it hasn't been recorded here since 2011).

Acleris kochiella, 15th March

Agonopterix ocellana, 10th March

Two MV traps run for the usual few hours from dusk in local woodland last night produced 492 moths of  19 species (272 of them Small Quakers).  The only thing of interest was Caloptilia populetorum which despite its name is a birch-feeder.  Although known from the site it is still a relatively uncommon species in Bucks with only about a dozen previous records.

Caloptilia populetorum, 15th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A small haul

Last night's trapping produced two well overdue garden firsts - March Moth and Dotted Border. An Oak Nycteoline had me scouring through the micro book before enlightenment dawned. The total haul was: Common Quaker(6), Small Quaker (1), Twin-spotted Quaker (1), March Moth (2), Oak Nycteoline (1).

Dave Ferguson, Beaconsfield, Bucks

Double figures, and a Dark Chestnut?

My Cookham garden trap can never match the numbers found in Westcott, but I have now managed to reach double figures. 14 moths of 9 species in last night's trap, of which only 1 was a micro - a single Emmelina monodactyla.
The macros were Oak Beauty (1), Pale Pinion (1), Hebrew Character (3), Clouded Drab (1), Common Quaker (2), Small Quaker (3), Early Grey (1), and finally what I think is a rather worn Dark Chestnut - picture below.

Steve Trigg

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Further new emergences

New species for the year recorded last night included the smart Early Thorn and Dotted Chestnut illustrated below:

Early Thorn, 11th March

Dotted Chestnut, 11th March

The garden trap produced a healthy 44 moths of 13 species, including a Twin-spotted Quaker with almost non-existent spots which is posed below alongside a more obviously marked specimen.

Twin-spotted Quakers, 11th March
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Better late than never

I have just seen my first adult moth of the year at last!  I've recorded quite a few Blue-bordered carpet eggs and dug up an Angle-shades larva while gardening already, but today I actually saw a moth. I have identified it as a Dotted Border, correctly I hope. It was low down on the outside of the glass door of the Optician's shop in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks. I went home to get my camera and it was still there when I got back even though customers were going in and out of the door all the time.

Wendy Wilson

Small Eggar

I received a message from Chris Williams letting me know that he ran a light near Olney, Bucks on the night of 9th March 2017 and amongst his small catch was a Small Eggar.
This has always been a rare moth in Bucks and the last record was from North Bucks, not too far from Olney, in 1997 (the same site also had single records in 1991 & 1976) and the only other Bucks record in the last 50 years was of larvae found near Olney in 1990.
Very pleasing to know that it is still around.
Thanks to Chris for allowing his record and picture to be put on the blog.

Martin  Albertini
Bucks Moth Recorder

Friday, 10 March 2017

Museum Moths

Spurred on by the warm weather, I left a light at Chiltern Open Air Museum last night. Only about 20 moths were still there by morning, but new for year were Small Quaker, Clouded Drab and Oak Beauty.

Dave Morris
Chalfont St Giles

Small Quaker numbers building

On the 8th (Wednesday) I ran two MV lights in Finemere Wood, Bucks and got 106 Small Quakers between them, while last night (Thursday) the same two lights in Bernwood Forest, Bucks caught 211 Small Quakers.  However there's no sign of Common Quaker numbers, or any of the other Orthosia species for that matter, building in local woodland yet.  Last night's collection from Bernwood included Red Chestnut, Twin-spotted Quaker and Early Grey which were my first sightings of the year, while numbers of Yellow Horned (23) and Small Brindled Beauty (47) seem to have passed their peak now.  One Small Brindled Beauty came a cropper on the sheet while my back was turned, most of it being consumed by a visiting example of the ground beetle Carabus nemoralis.  These large carabids (problematicus as well as nemoralis) are regular sightings in Bernwood but they usually disappear under the sheet to get away from the light.  This one must have been rather more brave (or hungrier) than usual!

Red Chestnut, Bernwood Forest 9th March

Carabus nemoralis eating dinner, Bernwood Forest 9th March

Back home at Westcott, last night's actinic trap performed quite well, bringing in 37 moths of 11 species.  New for the year's garden list were Diurnea fagella, Agonopterix ocellana and Engrailed.

Agonopterix ocellana, Westcott 9th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks