Friday, 30 March 2018

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Wednesday, 28 March 2018


I caught 14 moths last night. Hebrew Character 8, Clouded Drab 2, Small Quaker 1, Twin Spotted Quaker 1, Yellow Horned 1 and Engrailed 1. I just wanted to double check that it is an Engrailed.


Many thanks
Lorna Woolhouses, Checkendon, South Oxon

Yellow Horned

Two Yellow Horned arrived in my garden moth trap last night. I know Dave Wilton regularly records them on his forays into the woods, but this is the first time I have recorded one in my garden.

The other catches last night were Oak Beauty (1), Hebrew Character (10), Common Quaker (4), Clouded Drab (1), Pale Pinion (1) and Twin-spotted Quaker (1).
Here is the Twin-spotted Quaker -

Steve Trigg, Cookham


I think Acleris literana and one of the Ypsolopha. Presume got to be mucronella this time of year.

Hi Dave. Does this help? Grateful for your help as always.
Alan Diver

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Early Bee moth

I record a few Bee moths (mostly female) every year in my garden or house, usually between May and August, although once in September. Last year the earliest was 13 April, but this year the earliest was a few days ago (No.1 in the picture). Generally in guides and websites the adult is said to be flying from June to August, but closer examination of the data shows that May to August is more correct, with occasional sightings in April and September as I have found (but not usually in March?).

This is a relatively common and easy micromoth to identify; often beautifully coloured (pinkish-red then green in the outer one-third) and with distinct zig-zag crosslines when fresh. However, as seen below the female and male (No.2) are distinctly different. The photos are size-matched and taken on a standard grey card for colour correctness. In addition to usually-cited differences, one that it not given in any guide or website is that the female has long palps while the male either doesn't appear to have any or they are well concealed! This feature can be useful in identifying the female when the moth is too worn to show other features clearly.

John Thacker
Harwell, Oxon

The Smartest Orthosia

Last night Finemere Wood was visited again with two MV traps for the usual three hours, conveniently completed before the rain arrived.  Following Marc's post about Bagley Wood I'd hoped to see White-marked, which I recorded at Finemere in 2015 and 2017, but on this occasion it wasn't to be.  Although seemingly absent from Bernwood Forest, the moth appears to be resident in several of the other oak woodlands closer to home.  However, apart from one particularly good site, I've never had more than singletons and then never consistently from year to year.  Surprisingly it even appeared in the garden here in 2006 and 2012 so theoretically I'm due another one imminently... 

Finemere did produce three examples of Blossom Underwing last night, so that's another Orthosia now on the wing and probably the smartest-looking one at that.

Blossom Underwing, Finemere Wood 26th March

Blossom Underwing, Finemere Wood 26th March

Small Quaker was still about in fair numbers (447 counted) although now probably past its peak, while the other Orthosias comprised Lead-coloured Drab (9), Common Quaker (140), Clouded Drab (50), Twin-spotted Quaker (15) & Hebrew Character (14).  The overall species count was a disappointing 18, the remainder of the catch comprising Tortricodes alternella (5), Yellow Horned (23), March Moth (8), Shoulder Stripe (2), Brindled Pug (1), Small Brindled Beauty (3), Oak Beauty (23), Engrailed (4), Red Chestnut (7), Satellite (4) & Chestnut (9).

Brindled Pug, Finemere Wood 26th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks    


I'd be grateful for help with ID.

Pretty whatever it is.

Alan Diver

Monday, 26 March 2018

Pale Pinion?

I put my trap out last night and was pleased to catch 35 moths. Oak Beauty 8, Hebrew Character 7, Small Quaker 6, Common Quaker 5, Clouded Drab 2, March Moth 2, Chestnut 2, Twin Spotted Quaker 1, Dotted Border 1 and what I hope is Pale Pinion 1. Could someone please confirm that it is a Pale Pinion.

Pale Pinion?

Pale Pinion?
Many thanks

Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxon


Put out traps for regular monthly survey at Bagley last night. Went clear and turned chilly overnight so not great numbers, but among a modest catch was this nice White-marked. This isn't a moth I see every year, and its the first time I've managed to catch it at this site despite surveying for the best part of ten years so worth the effort. Marc Botham, Didcot

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Acleris ferrugana?

Caught last week. Not really sure, any help welcomed.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Micro Miscellany

Macro-wise there has been nothing of interest recently amongst the moths brought to the actinic trap here at Westcott (there have been plenty of them but they've been almost exclusively Orthosia species).  However, three micros have, I hope, been added to this year's garden list over the past few days.  On the 21st I got my first Acleris kochiella of the year, on the 23rd I had a potential Agonopterix ciliella to light (awaiting dissection but note the hint of pink on its undersides), while today saw the first of undoubtedly many examples of Mompha jurassicella awake from hibernation in our garden shed.

Acleris kochiella, Westcott 21st March

Possible Agonopterix ciliella, Westcott 23rd March

Possible Agonopterix ciliella, Westcott 23rd March

Mompha jurassicella, Westcott 24th March
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Friday, 23 March 2018

Not a Moth

This little chappie was in my battery operated Skinner Trap at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve in North Bucks on 21st March along with a few moths, Hebrew Character, Clouded Drab and Shoulder Stripe.  It has had me vexed but I think it is an Alderfly and I reckon it to be Sialis lutaria.  Can anyone put me out of my misery/joy?   Is it unusual?   Apparently they are mostly aquatic coming out of the water to pupate and then emerge as the flying adult.  My trap needs a cable to be fed out from the base to the battery that I usually fill with a wine cork and I forgot the cork so entry could have been from there. There is an interesting story to be told of all that comes to a moth trap that is not Lepidoptera. 


I trapped in Bernwood Forest for the usual three hours last night to check on how the Orthosias had coped with the recent dire weather.  Not too badly, it would seem!  Amongst more than 1,800 moths which came to the two MV lights were Small Quaker (1,048 - of which 894 were in one trap), Lead-coloured Drab (1), Common Quaker (376), Clouded Drab (75), Twin-spotted Quaker (35) & Hebrew Character (6). 

Quaker-fest at Bernwood, 22nd March

Other species caught were Tortricodes alternella (63), Yellow Horned (79), March Moth (32), Shoulder Stripe (1), Early Tooth-striped (3), Small Brindled Beauty (62), Pale Brindled Beauty (1), Oak Beauty (38), Dotted Border (16), Engrailed (1), Red Chestnut (8), Grey Shoulder-knot (1), Early Grey (1), Satellite (20) & Chestnut (22).

Early Tooth-striped, Bernwood 22nd March

Early Grey, Bernwood 22nd March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Clouded Drab ID

I put my trap out last night with the slightly warmer weather arriving. I was very pleased to catch 25 moths. The largest number so far this year. I had March Moth 5, Small Quaker 5, Hebrew Character 5, Common Quaker 2, Satellite 2, Chestnut 1, Twin Spotted Quaker 1 and I think Clouded Drab 4. I would appreciate if someone could confirm that they are Clouded Drabs....I do find them a bit confusing!
Drab 1

Drab 2

Drab 3

Drab 4
Drab 1 Antennae

Twin Spotted Quaker

Sorry they are not great photos. I hope they are good enough to tell.

Many thanks

Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxon


In case it helps, I've added close-up images of male Clouded Drab and Lead-coloured Drab antennae below.  To the naked eye those of Clouded Drab don't look "feathered" but those of Lead-coloured Drab certainly do:


Clouded Drab

Lead-coloured Drab

Common plume


Many thanks for your feedback.

Hopefully better picture of Ypsolopha mucronella taken on 14/15 March. Sorry still  on bark.

Common plume taken on same night. Photo on plain paper background, still glared. Perhaps try light brown cardboard or piece of white muslin?

Alan Diver,

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Westcott, Bucks

Nine species had turned up to the conservatory windows here by midnight last night (when I turned off the twin-30wt actinic light), including Agonopterix ocellana, Emmelina monodactyla and Twin-spotted Quaker which were new for this year's garden list.  Agonopterix ocellana is another of the more colourful species from that family which over-winters as an adult.  Two Twin-spotted Quakers turned up and included one of the less well-marked forms.

Agonopterix ocellana, Westcott 16th March

Twin-spotted Quakers, Westcott 16th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Friday, 16 March 2018

Acleris cristana?

Got my first Hebrew Character of the season and also this - which I think is Acleris cristana in a fairly distinct form - can someone confirm? If so it will be my first new moth of the year.

It has a large raised tuft on each wing in the middle. I've potted it up so if further pictures are required or dissection it's ready for that. 

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Water carpet etc

These moths came to light 14/15 March with others.

I think I have idea of ID but more than happy to be corrected.

Water carpet

Ypsolopha mucronella

Northern drab

Sparkly caterpillar

Alan Diver Tackley

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Small Eggar

Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris is a scarce species in the UK and is thought still to be in decline.  In our area the moth seems to be confined to the west of Oxfordshire and the very north of Bucks but even there it is rarely recorded, perhaps in part because of its very early flight period.  Some of you may recall that I was lucky enough to stumble upon a larval nest on a mixed hawthorn and blackthorn hedge near Olney in Bucks at the beginning of June last year.  I liberated a dozen caterpillars to rear through at home and the first of them emerged today, this lovely female.  Looks like I shall have to take a trip up north again to try and find her a mate!

Small Eggar, 15th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Finemere Wood

I had a reasonable result from two MV lights at Finemere last night, where it was quite warm and nicely sheltered from the wind.  941 moths of 20 species were seen in the allotted three hours.  If I'd hung around for another half hour I would easily have passed the 1,000 mark because Small Quakers were still coming in thick and fast as I packed up.  The full list is as follows, yet again a poor showing from the micros with just one exception (I had thought Diurnea fagella at least would have appeared there by now):  Tortricodes alternella (59), Yellow Horned (81), March Moth (33), Shoulder Stripe (6), Small Brindled Beauty (19), Pale Brindled Beauty (1), Oak Beauty (32), Spring Usher (1), Dotted Border (3), Engrailed (1), Red Chestnut (1), Small Quaker (482), Lead-coloured Drab (2), Clouded Drab (13), Common Quaker (153), Twin-spotted Quaker (10), Hebrew Character (2), Satellite (3), Chestnut (39) & Dotted Chestnut (1).  Neither of the Lead-coloured Drabs was at all well marked but it is the antennae in the picture below which clinches the ID.  Small Quaker is probably close to reaching its peak at Finemere but Common Quaker should still have a way to go yet.

Lead-coloured Drab, Finemere Wood 14th March

Dotted Chestnut, Finemere Wood 14th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Beautiful plume

Hi Dave,

Many thanks for your comment.

I thought the colouring on my moth might have been too warm for amblyptilia punctidactyla?

Does this cropped image help?


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Small Quaker?

I put my trap out last night and caught 11 moths. Oak Beauty 6 (only 5 wanted to be photographed!), Dotted Border 1, Hebrew Character 1 and Small Quaker 3. I just wanted to double check that they are Small Quaker.
Small Quaker?

Oak Beauties

Hebrew Character
 Many thanks

Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxon