Sunday, 31 March 2019

Garden Moths

I don't get a huge amount in my garden these days; new for my year last night were Emmelina Monodactyla, Amblyptilia punctidactyla, Double-striped Pug and a seemingly early Pale Mottled Willow...

Dave Morris
Seer Green

Pale Pinion?

I don't think anyone has mentioned pale or tawny pinions recently, so here's a photo of a moth caught in my trap on 29 March 19. It looks like a pale pinion to me, but please let me know if you think it is a tawny pinion.

John Clough, Marlow

More of the same

With the warmer overnight temperature I had high hopes that last night might produce something interesting for the garden list, but in the end I had to be satisfied with a Water Carpet.  Actually, despite being a common moth this is quite a good record for Westcott, being only the fifth individual to be recorded here (two in 2005 then a long wait until two more in 2017 and now this one).

Water Carpet, Westcott 30th March

Surprisingly there were no micros at all and the full list of moths which managed to get past the bat patrol comprised March Moth (1), Streamer (5, equalling my highest ever garden total in one night), Water Carpet (1), Double-striped Pug (1), Early Thorn (1), Small Quaker (31), Lead-coloured Drab (1), Common Quaker (51), Clouded Drab (13), Powdered Quaker (8) & Hebrew Character (17).  Additional species the previous night when it was far colder included Diurnea fagella, Agonopterix heracliana, Agonopterix ocellana, Agonopterix arenella, Blossom Underwing, Twin-spotted Quaker & Early Grey, while others earlier in the week included Dotted Border (27th), Engrailed (26th), Red Chestnut (27th) & Dotted Chestnut (28th).

One more night to go then we're into April and the season starts in earnest.  These first three months of the year are always a lottery, dependent so much on the weather, but 2019 has been excellent so far.  The garden has produced 54 different adult moth species to date.  With a night still to go that's already one more than the previous record of 53 achieved by 31st March in 2017 when we enjoyed similar early spring temperatures.  The number of macros (37) is currently exactly the same.  Compare that with the very cold start to 2013 when by 31st March the garden list stood at just 11 species (2 micros and 9 macros)!    

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Powdered Quaker?

I thought the first one here might be a Powdered Quaker. I usually only get one or two a year.

The other is a rather nice Twin-spotted Quaker - again I usually only get one or two - this is the lightest I've had.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Nut Tree Tussock and Micro....

Pleased to find a Nut Tree Tussock this morning, plus a micro which I think may be Diurnia fagella? Confirmation or correction appreciated!

Quaker confusion

I'm finding it hard to tell what a couple of moths are from their photos and I'm in danger of calling them all Common Quakers, but I'm hoping they're something different. So I'd appreciate some ID help please.

From Speen, Bucks.

Friday, 29 March 2019

'Orange Underwings ' in Rushbeds Wood. Which one?

Hello all
I've just joined from over the border in N'hants, but I do also record in Bucks, mainly Linford Lakes and Little Linford Wood.
I went to Rushbeds Wood yesterday and eventually managed to see a couple of 'Orange Underwings' on the ground. The choice was try to net or photograph.  Despite the former being the appropriate method of ID, I opted for a pics
The one which is fully open I can only match during  a long search on the interweb to images of female Light OU.  
There is plenty of Aspen there.  Is that the regular species at Rushbeds?
Any comments on either pic would be welcome.
Andy H

Bernwood Forest

A couple of MV traps run in Shabbington Wood last night for the usual three hours performed much as expected with Small Quaker and Common Quaker dominating the catch, those two species alone producing well over 1,000 individual moths.  As I've already mentioned this season, some of them were small in size and this is well illustrated by the two Common Quakers below:

Common Quakers, Shabbington Wood 28th March

There was actually little else to shout about apart from a couple of early Lunar Marbled Browns, with only one micro and few geometers turning out, but then again it did get chilly very quickly.  Combined totals for the 21 species caught were Diurnea fagella (5), Yellow Horned (1), Frosted Green (16), March Moth (2), Brindled Beauty (1), Oak Beauty (41), Dotted Border (6), Engrailed (1), Lunar Marbled Brown (2), Red Chestnut (8), Pine Beauty (1), Small Quaker (772), Blossom Underwing (17), Lead-coloured Drab (10), Common Quaker (383), Clouded Drab (39), Twin-spotted Quaker (20), Hebrew Character (14), Early Grey (3), Satellite (1) & Chestnut (1).   

Lunar Marbled Brown, Shabbington Wood 28th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Drab & Green

Is this a Lead-coloured Drab?

This Frosted Green turned up among all the Quakers this morning. It seems rather early.

Dave Ferguson, Beaconsfield, Bucks

Thursday, 28 March 2019

COAM not a moth...

I saw a very large black bee with blue wings at the museum today. Annoyingly it flew off just before I could get my phone out to video it, but from looking around the internet I am thinking it was a Violet Carpenter Bee - Xylocopa violacea.

I'm not finding a lot of info on the possible distribution of this and there only seem to be 7 sqaures on the NBN atlas.

If there are any bee people on here, I'd appreciate your thoughts.

(to make up for the lack of moths, there was a Streamer on the window of our cafe which is new for the year for me!)

Dave Morris
Chalfont St Giles


Having heard of sightings in Norfolk several days previously, I tried my recently-acquired Emperor Moth pheromone lure in the garden on Tuesday afternoon (26th) but had no luck.  I tried again this afternoon (Thursday) and got a male within ten minutes and two more within 20 minutes, so it is safe to say that they're out and about locally rather early this year.  My only previous March record was a female to light in the grounds of Waddesdon Manor on 31st March 2009.

Emperor Moth male, Westcott 28th March

This is the first time I've used the pheromone, having previously relied on rearing adults from larvae (done annually since 2006).  However, last year's crop of caterpillars succumbed to a virus in their final instar and I currently have only a handful of pupae which have over-wintered twice, so decided to invest in the lure as a safety measure.  It works, but in my very limited experience in ideal conditions this afternoon (warm and sunny with a very light breeze) I would say that the males are far less persistent than they would be to a virgin female.  They seem to realise there's something not quite right and are gone after just a few passes, so you need to keep your eyes open!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Brindled Beauty and Brindled Pug?

I also caught what I think is a Brindled Beauty in my trap last night - see first two photos below, the first of which shows the size (metric ruler) and the second the feathered antennae. And on 22 March 19 I had a pug, which I think has to be a Brindled Pug, although I am not certain - see third photo below. I would be pleased if someone could help me out.

 John Clough, Marlow

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Micro visitor

I'm afraid I haven't yet run my moth trap at home this year (slapped wrist!), but today while I was working in the garden this micro landed briefly on a tree trunk nearby. I managed to grab my camera and get one rather poor shot, then it was gone. Can anyone confirm that it is Agonopterix arenella?
Mick Jones

Quaker / Drab confusion

I've had a few successes with my new moth trap in Speen, Bucks. Very excited with an Early Thorn amongst the Hebrew Characters and Common Quakers. There have been a few moths which I haven't been sure about so I'd appreciate it if you could clear up if any of them are something different from Common Quakers. I'm hoping that one might be a Clouded Drab.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Further new species

Four more species turned up over the past two nights, taking this year's garden list past 50 already.  On Saturday night I joined the Dotted Chestnut club and had Engrailed as well, while last night brought Streamer and Powdered Quaker.

Engrailed, Westcott 23rd March

Streamer, Westcott 24th March

Powdered Quaker, Westcott 24th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Dotted Chestnut

This Dotted Chestnut turned up in Merton, Oxon last night, first time recorded in my trap.
Also this Ypsolopha mucronella?

Lead-coloured Drab?

Like Mark I have always been reluctant to claim this moth as it and the Clouded  vary so much but this morning I think I have at last got an  obvious example.

Steve Lockey (Garsington)                                                                                                    

Clouded Drab?

I was hoping this might be a Lead-coloured Drab but I think it's probably a Clouded Drab. I can't see the antennae. Still lots of Common Quakers, the first Oak Beauty appeared yesterday and the first Early Grey today.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Friday, 22 March 2019

COAM First Trapping of the Year

Left a light on at COAM last night.

163 moths of 15 species; best of the bunch was a single Dotted Chestnut; also new for the year Brindled Pug, Twin-spotted Quaker, Clouded Drab, Brindled Beauty and Early Thorn.

Dave Morris
Chalfont St Giles

Added rubbish photo...

Dotted Chestnut

Finally a night that was relatively mild, still and with enough cloud to reduce the moonlight resulted in a better catch. 15 species including Early Thorn, Acleris literana, Eudonia angustea - all new for the year. The highlight for me was this Dotted Chestnut.

At present our lawn is covered with ash seeds that at dawn look a bit like moths especially Dotted Chestnuts. It was a pleasant surprise to get the real thing.

I know that Dotted Chestnut are spreading but I don't know what their present status is in this area particularly Oxfordshire. Are others catching them and how often?

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Spring has sprung

News from the nursery: a great-grandchild of the Empress which left me eggs in May 2014 has emerged at a neighbouring family's house where some of last year's caterpillars found an adoptive home. And a narrowboat-dwelling neighbour is going great guns with Silk Moths - Bombyx mori she says - which live on a curious dark green mush-concentrate and may one day provide the whole of Thrupp with silk pyjamas, hankies or possibly just floss.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Possible Mottled Grey

I had this moth in my trap in Beenham Berks last night (19th March). Initially I thought that it was an Engrailed, but am now wondering if it could be a Mottled Grey? Any thoughts?

Thanks Derek

The smartest Orthosia

Amongst 16 species, last night's garden catch included Acleris literana, Double-striped Pug and, best of all, a nice fresh Blossom Underwing which were all new for the year.  I also had my second example of Ypsolopha mucronella this month and this one stayed around long enough to be photographed.

Ypsolopha mucronella, Westcott 19th March

Acleris literana, Westcott 19th March

Blossom Underwing, Westcott 19th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Turnip for the books

The best garden result of the year so far, with not far short of 100 moths brought to the conservatory windows last night by the twin-30wt actinic light.  I had to keep going out to pot them up during the first few hours because our local Brown Long-eared Bat population was particularly active and they would keep coming right up to the windows.  Perhaps it is time to start running a normal trap once again! 

The moths included three species new for the year, Caloptilia rufipennella, Oak Nycteoline and an unexpected Turnip.  This is the first time I've had Turnip so early (prior to last night the earliest being 3rd May 2007) and is suggestive of a migrant rather than a home-grown example, but who really knows in these strange times?!

Oak Nycteoline, Westcott 15th March

Turnip Moth, Westcott 15th March

The full list was Caloptilia rufipennella (1), Agonopterix heracliana (3), Agonopterix ocellana (1), Emmelina monodactyla (2), March Moth (4), Oak Beauty (1), Turnip Moth (1), Small Quaker (8), Lead-coloured Drab (5), Common Quaker (36), Clouded Drab (20), Twin-spotted Quaker (4), Hebrew Character (6), Satellite (1) & Oak Nycteoline (2).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Friday, 15 March 2019

Unknown Moth Larva

Unknown Moth Larvae


Found this larva in the garden today, any idea as to ID?



Thursday, 14 March 2019

A couple more species

Nine species ventured out in the garden last night despite all that wind from Storm Gareth and it was nice to get something other than the Orthosias which had been making up the catch almost exclusively since the weekend.  The two new ones were Early Thorn and Red Chestnut.

Early Thorn, Westcott 13th March

Red Chestnut, Westcott 13th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Brimstone Moth

This Brimstone Moth greeted me as I returned from shopping to my east-facing porch in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks at 11.20am this morning.  It was still there an hour later.

Wendy Wilson

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Grey Shoulder-knot.

Too windy and wet for my liking outside. I've run my garden trap once so far this year, catching some of the usual suspects.
This moth, however, turned up on my porch light, which is unusual in itself. Not all that unusual for most of you, I imagine, but, in around a decade of trapping, it's the first time I have ever seen this species.

Talking to Richard Ellis, who also lives in Chorleywood, VC 24, I was told he reckons to catch one in around every three years. My impression is that some contributors on here see it more often, or am I wrong about that? 

Friday, 8 March 2019

Psychidae moth larva at Dancersend

This morning I spotted a tiny (5mm) conical lump of lichen bits on a beech trunk at Dancersend. When I approached closer with my camera in macro mode it moved! I collected it and got more photos at home - not brilliant as I couldn't get the lighting right. I think it is one of the Psychidae, probably Luffia ferchaultella, but then spotted that Albertini and Hall had a record of Luffia lapidella on my Dancersend Moths master list. I thought this was the much rarer species, but I can see there's probably been some splitting in recent years. Will I need to breed it out to be sure? I also got a video of the front part of the larva trying to reattach itself to a twig, but not sure I can load this here.

Mick Jones