Sunday, 28 February 2021



Sorry, this may be too big an ask but there are so few moths around here on these icy nights that I am keen to ID the ones which do brave the temperatures. Apologies for the quality of this image, shown at two different exposures, but it was taken at 11.30pm on the assumption that the moth would still be there in the morning. It wasn't. My guess would be Chestnut or Dark Chestnut but I would appreciate any advice, if possible.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Acleris spp. (again)

To add to the queries on over-wintering species of this genus (below), on a night earlier this month my garden light trap yielded the following two micros:

Moth 1 (left) with a forewing length of 8.5 mm has an elongated costal blotch (or two overlapping blotches), the outer getting close to the wing apex, and could therefore be A. schalleriana.

Moth 2 (fw 8 mm) with a narrower profile, a costal blotch with a central clear area, and a slightly reticulate wing appearance. This one I thought more likely to be A. ferrugana/notana.

Both moths have short raised scales in rows, on the inner margin of the blotch and elsewhere.  Pleased to have any comments.

John Thacker (Harwell, Oxon)

Agonopterix heracliana?

 It's looking a bit tired. I can't see any sign of pink. If it can't definately be ID's then I've retained it and it can go for the chop.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Acleris sp.

Friday night's haul was thin - just four moths of three species.  I suspect that the full moon and clear sky had an impact, as did the forced substitution of one of my lights, my actinic strip having been shattered on Wednesday night by an especially strong gust of wind acting on an inadequately-secured trap.  While I'm waiting for a replacement light to arrive, I used a 40W U-shaped fluorescent light last night, but I think it doesn't give out much UV.

The March Moths and the Common Quaker were quickly written down, which left me with the micro below to scratch my head over. Initially, I was wondering if it was Acleris hastiana or A. cristana.  A look at Sterling & Parsons and at MBGBI eliminated cristana.  The location and size of scale tufts are a factor; hence the approximately side-on photo (taken in the lid of one of the few pots that I haven't cleaned since last year!).

I find that the ability to search this blog is really useful (top-left corner on the desktop version; unfortunately absent on the mobile version).  When I searched it for A. hastiana, I came across Dave's post of 16th December about a possible A. hastiana or A. umbrana, with Martin T's comment pointing towards A. schalleriana, which I hadn't considered.

Further research does suggest to me that "my" moth is A. schalleriana, but searching this blog for that species brought up my post of 5th October last year in which I had misidentified a moth as A. schalleriana which was really A. variegana.  Most examples of A. schalleriana have a notable trianglar mark on the costa, but they can be obscure, which is certainly the case here.  Incidentally, while writing this entry this evening, I decided that I needed to re-take the top-down photo to better show the triangular mark, so the photo below is in artificial light.

The forewing length is 9mm, which puts it precisely in the overlap between schalleriana and hastiana.  I'm definitely leaning towards schalleriana, but it might be hastiana, so perhaps I should get it dissected.  Either of those species would be new for the garden list.

Tim Arnold
Newton Longville, Bucks

Friday, 26 February 2021

Westcott, Bucks

In direct contrast to the previous week, this seven-day period has been quite good in the garden, in fact better than is usual for this time of year.  Last Friday (19th) produced my first Clouded Drab of the season, albeit one with a mal-formed forewing although that didn't seem to affect its ability to fly.  On Saturday night five species came to the light, including Acleris hastiana and Satellite, while on Sunday there were nine species including another example of Acleris hastiana as well as Emmelina monodactyla, Dotted Border and Hebrew Character which were new for the year.  The two pictures below give an indication of just how variable Acleris hastiana can be.  There are many more forms, some of them actually quite colourful (in contrast to these two!).   

Acleris hastiana, Westcott 20th February

Acleris hastiana, Westcott 21st February

Monday night (22nd), when it was cooler and very windy, ended up being a blank for moths but they re-appeared each subsequent night with numbers of the three most common Orthosia species (Common Quaker, Clouded Drab & Hebrew Character) showing signs of an increase.  Wednesday night was actually quite good with eight species altogether, including garden year-list additions Acleris kochiella, Tortricodes alternella and Silver Y.  The Silver Y was the only sign of any migration here during the recent period of southerly winds. 

Silver Y, Westcott 24th February

Last night (Thursday 25th) it turned rather cooler again but, as is often the case, those few hours after sunset came up trumps before the temperature dropped too far.  Four species appeared, of which Agonopterix alstromeriana was new for the year here.  The list now stands at 26 species (15 macros).

Agonopterix alstromeriana, Westcott 25th February

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks  

Thursday, 25 February 2021

ID Confirmations please

 First good night this year. Only 5 moths  but it feels like a good start.

First moth I saw was a particularly smart Satellite


Second out of the gate was what I think is a Small Quaker


 And then what I assume is a sooty looking Spring Usher

 Inside the trap was this Chestnut. The clear black & white edging suggests a Dark Chestnut rather than Chestnut, but I wonder if this one is actually an early dark Red Chestnut?

The final moth was a standard looking Hebrew Character.

Other than the Satellite I'd appreciate some definate IDs.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Dark Chestnut or just a dark Chestnut?

 This somewhat tatty individual in my trap last night. What do people think?

Dave Morris

Seer Green

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Pale Pinion

 First of year in Sherington 

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Today (Tuesday 23th Feb) in my garden in Berghers Hill South Bucks feeding on daphne. Did it overwinter?

Monday, 22 February 2021

Witney Woodland.


Tortricodes alternella

Red Chestnut

Small Brindled Beauty

Pretty quiet in the garden so I ran trap overnight in nearby woodland. Much better there: 2 Red Chestnut, 1 Small Brindled Beauty, 5 Small Quaker, 4 Chestnut and micros represented by 27 Tortricodes alternella.

There is life in the garden!

First ones of the year for me last night were a Common Quaker and a Beautiful Plume. This is the earliest recorded date for these two species here in my garden at Tilehurst.

While out exercising, I did find this Caterpillar crawling over the pavement.  Has anyone any ideas on species please? I thought maybe Ruby Tiger.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

 Hi there,

Yes, a very slow start here this year too, but here is an oddity from last night near Chesham. I imagine it must be one of the Chestnuts, but I'm confused by the dark diagonal marks, which don't seem to help ID it as anything! Can anyone help, please?

David Dennis


I finally decided to make a start on this year's trapping in my garden in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, on Saturday (I'd previously been put off by cold temperatures and/or heavy rain), and stuck my actinic bulb out for the night. To my surprise, I had three customers by the morning: an Emmelina monodactyla; the handsome Red-green Carpet below (a little early by the look of things, but not ridiculously so); and the micro underneath it, which I suspect may be a Tortricodes alternella, which Martin Wainwright got at Thrupp recently. If that is what it is, it's a new one to me, which would be a very good start to the year (but it might just turn out to be a Cnephasia...). If anyone could confirm, or correct, I'd be very grateful.

Red-Green Carpet, 20th February 2021

Possible Tortricodes alternella, 20th February 2021

Steve Goddard

Acleris hastiana ?

I suspect that this specimen which I caught last night in Sonning is the same species as the one which Andy Newbold just posted. I posted it to @MothIDUK on Twitter who said it may be a form of Acleris hastiana - would colleagues agree? Also caught March Moth, Early Grey, Small Quaker, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, Epiphyas postvittana and Tortricodes alternella, so nicely up and running for the year.

Acleris species?

 Not sure about this one from last night. Approx. 10mm in length.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Radnage, Bucks

Ched George ran a Heath trap in his Radnage garden on 19th February and got an Agonopterix sp., Pale Brindled Beauty, Early Moth and Chestnut, while a Robinson MV run last night brought in Tortricodes alternella, Small Brindled Beauty, Oak Beauty & Grey Shoulder-knot.  The Small Brindled Beauty was a first ever for Ched's garden.  The three macro-moths from the 20th are shown below, accompanied by the Early Moth from the previous night.



My post shares the name of NASA's wonderful (and insect-like) Mars Rover because of the photographic obstacle race I ran this morning to get a clear image of this Acleris cristana, known to me as the Lizard Moth because it appears to have one on its back. Top left was the familiar, useless image from inside the bowl, top left a better effort with the trap moved into the darkness of the shed. My ensuing attempt to entice the moth on to an egg box ended with its escape but I tracked it to a window. Here, however, the image was even worse. Almost in despair, I persuaded it on to a piece of thin paper. It scuttled underneath but stayed put when I turned the paper over. Result!

Incidentally, Penny made the interesting comment on the two right-hand images: "You can tell which is male and which is female, from the way they have folded their wings." This human habit with jackets has always baffled me - does anyone know its origins? - but these images are all of the same moth. So my second question is: does this species - and indeed others - fold its/their wings both ways for reasons either known or unknown?

My only other moth this morning was my first Dotted Border, but I forgot to light the trap until 11pm.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Moths not in the moth trap

I ran the moth trap on Thursday 18th but despite the warm(er) temperature, there were no moths.  

In an effort to find some other insect life, I went out onto Naphill Common (walked there! in case the polis are reading).

 I tried beating some Yew (Taxus baccata) and to my surprise found some moths.

The first was this splendid  Oak Nycteoline (Nycteola revayana), which I did not realise overwinters in evergreens.  


I also found this large micro (length c10mm) which I'm struggling to place.  I think it might be Ypsolopha ustella (....can be tapped from dense vegitation in winter... Sterling & Parsons, 2012), but not sure? Suggestions most welcome! 

Neil Fletcher

Walter's Ash, VC24

Possible Dark Chestnut

Along with 3 Common Quakers (spring must be on its way!), there were 2 Chestnuts in last night's garden trap. However, I thought the individual shown below might be a candidate for Dark Chestnut rather than Chestnut? I never find it very easy to separate these two, despite all the advice given in the books and on this blog.
Steve Trigg, Cookham

Friday, 19 February 2021

Westcott, Bucks

It has been very quiet here of late.  However this year's garden list has crawled up to 16 species (nine macro-moths) which I suppose isn't too bad.  It is in fact already far better than the start of 2013 when I'd seen only six macro-moths by the end of February and just nine by the end of March!  

Way back on the 5th I disturbed Agonopterix arenella in the garden during the daytime and that same night the actinic brought in yet another Pale Brindled Beauty.  We then had that very cold snap and the light was rested until the 15th when Agonopterix heracliana (4), Pale Brindled Beauty (1), Spring Usher (1) & Chestnut (1) appeared.  The 16th brought in Agonopterix heracliana (1) again, along with March Moth (1) & Pale Brindled Beauty (1), but the two subsequent nights produced nothing at all although I did find singletons of Mompha epilobiella and Mompha jurassicella indoors on the 17th.


The two Agonopterix species above are arenella (from the 5th) on the left and heracliana (one of those from the 15th) on the right. The latter will eventually be given a closer inspection to confirm but I've never yet found the confusion species Agonopterix ciliella here (indeed I've only seen it once or twice anywhere in Bucks so it seems to be very uncommon locally).  The latter is generally a slightly larger species, usually with a pinkish hue to its undersides which stands out well if you look at the moth inside a pot.  The accepted way of telling them apart is by counting the number of lines through the cilia on the hind-wings but I find this to be difficult and open to misinterpretation.  There are other Agonopterix species which over-winter as adults in the garden here and if the weather is suitable I'd expect to see alstromeriana & ocellana in the near future and maybe purpurea & subpropinquella too.   

March Moth, Westcott 15th February

If you can find a sheltered spot out of the wind the next few nights are looking promising so far as temperature is concerned and there would appear to be a minor Saharan dust event forecast for the weekend which might suggest the possibility of migrant activity. 

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks    

Thursday, 18 February 2021


 Finally had some moths on Tuesday night, a few Pale Brindled Beautys and a brace of Spring Ushers so I'll post one of those just to break the thread...

Also had this caterpillar on the wall, can anyone help with an id?

Dave Morris

Seer Green

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Tesco Bonus

Doing my parent's shopping this evening had an added bonus when I found this Pale Brindled Beauty sitting on my car. Tesco superstore car park in Gerrards Cross (other supermarkets are available).

Robert Payne

Almost a horde

Goodness, a multitude!  After almost forgetting what a moth looks like, I had a veritable crowd last night, the first mild one for ages. I hope that I'm right in ID-ing them as Pale Brindled Beauties above and Small Brindled Beauties below, with a Chestnut to add to the colour tones. Most of the moths were already on the wall near the trap at 11pm and only two actually went inside; a Pale Brindled Beauty and the Chestnut.  In spite of early morning rain, all the 'wall' moths were still snoozing away at 8.30am.

Separately, a very big thank you to Martin Townsend for confirming my iRecord moths and offering excellent advice on improving my use of the system.   Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

Privet miner

I found a whole Garden Privet hedge of miners a few weeks ago near the vilage church and yesterday I took a specimen.  I've looked in lots of places and I can't give it a name that I'm happy with. I'm fairly sure that it is a lepidoptera, the general shape is similar to the Leucoptera but without the markings.  The frass is generally distributed and it is mining the upper surface.  Any help would be much appreciated.


Grendon Underwood

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Maidenhead 2020 moth report from Les Finch and Martin Finch

The latest moth report by Les Finch and Martin Finch is now available from the BMG website, covering the results from their garden trapping in Maidenhead. It includes lots of fascinating information and analysis, looking at changes in patterns of moth numbers and flight periods in relation to temperature, wind, rainfall and more. Well worth a read, and see how it compares to your own trapping experience last year.

Kitchen visitor


My best guess for this little visitor to our kitchen, the second moth of my year after a Pale Brindled Beauty in the light trap, is Tortricodes alternella.  My best guesses are usually wrong, but let's see.  Help much appreciated.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon