Monday, 30 November 2020

One to look out for now

A search through some old pictures today reminded me that the strange-looking tortrix Exapate congelatella should be on the wing now and throughout December.  Although seemingly more widespread further north, this is an uncommon moth in the south-east of England.  We have very few records of it from our three counties, and seemingly none at all for the last seven or eight years, so it would be really good if someone could find the moth again (it does come to light).  Apologies for the poor image below!

Exapate congelatella, Westcott 14th December 2005

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Sunday, 29 November 2020

More Winter Moths

 Recent post have led me to go back over previous years. I'm wondering if this one I had 24/11/2019 respectively was actually a Northern Winter Moth.  

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Another Northern Winter Moth

My garden moths seem to be lagging a little behind some others, as I have only just recorded my first 2 December Moths and I have yet to see a Winter Moth. However, I did find my very first Northern Winter Moth in the garden trap last night. Thanks to earlier posts, I could identify it straight away. The pale hindwings protruding from under the forewings were particularly noticeable.
Steve Trigg, Cookham

Your Records

Now that the weather has finally become more wintry and moth numbers have plummeted, it is time to send out the annual reminder to PLEASE SEND IN YOUR RECORDS.  For those of you who haven't been using iRecord and have not yet got your data for 2020 into shape, it will be something very valuable that you can do during the last few days of the current lock-down!

There have been a lot of very welcome newcomers to moth recording during 2020 and some of you may not know what to do, but never fear, all is explained under the "Your Records" tab above.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask, either here or directly to your County Moth Recorder.   

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Westcott, Bucks

The last week has seen a further reduction in active adult moth species (19 recorded in the garden here over the past seven nights, although no more than eight on any given night) and I suspect numbers will fall dramatically now because we seem to have seen the last of the milder weather.  Last night was relatively good with a dozen moths from eight species and it included Northern Winter Moth, a species which a few other people seem to have had over the last few nights too.  I don't see it often here and this was the first for five years.

Northern Winter Moth & Winter Moth, Westcott 24th Nov

The silkier appearance of the forewings doesn't come out well in a photo, especially at this time of year when there is so little natural light available.  However, that coupled with the larger size, lighter forewings and whitish hind-wings are the points to look for.  They'll usually put up with a bit of prodding around to show the contrasting hind-wings (like Phil Tizzard's splendid photo from yesterday) but this one didn't want to play ball!

The only long-distance travellers seen on the warmer nights were Udea ferrugalis and Silver Y, although a Turnip and Angle Shades on the 23rd may possibly have been migrants too.

Angle Shades, Westcott 23rd November

There are very few micro-moths around now but I was pleased to get a late example of Phyllonorycter messaniella on the 21st, following another adult which came to light back in May.  I've yet to find mines of this species in the garden but it presumably makes use of our hornbeam hedge. 

Phyllonorycter messaniella, Westcott 21st November

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Cypress Carpet

Still quite a few moths last night at North Leigh, Oxon:

Diamond-back Moth, 2 December Moth, 4 Winter Moth, 2 Mottled Umber, Scarce Umber, Silver Y and Angle Shades plus this Cypress Carpet which is a new one for the garden

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Winter Moths

I know this isn't just an ID forum (and am only too aware of putting experienced observers on the spot!). But in this, my first year of trapping, it's very tempting to use it as such.

These two were outside the trap on the wall a couple of nights ago. I pondered them long and hard. The left-hand moth is slightly larger and with a paler protruding hindwing and I considered Northern Winter Moth. In the end, I was undecided but having read the comments below thought I'd seek another opinion.....

Northern Winter Moth or...

I thought this was Northern Winter Moth when I first saw it with those whitish hindwings (first image), but in different lighting the forewings look more brown than I would expect (second image) and not really silky, so I'm no longer sure. It was noticeably larger than the Winter Moths caught at the same time--forewing 14mm left and 16mm right and wingspan 34 mm. 

Or am I misidentifying a November moth?

Sunday, 22 November 2020


Could anyone say whether this is (a worn) Pandemis cinnamomeana? Found in the trap about two weeks ago and I decided it was probably a lost cause, but a bit more research suggests this may be what it is.

Leaf mines on Rose

 With very few leaves to peruse in the garden in Longwick (Bucks) remaining I had a look at some of our patio roses. I noticed a few quite striking mines. I understand they are not easy to decipher but I was wondering if they are Stigmella anomalella?

The trap was a little better last night with 5 December Moths, Feathered Thorn, Dark Chestnut, Winter Moth and Blair's Shoulder Knot. Noticeably the bats re-appeared after an absence of ten days so clearly the milder air had an effect. 

December Moths

No less than 41 December Moths in the Robinson Trap at Goring Heath, South Oxon last night (garden surrounded by ash and beech woods).  Two Diamond-back Moths and a Silver Y also present. 

Winter Moth and Acleris sparsana

 hi, can someone confirm that this is a Winter Moth and Acleris sparsana? 




Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Acleris logiana

Whilst in the garden this morning, I disturbed an Acleris logiana. The first for Bucks was here way back in 2009, but I haven't actually seen that many since.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Chestnuts again ....

Following on from David Dennis's post below (and mine from earlier in the month), here is another Chestnut. Which, when I first turned over the eggbox I was convinced was finally a Dark Chestnut..... ?

Friday, 20 November 2020

Compiling my list for the year - remaining puzzles

As the end of the year approaches, I have been compiling my list of moths for 2020. I don't seem to do nearly so well as some others reporting on the blog, and have had a total of about 190 species recorded from running my actinic light trap 71 times here on the outskirts of Marlow. This is my third year of running the trap, and the total last year and the year before were similar.

There remain a few moths which I can't identify, despite having reasonable photos. Several of them, not surprisingly, are pugs. I have written the date each moth was caught underneath its photo. Any assistance in identifying these would be gratefully received.

8 April 20

10 April 20

16 April 20

26 May 20

26 May 20

30 May 20

1 June 20

21 June 20

6 July 20

16 July 20

30 July 20
John Clough, Marlow

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Chestnut or Dark Chestnut?

 Hi there,

I'm not aware of ever having Dark Chestnut in my trap near Chesham, but I'm wondering about this one. Can someone help, please? Either way, is Dark Chestnut frequent in Bucks?

Many thanks


Micro query

From my MV light at Witney last night. A similar-looking micro to Phil's below. I had identified this as Scrobipapa costella....? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Mompha jurassicella?

Found indoors today. Not sure it can be identified to species from these images though. 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Westcott, Bucks

The last seven nights have proved to be much quieter with only 23 different species coming to light here at Westcott, despite some potentially good weather for migrants, and it is looking increasingly likely that the 2020 garden year list won't be added to now.  The current regulars are December Moth, Winter Moth, Feathered Thorn, Scarce Umber, Mottled Umber and Sprawler.  Two of those species are illustrated below, of which the Scarce Umber appeared to have walked through a puddle on its way to the light!    

Feathered Thorn female, Westcott 14th November

Scarce Umber, Westcott 14th November

Migrant species which made it to Westcott on the warmer nights comprised Plutella xylostella, Udea ferrugalis and Silver Y.  The White-point shown below may well have been a migrant too because it was in such good condition.  I've only had one other November record of the species (6th November 2018). 

White-point, Westcott 12th November

Most of our deciduous trees and shrubs have dropped their leaves so I'm unlikely to find any more leaf-miners either, although that hasn't stopped me from looking for "green islands" on fallen leaves.  I've been concentrating on the ground under our large willow (S. babylonica) because an active mine of Ectoedemia intimella was found on a fallen leaf back in 2014, a sighting I've never managed to repeat.  My searches have been successful in tracking down two or three dead leaves with the tell-tail green patches around a mine, but so far they've all turned out to be those of Stigmella obliquella containing deceased larvae.  

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

Marlow Bottom November to date

 I have only put the trap out on a few days this month, but have managed 26 species on the days I tried. 

There have been a few migrants, though nothing exciting: 

Udea ferrugalis (1st and 17th)
Plutella xylostella (2 7th, 1 17th)
Silver Y (17th).
Two Whitepoints (17th) were pretty worn and can be late, so presumably local moths.

Three Cypress Carpets (17th) were my first multiple occurrence, but becoming more regular here.

Other species seen:

Tachystola acroxantha (17th) - presumed, but worn
Blastobasis lacticolella (1st)
Androsis sarcitrella (1st)
Acleris sparsana - 11
Cydalima perspectalis (1st) first November record here - still alive in the trap on the 8th, when released properly!
Oak Hook-tip (1st)
December moth - 5
Red-green Carpet - 15
Common Marbled Carpet - 3
Winter moth - 1
November moth sp - 16
Feathered Thorn - 18
Scarce Umber (17th)
Mottled Umber - 7
Light Emerald (1st)
Sprawler - 5
Pink-barred Sallow (8th)
Yellow-line Quaker - 18
Brick - 6
Brindled Green (1st)

Presumed Tachystola acroxantha

There is one worn Acleris sp from the 17th that I haven't been able to identify - does anyone have any opinions?

Adam Bassett

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Black-spotted Chestnut

For the third winter in a row Robin Knill-Jones has had Black-spotted Chestnut in his garden at Denham in the extreme south-east corner of Bucks.  This latest specimen turned up last night (16th) to a Heath trap fitted with an LED strip.  

Black-spotted Chestnut, Denham 16th November

In the last couple of weeks it has appeared again at known sites in the adjacent counties of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to the east of us, but to date Robin's garden seems to be the only site anywhere in our three counties for this newcomer.  Surely someone else should catch one soon!

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Cold Case Review

 A trapping session in July was brought to a sudden halt by rain. I quickly emptied the trap, noting anything that I immediately recognised and potting one example of everything else. The next day I worked through the few macros that I had potted, but I ran out of time for most of the micros as we were going away on holiday the day after, so they ended up in the freezer. I finally sorted through them this week: there were about a dozen that I could confidently identify, but four have beaten me. I'd be grateful for any help.

Moths 1 and 2 (two views of the latter to show the palps) have a forewing length of 6 mm: possibly the same species.

Moth 1

Moth 2

Moth 3 is about 7 mm long and I'm wondering if it is an Anacampsis sp.

Moth 3

Moth 4 is about 12 mm. At first glance I thought of a dark example of one of the larger Scoparids, but the more I look the more doubt I have and it may be too hard to tell.

Moth 4

Unusual circumstances this week resulted in the photos being not quite sharp, which is noticeable when they are opened full-size.

Tim Arnold
Newton Longville, Bucks

December Moth

The only species in the trap last night was December Moth. But 12 in total! Be interested to know if this is an especially high count..?

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Bit late to the MdJ party...

 ...but not missed it altogether this year with a garden first Merveille... 

Also a quite late in the season Cypress Carpet.

Dave Morris, Seer Green