Thursday, 22 March 2018

Common plume


Many thanks for your feedback.

Hopefully better picture of Ypsolopha mucronella taken on 14/15 March. Sorry still  on bark.

Common plume taken on same night. Photo on plain paper background, still glared. Perhaps try light brown cardboard or piece of white muslin?

Alan Diver,

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Westcott, Bucks

Nine species had turned up to the conservatory windows here by midnight last night (when I turned off the twin-30wt actinic light), including Agonopterix ocellana, Emmelina monodactyla and Twin-spotted Quaker which were new for this year's garden list.  Agonopterix ocellana is another of the more colourful species from that family which over-winters as an adult.  Two Twin-spotted Quakers turned up and included one of the less well-marked forms.

Agonopterix ocellana, Westcott 16th March

Twin-spotted Quakers, Westcott 16th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Friday, 16 March 2018

Acleris cristana?

Got my first Hebrew Character of the season and also this - which I think is Acleris cristana in a fairly distinct form - can someone confirm? If so it will be my first new moth of the year.

It has a large raised tuft on each wing in the middle. I've potted it up so if further pictures are required or dissection it's ready for that. 

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Water carpet etc

These moths came to light 14/15 March with others.

I think I have idea of ID but more than happy to be corrected.

Water carpet

Ypsolopha mucronella

Northern drab

Sparkly caterpillar

Alan Diver Tackley

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Small Eggar

Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris is a scarce species in the UK and is thought still to be in decline.  In our area the moth seems to be confined to the west of Oxfordshire and the very north of Bucks but even there it is rarely recorded, perhaps in part because of its very early flight period.  Some of you may recall that I was lucky enough to stumble upon a larval nest on a mixed hawthorn and blackthorn hedge near Olney in Bucks at the beginning of June last year.  I liberated a dozen caterpillars to rear through at home and the first of them emerged today, this lovely female.  Looks like I shall have to take a trip up north again to try and find her a mate!

Small Eggar, 15th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Finemere Wood

I had a reasonable result from two MV lights at Finemere last night, where it was quite warm and nicely sheltered from the wind.  941 moths of 20 species were seen in the allotted three hours.  If I'd hung around for another half hour I would easily have passed the 1,000 mark because Small Quakers were still coming in thick and fast as I packed up.  The full list is as follows, yet again a poor showing from the micros with just one exception (I had thought Diurnea fagella at least would have appeared there by now):  Tortricodes alternella (59), Yellow Horned (81), March Moth (33), Shoulder Stripe (6), Small Brindled Beauty (19), Pale Brindled Beauty (1), Oak Beauty (32), Spring Usher (1), Dotted Border (3), Engrailed (1), Red Chestnut (1), Small Quaker (482), Lead-coloured Drab (2), Clouded Drab (13), Common Quaker (153), Twin-spotted Quaker (10), Hebrew Character (2), Satellite (3), Chestnut (39) & Dotted Chestnut (1).  Neither of the Lead-coloured Drabs was at all well marked but it is the antennae in the picture below which clinches the ID.  Small Quaker is probably close to reaching its peak at Finemere but Common Quaker should still have a way to go yet.

Lead-coloured Drab, Finemere Wood 14th March

Dotted Chestnut, Finemere Wood 14th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Beautiful plume

Hi Dave,

Many thanks for your comment.

I thought the colouring on my moth might have been too warm for amblyptilia punctidactyla?

Does this cropped image help?


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Small Quaker?

I put my trap out last night and caught 11 moths. Oak Beauty 6 (only 5 wanted to be photographed!), Dotted Border 1, Hebrew Character 1 and Small Quaker 3. I just wanted to double check that they are Small Quaker.
Small Quaker?

Oak Beauties

Hebrew Character
 Many thanks

Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxon

Beautiful plume?

As a newcomer exciting night last night. 4 Species, 3 new to me.

3 Common Quaker, which I've had before, a Small Quaker,  2 Hebrew character moths, and, I think, a Beautiful plume.

Common Quaker and Small Quaker (right)

Hebrew character moths

Beautiful plume

Alan Diver

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Melanic Dotted Border

Last night's additions to the garden year-list comprised Agonopterix alstromeriana and Small Quaker, taking it up to 20 species which is about the average for mid-March.  I also got a melanic form of Dotted Border which seems to be something a little unusual.  This was a first for the garden (out of 180 sightings over 14 years), although I have recorded it three or four times previously in local woodland.

Agonopterix alstromeriana, Westcott 12th March

Dotted Border ab. fuscata, Westcott 12th March

It looks as though we'll have to make the most of the weather over the next few nights before things turn cold again by the weekend.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

Monday, 12 March 2018

First new arrival for 2018

I didn't expect a completely new addition to the garden list so early in the year, but this smart example of Acleris literana was a very welcome arrival last night.  I've seen it about ten times at assorted sites in Bucks since one recorded at Rushbeds Wood in 2009, but this was a first for the garden here at Westcott.  According to John Langmaid's map (and therefore the tiny distribution map in the micro field guide) this species is found in just about every county in England apart from Bucks!  However, that is actually an "administrative error" because, as correctly annotated below John's map, the first for VC24 was seen by the late George Higgs in 1971 and there have been about 60 further sightings in the county since then.

Acleris literana, Westcott 11th March

Despite heavy rain for much of last night I still managed to get into double figures again, the remainder of the catch being Shoulder Stripe (1), Common Quaker (6), Clouded Drab (2) & Hebrew Character (2).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


One each of Oak beauty, March moth and Common Quaker last night.

Alan Diver.