Friday, 31 May 2019

Museum Moths

A light left on at the museum last night attracted a decent array of moths for me. The trap was mainly full of Treble Lines, but I also got new for year Mocha, Pale Tussock, Figure of 80, Clouded Silver, Clouded Border, Heart & Dart, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Small Magpie, Bee Moth, Vines Rustic, Agapeta hamana, P. conwagana, Eulia ministrana and Ingrailed Clay.

Also a bunch of micros, some of which I've id'd and some not. So I'm going to present some pics to see if anyone can help me! Most of these I've also managed to retain if they need a chop:


 M4 (Caloptilia - I guess robustella or alchimiella which seems to need a chop...)

M11 (didn't spot the dark one at the time!!)

Dave Morris
Chalfont St Giles

Westcott, Bucks

On Wednesday night a Coronet was the only new species for the garden year list, but last night was much better, especially for the smaller moths.  Bucculatrix nigricomella, Bucculatrix albedinella, Luquetia lobella, Cochylis nana, Celypha striana & Gypsonoma oppressana were new for the year amongst 20 micro species, while a Nepticulid and two Coleophorids have been retained for later examination.

Luquetia lobella, Westcott 30th May

Cochylis nana, Westcott, 30th May

Gypsonoma oppressana, Westcott 30th May

The two Bucculatrix species are regulars here, as is Gypsonoma oppressana although this example was my earliest ever record.  Luquetia lobella hasn't been seen in the garden since 2015 and I've only ever had a handful of records, so that one was nice to find (two turned up last night).  Cochylis nana surprised me because I thought I'd had it here before and as a consequence took its picture, set it free and didn't think more about it.  It didn't get the attention it deserved because subsequently I found that it was actually another completely new species for the garden list!  Moving on to last night's larger moths, new for the 2019 year-list amongst 47 macro species were Willow Beauty, Burnished Brass and Straw Dot.

While checking for day-flying species in the garden this afternoon I saw some activity around our hedge woundwort and, as expected, this proved to be a newly-emerged pair of the tortrix Endothenia nigricostana.  This is a rather dull-looking species.  The one shown below did at least have the yellowish blotch (as good as it gets for markings) but the other didn't even have that!

Endothenia nigricostana, Westcott 30th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


A rather orange macro

I feel I ought to be able to identify this one but I'm struggling.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Nemapogon cloacella

Nemapogon cloacella I think but does it need dissection for confirmation? The Berks micro moth verification spread-sheet suggests it does but the Norfolk moths website indicates not.

About 8mm in length and caught this morning sitting on my wheelie-bin.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Creatures of the Night

We occasionally get called upon to run moth traps for public night-time "Creatures of the Night" walks by organisations such as the National Trust or the City of London and last night it was this year's event for the latter organisation, the owners of Burnham Beeches, Bucks.  Martin Albertini has been doing this one annually for quite a while and I've joined him with traps for the last four or five years.  It is always guaranteed to be the coldest or wettest night no matter in which month they schedule the walk and last night proved to be no exception!  It had been raining for a good part of the day but, although still very damp underfoot, stopped to give us a relatively dry period in which to get set up, but then the drizzle came back and everything got soaked.  However, at least it was warm-ish and there were plenty of frogs and toads for the 20+ visitors to see!  The moths did fly although there were few of them, so we packed up not long after everyone had departed, meaning that the lights were on for only two hours rather than our standard three.  My own two traps on the remnant heathland managed just short of 50 species which seemed a reasonable return in the circumstances.  Similar to our experience at nearby Littleworth Common a week ago, only Neofaculta ericetella and True Lover's Knot were true habitat specialists.  However, here the appearance of a single example of the nationally scarce Rosy Marbled, one of our smallest macro-moths, made the night's trapping a worthwhile exercise.

Rosy Marbled, Burnham Beeches 29th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks       

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Beer and Moths...

In the garden of the Greyhound pub in Besselsleigh there is a large poplar tree, riddled with emergence holes of Hornet Moth - worth someone's while spending lunchtime there with the pheromone, I would have thought.

Sharp-angled Peacock

I think that this is a Sharp-angled Peacock, which I had in my garden in Beenham, Berks a few days ago. What do others think? If I'm correct in this, then I seem to be seeing this more than the Peacock itself over the last couple of years.

Burial Park Moths

A couple of new for year in the tiny Burial Park trap this morning including Willow Beauty, Silver-ground Carpet, Brown Silver-lines, and this, which I'm thinking Peacock over Sharp-Angled ?

Dave Morris
Seer Green

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

A welcome oddity!

I could barely believe my eyes when I saw this on the conservatory wall close to the actinic trap last night!  Until this year you could count the number of Netted Pugs I'd seen on the fingers of one hand but now I've had two already in 2019.  A smart female in Homefield Wood a couple of days ago, already illustrated on the blog, and now this male as a first-timer for the garden at Westcott.

Netted Pug, Westcott 27th May

It is an oddity because we don't seem to get the larval food-plant out here in the Vale of Aylesbury.  Red Campion yes, but not Bladder Campion which is really a plant of calcareous soils and the BSBI database has no post-millennium records of it for my 10km square.  Of 130+ Netted Pug records for Bucks there have only ever been three or four north of the Chilterns so this suggests a wanderer from the chalk.  It becomes macro number 434 (and the 35th species of pug) on the garden list.

     Catches over the past two nights have been much reduced thanks to the weather but that hasn't stopped the invasion of Treble Lines and a few first-timers are still appearing.  Eyed Hawk-moth came in on the 26th, while last night the Netted Pug was accompanied by plume Platyptilia gonodactyla, Common Carpet, Small Phoenix and, like Alan in Tackley, a Shears (a common moth which strangely failed to appear here last year).  I also had my second garden Small Elephant Hawk-moth of the season - no sign here yet of its larger relative!

Platyptilia gonodactyla, Westcott 27th May

Shears, Westcott 27th May

Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Westcott 27th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Another "daytime" tortrix

While gardening this morning, I managed to pot another tortrix before it flew off. I think this one is Cochylimorpha straminea?

Cochylimorpha straminea - Cookham 28-May-19

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Buff footman

Buff footman. WTL would suggest early?

Alan Diver

ID help

This ought to be blindingly obvious but I'm stuck.

Alan Diver

Monday, 27 May 2019

Moth Identification Help

Found in the moth trap on 24th May, but I cannot find it in my books. What am I missing?



Rare moth in Berkshire

Yesterday I was sent these photos by Chris Poad, showing the caterpillars and larval webs of a species that is very rare in Berkshire: Small Eggar. This is the first record for the county since 2010, and there only about 8 records altogether.

The location is a roadside hedge near Steventon in west Berkshire, where the impressive silk webs can be seen. Small Eggar runs the risk of being mistaken for Brown-tail moth, or one of the small ermine moth species, and regarded as a pest that needs eradicating, but hopefully this colony will survive to produce the next generation.

(Photos by Chris Poad)

Which Epiblema?

The tortrix below was found this afternoon at the end of my garden. It looks to me like Epiblema cirsiana, but does it need examination to distinguish it from similar species?

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Tortrix query - Longwick

Pretty dire set of moths today including 14 treble lines and ten heart and dart. A pristine Cinnabar was new for the year. The pictured  tortrix (W/L 7mm) had me thinking isotrias rectifasciana but I thought I should check as a few Cnephasia look not too dissimilar.?

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Away trapping (3)

The third trip out was to Pavis Wood last night, part of BBOWT's Dancersend reserve complex which lies right on the border with Hertfordshire.  This was a very slow night!  I haven't counted up the totals but around 70 species were recorded and there was nothing unexpected at all.  Here it was Nut-tree Tussock which provided the highest count but Treble Lines was a very close second.  Brindled White-spot was good to find, while amongst several examples of Small Phoenix was the odd-looking individual below.  There were few micros to be seen but Capua vulgana and Syndemis musculana appeared at each trap.  Cochylis molliculana was also recorded, a species that seems to have gone from being rare to almost ubiquitous in just a few years.

Cochlis molliculana, Pavis Wood 25th May

Small Phoenix, Pavis Wood 25th May

Brindled White-spot, Pavis Wood 25th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Away trapping (2)

On Friday night I took two MV lights to the BBOWT part of Homefield Wood near Marlow in Bucks.  This proved to be a really excellent three-hour session with well over 120 species recorded.  After Common Swift and Treble Lines, the most abundant moth of the evening was Pretty Chalk Carpet with 31 seen.  Other highlights amongst the macros included Map-winged Swift, Mocha (a double-digit count), May Highflyer, Haworth's Pug, Netted Pug, Shaded Pug, an early Bordered Sallow and a pair of Buttoned Snouts (a moth I thought was reluctant to come to light traps but seemingly having a good year), along with a long list of more common species which included Pine, Lime and Small Elephant Hawk-moths.  There were plenty of micros too, including my first sighting this year of Anania fuscalis.

Map-winged Swift, Homefield Wood 24th May

Pretty Chalk Carpet, Homefield Wood 24th May

Netted Pug, Homefield Wood 24th May

Shaded Pug, Homefield Wood 24th May

Bordered Sallow, Homefield Wood 24th May

Buttoned Snout, Homefield Wood 24th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Away trapping (1)

Making use of the reasonable conditions, I took traps out on three consecutive nights (Thursday to Saturday), so today I've been in zombie mode trying to catch up with records, answering queries on the blog, writing these posts and waiting for a good night's sleep!

On Thursday I was joined by Martin Albertini at Littleworth Common which is a mixed woodland and heathland site near Burnham in Bucks.  It got quite chilly there but between us we managed to see nearly 90 species.  Heather-feeding Gelechid Neofaculta ericetella was the most abundant moth but it is early yet for interesting heathland species and the only other habitat specialist recorded was True Lover's Knot (four seen).  Amongst the macros recorded there were a few nice species like Birch Mocha, Mocha, Phoenix, Foxglove Pug, Small Seraphim, Peacock, Grey Birch, Maple Prominent, Alder Moth and Green Silver-lines, but mostly they were species which could turn up anywhere (even a very late Common Quaker!).   

True Lover's Knot, Littleworth Common 23rd May

Green Silver-lines, Littleworth Common 23rd May

Amongst the micros, despite my attempts to turn it into something more interesting the Argyresthia below is probably just an odd form of brockeellaCochylis nana was good to see, as was the smart Ptycholoma lecheana which was plentiful in the traps.

Argyresthia species, Littleworth Common 23rd May

Ptycholoma lecheana, Littleworth Common 23rd May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Hedgerow micros

Two rather nice micros seen on a walk near Claydon Park this afternoon:

Adela croesella (Small Barred Longhorn) is similar to Nemophora degeerella (Degeer's Longhorn) but is smaller and the markings are subtly different, a bit more solidly coloured and less streaky. I see it far less often than Degeer's, and in fact the only times I recall seeing it recently have been from hedges in this part of Bucks!

Ptycholoma lecheana (Brindled Twist) is more widespread I think, but again not one I see very often. A bit more subdued in colour but with distinctive metallic-lead crosslines.

A couple of brightly coloured Ancylis mitterbacheriana (Red Roller) were also seen but eluded the camera.

Unknown micro

I potted the micro below last night thinking it had unusual wing markings, then found this morning that it actually appears to be missing half its scales.  One for Peter, but curious if anyone has any thoughts, its hind wing is dark grey/blackish and it's 8/9mm in length if that helps.  I wonder if it's a worn Rhyacionia pinivorana.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Westcott, Bucks

Following a few good nights I'm now well past 200 confirmed species in the garden this year and things are once again slightly ahead of where they were at this time in 2018.  The following have been added to the list over the past week:

19th May Aproaerema anthyllidella, Cochylis atricapitana, Figure of Eighty, Broken-barred Carpet, Mottled Pug, Cinnabar, Shoulder-striped Wainscot.
20th May Clouded Border, Iron Prominent, Marbled Minor sp.
21st May Blastobasis lacticolella, Hedya pruniana, Common Wave, Brown Rustic, Large Nutmeg, Vine's Rustic.
22nd May Aethes smeathmanniana, Garden Carpet, Lime-speck Pug, Scorched Wing, Light Emerald, Bright-line Brown-eye, Common Wainscot, Poplar Grey, Clouded-bordered Brindle.
23rd May  Caloptilia stigmatella, Celypha lacunana, Notocelia cynosbatella, Rhyacionia pinivorana, Phycitodes sp (probably maritima), Udea olivalis, Small Dusty Wave, White-spotted Pug, Poplar Hawk-moth, Mullein, Pale Mottled Willow.
24th May  Cochylis molliculana, Notocelia trimaculana, Fox Moth, Oak Hook-tip, Pebble Hook-tip, Green Carpet, Purple Bar, Scalloped Hazel, Common White Wave, Lime Hawk-moth, Buff-tip, Buff Ermine, Orange Footman, White-point, Dagger sp, Middle-barred Minor.
25th May  Argyresthia trifasciata, Tachystola acroxantha, Elachista argentella, Bryotropha affinis, Cochylimorpha straminea, Agapeta hamana, Pseudargyrotoza conwagana, Isotrias rectifasciana, Syndemis musculana, Scoparia pyralella, Anania hortulataNephopterix angustella, Grey Pine Carpet, Dwarf Pug, Grass Rivulet, Sandy Carpet, Brown Silver-line, Peppered Moth, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Light Brocade, Knot Grass, Uncertain, Mottled Rustic.

There are also quite a few additions that will have to await dissection in the autumn, Coleophorids in particular having appeared in some numbers over the past week.  I was pleased to get Lime Hawk-moth (24th) which I didn't see here in 2018.  It isn't a regular despite the presence of our garden lime and all the other limes in our local area.  The White-point (also 24th) was a particularly reddish individual and will be locally-bred these days.

White-point, Westcott 24th May

Fox Moth appeared here for the third year running although this was the first female.  Unfortunately her urge to escape and get on with egg-laying meant that between the time the trap was secured (4am, when she was definitely in one piece) and when the contents were eventually inspected (12pm) she self-harmed almost terminally.  No longer able to fly but obviously having more eggs to lay than those she left on one of the egg trays, she was placed on a local bramble patch.

Fox Moth, Westcott 24th May

Fox Moth eggs, Westcott 24th May

Last night's garden collection amounted to 288 moths of 84 species.  Treble Lines is currently way out ahead in terms of abundance (59 last night, up from 55 on the 24th) although I know that's fewer than some people have been getting! 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks