Thursday, 31 August 2017

A couple of queries

Help req'd with these two please. Unfortunately one out of focus.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Museum Moths

First time for a while I've been able to trap at the museum.

Some NFY stuff included Centre-barred Sallow, Hedge Rustic, Brown Rustic, Purple Thorn, Chinese Character, Feathered Gothic and Magpie.

(Also at home I had my first Vapourer for the garden and second Mocha).

Dave Morris, Chalfont St Giles

Coffee is served, again...

The title refers back to Dave Wilton's post of 24th August. when a Mocha visited the Westcott moth mecca. Last night I also trapped my very first Mocha for the garden. Not in pristine condition, but still recognisable.

There were also 2 Old Lady moths in the trap, but otherwise the catch was nothing special - Large Yellow Underwings are outnumbering everything else.
I did have this tortrix below, fw measuring 6mm. I thought it might be Lobesia abscisana?

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Plume query

From last night's catch I wondered if this was a Brown Plume Stenoptilia pterodactyla?
Forewing length 10mm.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017


Last night I identified 2 Snouts, 4 Square Spot Rustics (thanks Martin!) and I think these 2 are a Lesser Yellow Underwing and a Bright Wave. Please can someone let me know if I have got either of them right / what they actually are.

Marlow Bottom 28/08

My first trap for a while produced two new species for my garden list, a Cypress Pug and Stenolechia gemmella.

No migrants seen, but Mocha has obviously had a good breeding season, with 7 in the trap my largest count ever here.  Maybe that's why one wandered into Mr Wilton's trap? 11 Dusky Thorn, nice to see this moth back in good numbers, 9 Clay Triple-lines and 2 White-point. A female Small China-mark was only my second in the garden following a male earlier in the month - maybe they have taken up residence in the garden pond, plenty of duck weed in that! Also nice to see an Old Lady in the trap, as I don't get too many to light. As expected, Yellow Underwings and Square-spot Rustic made up the bulk of the catch.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

ID help

The plain job with the staring black eyes had a f/w of 10mm. The other, which looks somewhat like a Bordered Straw sp, had a f/w of 15mm. All help on ID appreciated.

David Ferguson, Beaconsfield, Bucks

Monday, 28 August 2017

Worn,Washed Out and Heart and Club?

Three further queries from Clifden Night as I shall remember it. Shark?, should know and what looks like a late sandy coloured Heart and Club. Any clues appreciated.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Oh,and me too!

Lunch in the bank holiday sunshine was interrupted by a guest mentioning that she saw a big moth flying against the kitchen window. Sure enough........ too?

Clifden Nonpareil - not sure if this is the same one Steve Lockley found - I didn't open up the trap until about 9.30am. Like Steve's it flew off so this is the only pose I've got.

Looking at the pictures again Steve's had two bald spots, mine it looks like only one so maybe they are different? 

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Joining the Clifden club.

Lurking beneath the last egg box wings already aquiver this magnificent beast flew off around the trees a couple of times before disappearing into the undergrowth. Nothing had prepared me for the size of the Clifden Nonpareil. Hope it makes a return visit!.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

IDs please

I had a bumper number of visitors on the patio on Friday night, but sadly I haven't been able to ID most of them myself. The only ones that I was confident about were a Brimstone and a Carpet Moth. I'd appreciate help with these others. The first one was the biggest by far.


Stoke Common, Bucks

There we were, Martin Albertini and I, sitting next to my Skinner trap on Stoke Common at about 10pm last night, when this enormous stripey thing appeared and started to circle us.  It looked like a super-sized Red Underwing but the colour was entirely wrong - blue instead of red!  It disappeared into the undergrowth behind Martin and we had to scrabble about to find something big enough to put it in -  the moth was quickly and safely extracted from the vegetation into a large yogurt pot retrieved from my car.  Phew!  Unlike in Berkshire, and maybe Oxfordshire too having just seen Marc's post below, this beast is still very rare indeed in Bucks and was a first for both of us.

Clifden Nonpareil, Stoke Common 26th August

Even on its own this sighting would have made it a worthwhile visit.  However, the three-hour session using five MV lights (six for the first hour until technical failure brought Ched George's trapping to a premature end) produced a really good result for the time of year.  In excess of 110 species were recorded and other notables included Box Moth Cydalima perspectalis, Birch Mocha, Chevron, Narrow-winged Pug, Cypress Pug, Oak Processionary, Jersey Tiger, True Lover's Knot, Dotted Clay, Neglected Rustic (getting on for 100 seen), Beautiful Yellow Underwing, Heath Rustic, Hedge Rustic, Feathered Gothic, White-point (about 70 seen), Tree-lichen Beauty, Old Lady, Scarce Bordered Straw, Red Underwing & Pinion-streaked Snout.

Dotted Clay, Stoke Common 26th August

Heath Rustic, Stoke Common 26th August
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Clifden Nonpareil in Didcot

Wasn't expecting this when sifting through the 230+ Large Yellow Underwings in the actinic trap I put out in my new garden in Didcot last night. Not many moths in the UK can make Large Yellow Underwings look so small! Another record of Clifden Nonpareil for VC22!
Marc Botham, Didcot

Large Yellow Underwings, sometimes with 15+ crammed in each indentation in the egg carton: Didcot, 26-08-17

Clifden Nonpareil 'hiding' at the bottom of the trap: Didcot, 26-08-17
The blue underwings.

Beenham, Berks

I had this moth last night in my trap in Beenham Berks. I can't decide between a 2nd generation Clay Triple-lines or one of the rarer Mochas. It does appear to have a spot on the forewing as well. Any thoughts?

Thanks Derek

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Leaf Mines

As if anyone needed reminding, the next couple of months are "peak season" for finding leaf mines and thus identifying some of our smallest and most difficult species.  I noticed two new mines for the garden here this afternoon, a couple of active blotch mines of Phyllonorycter rajella on alder and a vacated corridor mine of Stigmella speciosa on sycamore.  Phyllonorycter rajella is not new to the garden list because an adult was seen here back in 2013, but this is the first time I've noticed mines of anything other than the sawfly Fenusa dohrnii on our single six-year-old alder.  Stigmella speciosa, on the other hand, is completely new for the garden.  It is supposed to be a common species on sycamore but I've only seen it once before and there are fewer than 10 records for Bucks.

Stigmella speciosa on sycamore, Westcott 26th August

Stigmella speciosa on sycamore, Westcott 26th August
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Another Thorn Query

I think I have the same species as Steve Goddard - September Thorn but as I have never seen one in Longwick and I find them tricky thought I should check it out on here! I almost missed this one as it was one of six thorns hanging around the bottom of the light fitting (the rest were clearly  Dusky as is usual here).

Other than that the haul was dominated by the usual fair with the addition of Rush Veneer and Hoary Footman.

Carpet ID + Scarce Bordered Straw

Second Scarce-bordered straw this morning - (the last one was several weeks ago.) Atropos shows them popping up everywhere.

can someone help me with this Carpet caught a week or so ago? I was thinking maybe a worn scorched but the body is dark not white.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Gem confirmed; and a couple of other queries

Many thanks to Andrew Kershaw and Dave Wilton for their suggestion that my mystery micro, from Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, of 21st August was a male Gem: although that possibility hadn't occurred to me, photos such as this one -[gallery]/0/ - look sufficiently like my specimen that I'm confident of the ID.

Some evidence that there's a small-scale trickle of immigrant moths at the moment came in the form of a Nomophila noctuella yesterday (24th August). However, most of our fare at the moment is fairly predictable native species: Large Yellow Underwings in numbers, with Lesser Treble Bar and Setaceous Hebrew Character having a good year, too.

The individuals below I'm not sure about: the first seems a good candidate for September Thorn, given its general coloration, although the angle at which it holds its wings doesn't seem entirely right. The second must be a Gothic, but seems very late in the season; and the third I would say is more White-point than Clay (which again would be a rather late appearance). Do those seem right to everyone?

Possible September Thorn, 23/8/17

Possible September Thorn, 23/8/17

Presumed Gothic, 23/8/17

Possible White-point, 22/8/17
Steve Goddard

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Coffee is served...

A very unexpected visitor came to the trap in Westcott last night!  I make no excuses for uploading yet another picture of a Mocha, one of my favourite moths, because this was a first-timer for the garden (the seventh new macro species here in 2017).  It was small and I can't claim that it was perfectly formed, but it was very welcome nonetheless.  Presumably it had wandered in from the Chilterns because that's where nearly all of the previous 160+ county records for this UK scarce species have come from.  It is the furthest north and west that the moth has ever been seen in Bucks, indeed the only other VC24 records from 100km square 'SP' are from Nigel Partridge's garden in Loosley Row.

Mocha, Westcott 23rd August

There were two other species new for the garden year-list in the trap last night.  One of them was Cacoecimorpha pronubana, a rather small and drab tortrix although it does have bright yellow hind-wings.  The other was a rather tired-looking male Gypsy Moth.

Cacoecimorpha pronubana, Westcott 23rd August

Gypsy Moth, Westcott 23rd August

I last had a male Gypsy Moth here in 2005.  It was still a reportable species at that time and the Man from the Ministry duly came and took it away.  The moth was dissected in a Government laboratory somewhere and they found out .... that it was a male Gypsy Moth (surprise, surprise!).  It was assumed to have come from the established population in the Fairford Leys estate on the edge of Aylesbury and that's where last night's specimen probably originated too.  DEFRA's efforts to eradicate it there have failed and it continues to thrive, causing no-one any significant harm.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Oak Processionary and Campanula Pug?

An Oak Processionary here last night, the first I have recorded at this site:

Also a Pug with 26mm wingspan.  No bar on the abdomen so it can't be a Wormwood, so might it be a Campanula Pug?  

Richard Ellis

Shark infested gardens

Here is something I have always wanted to be able to say - 'there's a shark in my moth trap!'
Bizarre but true, and a first for the garden. Picture below -

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Westcott, Bucks

Back for a brief appearance at home after another ten days in Devon, last night's garden trap was reasonably productive with 436 moths of 82 species turning up.  The catch had an autumnal flavour though, with Orange Swift, Pale Eggar, Six-striped Rustic and Centre-barred Sallow all making their first appearances here for this year.  It was also nice to find a migrant Scarce Bordered Straw in the collection although I see that they've been turning up all over the place.

Pale Eggar, Westcott 22nd August

Centre-barred Sallow, Westcott 22nd August

Large Yellow Underwing (85), Agriphila tristella (49), Setaceous Hebrew Character (47), Common Wainscot (28) and Small Square-spot (23) provided the greatest quantities.  I was surprised to get only the one Square-spot Rustic as I thought they would have begun to emerge in force by now - no doubt they'll be filling the trap soon enough.  Amongst a number of second-brood appearances was a nice fresh Light Emerald.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

A battered macro

I'm not sure if there is enough left of this rather worn and battered individual for identification.
It was 26mm from wing tip to wing tip. It would have been slightly more if flat but it seemed to adopt this resting position with the wings slightly raised.

Other than this it was pleasing that White-point and Scarce Bordered Straw have both reached North Oxfordshire. Over 100 Large Yellow Underwings on each of the last two nights have boosted overall numbers.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Mystery macro

As expected, a better catch last night (i.e. 21st August) in our garden in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, with some nice NFYs, including Old Lady and an undoubted, but perhaps rather late Leopard Moth. I also had what looks like the same mystery Phyllonorycter as Andrew Kershaw, below - for the record, I've posted my photo of it here, but I'm sure it's the same species.

Phyllonorycter sp., c.4mm, 21/8/17
However, the moth below has had me scratching my head a great deal. It looks easy to ID, but nothing I've come up with has quite fit (I've considered Fern, some sort of hook-tip, Scarce Tissue - entirely the wrong time of year - or some sort of pug, but I don't think any of those is right). As ever, very grateful for any suggestions - I don't doubt it'll turn out to be something blindingly obvious.

Unknown macro, 21/8/17
Steve Goddard