Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year...

...from a Pale Brindled Beauty which had exclusive use of the trap last night.  All very best to all and thanks again for this most excellent website.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Least Carpet

The RIS trap at Burnham Beeches, Bucks contained 2 Least Carpet for the night of 28 December 2015.  Previously it has had Least Carpet in November which probably represented a 3rd generation.  I wonder if these two could be a 4th generation.  These were also the first macros for at least a week.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Trapped a couple of days this week - this was the only moth I got.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Admin Message

In less than two years we have accumulated more than 1,600 posts on the site from 60 contributors and we're now close to 150,000 page views, with some 600 visitors per day during the peak summer months.  Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to post, comment or simply just view the blog.

Winter is supposedly here

Although it might not seem like it at times, winter is now here.  Message activity can be expected to remain at a fairly low level over the next two or three months but it is worth checking back occasionally 'just in case' because some of us don't pack away our traps.  Meanwhile we look forward to whatever type of moth season the new year brings us.

Butterfly Conservation's annual National Moth Recorders' Meeting will be held in Birmingham on Saturday 30th January 2016 and details can be found here.   Remember also that 2016 will be the final year of recording for information to be included in BC's planned Atlas of the Macro-moths of Britain and Ireland which it is hoped will be published in 2018. 

During the winter months you could perhaps find time to give your traps and sheets a clean, locate some replacement egg-boxes and wash out those moth pots.  For those with MV lights, try unscrewing the bulb and getting rid of the tiny fried flies which seem to accumulate inside the bulb-holder.  If you use a generator, draining the fuel while it is out of use may help to prolong the life of the carburettor.

Your Records

More importantly, though, now is the time to sort out your records for the year and pass them on to your County Moth Recorder.  Many of you will already know how to go about doing this, but for those who don't, all the information you need can now be found on the Your Records tab under the blog's heading picture.     

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Loosley Row, bucks

Sadly no migrants, but a Mottled Umber and an Early Moth to the house lights tonight.

Best wishes to all on the blog for the festive season and the New Year.


Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas present still awaited...

The garden trap was run again last night and produced just the one moth.  Rather than any of the unusual species which have reached our shores over the past few days, all I got was a Silver Y - but at least it was a migrant!

Silver Y, Westcott 18th December

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Friday, 18 December 2015

Saharan storms bringing Christmas goodies

Syncopacma polychromella in MV trap at CEH Wallingford last night (first for VC23). Worth keeping an eye out for with going on for 20 records over last couple of nights mostly on south coast (along with lots of other cracking migrants including Eastern Bordered Straw, Crimson Speckled and Spalding's Dart) but with one in Swindon as well. Tiny thing and easily overlooked: I actually missed it at first as I have got very lazy checking through mostly empty traps. Only noticed it when putting egg cartons back into the trap! Marc Botham

Terrible picture of Syncopacma polychromella in Crowmarsh Gifford (VC23)

Any ideas?

Feeding damage on an ornamental variegated form of Holly in my back garden. There was a larvae in the silken area in image 2, but this was parasitised and now I only have a fly pupa. On British leafminers website can only find a fly mine on Holly and it doesn't look much like that. Any ideas? Marc Botham, Didcot

Natty guest

I thought I would nail this natty snoozer on the trap's bulbholder last night, but after leafing through the Micro Bible, I'm still not sure. My best guess is Acleris hastiana. Marks out of 1, please.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

IDs please

Previous warm night I got nothing but today I got a single Silver Y.

My wife (the moth finder general) then found what I assume is Acleris ferrugana or notana in the house and then what I think is a Grey Shoulder-knot on the doorstep.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Thursday, 17 December 2015

More winter madness (2)

Last night's garden trap brought in just three moths.  Winter Moth was expected.  Thankfully I've never been plagued by Epiphyas postvittana and, even though it had its best ever year here in 2015, that was only 35 individuals and last night's was my first ever December record.  The oddity was a fresh Chinese Character!

Chinese Character, Westcott 16th December
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Acleris ferrugana/notana

I found this micro moth on the outside of my kitchen window last evening, which I think is an Acleris ferrugana or notana. I guess this is another example of a hibernating adult aroused from its slumbers by the unusually mild weather.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

More winter madness

Winter Moth, fine, Epiphyas postvittana, yes get them throughout the year, Silver Y, always a possibility though not sure I've personally had one in mid December before. A fresh Large Yellow Underwing however, definitely a new moth for this time of year for me! Scanning the garden recently there have been lots of LYU larvae feeding away, many of which seem fully grown. I found a Speckled Wood pupa on the conservatory door as well, which looks like it might not be too far off hatching. With reports of Daffodils, Sweet Violets in flower, frog spawn......this is a pretty messed up winter. Marc Botham, Didcot

Large Yellow Underwing 14-12-2015 Didcot

Monday, 14 December 2015

Mothy Mutterings

December's newsletter from the BC Moths Count team is available to read here.

Cydia pomonella

I found a Cydia pomonella (Codling Moth) perched on the inside of my front door this morning. I guess this very mild December is confusing a few species.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Angle Shades

Found an Angle Shades hanging on to the kitchen window an hour or so ago. I expect it will be the last moth for the year for me. Always been a favourite.

Mark Griffiths
Garsington, Oxford

Winter or Northern Winter?

Sorry, I have been asking a lot of questions lately - and am very grateful for the resulting help, as ever. Here is another. Am I right in thinking from the patterning (and comparing it with WTL, that this is a Northern Winter moth? Or is it not really possible to distinguish between that and the Winter moth from a picture? Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Thursday, 10 December 2015


Bit dozy, so I may have missed Christmas. Anyway, the lonesome male Winter moth on my front door tonight has a male Pale Brindled Beauty for company.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


May I ask about this little character, the only moth n the trap this morning after a much colder night? It has a look to me of Acleris cristana but it's completely the wrong time of the year for that isn't it?. Any help much appreciated as always. It's still in our greenhouse somewhere.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015


Maybe we're bypassing winter this year, though I suspect we'll get a cold spring instead if this continues. Anyway, Common Marbled Carpet in good condition to garden trap last night I guess isn't super unusual but the fact I'm getting moths in December in urban garden pretty much every night is a bit unusual. Angle Shades still regular as are fully grown larvae around garden. Marc Botham, Didcot

A couple more queries

I put the trap out for the second night running and initially thought I'd attracted only this battered chap. My best guess is a Pale Brindled Beauty because of Dave's post, the resting position and body colour, but I'd much appreciate more expert guidance.  I've got some more pics. While photographing it, I noticed the Plume below. I'm sorry the photograph isn't better but it was a pinky brown colour. It's still snoozing, so I could have another photographic try. But if it is recognisable from this pic, I'd be most grateful for advice.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Monday, 7 December 2015

Further Woodland Moths

The season refuses to end this year!  With a mild night and with the wind having dropped I decided to run an MV trap in Bernwood Forest for a few hours last night.  The result was 93 moths of 15 species, a very healthy total for the first week of December:  Plutella xylostella (1), Scrobipalpa costella (1), Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Acleris ferrugana/notana (5), December Moth (8), Red-green Carpet (1), Spruce Carpet (3), Winter Moth (28), Feathered Thorn (2), Pale Brindled Beauty (2), Spring Usher (1), Mottled Umber (31), Satellite (2), Chestnut (4) & Brick (3).

Scrobipalpa costella, Bernwood 6th December

Pale Brindled Beauty, Bernwood 6th December

Spring Usher, Bernwood 6th December

There were loads more Winter Moths flying around, particularly as I was setting up, but relatively few of them actually came to the light.  Pale Brindled Beauty regularly appears before the new year but I don't recall having seen Spring Usher this early before, although I see from the books that it can sometimes appear in late-December.  Back home at Westcott the garden actinic trap managed only three moths, comprising singletons of Caloptilia rufipennella, Winter Moth and Mottled Umber.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Curious object

From above

From one end

Spurred on by a visiting six-year-old, I put the trap out for the first time in several weeks and was rewarded this morning with a male Mottled Umber and a Red-green Carpet, both in very good condition. The eggboxes also contained this curious object - an egg hatchery? A cocoon? - and I wondered if anyone knew what it might be? My rather grubby thumb gives scale of a sort, below.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

From the side

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Early stages still out there

On Saturday I found the early stages of a few micros on the A34 embankment just north of Wolvercote.  There are still a few leaves remaining on some trees, enough to record the leaf mine of Stigmella salicis from sallow, although nothing was present on the more numerous osier.  The teasel heads proved to hold the larvae of Endothenia gentianaeana and Cochylis roseana - here in Somerset the former is present in just about every teasel head, even very isolated plants, and on the brief look I have had so far it looks like the same is true around Oxford.  The larvae are easy to rear by keeping the teasel-heads somewhere cool until the spring, and can be found throughout the winter.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

December Woodland Moths

An MV trap left running for the usual three hours in local mixed woodland last night, just to get a few December records, produced Acleris ferrugana/notana (2), December Moth (3), Winter Moth (59), Northern Winter Moth (3), Feathered Thorn (1), Mottled Umber (3), Setaceous Hebrew Character (1, the latest I've ever seen it), Chestnut (3) & Brick (1).  Plenty more Winter Moths were hanging around on adjacent oak trunks and amongst them I noticed one mated pair (easy to pick out because the male always faces down the trunk!). 

Winter Moths in cop, 1st December

I was surprised not to get Scarce Umber (it is known from the site) but otherwise the catch was pretty much as expected.  Last night's garden actinic trap managed only Winter Moth (1) & Chestnut (1).

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Found while digging the veg patch

I think that this is a Large Yellow Underwing caterpillar but would be very grateful for confirmation.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Help needed on some dodgy IDs

I started trapping and identifying moths in the spring of 2013, before this marvellous site was up and running. As a result, I was reliant mainly on a couple of books and the UK moths website to help me out, and it was quite a steep (but very enjoyable) learning curve.
Now at virtually the end of 2015, I thought I would look back to my early mothing days and see if I have made any serious blunders. Many of the moths I first identified in 2013 I have subsequently seen again in the subsequent years, but there are a small number that I have not seen again since that first year. This led me to thinking that maybe some of these were in fact wrongly identified.

Having gone through my photos, I have to say that I am pretty happy with most of them. However, below are a couple that I probably mis-identified in my novice days.
The first, trapped on 3rd July 2013, I had identified as a Pale-shouldered Brocade, but looking at the photo now I think it was in fact a Light Brocade.

The second, trapped on 29th May 2013, I have recorded as a Blossom Underwing. I did not record its size or the colour of the hindwings unfortunately (I only found out the importance of these things later!). Looking at the photo now, I am not really sure about this one. What do the experts think?

Finally, below are photos of 2 moths that I think I did identify correctly, but please let me know if you think otherwise. The first of these, trapped on 24th July 2013, I have recorded as a Kent Black Arches.

And the second, trapped on 25th September 2013, I believe is a Dusky-lemon Sallow.

All help much appreciated.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Hanging on

Very quiet as expected here in Didcot garden, with first few winter zeros coming in recently. However, milder weather over last couple of nights has seen Red-line Quaker still out and about, Turnip (very fresh), Pale Mottled Willow, Mottled Umber (already seen way more than last winter) and Crocidosema plebejana (2 different individuals), oh yes and the normal spatterings of postvittana. More interestingly, at least to me anyway, is the Swallow-tailed Moth I caught earlier in November which returned to the trap a while back and has been sitting it out since, still alive and well even after those very cold nights and frosts. He's looking a bit forlorn now but he's still going! Marc Botham, Didcot

Hanging around waiting for July temperatures - Swallow-tailed Moth Didcot 26th November

Crocidosema plebejana Didcot 26th November

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


After a Sprawler on the 7th November, my trap was just about turned off, bar the odd night/evening. On Wednesday the 18th a female December Moth appeared at my front porch light and stayed there till Tuesday 24th. I ran the trap all night on 24th as I thought because she had gone moths may be flying, with no luck whatsoever. Tonight so far, 3 December and 1 Mottled Umber, the first this winter.
After asking some advice about bulbs etc a few weeks ago I've decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present, my new twin 30w actinic Robinson trap will be here Friday..........happy happy with loads more moths to come.
Dave Wilton could you please send me your email, I've got a few moth from earlier in the year for Peter, including a probable Gelechia Nigra. My email is Thanks
Darren Seaman, Milton Keynes.

Monday, 23 November 2015

National Moth Night 2015 records submission deadline

Below is a note from Les Hill about the records.
Please send in your records if you can.
In the case of Buckinghamshire, if you don't fancy either of the options given, then please send your records to me.
The nights in question are 10 - 12 September.


Martin Albertini

Hi all,

This is just the annual reminder to all recorders to ensure all Moth Night 2015 datasets are submitted via our online recording system ( or by MapMate Sync file (via the MapMate Web Server or email to by close-of-play Sunday, 29th November 2015, after which the online system will be closed and the data shortly afterwards will be forwarded to all County Moth Recorders for verification.

The full written report will appear in a future edition of Atropos.

Many thanks for taking part, all of us in the Moth Night Team hope you enjoyed the event.

Best wishes,

Les Hill

Moth Night Team

Friday, 20 November 2015

Tatty, but nice hair

Things are very quiet here now with only a Winter/Autumnal/Pale moth in the porch and a Satellite in the trap, plus this raggedy, but impressively hirsute, individual. My best guess is Yellow-line Quaker or Brick but I'd be very happy to be put right.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Just two moths

Only two moths came to the garden actinic last night, a washed-out Scarce Umber (the 14th garden record so far this month - it seems to be doing rather well this year) and the inevitable Dark Chestnut.  Time now, perhaps, to be a little more selective about when I run the trap!  Northern Winter Moth is the only macro-moth which might still appear here this year and that's just as likely to come to the light of our kitchen window as it is to the moth-trap.  This year's final macro total depends also upon a handful of dissections of Minors and Common Rustics but with luck could reach 320 species which is way above average for the garden.

Westcott, 19th November

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Another set of Leafminers for ID

Hopefully there will be some that are ok enough to be ID'd.

the first one I think might be Callisto denticulella on Apple

the second and third, don't know (again on Apple)

 the fourth on bramble, maybe Stigmella aurella?

the fifth was on Lime - no real idea

the final one on Apple I think is  Lyonetia clerkella

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Leaf miner help please

I took a batch of photos last month and am just going through them using a key Dave Wilton put up a while back. This first lot were all on Copper beech.

The first I think might be Parornix fagivora, if not I've seen it but just need to get some later pics

the second is perhaps Phyllonorycter maestingella

the third I'm thinking is Stigmella tityrella?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

ID from October

hi, I noticed this going back over my records ..maybe a small square-spot but can't see the spot? Or maybe a Pale Mottled Willow?

caught 6th Oct.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford