Sunday, 29 October 2017

Autumn collection starring Oak Rustic

Spurred on by Marc Botham's recent report of Oak Rustic, and other contributors' assorted Vestals, Delicates and Cosmopolitans, I set the trap at Ali's Pond LNR in Sonning over the weekend when normally I would have considered it too cold and breezy to be worth it. Indeed on Friday night I blanked completely and even last night only a paltry total of 4 moths appeared in the trap. However they were a pretty fab four: Brick, Merveille du Jour, my first ever Oak Rustic and my first Sprawler of the year.

No surprises here

No Cosmopolitan or Pearly Underwing for me last night, unfortunately, but I did get yet another Vestal (a female this time) along with Turnip (1), Angle Shades (3) & Silver Y (1) which could possibly have been migrants.  The remainder of the catch comprised Red-green Carpet (2), November Moth sp (11), Feathered Thorn (3, including a female), Figure of Eight (2), Setaceous Hebrew Character (1), Green-brindled Crescent (2), Sprawler (2), Blair's Shoulder-knot (1), Brick (1) & Beaded Chestnut (3).

Vestal, Westcott 28th October

Silver Y, Westcott 28th October

With the first frost of the season expected here tonight maybe it will soon be time to start thinking about picking and choosing which nights to trap, but with so many nice moths still around at the moment I'll probably continue every night for a little while longer yet.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


Having thoroughly enjoyed the Upper Thames BC Branch members' day yesterday I was inspired to put out my garden moth trap for the first time in ages, and I'm very glad I did: ten species resulted, including this Cosmopolitan. It's the first time I've ever seen this scarce migrant - not sure how often it's been found in Bucks before (there are only four records in Berkshire).

Cosmopolitan, Great Kimble
Cosmopolitan, Great Kimble

Alongside this were Red-green Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Featherd Thorn, Angle Shades, Black Rustic, Beaded Chestnut, Common Wainscot, Straw Dot and Light Brown Apple Moth.



Still haven't managed that Vestal but last night Silver Y, Udea ferrugalis and this first for the year Pearly Underwing.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Dewy pair

Quiet times but it was nice to find these two on the trap cowl the night before last. My guess is a Juniper Carpet and I'd be grateful for confirmation or otherwise.  Other arrivals include Vestal Satellite and f.cappucino of the Green-brindled Crescent. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Friday, 27 October 2017

Winter Moth

It got quite chilly here last night and just 16 species came to the garden actinic trap:  Vestal (1), November Moth sp (13), Winter Moth (1), Feathered Thorn (6), Large Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (1), Sprawler (3), Black Rustic (2), Grey Shoulder-knot (1), Green-brindled Crescent (1), Merveille du Jour (2), Satellite (3), Brick (1), Yellow-line Quaker (2), Beaded Chestnut (3) & Straw Dot (1).  Winter Moth doesn't usually appear here until the first week of November and up until last night the only other October record for the garden had been 30th October 2005.  Sprawler was also new for this year's garden list.

Winter Moth, Westcott 26th October

Sprawler, Westcott 26th October

Black Rustic is having a fantastic season here, the garden count having now reached 304, beating last year's record of 205 by a significant margin.  Although at a much lower level, Merveille du Jour also seems to be having a good year locally.  The garden averages four annual sightings but this year's count now stands at a dozen - not bad considering that we have no mature oaks in the immediate area.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Help with ID

I put my trap out again in my garden last night and was delighted to get my first Merveille du Jour. What a beauty!
There were a couple of moths that I am unsure of. I thought that they might be Pearly Underwing and a Dark Sword-grass, but I'm really not sure!
Photo 1

Photo 2
Thanks in advance 
Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxfordshire 

Acleris logiana?

The elm-feeding Acleris kochiella, which is quite a variable species, has been recorded regularly here at Westcott for more than ten years now, both in its summer generation (June/July) and its autumn generation (which I've only ever seen in Feb/Mar/Apr after over-wintering).  Two fairly typical examples of kochiella are illustrated below, the first a summer brood specimen from 2012 and the second an over-wintered autumn specimen from earlier this year.

Acleris kochiella, Westcott 7th July 2012

Acleris kochiella, Westcott 3rd February 2017

Amongst the 14 species which came to the actinic trap here last night was the moth below which I think could be a good candidate for its confusion species, Acleris logiana (a birch feeder).  Since the millennium logiana has been spreading across the south of England, having previously been confined to the north of Scotland.  This one awaits dissection but if correct it would be a first for the garden and the Aylesbury Vale area, as well as only the 12th for Bucks since the first county record in 2009. 

Candidate Acleris logiana, Westcott 25th October 2017

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

First Nutmeg?

Is this my first Nutmeg?. Large Nutmeg is fairly common during the year but this I think is new for me. Only eight moths last night but eight different species - which was nice.
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Bernwood Forest, Bucks

Three hours with a couple of MV lights in different areas of Bernwood last night produced only 24 species but at least there were loads of moths.  As expected, the highest totals were provided by the Novembers (161) and Feathered Thorn (44) with the only other species to get into double digits being Red-green Carpet and Figure of Eight.  One Vestal was the solitary migrant, a single smart Mottled Umber was a sign that winter is nearly here, while late examples of Willow Beauty and Buff Footman were perhaps worthy of note. 

Mottled Umber, Bernwood 24th October

Buff Footman, Bernwood 24th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Another perspectalis

I guess most people have had Cydalima perspectalis now, though I remember a few were new for their gardens this year.  My first turned up last night, so is presumably a second brood.  I'll have to keep an eye on my box bushes!

Otherwise, little of note, 33 moths of 15 species: November agg, Spruce Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Red-green Carpet, Feathered Thorn, Yellow-line Quaker, Brick, Large Yellow Underwing, Snout, Blastobasis lacticolella, Epiphyas postvittana (most numerous), Acleris sparsana, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla and a very worn specimen that looks like it might be Epinotia nisella (one for Peter).

One of the November aggs looked quite distinctive.  It is small (about the size of a small Carpet moth like Grey Pine), so presumably a female and has a broad blackish central bar and obvious dark bases to the wings.  Does this well marked pattern make it more likely to be one of the particular three species?  I've kept it for Peter anyway, but all those that have been checked in the past have been November.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Oak Rustic

Seeing Marc's Didcot Oak Rustic from a few days ago I wondered if it might turn up at my Maidenhead garden trap.  Just before mid-night last night it did and was one of seven macros in this morning's catch of five species.  There are a few Holm oaks around within a few 100m of the garden, so could it be a resident or was it a migrant?

Martin Albertini

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Hummingbird Hawk

Hummingbird Hawkmoth seen in my Radnage, Bucks garden today.
Ched George

Confirmations please

I'm not sure if the first one is a Winter agg. or November agg.

I think the second one is a Brick.

I got a Vestal last night which was NFY for me.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Thaumatotibia leucotreta

Migrant moths continue to grace my garden trap, last night being the best night so far this autumn with 29 species altogether. Migrant species included a nice Four-spotted Footman (this could be resident I guess but given what else arrived I think more likely a migrant), 2 Vestal, Silver Y, Rusty Dot Pearl, and Rush Veneer. Star moth for me though was a False Codling Moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta, a moth I haven't seen before. Marc Botham, Didcot

---apologies for terrible photos

False Codling Moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta) Didcot 23/10/17

Four-spotted Footman Didcot 23/10/17

Lord Blair?

The warmer night refilled the trap after a quiet spell and interesting moths arrived. I hope I'm right in assuming that the one above is a Blair's Shoulder-knot, but it's the first I've seen with an ermine collar. Is this prophetic?

I'm a bit thrown by the one below which looked entirely unfamiliar when I first clocked it. Is it a Brick? Help much appreciated, as ever. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Large Wainscot male?

Could anyone confirm whether this is a male Large Wainscot, caught this weekend in Sonning ? I have only caught females before, which in Skinner are significantly bigger.

Wondered when this would turn up

Cold, strong westerly winds meant very few moths for me in the garden trap last night so a pristine Oak Rustic was a very nice surprise. I expect this is continued northward expansion after several caught in recent years in Reading and was wondering where it would turn up next - there's plenty of Evergreen Oaks so perhaps we'll start to see more and more of this species in the future - it could of course just be a migrant with all the recent activity. Marc Botham, Didcot

Dusky-lemon Sallow confirmed

Many thanks to Peter Hall for managing to dissect this rather worn specimen, despite the fact that the Post Office also used it for clog-dancing practice en route to him. As Martin Townsend suggested when I posted the image a week ago, it is indeed Dusky-lemon Sallow - a new record for me in Sonning.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

My first moth trapping night!

I recently bought myself a twin actinic Skinner moth trap and I couldn't wait to give it a go! This was my first moth trapping experience so I really wasn't too sure what to expect.
I set it up on Wednesday(18th) night in the thick fog in my garden. I was amazed the next morning to find 53 moths, 19 species. It did take me about 5 hours to identify them all.....I hope I'm going to get quicker with a bit more practice! I had 2 Vestal, 1 Delicate, 1 Green Brindled Crescent, 1 Large Wainscot just to name a few.
I'm now totally hooked and I can't wait to set it up again to see what else I might catch!

Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxfordshire

Vestal (sorry for such poor quality photo)

Westcott, Bucks

70 moths of 26 species appeared in the garden last night despite all that wind and rain from Storm Brian:  Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Acleris rhombana (1), Acleris variegana (1), Epiphyas postvittana (1), Common Marbled Carpet (4), Red-green Carpet (4), November Moth sp (8), Feathered Thorn (1), Figure of Eight (1), Lesser Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (4), Green-brindled Crescent (2), Merveille du Jour (1, tenth of the year and first time that the garden count has achieved double figures), Black Rustic (8), Satellite (1), Chestnut (1), Dark Chestnut (2), Red-line Quaker (2), Yellow-line Quaker (3), Brick (1), Beaded Chestnut (14), Lunar Underwing (3), Barred Sallow (1), Sallow (1), Angle Shades (2) & Rosy Rustic (1).

Figure of Eight, Westcott 20th October

There has been no sign of migrants here since the pair of Vestals on the 17th but I keep trying in the vain hope that something else will find its way this far inland.  The rather tired Figure of Eight last night was new to this year's garden list and takes the 2017 site total up to 322 macro species already (and more than 630 species of Lepidoptera altogether with many micros requiring dissection still to be added).  The target for me to beat is 324 macros (achieved here in 2015) and that should be easy with Sprawler, Scarce Umber and December Moth still to appear and things like Dark Dagger, Tawny Marbled Minor and Lesser Common Rustic likely to be confirmed after dissection.  This year is on course to become the best ever for the garden so far as numbers of species are concerned, quite surprising really as I've been away in Devon quite a lot since the beginning of August.  

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Joining the Vestal party...

A light left at the museum last night in the drizzle produced about 100 moths* of 24 species, mostly Beaded Chestnut and November Moth aggs, but I did get my second-ever Vestal.

Also NFY were Brick and Dark Chestnut.

*there were originally more than this, but 4 hornets got in...

Dave Morris, Chalfont St Giles

Vestal colours

As predicted by Dave, the Vestal continues its advance and mine came last night (left in the composite pic below). My last calls from the species were in late July 2014 and late September 2013 - the last a particularly white one (top right with the ace antennae) which I gather suggests that it would have pupated at a lower temperature than the yellowy/creamy ones and was probably therefore Northern Europe- or UK-bred.  I liked the way that its colours were so similar to Hollywood's interpretation of a Vestal Virgin, shown here in the person of Janet Stephens.

My other immigrant apart from the White-speck has been a lone Silver Y. Large Wainscots are currently calling nightly and it was good to have my first Sprawler for the year this morning.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Leafmine on Pear (3)

I collected the pear mine from Andrew Kershaw on Monday afternoon and while doing so had a quick look at the tree, on which another (vacated) mine was found which looked to be of the same species.  A selection of pictures was sent to John Langmaid later that day and John has now come back to me to confirm that unfortunately this is 'only' a mine of Stigmella oxyacanthella (a common species found on apple and hawthorn as well as occasionally on pear), so unfortunately not a first for Bucks after all!  While the frass appears to be dark brown or black rather than reddish, in all other respects I can see that the position of the egg, the colour of the larva and the shape of the mine are a perfect match for oxyacanthella.  The larva exited the mine today and is currently in the process of forming a brownish cocoon on some kitchen paper placed under the leaf, so I will still attempt to rear it through.

Complete mine, 16th October

Larva, 16th October

Position of egg (underside of leaf), 16th October

Cocoon, 18th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Red-green Carpet

No Vestal here yet and in the torch light at 6:30 this morning I hoped this might be something new.
However in the daylight it seems to be just another Red-green Carpet but with a much greater contrast than usual between the central cross-band and the rest of the wing.

With Sprawler, Phyllonorycter messaniella and Caloptilia stigmatella added to my garden list in the last few nights I should hopefully reach 400 species for the year.
Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Sacraria finally arrives

Although chilly and very wet, last night was a good one for the garden actinic trap here at Westcott with 71 moths of 27 species, at last including some welcome migrant activity:  Vestal (2) and Silver Y (2).  That makes six years in a row for Vestal in the garden and 14 individuals since the first here in 2006.  From reports on the web I'd be surprised if there's anyone who doesn't get to see the moth in our area at the moment because they seem to be around in very good numbers - keep trying if you haven't had one already!  The rest of last night's catch provided nothing new, just typical autumnal fare:  Acleris variegana (1), Eudonia angustea (1), Hypsopygia glaucinalis (1), Common Marbled Carpet (1), Red-green Carpet (1), November Moth sp (14), Feathered Thorn (4), Willow Beauty (1), Turnip (1), Large Yellow Underwing (1), Lesser Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (2), Square-spot Rustic (1), Green-brindled Crescent (2), Merveille du Jour (1), Black Rustic (6), Blair's Shoulder-knot (1), Red-line Quaker (2), Yellow-line Quaker (3), Beaded Chestnut (12), Lunar Underwing (5), Barred Sallow (1), Sallow (1), Dusky-lemon Sallow (2) & Burnished Brass (1).

Vestal, Westcott 17th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

NMN catchup

For NMN I ended up carrying out my monthly survey at a local woodland site on Friday night and heading down to Thatcham to join Berks Moth Group on Saturday night. Friday provided a few nice moths with several Merveille du Jour and another Clifden Nonpareil. Numbers weren't great but there were a few surprises including fresh Light Emerald, several fresh Straw Dot and a fresh Yellow-tail. I had feared that I had missed Oak Lutestring this year as I normally catch it much earlier in the year and hadn't caught one in 2017 so far, so a fairly fresh one of these also came as a welcome surprise.

Just another Clifden Nonpareil! - 13-10-17 VC22
Yellow-tail - one of quite a few species squeezing in extra broods this year - 13-10-17 VC22
Oak Lutestring 13-10-17 VC22
Like many moth-ers around the UK, yesterdays storm got me excited and I switched the actinic light in the south facing part of the garden for an MV trap last night hoping for something special. I got fewer moths than I have had for a while and the one decent moth, a Vestal, was in a little actinic trap I put under a tree near the house expecting to catch very little at all!

Marc Botham, Didcot

Vestal - Didcot, 16-10-17

Ophelia moths

I managed to find a relatively sheltered spot on our patio to run the actinic trap again last night but with regular wind gusts in excess of 40mph (which brought down a massive branch from our ancient willow) I wasn't really expecting much to be flying and did wonder if the trap was still going to be present this morning!  However, it was still there undamaged and contained 23 brave moths of 10 species.  They included my second Hoary Footman of the year but there were still no obvious migrants.  Amongst numerous examples of even more brave diptera and trichoptera, the by-catch included the first Speckled Bush-cricket I've had in the garden trap for a couple of years.

Hoary Footman, Westcott 16th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 16 October 2017

Good session on Friday

99 moths of 23 Species in the MV overnight trap at the Ewelme Watercress Beds with Delicate, Silver Y and Merveille du Jour of special note together with one of my favourites Green-brindled Crescent.