Monday, 31 December 2018

These really are the last

I was a bit previous in my last post, describing a Mottled Umber as my last moth of the year. The final one is actually a Spring Usher, like Dave's, along with two more Mottled Umbers, each different and both outside the trap, as happened with Jacqui a few nights ago. And a fat, zonked-out wasp. Does Spring Usher win the prize for most optimistic moth name?  All the best to all - and the moths - for the New Year.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Spring Usher

A Spring Usher during the second half of December is not really anything that unusual but last night's garden record was the first for Westcott.  Unfortunately I seem to get just one or two individuals here per season so I hope this doesn't end up being the only one of the winter!

Spring Usher, Westcott 29th December

Other moths brought to the actinic light last night were Emmelina monodactyla (2), Winter Moth (2) & Mottled Umber (3).  At the moment I'm still getting something every night and that looks set to continue until the end of the month, but as we enter January it seems that we can expect a cold snap for a while so the 2019 garden year-list may take a while to get going.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Dark Chestnut?

I put my garden trap out last night for probably the last time this year. It attracted 4 moths - 2 Mottled Umber (both outside the trap), 1 Winter Moth and what I think is 1 Dark Chestnut -

I wish everybody a Happy New Year,
Steve Trigg, Cookham

Thursday, 27 December 2018

First night of my new moth trap

I was really pleased to get a moth trap for Christmas. I put it outside for the first time last night. When I went out this morning I found this Mottled Umber on the outside of the trap. Looking forward to lots more firsts next year!


Wednesday, 26 December 2018

December moth

Dealing in singles; just one male December moth last night.

Alan Diver

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Mottled Umber

Look what Father Xmas brought me.

Merry Xmas

Alan Diver

Monday, 24 December 2018

Merry Christmas!

And thanks for all the very much-appreciated help over the year.  Encouraged by three moths in the headlights last night, I trapped for the first time in a month - using an old sheet cos I have no eggboxes at the moment. The result was this solitary Mottled Umber, my last moth of the year. Here too, is my last butterfly, a lovely Small Tortoiseshell woken from hibernation by a sunny day (and our central heating).  Merry Christmas all, and all warmest wishes for the New Year!  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Sunday, 23 December 2018

And still they come

Two more migrant moths pitched up in the garden at Westcott over the last couple of nights, showing that it is never too late to get something of interest (well, maybe not all that interesting really, but in December and this far inland we beggars can't be choosers!).  On the 21st a Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella and last night a large fresh Silver Y, both the latest examples ever seen here.

Silver Y, Westcott 22nd December

This December has been the best I can recall for moths in the garden.  The actinic has now brought in 20 species for the month and on only four nights produced a nil return (12th to 15th, when it was really too cold by dusk).  Mottled Umber has done phenomenally well and this season's garden count has already reached 70, whereas the previous high was 27 in 2017 and prior to that the average was in single digits.  December Moth had another little burst of activity on the 21st when three males turned up, the first I've seen here for three weeks.  Their count mirrors that of Mottled Umber in that I've now had 54 this season yet the previous highest was 22 (again, in 2017).  Satellite, Chestnut and Dark Chestnut have appeared several times in December and by way of a change it was nice to see a Grey Shoulder-knot similarly tempted out of hibernation on the 20th.

Grey Shoulder-knot, Westcott 20th December

No sign of that oversized female starting to sing here just yet but I suppose she won't be long now...

Happy Christmas one and all!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Friday, 21 December 2018

December moth

One December moth last night. It was very lively this morning and couldn't wait to escape the petri dish. Probably my lot for 2018. Thanks to DW and others for advice over the year.

Alan Diver

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Expect the unexpected

What an interesting year this has been!  Last night was reasonably mild so I decided to trap for a few hours in Finemere Wood, Bucks in the hope of seeing perhaps an early Pale Brindled Beauty or Spring Usher amongst all the Winter Moths and Mottled Umbers.  However, it was not to be and in the end I got only six species.  The two expected ones turned up in very good numbers and were joined by Satellite, Chestnut and Dark Chestnut.  However, the sixth species was a singleton of something not expected at all, a Lead-coloured Drab:

Lead-coloured Drab, Finemere Wood 17th December

Lead-coloured Drab, Finemere Wood 17th December

It showed some slight damage to its right forewing so may have been around for a day or two.  Some of the Orthosia species (Common Quaker in particular) do occasionally appear early like this but Lead-coloured Drab is fairly consistent in not beginning to fly around here until mid-February at the earliest.

Most of the oaks I looked at were covered in Winter Moths (males, facing upwards and some still expanding their wings) waiting for females to scamper up the trunk.  I saw only a couple of mated pairs (males facing downwards) and another three newly-emerged females working their way up the trees.  I brought two of the females home to photograph because although similar in size (and really too small to be anything else) they looked quite different, but they do both seem to be Winter Moths.  The females must be quite variable in colour.

Winter Moth female, Finemere Wood 17th December

Winter Moth female, Finemere Wood 17th December

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Brick is still out there

For those who have yet to see Brick this season, it might still be possible to get one because this very late specimen came to light in the garden here last night along with Winter Moth (4), Mottled Umber (7) & Satellite (1).  It is the 204th example seen in the garden this year and my latest ever record by four days.

Brick, Westcott 10th December

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 10 December 2018

Chestnut Query

Trapped last night and very confused with this one. The wing shape and size looks like Beaded Chestnut to me, but the oval and kidney marks do not seem to match up. The hindwing looks like darkish grey with a whiter outer rim. Can anyone help please?

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Westcott, Bucks

I've had moths to the actinic light every night in December so far, fourteen different species in all, but there's been nothing at all to shout about.  The wind direction on the 5th and 6th offered the chance of migrants but all that appeared here were Plutella xylostella and Dark Sword-grass.  The last three nights have each produced battered examples of Satellite tempted out of hibernation and two of them are illustrated below.

Satellites, Westcott 7th December

The other species comprised Agonopterix heracliana, Blastobasis lacticolella, Epiphyas postvittana, Emmelina monodactyla, December Moth, Red-green Carpet, Winter Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty (the single example on the 1st, already mentioned on the blog), Mottled Umber, Blair's Shoulder-knot (two December records now, most unusual here) & Brick.  My garden records for Scarce Umber have always been in November so it looks as though it may be running true to form because there have been none so far this month.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 3 December 2018

Double-striped pug?

Haven't put trap out for a few days but found this Double-striped
Pug on inside of bathroom window 1st December.
Don't see how it could have got in from outside,
might it have emerged inside?

Alan Diver

Sunday, 2 December 2018

A worn specimen

I don't know if there is enough left to identify this from last night's catch. A little larger than the Yellow-line Quakers I have been catching. I wondered about Brick? It would be my first of the year!

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Mild for December

The temperature stayed in double figures here last night and the moths responded quite well, with Plutella xylostella (1), Epiphyas postvittana (2), Emmelina monodactyla (1), December Moth (6), Red-green Carpet (1), Winter Moth (1), Pale Brindled Beauty (1), Mottled Umber (9) & Blair's Shoulder-knot (1) coming to the twin-30wt actinic.  It must be a while since I've had more than 20 moths to light in the garden during December.

Pale Brindled Beauty, Westcott 1st December

Blair's Shoulder-knot, Westcott 1st December

The Pale Brindled Beauty is really an early appearance by one of next year's species.  There have been two previous garden records for December but they were both in the week after Christmas so this one is now the earliest.  December records are not unusual though and in recent years I've had several away from the garden in mid-month, but it would be difficult to beat the earliest which was seen on 14th November 2008 while trapping for Plumed Prominent with Messers Albertini, Hall & Townsend.  The Blair's Shoulder-knot is the garden's first December record and my latest ever sighting by a couple of weeks.  It has actually had quite a poor year here (only 10 other individuals, the last on 22nd October) so this appearance was very unexpected.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks