Thursday, 28 February 2019

Westcott, Bucks

Agonopterix ocellana was amongst several moths disturbed from vegetation in the garden yesterday when I mowed the lawn (...first time I can recall doing that in February here!), while 35 moths of 14 species came to light overnight which seemed like quite a reasonable result:  Agonopterix heracliana (3), Emmelina monodactyla (1), March Moth (1), Shoulder Stripe (1), Spring Usher (1), Dotted Border (2), Early Moth (2), Pine Beauty (1), Small Quaker (2), Common Quaker (13), Clouded Drab (5), Hebrew Character (1), Satellite (1) & Chestnut (1).  Of these, Pine Beauty and Small Quaker were first sightings for the year.  As with Neil a few days ago, the very welcome Pine Beauty is by no means a regular here.  Daytime temperatures may be down to more realistic figures now but some cloud cover means nights generally staying above freezing so, now that they're off the mark, I suspect Orthosia numbers in particular will continue to build.

Pine Beauty, Westcott 27th February

Small Quaker, Westcott 27th February

Ignoring the micros, prior to this year the average number of macro-moth species recorded in the garden by the end of February was exactly ten and the highest number ever achieved here was 14 in 2017.  So far in 2019 I'm on 20 with one night still to go.  It has been an unbelievable year already... 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Migrant reaches Bucks

Nothing to shout about really, but it is good to know that at least one moth from the recent wave of migrants got to our area!  Ched George had this Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella to his garden trap in Radnage, Bucks on 25th February:

Milton Keynes Hummer

On 25 February Mark Baker spotted a Humming-bird Hawk-moth at daffodil flowers in his Milton Keynes garden.
This is the earliest ever date for Bucks, the previous one having been 13 March 2016.
There have been other sightings this year in other parts of the country.
Thanks to Mark for letting me share this record.

Monday, 25 February 2019

What do I know from Newport Pagnell?

After spending 10 minutes scraping ice off the car before 0700hrs this morning, I was thinking why did I set traps at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve last night?  When I arrived all was white, it being colder there than where I scraped the car.  153 moths later I knew why.  OK, 136 were Common Quakers, 9 were Clouded Drab, 2 Oak Beauty,2 Hebrew Character and singletons of Dotted Border,  Twin-spotted Quaker, March Moth and Yellow Horned (See below)  The latter was last seen by me on 18 April, 1996.

That is why,  joy abounds and it is only February.

Grey Shoulder-knot

With our current southerly airstream, lots of interesting migrants have been turning up on the coast over the past week or two.  Even though few of them have been venturing this far inland I thought I'd try the MV as well as the actinic in the garden last night to see if it made any difference to the catch - the answer was very little!  Most moths still came to the actinic and the only new one to the MV was a Grey Shoulder-knot tempted out of hibernation.

Grey Shoulder-knot, Westcott 24th February

Another Shoulder Stripe came to the actinic and this example was in much better condition than the one seen on the 21st.  Looking rather different to the illustrations in the Field Guide, it showed the stunning purplish colouring seen regularly on fresh specimens here.  

Shoulder Stripe, Westcott 24th February

Another 2mm Nepticulid was potted up yesterday afternoon from the outside of a downstairs window which is about six or seven metres away from our Norway Maple Acer platanoides.  It looked identical to the last one found on 16th February so I won't upload another poor-quality image here, but Stigmella aceris seems to be a likely candidate.  Just what these moths are doing flying around in February is anyone's guess.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Box bug?

Following Advice from DW, think Box bug.

Alan Diver

Early arrival is a first for me

There was much talk of moths at yesterday's Buckinghamshire Invertebrate Group meeting, and it inspired me to get the moth trap out last night. I didn't get any of the rare migrants that have apparently been reported from the south coast recently, but I did get a new species for the Great Kimble garden: Early Moth, not previously recorded during the 14 years I've been here.

In fact, 2019 is the first time I've recorded Early Moth anywhere since 1999! I saw one in Shropshire last weekend and now this one posing on my garden shed. I guess it is one of those moths whose beauty is on the subtle side, but I was very pleased to see it.


Still very quiet for moths in Tackley, Hebrew character, few common quakers and spring ushers and, what I think might be, a dock bug Coreus marginatus?

Alan Diver,

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Pine Beauty

I know it is not a rare moth, but I was pleased to find this Pine Beauty Panolis flammea in the trap this evening.

This is only the 4th record I've had in 20 years here.

Neil Fletcher
Walter's Ash, VC24

Friday, 22 February 2019

Brindled Beauty?

Image as requested.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Further Garden Moths

Here at Westcott I've continued to add further moths to the 2019 garden list with the arrival of Hebrew Character (19th), Clouded Drab (20th) and Acleris hastiana & Shoulder Stripe (both 21st).  Shoulder Stripe varies a lot and can be a particularly stunning moth, but my example wasn't one of the prettiest forms!  It is usually on the wing in March and April and this individual does beat my earliest garden record by three days (24th February 2012), but I've had one as early as 4th February in local woodland.

Acleris hastiana, Westcott 21st February

Shoulder Stripe, Westcott 21st February

Clouded Drab, Westcott 20th February

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Burial Park Moths

After getting the light fixed for the trap at Chiltern Woodland Burial Park, the moths have started flooding in (well, within reason anyway).
This morning, 5 x Tortricodes alternella, 5 x March Moth, 2 x Dotted Border, 2 x Small Brindled Beauty and 1 x Chestnut.

Also at Chiltern Open Air Museum on Monday, I found an indoor Double-striped Pug.

Dave Morris
Seer Green

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Esperia sulphurella

Surprised to find an Esperia sulphurella in my garden trap this morning.  I've not seen one in February before.  The photo is not so good but I think you can make out the white rings half way along the antennae.

Others in the trap were Common Quaker and Acleris cristina (both firsts for the year) and a Chestnut.

Richard Ellis

Monday, 18 February 2019

Woodland moths

I took an MV trap to Shabbington Wood in Bernwood Forest for a few hours last night but it probably wasn't worth the effort due to the lack of promised cloud cover, that bright full moon and mist which formed when the temperature plummeted.  Just eight species came to light and Spring Usher was the only one to appear in the expected numbers:  Tortricodes alternella (35), Small Brindled Beauty (34), Pale Brindled Beauty (26), Oak Beauty (2), Spring Usher (170), Dotted Border (14), Common Quaker (5) & Chestnut (3).  The Spring Usher total included five females (quite variable in their markings) which I found underneath the sheet at packing up time, while the Dotted Border total included a mated pair.

Small Brindled Beauty, Shabbington Wood 17th February

Spring Usher female, Shabbington Wood 17th February

Spring Usher female, Shabbington Wood 17th February

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Tinea sp

This tineid appeared in the house today. I get quite a few T.pellionella, mainly in the summer months, but this seemed slightly different in that it was obviously quite big c10mm in length. Also, when potted, it was much less active than T.pellionella normally is here (maybe because it's colder?). I took a record shot, but managed to drop the specimen behind the radiator, so am waiting for it to reappear to pot up for Peter.

Could it be T. pallescentella based on size, or can T. pellionella get this big? The wing also looks more mottled than I am used to seeing on pellionella.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Sunday, 17 February 2019

This week's garden records

No surprises, but here at Westcott moths (plural) have continued to appear at the conservatory windows each night over the past week, brought to them by the actinic light being run indoors.  The week's total has comprised Agonopterix heracliana (9), March Moth (2), Pale Brindled Beauty (9), Oak Beauty (1), Spring Usher (5), Dotted Border (2), Early Moth (5), Common Quaker (1) & Chestnut (1).  The Oak Beauty on Friday night and Common Quaker last night were firsts for the year.  Oak Beauty doesn't appear annually here and this is my first ever February garden record (out of just over 30 over the years), but it can be out at any time from January onwards in local woodland.

Oak Beauty, Westcott 15th February

Common Quaker, Westcott 16th February

Another tiny (2mm) Nepticulid was found wandering around on a window indoors yesterday and it looks as though it may be a different species to the one found in similar circumstances on 6th February.  I'm intrigued to know what it is and where it might have come from, especially at this time of year.  I haven't retained any leaf mines indoors this winter and there have been very limited opportunities for anything to fly into the house from outdoors, so perhaps it has emerged from cut flowers or pot plants.  We'll see. 

Nepticulid sp., Westcott 16th February

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Westcott, Bucks

Things are still ticking over here, probably more so than usual for February even though we've had some poor weather.  Last night's collection of moths brought to the conservatory windows by the twin-30wt actinic light was fairly typical and comprised March Moth (1, first of the year here), Pale Brindled Beauty (3), Spring Usher (1), Dotted Border (1) & Early Moth (2).  Pale Brindled Beauty and Spring Usher are both having their best winter ever here.  None of the Orthosia species has been seen yet but I'm sure they'll start arriving soon enough.  Micros have been in short supply with only Ypsolopha ustella and Agonopterix heracliana putting in appearances so far, but I did find a tiny Nep (wing length only 2mm, so not the best of pictures below) wandering around indoors on our bathroom window a couple of days ago.  That could prove interesting and is the first moth of 2019 potted up for Peter Hall to dissect so I should find out what it is in about a year's time! 

March Moth, Westcott 9th February

Nepticulid sp., Westcott 6th February

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Friday, 8 February 2019

Oak Beauty & Dotted Border

The garden actinic light attracted 5 moths last night. 3 Pale Brindled Beauty, and 2 new additions for 2019 - 1 Oak Beauty and 1 Dotted Border.

Oak Beauty - Cookham 07-Feb-19

Dotted Border - Cookham 07-Feb-19
Meanwhile, Early Moth continues to avoid my garden. I have only ever recorded two, both in February 2017.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Clouded Drab

Just started putting out the trap again, not much, a couple of Pale Brindled Beauties yesterday, this morning a Clouded Drab.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Back to the Moths...

After a warmish day which saw off the last of the snow, it was highly likely that the first part of last night would produce something before the temperature hit zero degrees again, so I ran the twin-30wt light inside our conservatory.  Sure enough, the moths started to appear at the windows soon after dark and by 10pm I'd had Pale Brindled Beauty (11), Spring Usher (1) & Chestnut (1) along with ichneumonid wasp Ophion obscuratus (1).  The only subsequent additions during the night were further singletons of Pale Brindled Beauty and Spring Usher to give a final total of 15 moths - not a bad result in the garden after two weeks off, even if there was nothing new for the year.

Westcott, 4th February
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Friday, 1 February 2019

Merton Moths 2018

I’ve been trapping for about 20 years in my garden which is quite large, in a rural location, backing onto pasture. This area is pretty low lying, prone to flooding, but obviously much drier in 2018. I usually run a 125MV Robinson trap once a week for the Garden Moth Scheme and then trap on another night in between. I only trap from the beginning of March to the end of October when I’m at home. I have to run the MV trap up close to the house, where it can be quite windy, to avoid disturbing neighbours. I’ve started using 6W Heath traps for the ‘in-between’ nights as I can move them around in the garden and put them in more sheltered spots. The garden has quite a lot of hedge, shrubs, fruit bushes, some poplars, horse chestnuts and a couple of small apple trees, plus two small ponds. 2018 was a better year compared with the previous few years but comparisons are not that straightforward. Prior to 2013 I kept records on paper, mainly focused on number of species. I’ve yet to find the time to total up the individual moths trapped, but have the impression that overall numbers have greatly declined since I started (using only a Heath trap for the first 10 years), though variety of species has not. In 2018 I ran the MV trap 35 times and the Heath traps 31 times, total, 64. This is more than the next highest number of trap nights, since starting electronic personal records, of 55 nights in 2013 (all MV). I have been interested to see if different species come to traps in different parts of the garden and different types of lights. I don't think I can say anything definite as yet. I wonder what other people have found? Overall I trapped 240 species in 2018, compared with 225 in 2017, 3920 individuals, compared with 2574 in 2017. There were 9 new macro moths (not previously trapped since 1998) including personal highlights such as Clifden Nonpareil and Dark Spectacle as well as December Moth and L-Album Wainscot and a number of new micros. Agriphila geniculea and the Setaceous Hebrew Character topped the list with 264 and 262 individuals respectively.