Monday, 31 March 2014

Crackers amongst the Quakers

Had a good night with the Robinson trap in my garden in Sonning last night - 30th March - dozens of Quakers and 11 macro-spp in total, including Oak Nycteoline and Pine Beauty. Also the best night so far this year for micros including Agonopterix alstromeriana, Tachystola acroxantha, Eriocrania subpurpurella and Emmelina monodactyla.
Oak Nycteoline

Pine Beauty
My garden trap (mid-Bucks) was unusually productive on Sunday night, and ended up with a total of 83 macro-moths of 14 species, which feels a bit more like spring has started! Martin Harvey

Dotted Chestnut - first in the garden since 2010

Grey Shoulder-knot - first in the garden since 2009 and only the third I've seen here

Back to trapping

It didn't seem worth putting the trap out much of the last fortnight, and I was away over the last weekend, but we did put it out last night and had a reasonable catch: 28 individuals of ten species, several of them new for the year. They included a couple of very impressive Early Thorns and what I'm pretty confident were a Double-striped Pug and a Brindled Beauty. There were at least three Clouded Drabs, too, and I suspect the individual I've posted below is just another one, but as it looked slightly different, I thought I'd put it up in case it's considered a possible Lead-coloured... Steve and Xander Goddard

Early Thorn, 30/3/14

Brindled Beauty, 30/3/14

Double-striped Pug, 30/3/14

Drab sp., 30/3/14

Drab sp., 30/3/14

Stepping Up a Gear in Central Oxford

The arrival of the warm weather has meant that suddenly the mothing in my central Oxford urban garden has stepped up a gear. I've gone from catches of single digits up to the giddy heights of 27 moths yesterday. As well as the usual fare there were lots of Double-striped Pugs, 2 Early Thorns and a couple of garden firsts with a Herald and a Small Quaker. I can also report lots of Scarlet Tiger larvae in the garden over the weekend.

Adam Hartley

Lots of Double-striped Pugs suddenly

One of two Early Thorns

Sadly this Herald (a garden first) has seen better days

My first Small Quaker for the garden as well

Little Wittenham (VC 22)

No epic trans-county journeying for me, in fact I travelled very little distance but did manage some vice-county hopping instead: only stayed out for 2 hours at Little Wittenham Woods, but saw a fair number of moths. Flame Shoulder was new for the year and am fairly sure my earliest record for this species. Was nice to finally catch up with a couple of Pine Beauties among the usual crowd. Marc Botham, Benson

Salcey Forest

From one end of Bucks to the other ... last night it was the turn of Salcey Forest to get an early trapping session (the site is all in present-day Northants although for recording purposes the south-east corner, my destination, lies within VC24).  The usual three hour session with two MV lights produced well over 700 moths of 30 species but the only new ones for me this year were Semioscopis steinkellneriana, Pammene giganteana, Water Carpet, Red-green Carpet and White-marked.  As Marc noted yesterday, White-marked is a very nice moth to get and it is worth looking closely at any worn Red Chestnuts.  Back home at Westcott it was surprising that anything reached my actinic trap because at least four Brown Long-eared Bats were constantly on patrol around the light.  14 species did make it through, though, including singletons of Caloptilia rufipennella (the less common orangey-brown spotty form), Agonopterix arenella and Powdered Quaker.  Dave Wilton

White-marked at Salcey Forest (VC24) 30th March
Water Carpet at Salcey Forest (VC24) 30th March
Caloptilia rufipennella at Westcott, Bucks 30th March

Double Striped Pug?

Good night last night, 1 Early grey, 14 Small Quaker, 17 Common Quaker, 7 Clouded Drab, 1 Twin Spot Quaker, 9 Hebrew Character, 1 Angle Shades,, 1 Early Thorn and two pugs.Unfortunately the decent specimen (the other was very worn) flew off before I could pot and measure it. Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Busy in Thrupp

Much abundance here in Thrupp, Oxon, on the last and lovely warm night of March. Three newcomers for my Robinson trap this year were the Early Thorn and Brindled Pug, above, as well as my first Pine Beauty of 2014.

The tally overall was 92 moths plus two caddis flies: 38 Common Quaker, 18 Clouded Drab, 12 Hebrew Character, 12 Small Quaker, four Early Grey, two March Moth, two Oak Beauty, two Brindled Pug, one Early Thorn, one Pine Beauty, one Red Chestnut, one Emmelina monodactyla and one small and grubby micro which I am working on.  Martin Wainwright.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Seer Green

Looking at other's recent posts, it certainly seems that Streamers have emerged, and that includes in my garden last night. Also new for the garden year list was Diurnea fagella and a brace of Double-striped Pugs in a total of 12 moths of 9 species.

Dave Morris


Had a session at Warburg last night: 29 species. Lots of Common Quaker, 242 counted and inevitably many missed. Moth of the night for me was White-marked, which is first of the year for me but also first time I've recorded it at Warburg, and was also nice to see three completely differently marked Acleris literana. Also had first Streamer of year, Semioscopis steinkellneriana and Nut-tree Tussock also being first for 2014 for me as well. Pinion club membership consolidated as well with a nice darkly marked Pale Pinion. Like Dave W was also nice to see Herald and another Dotted Chestnut (also in  garden trap in Benson - have had quite a few this year). Having seen that Frosted Green is now out I should have liked to achieve something I have yet never managed which is to catch Frosted Green and Yellow Horned in same trap: last night had a singleton of latter but none of the former. In garden trap there was also another pair of Ypsolopha mucronella, but despite what seemed a brilliant night, the garden trap was otherwise a little disappointing. Marc Botham, Benson

White-marked, Warburg NR, 29/03/2014

Micros at the kitchen window

The warmer evenings are certainly bringing the moths out. I had 4 different micros come to rest on my kitchen window in Cookham last night - Emmelina monodactyla, Alucita hexadactyla, Agonopterix heracliana (earlier comments re this species duly noted) and finally what I believe to be Ypsolopha mucronella. This is a new moth for me, so I include 2 photos, and would appreciate it if someone could confirm my id.

Steve Trigg

Lead coloured drab

I can show details of Lead coloured drab in these pictures of one i got in Finemere last night, if this is any help, Mark.  Dave Maunder

I.d. needed if possible, please!

Is the micro Caloptilia stigmatella, found in my garden trap this morning? Any ideas welcome! Also i think the pug is Double striped, but not sure. Thanks! Dave Maunder

Holtspur Bottom

A couple of MV lights run last night at our own Holtspur Bottom reserve (near Beaconsfield, Bucks) produced just over 180 moths of 23 species in the allotted three hours, of which the highlight was undoubtedly what seems to be the first ever March record for Scorched Carpet in Bucks.  The only other species of note were Agonopterix purpurea, Agonopterix alstromeriana and my first sightings of StreamerPurple Thorn, Angle Shades and Nut-tree Tussock this season.  It was also nice to see Dotted Chestnut putting in appearances at both traps.  Back home at Westcott the highlight in the overnight garden actinic trap was not one Herald but three of them!  Dave Wilton

Scorched Carpet at Holtspur Bottom, Bucks 29th March
Herald at Westcott, Bucks 29th March

Another Clouded Drab?

Largest catch so far this year for my 40w Actinic Heath trap, I definitely had something new this morning, looked vaguely like a carpet but it was off before I could get a proper look. 21 Common Quaker, 2 Small Quaker, 4 Early Greys, 10 Hebrew Characters, 6 or 7 Clouded Drabs.

There was one I thought was different but having looked at it again I think it's another Clouded Drab but I'd appreciate a confirmation.

Still wondering about the one that got away!

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Saturday, 29 March 2014

More moths from Finemere

I spent a couple of hours with my actinic skinner at the turning circle in Finemere woods tonight with my daughter Rebecca, and had a reasonable catch, which included :- Frosted green (1), Lead coloured drab (1), Small quaker (35), Common quaker (20), Hebrew character (1), Chestnut moth (5), Early thorn (3), Oak beauty (1), Small brindled beauty (3), Shoulder stripe (1), March moth (5), Brindled pug (4), Engrailed moth (2), Tortricodes alternella (1), and Diurnea fagella (4).  Rebecca's first time out with me mothing, and she really enjoyed it!   Dave Maunder

Some IDs please

Ran the trap last night for the first time for a week or so. I think I had an Emmelina monodactyla plus possibly two Small Quakers - and just maybe a lead coloured drab. I've attached pictures of these three (two pics of the Drab in different light). Plus 4 Hebrew Characters, 1 Early Grey, 6 Common Quakers and 3 or 4 Clouded Drabs. Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Better GMS

At last, a decent catch in my Seer Green garden (OK 8 moths, but it feels so good!!!).

1 x Small Quaker (NFY)
1 x Common Quaker
2 x Hebrew Character
1 x Brindled Pug (NFY)
1 x March Moth (NFY) and two months later than my first last season...
1 x Emmelina monodactyla (NFY)
1 x Shoulder Stripe (NFY):

Dave Morris

Friday, 28 March 2014

Micro Moth Distribution Maps

For those of you that wonder about micro-moth distribution maps, John Langmaid and Mark Young's maps are slowly being digitized. Although we use our beloved County Recorders to ask about Upper Thames County Firsts, this will help seeing the overall status of a species, or if you find an unusual one when you go abroad to strange foreign places like Northants. The pdf's are the original paper maps and then you will see some have been digitised too. This process is on-going as and when funds allow.

Peter Hall

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Not so drab Drabs!

Thought i'd post a photo to show differences between Clouded drab and Lead coloured drab, both trapped in Finemere woods last Sunday. Dave Maunder

Puss moth pupae

I was checking my overwintering pupae this afternoon, and thought people might like to see the size difference between male and female Puss moth pupae; you can tell the sexes from checking the antennae cases, which are broader in the male to house the larger plumed antennae; also the female has a plumper body, presumably to house the eggs she has stored inside.  Dave Maunder

'Twin-spotted' Quaker

Following an exchange on an earlier blog describing the annoying habit of Clouded Drab to sometimes possess dark almost twin-spots and Twin-spotted Quaker to belie it's name by almost lacking them, I thought I'd attach a photo of an individual of the latter species displaying exactly that character. Not the best image and the pot I kept it overnight contained moisture it appears and has darkened one wing tip, but you can just make out the very faint twin-spots if you squint hard enough :). Marc Botham, Benson

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Light and shade

Things are quiet here in Thrupp, Oxon, but I just wondered if anyone could help me with this one which stayed last night. Might it be a Dark Chestnut?  Martin Wainwright

Friday, 21 March 2014

Tawny Pinion

Tawny Pinion at MV light in garden last night. First garden record and actually first ever record for me as this has been very much a bogey species. In fact I was ambling round my trap last night in the sodden grass at about 11pm trying to pick up the wind scattered Hebrew Characters and Common Quakers and grumbling to myself about how I was never going to see a Tawny Pinion. Having checked the contents of the trap that point seemed once again proven, but as I started grumpily heading back to the house I noticed a pinion-like moth clinging to some grass. I was pessimistic that it was going to be a Pale Pinion, but finally a Tawny. Seems like these two species are having a good season so far. Happy trapping. Marc Botham, Benson

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Melanic Brindled Pug?

The trap in my Cookham garden last night yielded 10 Common Quaker, 7 Hebrew Character, 6 Early Grey, 5 Clouded Drab and singles of Small Quaker, Diurnea fagella and a pug. While it looks nothing like Adam's picture in the earlier post, I think it is a Brindled Pug but the dark form. But a second opinion would be very welcome. Here is a photo -

Steve Trigg

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Getting Started for the Year

I've finally got round to getting the trap out for the year and have the first few moths in my central Oxford garden to show for my efforts. So far it's just the usual spring moths with Hebrew Character dominating plus Common Quaker, Clouded Drab and Early Grey. I also had my first Pug of the year with a Brindled Pug on my garden shed.

Adam Hartley

Brindled Pug (I think - please correct me if I'm wrong)

Re: Presumed Pale Pinion

I'm pleased to say that I belatedly rejoined the Pinion club last night with my first sighting of one since 2010 here at Westcott, Bucks.  The differences between Pale Pinion and Tawny Pinion are laid out quite clearly in the Waring, Townsend & Lewington field guide.  I had a Pale last night, whereas Steve Goddard (see his earlier post) had a Tawny the night before.  Photos of each appear below, and I've highlighted the diagnostics for Tawny on Steve's picture (a black bar from the forewing outer edge running parallel to the leading edge; a dark central thoracic crest).  Dave Wilton

Pale Pinion, Westcott, Bucks 18 March

Tawny Pinion, Wolvercote, Oxon 17 March

Ypsolopha mucronella

New moth for my garden last night:Ypsolopha mucronella. Otherwise apart from a really smart Dotted Chestnut everything as normal with Common Quaker and Hebrew Character dominating the trap as expected. Marc Botham, Benson

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Presumed Pale Pinion

Not a bad couple of nights, though the range of species isn't that spectacular - still, the night of the 17th brought nearly 30 individuals, including the one pictured here:

Presumed Pale Pinion, 17.3.14

I'm assuming Pale Pinion, but if anyone thinks it might be a Tawny Pinion, we'd be glad to hear it! I was also momentarily excited to find the moth below in our trap, before realising that Diurnea fagella has a dark form... Steve and Xander Goddard.

Diurnea fagella, 16.3.14

ID please

best night so far this year, 3 Early Grey, 1 Twin Spot Quaker, 1 Clouded Drab, 3 Common Quaker, 3 Hebrew Character, and one unknown sitting on the trap. I'd like an ID for that please. Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford