Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Vine's Rustic

11 moths here last night (in spite of the temperature falling to zero C), one of which was a Vine's Rustic, the latest I've seen this species here.

Richard Ellis

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Micro found in kitchen

I found this small moth flying around the kitchen last evening. The fw length is 6mm.

I feel I should know what it is, but have drawn a blank looking through the field guides. Can anybody help?

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Two Unsuitable Nights

The last two nights seemed particularly unsuitable for moths but there were still a few hardy individuals out there.  On Friday I turned off the actinic light at 11pm as by then we already had our first proper frost of the season here, but Brick (2), Red-line Quaker (1) & Sprawler (1) were found in the trap.  Last night was dismal and damp after a cold wet day.  However, by dawn this morning Common Marbled Carpet (1), Black Rustic (1), Satellite (1), Brick (1) & Beaded Chestnut (1) had ventured out to be caught by the trap.

Satellite, Westcott 27th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Friday, 26 October 2018

Winter is coming!

First December Moth Poecilocampa populi of the year in an otherwise small catch that included
Acleris sparsana
Red-green Carpet
November (det.gen.)
Merveille du Jour
Yellow-line Quaker
And a very nice ichneumon  which was new for the garden Absyrtus vicinator

Neil Fletcher
Walter's Ash

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Twin-spot plume?

Only one moth last night. I think Twin-spot plume a possibility.

Grateful for help.

Alan Diver

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Wrong Pinion

With the temperature remaining just into double figures last night the garden actinic produced a reasonable catch of 73 moths from 17 species although, as is only to be expected, there does seem to be a general downwards trend towards winter now that Beaded Chestnut and Lunar Underwing are almost at an end.  Last night's most numerous moth was Brick with a record 19 individuals.  Brick numbers fluctuate wildly from year to year here but this season it has now surpassed the highest total ever achieved in the garden (156 in 2015).  No other moth got into double digits last night but the Novembers, Feathered Thorn and Green-brindled Crescent did get close.  Dark Chestnut has been doing well here over the past few weeks and five turned up last night, while it was also good to see another Dusky-lemon Sallow (13th of the season).  A rather dark Pale Pinion in the catch was the third this autumn but the chances of seeing its cousin Tawny Pinion here this year seem to be fading fast now.  Neither species is guaranteed to turn up in the garden.

Pale Pinion, Westcott 23rd October

Finemere Wood received another visit last night with a couple of MV traps.  HS2 workers have now set up shop along the track leading to the entrance and their massive floodlights will probably draw a lot of moths out of the wood!  18 species appeared at my lights, with Figure of Eight (33) the most numerous and a single Epinotia maculana the only thing of interest.  Everything else was very much as expected, with no sign of the hoped-for Clifden Nonpareil.  As in the garden, species such as December Moth, Scarce Umber and Mottled Umber have yet to get going here.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 22 October 2018

White Ermine second generation

I was expecting my granddaughter's White Ermine chrysalises, bred in her kitchen in London from eggs laid here by an arrival on the last day of May, to over-winter. But yesterday, one hatched, prompting anxious 'phone calls from my daughter-in-law about what the new arrival might want in the way of food. Explanations about the inadvisability of keeping adult moths as pets are under way, but the moth is being kept until Grandpa trundles down tomorrow; let's hope it stays calm.

Waring, Townend and Lewington note in last year's edition that the smaller, partial second generation in September and October has recently increased in numbers. So here is another morsel of evidence. My own - second picture - slumber on. I hope they stay that way, as I plan to give them next week to a friend in Salisbury who wants to take up light-trapping and specifically mentioned the White Ermine as a draw.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Westcott, Bucks

Considering that the temperature was hovering around 4C under clear skies when I secured the trap at 6am this morning, last night's catch by the garden actinic was quite impressive with 93 moths of 28 species even though there was little of particular note:  Agonopterix alstromeriana (1), Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Clepsis consimilana (1), Epiphyas postvittana (1), Eudonia angustea (2), Pleuroptya ruralis (1), Emmelina monodactyla (1), Red-green Carpet (7), Common Marbled Carpet (2), November Moth sp (15), Feathered Thorn (3), Figure of Eight (1), Dark Sword-grass (2), Large Yellow Underwing (2), Square-spot Rustic (1), Black Rustic (8), Green-brindled Crescent (9), Merveille du Jour (5), Satellite (1), Dark Chestnut (1), Brick (7), Red-line Quaker (1), Yellow-line Quaker (3), Beaded Chestnut (10), Lunar Underwing (2), Barred Sallow (1), Sallow (3) & Angle Shades (1).  I imagine most must have arrived during the early part of the night when there was some cloud cover.

Pleuroptya ruralis, Westcott 21st October

This is the second October example of Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis I've trapped in 2018 (the other being in the garden on the 15th) and is the latest I've ever seen it.  In fact a check of my own records showed only two other October sightings (on the 9th in 2006 and 15th in 2014).  Black Rustic is still going strong and the season's garden count is currently only three short of 400, significantly better even than last year's record total of 305.  As for Merveille du Jour, 2017's count of 12 was the first time it had ever reached double figures here and this year I've had 40 so far - quite an achievement when there's only one quite juvenile oak tree anywhere near the garden!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks      

Another CNP in Oxford

A colleague at work showed me a photograph of a cracking Clifden Nonpareil sat on the wall of her house in East Oxford (Temple Cowley area) during the day last Friday. Thank you Sarah!

Marc Botham, Didcot

Clifden Nonpareil, Oxford, 19-10-18

Confirmations please

I think I have Clepsis consimila and Winter / Northern Winter Moth that will need it's bits looked at to confirm?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Tachystola acroxantha?

Is this Tachystola acroxantha?. Most of the images show a much browner moth with a slightly different shape.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Saturday, 20 October 2018

More Mines

It didn't take long to go through last night's garden trap (17 moths of eight species and nothing of particular interest) so I decided to have another look around the garden for leaf-mines in this morning's sunshine.  I concentrated on our willow Salix babylonica and apple Malus domestica which still have the majority of their leaves and found evidence of three species new to this year's garden list.  On the former were two active mines of Stigmella obliquella, while the latter produced a vacated mine of Stigmella oxyacanthella and an active mine of Stigmella incognitella which is a first for the site.  It takes the number of Nepticulid species (Stigmella and Ectoedemia) found in the garden to 26 of which only five have been confirmed via dissection at the adult stage, the remainder having been identified solely by finding their distinctive larval mines.

Mine of Stigmella obliquella on willow, Westcott 20th October

Mine of Stigmella incognitella on apple, Westcott 20th October
(ignore the mine of Lyonetia clerkella running top to bottom on
the left hand side of the image)

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Friday, 19 October 2018

Second generations

Dave has noted earlier that some moths are having a second (late) generation, when the guides say that they only have one - presumably because of the relatively unusual weather conditions earlier in the year.  A couple of nights ago I trapped a Beautiful Hook-tip (within the usual size range) and a very lively Heart & Club (the 'club' not very evident), both of which I have only seen previously in June and July.

John Thacker

red-green carpet

Rather nice red-green carpet

Can this pug? be identified, please?

Alan Diver


Down to 4.5C here last night, the coldest so far this autumn, so only 18 moths one of which was a Vestal, the first I have seen here this year:

Richard Ellis

Thursday, 18 October 2018


Despite running the mercury light last night in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, my catch was pretty unmemorable - apart from the beast sat on top of the uppermost eggbox. I knew what it was the moment I glimpsed it, and although it was a pretty battered specimen, its colours rather faded, it remained a thrill to have my first ever Clifden Nonpareil. They aren't, obviously, such a rarity as they were just a few years ago, but its star value was evident, not least because of its sheer size.

Clifden Nonpareil, 17/10/18

Clifden Nonpareil, 17/10/18

Clifden Nonpareil, 17/10/18
In what might be slightly less welcome news for owners of topiaries in Wolvercote, a late-season flurry of NFGs included the Cydalima perspectalis pictured below on 10th October. Again, that would have had a lot more rarity value a few years ago.

Cydalima perspectalis, 10/10/18
Steve Goddard

Tiny Hook-tip

There was a much reduced catch in the garden last night (55 moths of 18 species) but of interest was this pint-sized and rather battered Beautiful Hook-tip.  Just how small it was won't be entirely apparent from the photo below but the forewing length was only 11mm. 

Beautiful Hook-tip, Westcott 17th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

December already!

My first December Moth turned up this morning, along with what I think is a Dark Chestnut?
Haven't trapped these before, but have been experimenting with Heath traps in different parts of the garden.
December Moth

Dark Chestnut?

Help needed

I feel I ought to know this one but can't find it in the book!

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Cypress Carpet

No exciting migrants from my trap last weekend (13th), but Cypress Carpet was new for my garden.  Cydalima perspectalis is also rising in numbers quite considerably with seven in the trap.  A very respectable 40 species seen and it was amazing to be on the patio at midnight in a T-shirt.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Another first for Berkshire?

Last week Marc Botham added Feathered Ranunculus to the Berkshire county list, which was the 640th macro-moth species to be found in the county. It looks like Paul Black has now added the 641st!

Paul and I believe that this is Southern Chestnut, which Paul found at Snelsmore Common (I think this was from last night). It was flying at around 7.30pm, which is exactly when the books say that Southern Chestnut is normally active.

Until now Southern Chestnut was a species known from the heathlands of Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset. I've not heard of any records from other counties, nor from so far inland before, and as far as I know Paul's record from Snelsmore must be about 50km north of the nearest Hampshire populations.

Paul has passd on the specimen and I want to check the moth against a museum collection before finally confirming it, but Paul and I think this does look like a good candidate for Southern Chestnut - please let us know if you disagree! (The moth is a bit worn, and my photos aren't brilliant, so that makes things a bit harder.)

I guess the likelihood is that this moth has been assisted in its trip to Berkshire by the recent high winds, but Paul found it among heather heath at Snelsmore, raising the intriguing possibility that it could perhaps be resident there.

Few migrants but still some interest in Longwick

I've said before I don't really get large numbers of migrants here unless they really are in large concentrations and the weekend produced none of the excitement seen by others - a Silver Y and a Diamond Back being the total migrant haul. However there was still some interest amongst the routine autumn fayre including my first Endotricha Flammealis for some time and the rather attractive choreutis pariana which was on the trap side last night. Apologies for the poor photo as there wasn't a great deal of light! (Now replaced with slightly brighter image) The bright red line close to the termen was what drew my attention in the torchlight. Also I trapped a Clepsis Dumicolana for the second time this year - so maybe they can disperse a little!

Sprawler and Streak

An unexpectedly good garden catch of 36 species last night included my first Sprawler of the year.  The only migrants amongst them were another Vestal and Dark Sword-grass, although a pair of White-points may perhaps have been migratory rather than locally-bred because over the past few days there seem to have been quite a few seen around the UK in places where the moth is not as yet resident.  I also had a single Silver Y.  Amongst the remainder were no less than five Merveille du Jours (the moth seems to be having an excellent season!) and a pair of Large Wainscots.  However, it was my nightly torchlight check for moths on our ivy blossom which produced the most interesting garden visitor, a Western Conifer Seed Bug Leptoglossus occidentalis.  A native of the USA which arrived here about ten years ago from continental Europe, it is twice the size of our largest native squash-bugs.  Apologies for including a picture of this impressive non-moth!

Sprawler, Westcott 16th October

Vestal, Westcott 16th October

Leptoglossus occidentalis, Westcott 16th October

Last night I also completed what will probably be my final monthly trapping session of the year at Rowley Wood to the north of Slough.  Three MV lights were run for the usual three hours and a very acceptable 35 species turned up, including late-brood examples of Least Carpet and Treble Brown Spot.  The eastern part of the wood is a mixed plantation including quite a lot of gorse and broom so my target for this visit was Streak which is not a particularly common moth in Bucks, most of the post-millennium records for the county being provided by the RIS trap at Burnham Beeches.  It was good to find that the moth is indeed a resident of Rowley Wood with seven examples coming to light, spread over all three traps.

Streak, Rowley Wood 16th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Eudonia angustea?

I'm thinking this is Eudonia angustea, can anyone confirm?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

2nd for VC24?

Having read yesterday's blog, I had no difficulty identifying this little chappie today as Spoladea recurvalis when I opened the Robinson trap in my garden in Newport Pagnell.  Thanks are due to you Mr.Wilton.

Below is a late for me Yellow-tail that rather surprised me when I opened one of the 40w Skinner traps I run regularly at Linford Lakes Nature reserve.  8th October is the latest I have ever seen one.

 The coupled Willow Beauties below were on the wall of the shed in the garden in Newport Pagnell by the Robinson trap and are only the third time in 30+years of moth trapping that I have found moths coupled in or around the moth trap.  This has always puzzled me as the flying stage is all about reproduction.  I have read that most of the moths that come to light are male so that may be the reason or may be they just hear me coming.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Phyllonorycter froelichiella

Hundreds of mines of Phyllonorycter froelichiella on common alder at Dry Sandford Pit last Saturday.  I find this to be usually a scarce species, and I may have seen more on Saturday than in the whole of the previous decade.

Further Migrants

I was away over the weekend but left the actinic trap running in the garden because the weather looked as though it might be good for migrants.  The combined catch for Saturday and Sunday nights (30 species) included a Vestal and a Dark Sword-grass, while last night's collection (27 species) included a Silver Y and the splendid crambid illustrated below which is a first for VC24:

Spoladea recurvalis, Westcott 15th October

Spoladea recurvalis, Westcott 15th October

Found mainly in tropical areas where it can be a pest on some agricultural crops, Spoladea recurvalis is an uncommon migrant to the UK and to get it this far inland is quite an event.  There were also first county records of the moth for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire last night as well as more typical coastal county sightings in Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent and Hampshire at least, so there must be more out there waiting to be caught!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 15 October 2018

Migrants in the rain

Got thoroughly soaked going through traps on Sunday morning, but worth it as the storm brought rewards: 2  Palpita vitrealis in the garden trap, and 3 Vestal at local wood (VC22) along with another Clifden Nonpareil and plenty of Merveille du Jour.

Marc Botham, Didcot

Palpita vitrealis Didcot 13/10/18

Vestal 13/10/18