Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Tortricodes alternella

One of these appeared in my bathroom on Jan 28th. A record photo is below - not the best marked individual.  Also a Dotted Border came to the porch light on Jan 29th.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Monday, 29 January 2018

Grey Shoulder Knot?

I put my trap out last night and caught 3 Pale Brindled Beauty (one in the dark form?) and 1 Dotted Border. I noticed when I was putting my trap away this morning that there were a further 6 Pale Brindled Beauty and what I think is a Grey Shoulder Knot on the house wall! I will always look around the surrounding area a bit more carefully next time!
Am I right in thinking it is a Grey Shoulder Knot?

Grey Shoulder Knot?

Pale Brindled Beauty f.monacharia ?
  Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxon



Thanks Dave,

Do any of these images help?


First away trap of the year

Taking advantage of the much warmer conditions, I took two MV traps to local oak woodland for the usual three hours last night where they were run in sheltered spots out of the ever-increasing wind.  This was actually my second choice of site, having failed to get past the padlocked barrier at the first one, so I was a little bit late getting set up!  The results were, if anything, just a little bit disappointing in that only nine species appeared.  With one exception there were almost no micros and there was no sign yet of early Orthosias such as Common Quaker and Hebrew Character or of Oak Beauty, all of which have put in appearances elsewhere already.  However, they'll all appear in good time and in any case more than 500 moths were seen so I've nothing to complain about:  Acleris ferrugana/notana (1), Tortricodes alternella (47), Small Brindled Beauty (6), Pale Brindled Beauty (233), Spring Usher (207), Dotted Border (10), Mottled Umber (8), Early Moth (4) & Chestnut (3).  More unusually, a couple of shieldbugs had been tempted out of hibernation and came to one of the lights, Hairy Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum and Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina, the latter in its brown winter form.

Tortricodes alternella, 28th January

Early Moth, 28th January

Small Brindled Beauty, 28th January

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks            

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Acleris sparsana?

I'd be grateful for help. Acleris sparsana?  What ever, 5th of 6 moths taken in January found OUTSIDE the trap.

Alan Diver
Tackley, Oxon

Micro help needed

Having finally caught a few moths (three Pale Brindled Beauty and this one) I would welcome some advice.

I have looked at some of the Acleris species that might be around at this time of year or maybe a female Epiphyas postvittana but none seem quite right. It is 8.5mm in length.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

First moths of the year

Last Thursday (26th January) I found a micro Acleris schalleriana (?) in the house and Angle Shades in my  garden in Wooburn Common.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Spring usher

This Spring usher came to light on the night of 25/26 January.

I have not had many moths in 2018 but, 3 of the 4 I have had have been outside the trap; 1 on the trap and 2 on the nearby house wall. It is well worth checking around the trap as well as within it.

Alan Diver
Tackley, Oxon

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Help with micro ID

Hi, this tiny chap was at my window this morning. I find identifying micros very daunting, but I wondered if it might be Rhomboid Tortrix? Am I totally wrong?

 Many thanks
Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon

Pale brindled beauty

Another Pale brindled beauty outside trap 23/24 January.

Alan Diver

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Dark Chestnut, or a dark Chestnut?

First moth of the year.

I'm leaning towards a dark example of a Chestnut rather than a Dark Chestnut on the basis of wing shape. I had to take the picture in the rain so it's not that great.

Can someone confirm?

I'm stiff having an odd issue with the blog that means I can't comment to thank any identifiers or ask questions in comments.

It's really odd. I got to this blog page and it then says "sign in". I click on that and it automatically signs me in, I don't have to put my e-mail or password. I get taken immediately to the page where I can make a post. When I check it I'm in on the right account.

However, once I do that and return to the main blog page it says "sign in" and I cannot comment.

I've tried logging in and out again. I've cleared my cache several times. This has been going on since before Christmas I think.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Pale brindled beauty

This moth came to light 22/23 January. On outside of trap.

Pale brindled beauty.

Alan Diver

Spring Usher

Last night's warmer weather brought Pale Brindled Beauty (5), Spring Usher (1) and Chestnut (1) to the actinic light here at Westcott.  It was particularly nice to see Spring Usher because this is not a guaranteed annual visitor and, when it does appear, more often than not it is just one visit by a singleton for the year.  There are few oaks in our immediate area.

Spring Usher, Westcott 22nd January

Last night also produced this year's first example of the nocturnal ichneumonid wasp Ophion obscuratus, with no doubt many more to come over the next couple of months (in the past I've had up to 30 a night to the actinic light, the peak being reached in February).  It is a very common parasite of noctuid moth larvae and at this time of the year is one of very few which can be identified safely thanks to the markings on its thorax.

Ophion obscuratus, Westcott 22nd January

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Friday, 19 January 2018


Despite frost and ice on pond, this moth came to light 18/19 January.


Alan Diver

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

First moth of 2018

I haven't yet put the trap out and the house lights haven't attracted any moths yet either, so my first moth of the year is from indoors.  Similar to last year, my first moth is Cydia pomonella - last year one appeared on 22nd Jan in the kitchen and today's moth was also in the kitchen.  Although there were plenty of apples in the kitchen in the Autumn, there haven't been any there for at least a couple of months, so once again, I'm intrigued as to where this has emerged from.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Help with ID

Happy New Year all!

I put my trap out for the first time this year, last night. I caught two moths, one I think is a Pale Brindled Beauty and the other a Spring Usher. Am I correct?
Also to my surprise, underneath the trap was a lovely caterpillar. Can anyone ID it?

Pale Brindled Beauty?
Spring Usher?

Many thanks


Friday, 12 January 2018


Came to light 11/12 January.

Couldn't persuade it to open wings. Northern winter moth?

Alan Diver

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Burnham Beeches, Bucks

Like Dave's trap at Westcott there has been little action at the Burnham Beeches Rothamsted trap over the last week. A total of 4 macros - Winter, Chestnut, Mottled Umber and last night (10th) an Oak Beauty.  The latter being the second earliest ever in the Bucks database which has only four January records for the species.  Three towards the end of the month and the earliest being 5 Jan 2007.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Westcott, Bucks

It has been particularly quiet here over the past week with no moths seen other than the occasional Pale Brindled Beauty, the garden's first example for this season having appeared back on 30th December.

Pale Brindled Beauties, Westcott 5th January

Peter Hall is currently working his way through my dissections for 2017 and has completed those for Westcott so I can now produce some accurate garden statistics for the year to bore you with.  2017 was definitely a good one so far as I'm concerned!

  • The garden twin-30wt actinic trap was run on 279 nights throughout the year as follows:  Jan (6 nights), Feb (20), Mar (31), Apr (27), May (31), Jun (29), Jul (29), Aug (13), Sep (30), Oct (31), Nov (19) and Dec (13). 
  • The actinic was joined by a 125wt MV for 32 nights between May and October (no trapping was done using the MV on its own).
  • 16 nights between mid-June and late-July produced a 100+ species count. Three of them were by the actinic on its own, the remainder using the two traps.
  • The top ten highest nightly species counts were 148 (21st June), 146 (6th July), 143 (18th June), 135 (19th July), 134 (9th July), 133 (17th July), 128 (10th July), 125 (5th July) and 121 (19th June & 1st July), all using two traps except for 19th June which was achieved by the actinic on its own.
  • 28,860 individual moths were caught in the garden.  This was better than 2016 but nowhere near as good as the totals achieved in 2014 (32,910) or 2015 (33,941).  The 2017 total might have passed the 30k mark if I hadn't been absent in Devon for a significant part of August.   
  • 662 moth species were identified in the garden (326 micros, 336 macros), significantly better than the previous highest annual count of 633 in 2015.
  • 25 of those 662 species currently have national status:  20 Nationally Scarce B-list (known from between 31 and 100 10km squares in the UK), four Nationally Scarce A-list (16-30 10km squares) and one Red Data Book (15 or fewer 10km squares). The RDB species was Pauper Pug which seems to be spreading and may no longer deserve that status. 
  • 30 moth species were new for the garden list (21 micros, 9 macros).  One of them (Cosmopterix scribaiella) was a county first while three more (Ptocheuusa paupella, Elachista utonella & Phaulernis dentella) appear to have been only the second records for Bucks.
  • After 13 years of recording at this site the garden Lepidoptera species list now stands at 967, comprising 31 butterflies and 936 moths (423 macros).  At current progress the magic 1,000 could be in reach within a year or three.
  • Which makes me wonder ... have any specific sites in our three counties already achieved that figure?  Pucketty Farm near Faringdon strikes me as a possibility.  Several of our 10km squares certainly have done so, for example those which include Bernwood Forest and Burnham Beeches.  Other than being a countryside rather than an urban location, the habitat here at Westcott is nothing particularly special and the garden species list is probably down to perseverance in holding on to otherwise unidentifiable micro-moth species for dissection and having someone keen (and kind) enough to do the job!
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Mottled umber

6th January 2018

This mottled umber came to light on the night of 3/4 January

Comparing it to the one that was taken on the 20/21 December (below) shows some of the range of variations exhibited by the males of this species.

Alan Diver

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Off the Blocks

A single Winter Moth braved the winds last night to get my garden list for Westcott started for 2018.  A quick look around today produced the expected active mines of Phyllonorycter leucographella (on pyracantha) and Stigmella aurella (on bramble).  The aurella larva in the image below doesn't look all that well and may be parasitized but it was still moving.

Mine of Stigmella aurella, Westcott 3rd January

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 1 January 2018

Last moth of the year.

Today was the first opportunity for me to photograph it: Two nights ago (30 Dec) This little Ypsolopha ustella (in one of its many forms) turned up on the bathroom window:

Mild but quite windy that night in Chorleywood, Bucks.
Ustella is a moth which hibernates through the winter and so it must have been the mild weather which brought it out, although I still can't see why it would bother.
I'm yet to see a 2018 moth.
Happy New Year to you all.