Thursday, 31 October 2019

Westcott, Bucks

Apart from the night of Sunday 27th when we had our first proper frost of the autumn and only three moths turned up, species counts in the garden actinic trap have continued in the teens and last night's collection was fairly representative:  Red-green Carpet (1), November Moth (2), Pale November Moth (1), November Moth agg. (2 females), Feathered Thorn (1), Mottled Umber (1), Figure of Eight (1), Sprawler (1), Green-brindled Crescent (3), Sallow (1), Beaded Chestnut (1), Red-line Quaker (1), Yellow-line Quaker (1), Brick (4), Chestnut (1), Dark Chestnut (6), Blair's Shoulder-knot (1), Merveille du Jour (1) & Black Rustic (3).  As usual, getting on for half of them were potted up from the lawn, walls and windows close to the light.  Emmelina monodactyla and Grey Shoulder-knot (both 29th) have been the only other species recorded since last weekend - I've seen one or two reports of December Moth already but it hasn't appeared here yet.

Black Rustic, Westcott 30th October

As I've already mentioned, Black Rustic has been one of this year's real winners locally.  The garden count for 2019 has now reached 925 and it has been present in the garden trap every single night since 14th September.  The moth was first seen here on 3rd September and the peak count was on 29th September when 77 were recorded.  It usually peters out by the end of October but I have had November records for the garden in 2011, 2012, 2015 & 2018 so there's still a chance of a handful more yet.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Box moth Cydalima perspectalis

Is anyone still seeing adults?
I'd be interested to know of any November records this year or previously.

Bucks moth recorder

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Recent Leafmines

A couple of afternoons out looking for leafmines last weekend. Highlights on a quick visit to Cothill Fen (kindly shown round by Judy Webb) on 19/10 were Bucculatrix cidarella on Alder, Ectoedemia rubivora on Bramble, Phyllonorycter lantanella on Guelder Rose, Stigmella speciosa on Sycamore and Acrolepia autumnitella on Bittersweet.

I also visited the Chilswell Valley local wildlife site the next day, where highlights where again Acrolepia autumnitella on Bittersweet, Bucculatrix bechsteinella on Hawthorn, Stigmella catharticella on Buckthorn, Cosmpoterix zieglerella on Hop and Stephensia brunnichella on Wild Basil. I'm fairly sure I found Stigmella splendidissimella on Meadowsweet, as UK Leafmines doesn't give aurella as occuring on this plant - though I'm aware these two can be tricky to separate! No sign of Coleophora squamosella as well, despite searching large amounts of Blue Fleabane in a nearby field margin.

Stephensia brunnichella mines - Chilswell Valley

Stigmella splendidissimella? Chilswell Valley

Winter Moth

The first Winter Moth of the season appeared in the garden trap last night, equalling the site's earliest ever record.  Mostly it appears at the beginning of November but there are quite a few October records for Bucks, one even as early as the 6th (in 2010).  Other species which defied the cold here last night were Red-green Carpet, November Moth agg., Feathered Thorn, Figure of Eight, Sprawler, Green-brindled Crescent, Yellow-line Quaker, Lunar Underwing, Chestnut, Dark Chestnut, Merveille du Jour & Black Rustic.

Winter Moth, Westcott 26th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Warm but windy and wet

With southerly winds originating from Africa it seemed to me that last night it would definitely be worth running the trap despite the potential for damage in 40mph gusts.  Preparations included bricks inside the trap to hold it down, bungees to keep the cone in place and tape to keep the rain-shield attached.  The trap survived the night perfectly well but was it worth it?  Probably not for the one migrant, a Silver Y!  34 moths of 16 species in total.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 24 October 2019

And still they come

Last night's collection of moths to the garden actinic was unexpectedly good, comprising 107 individuals of 30 species.  They included Blood-vein, Pine Carpet, Willow Beauty & Rosy Rustic not seen here over the last ten days or so, but best visitor of all was a smart migrant Pearly Underwing.  Black Rustic had another burst of activity with 21 appearing and two of them had paired up inside the trap by this morning.  There were just three micros, Blastobasis lacticolella, Acleris schalleriana (the first sighting here of this autumn's brood) and Emmelina monodactyla.

Pearly Underwing, Westcott 23rd October

Pearly Underwing, Westcott 23rd October

Pearly Underwing, Westcott 23rd October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Chestnut & Dark Chestnut?

Excluding the Beaded Chestnut I don't usually get more than one of the Chestnuts at a time. Today I got 3 and I think one was a Dark Chestnut. Shape of the wing and a shiny / greasy appearence to the one at the bottom. Am I right?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Plume Moth for ID

While in a village near Maidstone Kent I came across this moth and possibly a casing from which it may have emerged.
Has anyone any idea what it may be?

Sprawler at last

Amongst last night's moths at Westcott (54 individuals of 18 species despite a near-frost under clear skies) were two Sprawlers.  There was nothing significant amongst the remainder of the catch although it is always nice to see Figure of Eight in the garden and last night's pair takes this year's tally here to seven already.  Supposedly a moth in serious decline, it is thankfully still numerous in local woodland where there is no shortage of blackthorn.

Sprawler, Westcott 22nd October

Figure of Eight pair, Westcott 22nd October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Delicate in Didcot

Delicate to garden light trap last night 21/10/19. Marc Botham, Didcot

Monday, 21 October 2019

Westcott, Bucks

In the garden here nightly species numbers have remained in the teens over the past week although the overall number of moths has fluctuated considerably.  Last night was quite a good night with 85 individuals from 19 species coming to the actinic light:  Emmelina monodactyla (2), Red-green Carpet (4), November Moth agg. (6), Green-brindled Crescent (8), Angle Shades (1), Pink-barred Sallow (2), Sallow (7), Dusky-lemon Sallow (1), Beaded Chestnut (5), Brick (7), Lunar Underwing (9), Chestnut (4), Dark Chestnut (2), Satellite (1), Blair's Shoulder-knot (1), Merveille du Jour (1), Black Rustic (12), Large Yellow Underwing (11) & Setaceous Hebrew Character (1).  The cumulative total for Lunar Underwing here this year has now reached 2,298 while that for Black Rustic is currently on 867 (already more than twice last year's record count).  Last night's November Moth agg. collection included my first two females of the season. 

November Moth agg. female, Westcott 20th October

The females of all the Epirrita species have a much more curved costa and are often much more brightly marked than the males.  The downside is that they can't be separated, even by dissection, so the only way to be sure of which species you have is to rear their eggs.  As mentioned in the field guide, the males can be separated fairly easily by looking at the protrusions on the underside of the penultimate segment of the abdomen through a hand lens or under a microscope and this is how I managed to confirm the year's first Pale November Moth for the garden on 18th October.  They'll all be recorded as the aggregate from now on but I shall keep my eyes open for Autumnal Moth which does appear here although hasn't been positively confirmed for a couple of years.  It will need checking in the same way but candidates seem to be large well-marked moths with a fairly obvious discal spot (as on the female above).

One other adult moth new for the season has been an early Mottled Umber, of which a singleton came to light on the 16th although I've not had any more as yet:

Mottled Umber, Westcott 16th October

Sprawler is overdue now and then in a couple of weeks it should be December Moth and Scarce Umber to round off the season.  Despite my best intentions, as usual I'm way behind with getting my records into MapMate so don't yet have an accurate picture of what 2019 has been like.  However, I do try and keep a running tally of garden species and that is currently on 620 for the year (dissections will eventually add significantly to the total).  The macro-moth count is 339 and should end on at least 342 which will be the garden's best ever annual total.  These figures alone suggest it has been quite a good year!   

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Penn Wood, Bucks

Following on from Martin Harvey's post below about caterpillars found on beech yesterday, we did indeed record a good selection of lepidoptera leaf-mines (along with numerous other invertebrates of various life stages) even though Penn Wood certainly isn't the most diverse woodland in the county, has little in the way of under-storey and contains rather too many non-native species!  A full list has yet to be compiled but illustrated below is a small selection from those mines which I brought home to photograph for one reason or another.

Stigmella microtheriella mines, Penn Wood 19th October

Stigmella microtheriella mines, Penn Wood 19th October

The above was obviously a highly favoured hazel leaf when the female moth came to lay her eggs.  I wonder if these two larvae have a chat on their way past each other?!  Shown below are an active mine on hawthorn and a vacated mine on rowan.

Stigmella perpygmaeella mine, Penn Wood 19th October

Stigmella nylandriella mine, Penn Wood 19th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Summer moths for ID

Sadly I've got really behind with ID'ing moths from the photos that I took in late July / early August. I'd appreciate some help with these.









Thanks, Jacqui
Speen, Bucks

Caterpillars on Beech

We had a very enjoyable trip to Penn Wood with the Bucks Invertebrate Group this morning, in gorgeous sunshine and good company. The focus was on leaf mines, and I expect that Neil Fletcher and Dave Wilton will have a good long list to report. A couple of caterpillars on Beech were also found.

A caterpillar of Ancylis mitterbacheriana (Red Roller) had completely folded over a Beech leaf and sealed it well with silk. The caterpillar hiding inside was well marked with spots and patterns around the head.

Pairs of overlapping Beech leaves stuck together with silk, and showing brown feeding blotches, were the signs for another tortrix moth, Strophedra weirana (Little Beech Piercer).

Friday, 18 October 2019

Cnephasia genitalana & Depressaria douglasella

Just had a small batch of moths ID'd by Peter Hall. Two according to the micro moth book are interesting

Cnephasia genitalana 25/8/2019

Depressaria douglasella  3/9/2019

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Confirmations & a Clifden Nonpareil

Small but interesting catch last night.

I think I have a Beaded Chestnut and then a Chestnut rather than a Dark Chestnut (wing shape and no grease). Can someone confirm or correct?

More obvious was a very sleepy Clifden. I think this is the latest I've caught one. Also a Feathered Thorn.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Scarce Bordered Straw

A Scarce Bordered Straw in the trap here last night, also a Silver Y, otherwise just the usual suspects, total 37 moths of 14 species:

Richard Ellis

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Feathered Thorn

Somewhat later than I might usually have expected it, Feathered Thorn finally put in an appearance in the garden last night.  20 other species joined it in the trap, comprising Agonopterix alstromeriana (1), Emmelina monodactyla (1), Red-green Carpet (2), November Moth sp (2), Green-brindled Crescent (3), Barred Sallow (1), Pink-barred Sallow (1), Sallow (3), Beaded Chestnut (1), Red-line Quaker (2), Brick (1), Lunar Underwing (4), Dark Chestnut (1), Blair's Shoulder-knot (1), Merveille du Jour (2), Deep-brown Dart (1), Black Rustic (5), Large Yellow Underwing (11), Lesser Yellow Underwing (1) & Setaceous Hebrew Character (3). 

The overall counts of both species and moths were roughly the same the previous night, with numbers significantly reduced now, but different species present then were Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Epiphyas postvittana, Acleris rhombana, Common Marbled Carpet, Silver Y, Pale Mottled Willow, Chestnut, Satellite, Brindled Green & Square-spot Rustic so there's still a fair bit around.  No real sign of any migration here, though!

Feathered Thorn, Westcott 15th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Monday, 14 October 2019

Migrants still despite the weather

I turned on the trap here in Longwick last night almost by accident in that I had to make an unexpected visit to the shed and decided to switch on the trap for a few hours before bed as it wasn't actually pouring with rain. When I went to turn it off imagine my surprise to see a pristine Vestal sat on the trap! Needless to say I left the trap on but added only one Beaded Chestnut, three Green Brindled Crescent, a Large Yellow Underwing and what is probably only a battered Lesser Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing - but I will check!

So things are still flying out there!

Sunday, 13 October 2019

A leaf mine query from Longwick

Given the rain I had a scout around the garden for leaf mines today and came across these two on a dwarf maple of some description ( its dwarf because I keep cutting it down!). Looking at the mine keys I assumed they were stigmella mines but the options on maple were limited and the ones I found looked closer to illustrations of aceris than speciosa - which seemed unlikely! I'm guessing there is another option perhaps from sycamore ? Interested in peoples thoughts.

Westcott, Bucks

Despite some soggy egg-boxes it has been worthwhile continuing to run the garden actinic trap over this very wet weekend.  There has been nothing new for the year-list since those mentioned in Friday's post but there have been one or two things of interest.  My second Heart & Dart of the month was one.  A check of the Bucks database shows a dozen previous October sightings for the species (in 1990/95, 2003/05/06/07/17) but in the context of some 11,000 records that's a tiny number.  The moth is double-brooded but the first normally fades away in August and the much smaller second brood usually comes and goes in September.

Heart & Dart, Westcott 11th October

Another new species for the season has been Dotted Chestnut.  It first appeared at Westcott in 2006 but has been a guaranteed annual visitor only since 2015.  Sightings here are almost invariably in the spring after hibernation (two visited during March this year) and this is only my third autumn record. 

Dotted Chestnut, Westcott 11th October

Now that Black-spotted Chestnut has found its way into the county, hopefully it won't be too long before that species joins the garden list as well.

Last night (12th) I had my first example this year of the dark form of Green-brindled Crescent (form capucina) which has no green brindling on it at all.  It is quite common and at first glance could be confused with other dark species which are around at the moment, but the white crescent marking two-thirds of the way along the rear of the forewing is usually quite noticeable.

Green-brindled Crescent f. capucina, Westcott 12th October

Green-brindled Crescent f. capucina, Westcott 12th October
Mallow continues to astound me this year and I've now had 32 individuals since the first on 21st September.  This includes three which appeared last night, comprising two in one piece and the third as a set of four wings on the patio thanks to our bat population.  My previous highest yearly count was just three, achieved in each of 2010/13/15/17/18, and there have been several years when I've not seen it at all.  I know that one of our neighbours has been growing hollyhocks this year and long may he continue to do so!  This is one of the food-plants used by Mallow and could well be the reason why they've suddenly increased in numbers.  In addition I had numerous examples of Pexicopia malvella (the Hollyhock Seed Moth) to light this summer which I assume will have come from the same source.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Aston Rowant NNR - 10/10/2019

Another visit to Aston Rowant on Thursday, this time focusing on the southern half of the reserve, added 21 further species to the list of the 8th.

The highlight was 3 cases of the proposed Red Data Book Coleophora squamosella on Blue Fleabane in the entrance field. This is a species I have searched for unsuccessfully in the past at sites with large amounts of the foodplant - I think because I was doing a fairly cursory inspection of the flowerheads (expecting the cases to be fairly obviously attached to the outside) when the ones I found yesterday were very deeply buried in the flowerheads. The only obvious giveaway was a slight darkening in the centre of the flowerhead, where the case shows through the feathery seeds, which then becomes more obvious as seeds are blown out - this is hopefully visible in the pictures below!

Coleophora squamosella cases - just visible as a slight dark object at the centre of the seedhead (more obvious when seeds are blown away as on the right).

Coleophora squamosella case
Other highlights were a case of Thiotricha subocellea in the same area, on marjoram, and the mines of Ectoedemia rubivora on bramble.

Thiotricha subocellea case on Marjoram
Ectoedemia rubivora mines on Bramble

 The more common supporting cast included Phyllonorycter cerasicolella on Cherry, Parornix devoniella and scoticella on Hazel and Whitebeam respectively, Ectoedemia occultella on Birch, Coleophora laricella on Larch and Both Caloptilias and Phyllonorycters on Sycamore and Field Maple.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Westcott, Bucks

Two further species for the 2019 garden list over the past few days have been November Moth (10th, genitalia checked) and Large Wainscot (8th), while new for the autumn season but already recorded here at the beginning of the year after hibernation have been Grey Shoulder-knot (9th) and Dark Chestnut (6th).

November Moth, Westcott 10th October

Grey Shoulder-knot, Westcott 9th October

Large Wainscot, Westcott 8th October

Fairly typical of the garden actinic's results since Monday, last night the trap brought in 136 moths of 27 species:  Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Emmelina monodactyla (1), Mallow (2), Red-green Carpet (1), November Moth (2), Cypress Pug (1), Silver Y (1), Green-brindled Crescent (4), Rosy Rustic (1), Barred Sallow (4), Pink-barred Sallow (1), Sallow (5), Dusky-lemon Sallow (1), Beaded Chestnut (2), Red-line Quaker (2), Brick (6), Lunar Underwing (30), Dark Chestnut (2), Merveille du Jour (1), Brindled Green (1), Deep-brown Dart (2), Black Rustic (35), Turnip (1), Large Yellow Underwing (18), Lesser Yellow Underwing (6), Square-spot Rustic (1) & Setaceous Hebrew Character (4).  Other species seen over the previous four nights included Agonopterix arenella, Pseudargyrotoza conwagana, Hypsopygia costalis, Pine Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Willow Beauty, Light Emerald, Vine's Rustic, Frosted Orange, Angle Shades, Large Wainscot, Yellow-line Quaker, Chestnut, Grey Shoulder-knot, Satellite, Common Wainscot & Shuttle-shaped Dart.  Numbers of Lunar Underwing (currently 2,200+ for the year) are now declining but Black Rustic (750+) is still going strong.  Brick has had a little burst of activity, reaching 17 in one night on the 8th, but the only other moth getting into double figures now is Large Yellow Underwing.

The picture below really only serves to show how difficult it can be to separate Dark Chestnut from Chestnut in a photograph.  Like a lot of other moths, it is far easier when you have the specimen(s) in your hand.  The Dark Chestnut (lower) is playing dead and its wings are held more tightly together than usual so the straight line made by the ends of both wings is not as obvious here as it could be.  While this example is certainly darker than the Chestnut they do both vary quite a lot in ground colour.  The 'greasy' appearance of Dark Chestnut doesn't often come out well in a photograph either.

Chestnut & Dark Chestnut, Westcott 9th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks