Thursday, 30 November 2017

Links to help with identification of Winter Moth and Northern Winter Moth

I posted this as a comment to Steve Trigg's question below, but the links don't work in comments, so I'm repeating it here - these are links to comparison images for Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) and Northern Winter Moth (Operophtera fagata).

Main thing to look for is that Northern Winter Moth is a bit larger and paler (especially on the hindwing) than Winter Moth (but as ever worn specimens can be confusing). Check the undersides as well. If you can find the females they a bit easier to distinguish: both have reduced wings but Northern Winter's wings are less reduced than Winter.

And as Dave said below, Northern Winter is more closely tied to Birch and Alder trees, while Winter Moth feeds on a wider range of trees and shrubs.

The specimen images on Lepiforum suggest that the underside of Northern Winter is noticeably paler than the underside of 'normal' Winter Moth, which may be a useful clue for moths on windows!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Winter moth question

My first Winter Moth of the year appeared at my kitchen window last night.

I wondered, is the Northern Winter Moth also found in our area of Berks/Bucks/Oxon? I don't recall the Northern Winter Moth ever being mentioned on this blog.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Friday, 24 November 2017

Migrants again (2)

Well, that little warm but very windy patch produced no further migrants at all here!  On the 21st I had a Winter Moth and two Satellites, on the 22nd just a Dingy Footman caterpillar, while last night there were two December Moths and singletons of Red-green Carpet, Winter Moth, Feathered Thorn & Scarce Umber.  The 8mm Dingy Footman caterpillar had presumably been tempted out of hibernation and was found climbing one of our conservatory windows beside the actinic light which was being run indoors against the glass.

Dingy Footman caterpillar, Westcott 23rd November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Your Records!

After a concerted effort over the past couple of weeks I've now entered nearly 17,000 records from 2017 into MapMate and, barring dissections and data from the Marsh Gibbon RIS trap, I'm at last almost up-to-date with inputs.  I therefore now feel comfortable reminding everyone else how vitally important your records are.  If you haven't already done so, you too should now be considering getting them together in whatever form you use to pass on to your County Moth Recorder.

That data doesn't just sit on your CMR's computer (honest!).  It gets passed on to the National Moth Recording Scheme which is managed by Butterfly Conservation and is used to inform conservation activities for moths throughout the UK.

If you haven't contributed records before (or if you've forgotten how to go about doing so), you'll find all the information you need under the "YOUR RECORDS" tab at the top of this page. 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks       

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Migrants again

We seem to have another small window for immigration with a warmer southerly airflow now and for the next two or three nights.  Last night the actinic light was run inside the conservatory here, bringing ten species to the windows and amongst which were Udea ferrugalis (1) & Silver Y (1) which may have been migrants, although the Silver Y seemed to be on its last legs whereas migrants are usually very fresh-looking.

Udea ferrugalis, Westcott 20th November

Silver Y, Westcott 20th November

The other moths comprised Emmelina monodactyla (1), December Moth (1, another female), Common Marbled Carpet (1), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (6), Feathered Thorn (1), Mottled Umber (1) & Angle Shades (1).  The Common Marbled Carpet was my latest sighting by a week.

Common Marbled Carpet, Westcott 20th November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Tachystola acroxantha

The trio of moths caught on the night of 15th/16th November included this Ruddy Streak (Tachystola acroxantha).

The other two were Red-line Quaker and Spruce Carpet.

Dave Ferguson, Beaconsfield

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Hebrew Character

I was starting to wonder where the December moths had got to and then caught 17 on Tuesday night along with 9 other species including a very worn Setaceous Hebrew Character. I decided to put the trap out again last night hoping for a Grey Shoulder-knot or a Scarce Umber to add to the 2017 list and was quite surprised to get this Hebrew Character.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Plumed Prominent

Martin Albertini and I trapped speculatively in some mixed woodland near Marlow, Bucks last night in the hope of finding Plumed Prominent at a new site.  Four MV traps were run from dusk (just before 5pm) and it proved to be a successful evening with four males appearing at around about their usual time (between 6pm and 7pm), divided between three of our four lights.  The session added two new tetrads to the known distribution in our area of this Nationally Scarce 'A' list species which only flies at this time of year.

Plumed Prominent, near Marlow 15th November

There wasn't much else flying, although it was nice to confirm both Autumnal Moth and Northern Winter Moth amongst those which did appear.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

December Eggs

Although rather damp, but because it was distinctly warmer I decided to run the actinic light my usual lazy winter way last night (inside the conservatory and recording what comes to the windows).  Ten moths put in an appearance:  Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Emmelina monodactyla (1), December Moth (3), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (2), Feathered Thorn (1) & Mottled Umber (1).  One of the Decembers was a female and when I photographed her this morning she wouldn't stop laying eggs.  I'll probably keep them safe until the caterpillars emerge in the spring and then release them locally.

December Moth female and eggs, Westcott 14th November
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 13 November 2017

December moth

I too put my trap out on Thursday 9th in the hope of catching another Oak Rustic. Unfortunately one didn't show up but I did catch 26 moths of 7 species. December moth 10, Feathered Thorn 5, Red green carpet 3, Yellow line Quaker 3, November moth 3, Mottled Umber 1 and Brick 1.
I couldn't get over how fluffy the December moth was. Definitely got his winter coat on!

Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon

Friday, 10 November 2017

Like Westcott, like Thrupp

The moths here faithfully copied Dave's last night, though I admit to ignorance about the one on the bottom right, being permanently unable to tell the various contenders apart.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Westcott, Bucks

Back on 6th November I had December Moth, my final guaranteed species for the 2017 garden year-list, so I can now be selective as to when I run the light.  Following two nights off, the weather last night seemed quite reasonable and the moths seemed to think so too, with 18 individuals of six species appearing:  December Moth (1), November Moth sp (1), Winter Moth (5), Feathered Thorn (2), Scarce Umber (2) & Sprawler (7).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Couple of mysteries

The mothing year is clearly drawing to a close here in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, with catches (when I've bothered putting the trap out, which has been comparatively rarely in recent weeks) diminishing to the point where last night's was a complete blank. I've had a couple of migrants - a Silver Y on 24th October, and a Vestal (first of the year) on the 26th; but relatively little else of note, and the garden year list will be in the 360s; not bad, but certainly not record-breaking. A couple of uncertainties from recent weeks: first this, from 15th October, which may simply be a very pale and tired individual of a familiar species, but if so, I can't make out which one:

Unknown, 15/10/17
This latter, I suspect, is a Yellow-line Quaker, and would be the first of the year here, although I'm very much open to correction:

Possible Yellow-line Quaker, 28/11/17
As ever, I'd be grateful for suggestions and corrections: especially on the first individual, for which I've been cudgelling my brains and getting nowhere for some time.

Steve Goddard

No Plumed Prominent - yet

Getting a quick visit in before the weather turns much colder for the next week or two, last night I checked a known site near Marlow, Bucks for Plumed Prominent even though it is perhaps still a few days early for this nationally scarce species to be flying locally.  It didn't appear and I had to make do with December Moth which does itself have quite an impressive set of antennae!

December Moth, near Marlow 3rd November

Back home at Westcott the garden actinic trap produced 21 moths of eleven species, comprising Mompha jurassicella (1), Blastobasis lacticolella (2), Acleris hastiana (1), Vestal (1), Red-green Carpet (1), November Moth sp (3), Feathered Thorn (4), Sprawler (5), Dark Chestnut (1), Brick (1) & Beaded Chestnut (1).  The Vestal was the eighth example (and the second female) I've had in the garden in three weeks during this current wave of migration.

Vestal, Westcott 3rd November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Stenoptilia pterodactyla?

hi, can anyone confirm an ID on this as Stenoptilia pterodactyla (Brown Plume)?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Friday, 3 November 2017

What a Gem!

Last night's collection of moths to the garden actinic comprised just ten individuals of eight species but amongst them was this rather worn female Gem, showing that there are still some interesting migrants out there.  Not quite up to the rarity value of Martin's Cosmopolitan from last Saturday night but I was still more than happy to see it!

Gem, Westcott 2nd November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Sponsor a Moth for the Atlas

Steve Wheatley, BC's Regional Officer for the south-east, sent out the message below this morning regarding the campaign to raise money for the forthcoming Atlas:

As you probably know, Butterfly Conservation is running the Sponsor a Moth campaign in preparation for the Macro Moth Atlas. There are a few regional top priority species that still need a sponsor:
·         Barberry Carpet (Oxon)
·         Shoulder-striped Clover (Heaths, especially New Forest)
·         Silvery Arches (Heaths)
·         Pale Shining Brown (Oxon)
·         Sloe Carpet (difficult to pin down – pardon the pun)
Let’s try to get them all sponsored! Please can you promote these in your area and to your moth recorder contacts?  Click on this link to the BC website.
Please help. I can’t really afford to sponsor them all. I’ve already sponsored Clay Fan-foot – a favourite of mine and much overlooked.
Best wishes,

Another Oak Rustic

Further to Lorna's entry this little fellow turned up last night as well
Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Oak Rustic?

I put my trap out last night in the beech woods on the Estate that I work on (Checkendon, South Oxon) and caught this little chap. Am I right in thinking that it is an Oak Rustic?

Lorna, Checkendon South Oxfordshire

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Leaf Mines

Inspired by a post by Colin Plant on the Herts & Middx. Moths yahoo group, I went looking at the extensive collection of Field Maple at the Chiltern Open Air Museum site, for mines of Stigmella aceris. Since the site is not in Herts (even though the county border forms one of the edges of the site) my results are not relevant to their records.

I managed to find at least three mines of the species in the fallen leaves (I've found it there before), and also, in the fallen leaves of Black Poplar, I found a couple of mines of Phyllocnistis unipunctella.

The other target species in Colin's post was Stigmella speciosa; a sycamore leaf from my home village of Seer Green contains two mines which I think are this species, although both are somewhat shorter than examples shown on leafmines.

Dave Morris

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Scarce Umber

The frosts of the previous two nights resulted in very slim pickings for the garden actinic trap here at Westcott, with Brick (4) on the 29th and Sprawler (1) on the 30th, but there was a slight improvement last night:  Emmelina monodactyla (5), Red-green Carpet (3), November Moth sp (3), Feathered Thorn (3), Scarce Umber (1), Turnip Moth (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (2), Sprawler (3), Dark Chestnut (1) & Brick (1).  The Scarce Umber was the earliest sighting I've had of that species in the garden although only by a couple of days.  Just December Moth to go now, then...

Scarce Umber, Westcott 31st October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks