Sunday, 31 May 2020

Pine Hawk-moth

Found this rather nice Pine Hawk-moth in my trap in Abingdon this morning. New for both myself and the garden. Also really pleased to see numbers of Heart & Dart moving towards their usual abundance, although maybe still slightly down on the numbers found here last year.

Vikki Rose Abingdon

More day-flyers

I had another try with some of the clearwing lures in the garden today.  The Hornet Moth lure was out first thing and produced nothing as usual (I've never had any success at all with this one).  The MYO and VES lures went out at 11am and by 12.30pm I'd had five Red-belted Clearwings to MYO so that one was exchanged for TIP.  Nothing at all had come to VES or TIP by 6pm so I'll try again in a week or so.

Red-belted Clearwing, Westcott 31st May

This afternoon I took the opportunity to have a look at the Forester Moth colony at Charndon, Bucks.  I was expecting large numbers and indeed wasn't disappointed, with 95 recorded over two kilometre squares of private wild-flower meadows.  There will have been many more present as I kept mainly to the bridleway which crosses the site and I couldn't hope to cover every field.  They were reluctant to fly in the heat and, with no Ragged Robin available and Knapweed not yet in flower, they were sitting around mostly on their other favourites, Red Clover and the purplish Tufted Vetch that was in flower here and there.  There was actually a dearth of nectar sources so, unusually, any flowering plant was worth looking at and I also found them on White Clover, Bird's-foot Trefoil, Buttercup and Ox-eye Daisy.

Forester & Glyphipterix simpliciella, Charndon 31st May

If anyone in south Bucks is looking for somewhere to visit then a check on the Chalfont Heights Forester colony would be really appreciated (TQ 0090 & TQ 0190).  It would also be very interesting to know if it is having a bumper year in our other two counties as well.  I know that one has already been seen at BBOWT's Meadow Farm site (VC23) and I shall try to get to Gavray Drive Meadows on the edge of Bicester.  There are one or two sites in Berkshire too.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Marlow Bottom weekend

An interesting couple of days trapping at Marlow Bottom. I'm sure everyone has moths that are supposedly common and should turn up in your garden based on habitat, but inextricably don't.  Two of these for me gave themselves up: Scalloped Hook-tip and Apotomis turbidana. I get loads of A. betuletana and have lots of birch, so never understood it.

I have not been getting much variety or depth in macros recently, though Bird's Wing last night is always nice to see, but have been getting a few micros e.g. Prays ruficeps, Argyresthia spinosella, curvella, retinella, trifasciata and pruniella. One of the most interesting was when I was going through the trap this morning, three small black micros began flying around a nearby fence post. I potted one and it was the bagworm, Narycia duplicella, a new one for me.

Another new one for, that took a while to identify was Luquetia lobella.

I also had an example of the dark winged Pandemis cerasana similar to the one Alistair Driver posted recently.

Finally, I don't want to make this post too long, but I have a couple of micros for comment. The first is a Caloptilia sp, which looked fine last night but has not lasted - the photos reflect this:

And a Pseudatemelia sp. It is over 11mm in length and I wondered if it was too large and too early for josephinae, which is the species I have recorded many times - I have kept it for Peter.

Adam Bassett

Small Tortrix

I am finding it difficult to find a match for this one. 5mm in length.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.


May I just check whether I have guessed correctly that this little character, who came into our kitchen along with a Large Skipper butterfly, is one of the three Oegoconias shown in the Micro Bible?  Below is a picture to delight the heart of any retired air traffic controller, Dave. Did anyone else enjoy yesterday afternoon's smileys above Kidlington and Yarnton? A cheerful sight!  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing


I had few Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing pupae and was expecting an emergence in July, but two have already emerged. I had them in a greenhouse in the shade, so the daytime temperature is higher than outside at times, but it seems very early. I wondered if anyone had any insight as to whether it will be possible for them to survive until August/September from now. Seems unlikely to me, but maybe it's possible.


Saturday, 30 May 2020

Chimney Sweepers

Chimney Sweepers are back in force at Waterhall Park, Milton Keynes (SP884319).  At least 14 of them were flitting about low down in the nearest  meadow to the southern car-park today. Most were seeking the shade of clumps of knapweed and a couple were on what looked like pignut flowers.  I remember when I first found them there in the same spot on 26 June 2012.
Wendy Wilson
Stony Stratford 

Notocelia trimaculana/rosaecolana

I will try and illustrate a comment I made on Steve Trigg's post below from some of my Notocelia photos.  I usually concentrate on the costal stigulae pattern to separate these two.  I just hope that Martin Harvey's recent comment about current research into this pair doesn't result in unsafe separation by wing markings!

To me, trimaculana has three pairs of white costal stigulae, fairly broad and quite perpendicular to the wing edge, whereas rosaecolana has an additional pair of fine white costal stigulae towards the centre of the wing edge, all of which appear a bit more oblique in direction.

N. trimaculana at the top (from this morning) and N. rosaecolana from my archive below:

I hope that helps.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Which Notocelia

I think this micro from last night's catch is probably Notocelia trimaculana, and is it a possible candidate for Notocelia rosaecolana instead? The two look very similar to me.

I have kept the moth.
Steve Trigg, Cookham

Another Pug

This one appears to have more rounded wings although maybe its just the position it's at. Thank you again

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Micro moth ID

Good morning, I thought I'd be able to ID two of these, they look fairly distinctive, but I'm stumped! Many thanks.

4 moths in total, two (I think!) are the same.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Forester update

Having been told of Foresters seen at a new site near Grendon Underwood yesterday, I went to have a look myself today and found an incredible 97 individual moths in the field concerned as well as a further 11 in the immediate area.  Amazing that we could potentially have overlooked this site! 

Foresters, nr Grendon Underwood, Bucks 29th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

More micros for checking please

I am pretty sure about Cochylis atricapitana, but uncertain about Homoeosoma sinuella and am guessing that the Tortrix is just a variation of a common species but not sure which one. Any help much appreciated as ever....

 Cochylis atricapitana ?

 Homoeosoma sinuella ?

Mystery Tortrix

Yellow legs in Cookham

I put my VES lure out in the garden yesterday afternoon about 2:15pm, and when I checked the trap half an hour later two Yellow-legged Clearwings had arrived.

Yellow-legged Clearwing - Cookham 28-May-20

I subsequently tried both my CUL and MYO lures for Red-belted Clearwings, but none made an appearance. I will try again next week.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Thursday, 28 May 2020

A Few Micro Queries

My mothing in my central Oxford garden continues to plod along with a couple of  NFG moths this year to keep me happy. Compared to many other people my catches are modest but during these lockdown times it's a welcome diversion to unpack the trap each morning. I've had a couple of Poplar Hawkmoths to wow the children but nothing earth shattering. 

I've got a couple of micros that I'd just like confirmation on. I'm not sure if either of them can be done without the chop (I've not kept them) but I thought I'd ask just in case.


Mompha  species - I was wondering about M. sturnipennella rather than M. subbistrigella

Monopis species - can M. crocicapitella be separated from M. obviella without disection?

Hornet Moth

The lure for Hornet Moth is amongst those I've been trying in the garden occasionally of late but have had no success as yet.  However, the moth is definitely flying locally because a check of the black poplars at the Westcott Venture Park entrance during an exercise walk this evening produced this freshly-vacated pupal case, a mere 300 metres from our house.  One day it'll be added to the garden list but it hasn't happened yet!

Hornet Moth pupal case, Westcott 28th May
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Just double-checking a few micros

I'm trying seize the moment and up my micro game this summer, but could just do with a bit of a steer to make sure I'm on the right track. Please could experts confirm or correct my id for these?

                                                                   Celypha lacunana ?

                                                                 Crambus lathoniellus ?

                                                                   Hedya pruniana ?

                                                                Notocelia trimaculana ?

 Pexicopia malvella ?

A tale of two Cochylis

Hi everyone I had two Cochylis in the trap in Longwick this morning with little else of note but some crowd pleasers!

The first is 6mm and the second is 7mm (Fw length) so they seemed different but I appreciate the overlap in fw length mentioned in Sterling and Parsons.

However having looked closely, although they do appear to differ to some degree ( one appears browner?) I concluded they were both Hybridella. But am I right?

Toadflax Brocade

As my first post on this blog I thought I would start with my favourite moth caught so far this year.  This Toadflax Brocade was the first one I have ever caught in my garden. My Garden is in Oxfordshire.
Thanks, Luke Marriner 

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Minor problem

I have forever been recording Marbled Minor agg for the three species which are recommended for genitalia dissection to id them, but I just wondered if it were possible to positively id at least the ones  with tawny markings as Tawny Marbled Minor? The three colour variations shown here are those which I am catching lots of at the moment, in roughly equal numbers. The all black specimens and the tawny shaded specimens are consistently smaller than the marbled specimens. If genitalia dissection is required for all, then Peter Hall may I send you a selection for the chop?!!!

Grass Wave

I accidentally flushed this Grass Wave this morning at Stoke Common, Bucks. It is only the 2nd I have seen, the first being 10 years ago in Black Park.

Dave Ferguson, Beaconsfield, Bucks

Tuesday, 26 May 2020


On my way back from a meeting in Milton Keynes this afternoon I called at a cross-roads near Steeple Claydon where the verges host my closest Chimney Sweeper colony to home.  Despite the fact that HS2 Ltd have done their level best to destroy the habitat there, one small productive area for wildlife still remains and does contain plenty of pignut.  If they leave this bit alone perhaps the colony stands a chance of surviving.  I saw a dozen Chimney Sweepers altogether and, as usual, they conspired to thwart any attempt at photography.  Most spent their time flying or else hanging upside down from grass stems apart from this example which paused briefly on a clover flower:

Chimney Sweeper, Steeple Claydon 26th May

An even better record there was of a single Forester Moth, the first I've seen this year.  Forester had a brilliant season locally in 2019 and there must have been quite a bit of dispersal.  The closest known colony is just over 2km away at Charndon, to the west of the lakes at Calvert, and I suspect this may have been the progeny of a wanderer from there.  Nice to find it at another new site.

Forester Moth, Steeple Claydon 26th May

Finally, apart from grass moths the only micro on offer was a single example of Dichrorampha sequana.  Its larvae feed on yarrow and it has been found at this site in the past.

Dichrorampha sequana, Steeple Claydon 26th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Pug advice please

Advice needed on the following 3 please.  1st wing length 11mm others 10mm. Thank you

Steve Lockey (Garsington)