Sunday, 10 December 2017

Snow cats in the Chilterns

Wasn't really expecting to see moths today, but did find caterpillars in numbers! I never knew Large Yellow Underwing caterpillars had a fondness for snow-top excursions, but it seems to be a known behaviour, at least in America. See this blog post for further details.

A caterpillar curled up on the snow after I disturbed it

The dark speck in the middle of the lower part of this
photo is a Large Yellow Underwing caterpillar, honest!

Friday, 8 December 2017

See, amid the Winter snow

Last night and this morning in Thrupp.  Thank Goodness that December Moths are well wrapped-up! Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Red-line Quaker

My last Red-line Quaker sighting this year was on 2nd November so this specimen in the garden last night was rather unexpected, more than a month later.  I have had one other December record (7th December 2016, one day later) so it isn't entirely without precedent here, but noteworthy all the same.

Red-line Quaker, Westcott 6th December

Despite the relative warmth, ever-increasing wind overnight from Storm Caroline was probably the reason why December Moth (1) and Winter Moth (3) were the only other moths which came to the actinic light.  The forecast suggests that it is now time to go back into hibernation for at least a week or so! 

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Tinea pellionella?

Tried running the trap within the garage and got a nice December moth and Light Brown Apple Moth so it seems to work for me.

Also found this inside the house - can it be ID'd as Tinea pellionella?

If it needs it's bits checked can someone tell me how I need to prepare it and and where to send it?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Monday, 4 December 2017

Westcott, Bucks

I ran the actinic light in the conservatory here from dusk until 10.30pm last night, when the sky cleared to reveal that very bright moon, and in that time 16 moths had appeared at the windows:  December Moth (5, including two females), Winter Moth (7), Mottled Umber (2) & Dark Chestnut (1) along with what I thought in the dark was a faded Scarce Umber but on reflection in daylight now looks much more like a small, poorly marked and very early Dotted Border.  There is one other December record for Dotted Border in Bucks, from exactly the same date in 2004.  Unlike Mottled Umber which may go on until February, the flight period locally for Scarce Umber is usually only about four weeks long and almost all of my records are confined to November.  This year I had my first in the garden on 31st October so theoretically it should be over here by now anyway.

Westcott, 3rd December

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 2 December 2017

When do you trap in winter?

Hope this is ok to post.

As per the title when do you trap in winter? What is the lowest temperature that it's worth putting the trap out for?

I've had a series of no show trappings - I didn't trap last week but I'm wondering if I'm attempting the impossible due to the temperature.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Links to help with identification of Winter Moth and Northern Winter Moth

I posted this as a comment to Steve Trigg's question below, but the links don't work in comments, so I'm repeating it here - these are links to comparison images for Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) and Northern Winter Moth (Operophtera fagata).

Main thing to look for is that Northern Winter Moth is a bit larger and paler (especially on the hindwing) than Winter Moth (but as ever worn specimens can be confusing). Check the undersides as well. If you can find the females they a bit easier to distinguish: both have reduced wings but Northern Winter's wings are less reduced than Winter.

And as Dave said below, Northern Winter is more closely tied to Birch and Alder trees, while Winter Moth feeds on a wider range of trees and shrubs.

The specimen images on Lepiforum suggest that the underside of Northern Winter is noticeably paler than the underside of 'normal' Winter Moth, which may be a useful clue for moths on windows!