Sunday, 30 May 2021

Help with IDs please

Suggestions for the first one have been Grass Rivulet and Sandy Carpet? 

I feel I should know the second micro moth!

As for the two on a stone- Cabbage and Large Nutmeg? Possibly?!

Many thanks!

Muslin moth

Another Muslin with slightly odd wing pattern (from Goring Heath, south Oxon).  Also last night a lovely fresh Chocolate Tip, only the second for the garden. 

IDs please & some varients

 A mico for ID please.

Then it may be because I'm only starting to see them, but a few slightly less usual specimens of very common moths. I don't think I've had many Shuttle Shaped Darts that look like this one.

I think this is the smartest and possibly largest Treble Lines I've seen for a while.

Finally following on from Martin Townsend's post on Muslin Moths here's my offering.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Hairy beasts

Last night's moth trap managed to bring in 18 species, including some with spectacular lockdown haircuts 😄

Peppered Moth

Pale Tussock

Muslin Moth

Privet Hawk-moth

Micro help needed

 I'm sure I should know this one but can't seem to place it. 10mm in length.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Aethes tesserana

While carrying out a plant survey yesterday in the northern corner of the second meadow at BC's Holtspur Bottom nature reserve near Beaconsfield in Bucks, John Folkard found an example of this very smart-looking tortrix.  It is supposedly common and found on chalk grassland sites across the Chilterns but its preference for flying in the daytime presumably explains the fact that this is only the eighth post-millennium record for the county.


Friday, 28 May 2021

Struggling with these two...

I suspect this may be a male Elachista canapennella, but FL seems wrong at 6-7 mm

 My initial thought on tis was Prays ruficeps, because of the orange head but I'm pretty sure it isn't. FL ~5 mm.

Any suggestions welcome!!


Phil T

Experimental Away Trap

I ran a couple of MV lights in Bernwood Forest for three hours last night just to see what might be around.  The conditions were kind after a warm day, the temperature staying in double digits under cloud cover which also hid that bright moon, but I didn't really expect much on the first half-decent night of the month as I suspect it will take a few weeks of decent weather for things to get back to "normal".  Both traps were run in Oakley Wood, one of them in the main area of birch with Scarce Prominent in mind but the moth must have finished its flight season already because none appeared (I've never recorded it beyond the second week of May so it was always going to be an unlikely find last night).

31 species put in an appearance but only six of them were micros.  New sightings for me this year included Aspilapteryx tringipennella, Ancylis mitterbacheriana, Epinotia immundana, Pammene argyrana, Cream Wave, Broken-barred Carpet, Dwarf Pug, Clouded Border, Tawny-barred Angle, Scalloped Hazel, Grey Birch & Orange Footman. 

Ancylis mitterbacheriana, Oakley Wood 27th May

Cream Wave, Oakley Wood 27th May

Grey Birch, Oakley Wood 27th May

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks   

Cauchas fibulella

Cauchas fibulella has now started flying in my garden. 3 individuals were spotted on germander speedwell early this afternoon.
Steve Trigg, Cookham

Deceased Micro

Very poor catch last night here at Tilehurst.
3 Light Brown Apples
2 Shuttle-shaped Darts
1 Poplar Hawkmoth
1 Light Brocade
1 Tachystola acroxantha
1 Common Plume
1 Faded Pug (Too hard for me to identify)
4 Cockchafers: 1 Caddisfly: 1 Ichneumon Wasp.
Plus this deceased Micro. Is it possible to identify please.

Mrs Muslin

Things continue at a snail's pace here - literally on Wednesday night (above) but I always find the variations of the Muslin moth interesting, such as the 'eyed' one on the left, below. Muslins were my only visitor that night apart from a lot of Green Carpets and they set me thinking - I have never seen a female one. I am sure someone on this blog will have and I'd be interested to know the circumstances. Apparently they almost always fly by day and rarely come to light. Mind you, knowing me, I might have mistaken one casually for a White Ermine, with their background colouring being white.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Longhorn Query.

Found this today in my garden in Tilehurst and not really sure of the species. I would say the FL was approx 6mm and the antenna approx 9mm. Any help would be appreciated  as this is a first for me.

State of play in Berkshire

It feels like a very slow start to the mothing year, and a quick check of the records for Berkshire shows that we currently well behind where we were at this time in 2020. Last year had a combination of warm spring weather and lots of people recording in their gardens during lockdown, this year we've had colder weather and probably less attempts at recording moths. In any case, there is certainly a difference coming through in the records.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Day-flying micros

I left the CUL pheromone (for Large Red-belted Clearwing, which should be flying now) in a trap within a large area of birch in Oakley Wood, Bernwood Forest for 90 minutes over lunch-time today while carrying out a butterfly transect at the opposite end of the site, but nothing came to the lure.  However, I did see a few micros while there, including Adela reaumurella, Cauchas rufimitrella, Glyphipterix simpliciella, Coleophora lutarea, Hysterophora maculosana & Lathronympha strigana.  Most were sitting around on their larval food-plants.  

Glyphipterix simpliciella, Bernwood 26th May

Coleophora lutarea, Bernwood 26th May

Hysterophora maculosana, Bernwood 26th May

It was certainly good to find Coleophora lutarea again after its discovery here in 2019 (a UK Scarce Notable B list species anyway, but definitely rare in Bucks).  I spent some time looking at Greater Stitchwort but didn't find any cases of the other Coleophoriids which use the plant.  The tortrix Hysterophora maculosana is associated with bluebells and should therefore be fairly common in Bucks but the number of VC records is only just into double figures so it really must be under-recorded.  This is the first time I've seen it in Bernwood although there are a couple of previous records from the site.

In the afternoon I had another transect to do, this time in Finemere Wood, but by then it had clouded over and I managed to see no butterflies there at all (probably a first for me in May!).  However, once again there were a few day-flying moths around, with Green Carpet and Cinnabar active alongside micros Micropterix aruncella, Cauchas rufimitrella, Glyphipterix simpliciella, Elachista canapennella & Grapholita jungiella.  The Micropterix aruncella and Elachista canapennella (two females of the latter species) were swept from speedwell while searching unsuccessfully for Cauchas fibulella which does live here but presumably hasn't emerged yet.

Micropterix aruncella, Finemere 26th May

Cauchas rufimitrella, Finemere 26th May

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks     

Monday, 24 May 2021

Toadflax Brocade

 Found half a dozen larvae last year and gave them various bits of rotting tree bark/cardboard to pupate on (and with!). The first adult emerged last night or this morning - certainly a first for me. Makes up for some of this months poor numbers.

On another matter, am I likely to see Small Waved Umber near Chesham/Berkhamsted/Tring? Feel it ought to be here on chalk, but never seen it.


Sunday, 23 May 2021

Pyrausta nigrata

While photographing orchids at the BBOWT reserve at Homefield Wood. I found this Pyrausta nigrata sitting solidly on Speedwell trying to stay dry in the showers. 

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Westcott, Bucks

I imagine that things are little different here to everyone else's experience at the moment, with some diversity of species but quantities still very low indeed.  Very disappointing really.  Here are the garden results from the past week:

     (15th)  12 moths of 7 species.  Cnephasia sp. & Poplar Hawk-moth were new for the year-list.  The Cnephasia looks good for communana and that is invariably the first species of the group to appear here each year, but will of course have to be dissected for confirmation. 
     (16th)  26 moths of 14 species.  Syndemis musculana, Buff-tip & White Ermine were new for the year.  A couple of batches of very small larvae of Yponomeuta cagnagella were found during the daytime in webs on our garden Spindle. 
     (17th)  15 moths of 11 species.  Cochylichroa (was Cochylis) atricapitana & Treble Lines were new for the year.  
     (18th)  15 moths of 8 species.  A nice fresh Green Carpet & Spectacle were new for the year.  The latter was quite a dark example but still Spectacle rather than Dark Spectacle.
     (19th)  5 moths of 5 species but there was nothing new for the year-list. 
     (20th)  1 moth of 1 species.  A single Agonopterix arenella was tempted out by the light and found resting on the nearby garden fence.
     (21st)  No moths, even though - as on the 20th - the trap was full of Diptera and Trichoptera despite the strong winds and rain.  I did see a noctuid fly past me at great speed when I went to check the trap at 10pm but it obviously escaped the light (or fell foul of the bat combat air patrol).  

Larvae of Yponomeuta cagnagella, Westcott 16th May

Syndemis musculana, Westcott 16th May

Green Carpet, Westcott 18th May

Spectacle, Westcott 18th May

One species that seems to be doing better than most here at the moment is Pebble Prominent, as can be seen from the (posed) picture below.  My first example of the year appeared on the 13th and since then I've had a further 17 of them.  

Pebble Prominents, Westcott 17th May

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks  

Friday, 21 May 2021

Dewick's Plusia

Last Sunday 16th May Robert Manasse in Padbury had an early Dewick's Plusia to his garden trap.  This is still an excellent record for Bucks where sightings of the species have only just got into double digits after the first for the county appeared in August 2018. 

Edit:  a misunderstanding here!  Robert tells me that this visitor to his garden was actually on 16th September last year, but still a very good record.  DW  

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Chamomile Shark

Although I'm still catching only a small number of moths each time I run the traps, a few new-for-the-year species are turning up, and the occasional new-for-the-garden species, too.

Monday night added Seraphim, Least Black Arches, Waved Umber, Common Pug and Epiphyas postvittana onto the year-list and a Powdered Quaker put in probably its final appearance of the year.

Wednesday night's haul added some fresh-looking moths: Green Carpet, Garden Carpet and Lime Hawk-moth; the latter putting in only its second appearance ever.  Various social activities and domestic chores today meant that some of the moths spent the day in the fridge.  Finishing the job at the end of the afternoon, I realised I also had a Pale Tussock and a moth which I'm pretty sure is my first Chamomile Shark. The moth had lost much of its "shark's fin", though the black lines do still run into the fringes: I've added a close-up of the fringes just to be sure.

Chamomile Shark. Newton Longville 19 May 2021

Compared to last year - when good weather coincided with lockdown - most of the species I have mentioned above seem to be appearing about two weeks later this year.  Some of them (Least Black Arches, Waved Umber and Epiphyas postvittana) are up to five weeks later.  But many species just haven't turned up at all so far.

In the first 19 days of May 2020, I caught 75 species; in the same period in 2021 I caught only 30 species with a similar amount of trapping effort.  April 2021 was even worse compared to 2020, so overall I have had about half the number of species in 2021 compared to 2020 (52 vs. 99).  The number of individual moths caught in April and May this year is about one third of last year's figure.

Tim Arnold
Newton Longville, Bucks

E-moth Newsletter

The May edition of BC's "E-moth" newsletter is now available to download here.

Birthday lures

I promised my grandchildren yesterday that I would put their entomological birthday cards into the trap last night and - hey Presto! My first two hawk moths arrived. Very unusually in my experience, one was resting on the grass outside the trap, unmolested by birds although a conspicuous object to the human eye.

This belated debut contrasts with last year when I had recorded all my regular hawks except the Privet and Hummingbird  by 21 May - that's Poplar, Eyed, Lime, Pine, Elephant and Small Elephant - and the first Poplar came on the night of 25 April. 

To find a later debut than this year's, I have to go back to 2013, our first Summer here after moving from Leeds, when the first hawk, also a Poplar, arrived on 22 May. Since then, the dates have been (from 2014) May 2, 1, 12, 6, 7 and 10. 

Looking at other records, I get the impression that last year was the exception, but arrivals here do continue to be very slow. Apart from the hawks, there were only three Muslin moths and a Rustic Shoulder-knot in last night's trap.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Lychnis or Campion?

It's come to something when a major cause for excitement in a catch is your first Heart and Dart of the year. It's been slooow for weeks in my garden in Wolvercote, Oxfordshire; but there are a few signs of life now, including the individual below. The Lychnis/Campion pairing I've always had trouble with; I'm inclined to call this one a Lychnis (kidney and oval separate? no hint of marbling? outer cross-line looks about right?), but I'm very willing to be corrected.

Possible Lychnis, 17/5/21

Steve Goddard

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Pammene trauniana

Ryan Clark took a walk in the daytime along a bridleway hedgerow to the south-west of Aylesbury on 17th May and found the smart moth below resting on Field Maple.  It is Pammene trauniana, currently only the second record for Bucks after one in May 1999 from the Milton Keynes area.  

A rare species, the moth is very similar indeed to the rather common Pammene regiana but according to both MoGBI Vol.5(2) and Chris Lewis's British Lepidoptera site the two can be distinguished by looking at their costal strigulae (the yellow and black marks along the outer wing edge).  In the case of trauniana the yellow areas are usually larger than the black, although there are some of both species where these markings are more of a half-way house and will need dissection to separate.

Saturday, 15 May 2021


A very small catch at the museum last night; mainly Green Carpets, but a couple of moths with impressive quiffs, 

a Mullein, which is new to me in the adult form, and this one which I'm not 100% sure about, if someone could confirm or deny?

- eta overhead view

(also NFY were Coxcomb and Pebble Prominents)

Dave Morris, Chalfont St Giles