Friday, 31 July 2020

It only takes one moth

Considering the ideal weather conditions I was expecting more, but it turned out to be yet another mediocre garden catch last night.  However, as I came towards the end of inspecting the egg-boxes in the actinic trap I could see this face peeking around the corner at me... all was not lost after all.  The moth turned out to be a little the worse for wear with one wing-tip damaged but, all the same, a Silver-striped Hawk-moth in any state is more than welcome here!  A migrant species from southern Europe, it is rarely seen this far inland.  This is only the third record for Bucks but is also the second example I've had in the garden after one in July 2015.  It must be someone else's turn next!

Silver-striped Hawk-moth, Westcott 30th July

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

More micros

Of these three I think I have identified two but as they would be new garden records I thought I had better check. The first (7.5mm long) 
Acrolepiopsis assectella ?

10mm in length. Nephopterix angustella?

This one is certainly a bit the worse for wear but maybe there is enough left for someone to recognise it. 7.5mm in length.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Micro ID

Tried but failed to put a name to this. Any help would be appreciated..... 

A couple from last night

Some signs of improvement from a generally undistinguished July here in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, with a fairly respectable catch last night (if temperatures and cloud cover are as promised tonight, I'm hoping for something good then). Here are a couple of macros I can't quite decide on: the first, from several angles, looks quite good for August Thorn, though I'm not too happy about the angle of its wings at rest; the second I was quite optimistic on for Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, but looking at the photo, I'm now inclining towards Red Twin-spot. Grateful, as ever, for any thoughts.

Possible August Thorn, 30/7/20

Possible August Thorn, 30/7/20

Possible August Thorn, 30/7/20

Carpet species, but which? 30/7/20
Steve Goddard

Thursday, 30 July 2020

In the net this time

I returned to Langley park this evening to give it one more go for Yellow-legged Clearwing. It was a bitt of a wait this time, at least five minutes.

Goring etc

Went to Goring on Thames and Hartslock on the 26th to fail to find Epermenia insecurella (on Bastard Toadflax) again. With rather windy conditions, I mostly ended up looking for leaf-mines, and recorded a number of fairly common species between Goring and Hartslock, best of which were Leucoptera laburnella, Stigmella obliquella and catharticella, Phyllocnistis saligna and what Andy Banthorpe has agreed are Lyonetia prunifoliella. I found 10 mines of the latter on one Blackthorn bush (a few of which look to only have been briefly occupied) along the towpath, and none on any others despite careful searching. They're relatively blotchy and distinctive from a distance, and one I've been looking out for since Martin A kindly reminded me it's been on the march in our direction (since its rediscovery down south a few years ago). Being on the north side of the river, I think this is just in VC23?

Lyonetia prunifoliella mine

Lyonetia prunifoliella mines

Only other excitement on that walk was a Sorhagenia sp. around the same Buckthorn that Stimgella catharticella mines, that will need dissection. 

Yesterday, back in Oxford, I noticed a mine on willow near the Thames at Aston's Eyot that Rob Edmunds agrees is Phyllonorycter pastorella. This species was first discovered in the UK in 2014 (at Buckingham Palace gardens) and has also been expanding since. I've been looking out for it for a while, but wasn't expecting to chance upon it, particularly so early in the year. Mines have only been found from September so far, but Rob says a summer generation has been mooted, this would seemingly be it.

Phyllonorycter pastorella mine

Cloaked Carpet

I was a bit surprised to find three of these in my trap this morning at woodland NE of Witney. I wonder what the current status of the species is in VC23?


Finally my first Toadflax Brocade this morning, a fresh male. Also probably about my 8th Udea fulvalis. This species was new to the county last year and bizarrely I seem to have recorded about 80% of them. Has anyone else had it this year?

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

A few queries from last night

Firstly a couple of Micros I'm not sure about.

I think this maybe Cochylis atricapitana. L=8mm.

Next is this Metriotes lutarea? L=7mm. According to the book it is the wrong flight season. Late Apr to Ear June !!.

Now a couple of Macros.

I think this a Turnip Moth, but the Dart appears to be missing. L=18mm.

Now here are two that always cause me the most confusion and sleepless nights. Are they Uncertain or Rustic. The first one has a rather grubby hindwing, but the second one was much more whitish.

Westcott, Bucks

It hasn't been the best of weeks at Westcott.  In fact last night's collection of moths in the garden (69 of 26 species) is the lowest count I can remember here for July, with the temperature dipping well into single digits under clear skies.  Adult moths added to the garden year-list over the week have been relatively few and dried up towards the end:

(22nd)  Calybites phasianipennella, Epinotia tenerana, Eucosma obumbratana, Dusky Thorn, Least Yellow
(23rd)  Coleophora hemerobiella, Pebble Hook-tip, Bulrush Wainscot
(24th)  Gelechia senticetella, Pammene aurita, Marbled Beauty
(25th)  Copper Underwing
(26th)  Bordered Beauty
(27th)  - nil -
(28th)  - nil -

Eucosma obumbratana, Westcott 22nd July

Bordered Beauty, Westcott 26th July

Bulrush Wainscot, Westcott 23rd July 

The one thing I've had to look forward to whatever the weather recently is the daily visit of at least one, sometimes two, Hummingbird Hawk-moths to the buddleia immediately outside our kitchen window.  My attempts at photographing these delightful creatures usually end up with dismal results but the one below is just about acceptable.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Westcott 28th July

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Stigmella crataegella?

Following the call to arms from Dave, I had a look at some of the hawthorns in the garden. I found the attached which still has a green larva in the leaf, though the leaf itself is missing a tip so it seems to be running out of space. The frass doesn't seem coiled like Dave's photo.

I still find leaf mines a bit of a minefield (so to speak) - is this Stigmella crataegella?

Edit - I had another look and found the example below, which I think must be S. crataegella as it looks very close to Dave's example.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Thorn and Pugs

Would appreciate advice on the Thorn which I am hoping might be August.
The first Pug with a 22mm wingspan possibly Grey and the second with a 27mm wingspan maybe Wormwood??

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Red mite on Pug sp.

I thought this pug might be Double-striped from the shape, though it may be too worn to identify. On googling red mites Trombidium breei it seems they don't bother butterflies and damselflies too much but on an insect this size (It is on a 20mm grid) I do wonder.
Janice Robertson Milton Keynes

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

And now macros

Many thanks again for help with my micros (one of which turned out to be a caddis fly). Now I have three macros, with apologies for my uncertainty.  Might the two pugs be worn Double-striped? And is the indoors moth - apols for evening electric light - a Lilac Beauty?  I thought it was a Small Scallop but a commentor on my own blog suggest LB. Help much appreciated, as always.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

Stigmella crataegella?

Hi Dave,
Prompted by your latest post I've just looked at our Hawthorn and found this. The mines aren't tenanted, is it OK to do as such?

I should say that the mines are only on the upperside of the leaf, there's nothing to be seen on the underside except a small mark where, I think, the egg was laid.


Leaf-mine reminder

For those of you amongst the leaf-mining cognoscenti who are keen to see Stigmella crataegella on hawthorn, just a reminder that it is almost too late to look for it now!  It mines until early August but a check of the hawthorn in my garden today found only one tenanted mine amongst many that were already vacated.  There are only three records for Bucks and more would be appreciated as this is a common species.  The problem with leaving it until the usual autumn leaf-mining season is that the egg position, mine structure, frass and larval colour are identical to Stigmella oxyacanthella which mines during September and October.

Active mine of Stigmella crataegella, Westcott 28th July
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Selasella vs Tristella

The last couple of trappings have been very poor in my central Oxford garden. However, this morning I did get this one grass moth  which to my inexpert eye looks like Agriphila selasella rather than A. tristella. My reasoning is based off this article here but basically boils down to:
  • the longitudinal streak doesn't have the pinch at 1/2 to 1/3 of the way along
  • there are no prominent terminal "fingers"
  • there's no hint of a subterminal line
As selasella would be NFG, confirmation or correction of my ID would very much be appreciated.

presumed Agriphila selasella
Adam Hartley

Monday, 27 July 2020

Micro ID

Any help with an ID of this small micro from Witney would be appreciated...

Micro query

May I ask for help with these two? I am guessing that the one above may be Endothenia ericetania but the one below eludes my feeble ID powers in spite of being quite distinctive. Assistance much appreciated. 

Thanks again to Peter, too,  for the wonderful Puffin in a Moth Trap link. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Three new micros, one less welcome than the others ...

Over the last couple of weeks my garden trap in Great Kimble has produced three micro-moths that are new species for me. Anarsia innoxiella has featured many times on this blog before.

The tiny Bucculatrix cristatella feeds on Yarrow so has no shortage of habitat, but is apparently rarely seen as an adult. This is the first time I've seen it, or at least the first time I've noticed it - it really is very small!

And at the other extreme for size, the very large micro Box-tree Moth Cydalima perspectalis has now made its way here. I don't have any Box growing in my garden, but this is likely to be seen as bad news by my neighbours who do grow it, and also raises concerns for the apparently native Box woodland on the nearby Chiltern hills.

Possible Mompha sp....

....very small micro, a mompha maybe ...?

Dark Arches f aethiops?

This is from yesterday, would this qualify as f. aethiops? Mark griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Help required.

Two micro's which I am failing to identify. Any help welcome. Thank you

Steve Lockey (Garsington)

Bat in the trap

The moths have been good lately and apparently I am not the only one aware of this. On Friday morning I found the visitor shown above tucked neatly in one of the eggboxes, presumably having chased its prey all the way in.  Luckily it hadn't had any more courses, judging by the number of moths snoozing alongside. A friend of a friend, who is nick-named 'Batwoman', says that it looks like a Pipistrelle but I'm sending the pics to the Oxfordshire Bat Group anyway. In 15 years of running an MV light, this is a first for me and it got me Googling all sorts of interesting things about bats and light.

Separately, along with the Black Arches, Scarce Silver-lines, Small Emerald, Marbled Green and Marbled Beauty shown below, there was what looks to me like a smart Chestnut. But if so, it is surely out of season.  All best and thanks as ever for help.  PS Very exciting to see a Clifden Nonpareil caterpillar - thanks!  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon