Sunday, 31 July 2016


I meant to post this on my previous post and forgot.  Just for Mr Wilton, as I know he is fond of these moths, two second generation Mochas came to the trap last night.  I didn't take any photos of them, but here is one I have taken previously.

A Thorny Subject

We're in Thorn season, so I thought I'd write a post about my experiences with the potentially tricky August/September differentiation.  In my garden, August Thorn is by far the commonest Thorn, so I have got very used to seeing them and their variations, whilst September is very infrequent.  Below is a photo of some of the 47 August Thorns that arrived at the trap on July 10th 2009:

You can see that some of the outer wings are quite dark and indeed some are as dark as Dusky Thorn, but the cross lines are key.  The outer line always has a double kink at the leading edge where it bends towards the wing tip and then sharply upwards, often ending in a broadened blob.  The inner line also tends to have an almost 90 degree bend upwards as it nears the leading edge as well.  Both the lines tend to start quite well spaced on the trailing edge.  This moth also tends to hold its wings the flattest of the thorns.  The picture below from last night illustrates these points quite well:

For me, September Thorn is very infrequent, so when one appears it tends to stand out.  It tends to hold its wings more vertically.  It is also a much cleaner looking moth than August, which is often veiny, a bit spotty and also often shows dark areas beyond the outer cross line.  The cross lines start much closer together on the trailing edge and they both sweep round in a nice smooth arc.  The bottom line continues in a smooth arc as it joins the leading edge and its direction tends to point towards the wing tip, it usually ends in a diffuse blob.  The upper line also joins the leading edge in a smooth arc and also usually ends in a diffuse blob.  The picture below was from last night, my first September Thorn of the year, and helps to illustrate the point:

 I suppose that Dusky Thorn and the darkest forms of August Thorn could be confused, but the cross lines of Dusky are very different to August.  They start very close together on the trailing edge and continue in a relatively smooth arc to the leading edge, the outer line hitting the leading edge much closer to the trailing corner than August.  They also tend to hold their wings more vertically than August.  I managed to catch 5 Dusky Thorns last night, which is nice to see.  I used to catch in the high teens of this species about 10 years ago, but it really tailed off after that and these are my first Dusky Thorns in the garden since 2011.  The picture below illustrates my point:

A dark form of August Thorn for comparison taken on 11th July 2004.  This one's cross lines do start slightly closer together than some, but note the shape of the lines and how flat it holds its wings:

Just to round off the Thorns, I also caught a Canary-shouldered last night (plus Early and last week Purple, which completes my garden list of Thorns).  It always surprises me that certain moths categorised as common are either never, or rarely seen in my garden.  Canary-shouldered Thorn is one of these species and last night's record represents only the second ever for me.  Not much confusion with this one!

And finally, this rather splendid Beautiful China Mark was a new garden tick.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

This looks like Plutella porrectella?

No antennae but it looks more like the moth this time

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Burial Park and COAM Moths

The regular GMS trap at the burial park, and a cheeky light left overnight at COAM again added to my year list. As is usual, some of these things I can id, and some I can't.

NFY at the Burial Park on Wednesday attracted a Barred Red and an Antler Moth, plus this which I am taking to be Peacock...

At COAM, I had a brace of Tree Lichen Beauty, a Purple Thorn, Bordered Pug, Small Waved Umber and these:

(this is Dark Spectacle, isn't it...)

Is this Agonopterix kaekeritziana?

Are these micros id-able?
(edit - having now seen Mark's post further up here, I'm thinking this is Plutella porrectella?)

Finally, this hoverfly caught my eye due to it's weird face, if anyone (Martin H??) can id it for me...


Dave Morris, Seer Green

Two more new parish records

Hot on the heels of Tree-lichen Beauty (which are now appearing in the trap every night even though it has been set in several different locations) come two more new parish records - both trapped at Ali's Pond LNR in Sonning in the last two nights - Scalloped Hook-tip and more surprisingly -Webb's Wainscot - usually found near the coast.

A couple more micros for ID help

I assume this rather worn specimen is one of the Agonopterix species although I'm not sure the shape is quite right?

Agriphilia tristella? It did look a little different to the others that I was confident with.

And finally I was amused by this Gold Triangle which doesn't seem to have got its resting posture quite right! Why don't moths behave like this when you need to see the hindwings?!

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

More Westcott Moths

New for the year here in the garden on the 28th were Notocelia (Epiblema) roborana, Acrobasis (Trachycera) suavella, Maple Pug & Dusky Thorn, while last night (29th) brought Agapeta zoegana, Pandemis corylana and two surprises:  Elachista albidella (new for the garden and only the second record for Bucks) and Dark Spectacle (not a species thought to be resident in Bucks and the only other record for the garden was during September 2006 when there were lots of migrants about).

Elachista albidella, Westcott 29th July

Agapeta zoegana, Westcott 29th July

Dark Spectacle (and Spectacle for comparison), 29th July
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

More Micro & Pug queries

Still in catch up mode.

First one - no idea

Second & third - & fifth (different individual) -one of my references suggests if they are fresh you can seperate them out - maybe quadripuncta?

Then I think it's a White-spotted Pug

The final one - ok, I saw it and still managed to squash it - maybe Tineola bisselliella?

Plutella porrectella?

Is this Plutella porrectella? Seems to have the banded antennae mentioned on some sites but overall it looks more like P. xylostella

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Friday, 29 July 2016

Admin Message

I've just looked at Blogger's stats for the first time in a while and see we've now passed 2,000 blog entries since the Upper Thames Moth blog was set up at the end of 2013.  Perhaps more interesting is that we've now had more than 200,000 page views.  We seem to be reaching a much more widely spread audience too, with no less than 1,445 page views yesterday (just over half of them in the UK but the majority of the others in Russia and the USA).  Who knew that so many people abroad would be interested in your garden moths?!

Keep up the good work and please don't forget to add your name and location to each post.

Bernwood Forest, Bucks

I ran just two MV lights for the usual three hours in the M40 Compensation Area adjacent to Bernwood last night.  This is not a particularly pleasant place to sit, with the hard shoulder of the M40 just a few metres away from each trap.  I haven't worked out a species total yet as there are still quite a few pots to go through, but just one of the traps produced in excess of 120 (amazing really, with speeding cars and lorries so close by!) and they included items such as Large Emerald, Birch Mocha, Plain Wave, Rosy Footman & Mere Wainscot which are well enough known from the main part of the forest.  Two surprises included another Prochoreutis (after the one in my garden the previous night) and a wandering Fen Wainscot.  The pictures below were taken in fading light this evening and the flash has done odd things to the colour of the seemingly very reflective scales of the choreutid. 

Probable Prochoreutis myllerana, Bernwood 28th July

Fen Wainscot, Bernwood 28th July

It is typical that I should be trapping regularly at four wetland sites in Bucks this year, with Fen Wainscot as one of my targets (not seen at any of them so far), yet it turns up here completely out of habitat!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


Micros from Coleshill

A good number of moths came to the garden MV trap on Tuesday night with 88 species including many NFY micros (Euzophera pinguis, Ysolopha dentella, Phycita roborella, Acleris forsskaleana, Agapeta zoegana, Endotricha flammealis and Ringed China-mark) as well as a nice range of Notodontidae (Iron, Swallow, Pebble and Pale Prominents as well as Sallow Kitten and Chocolate-tip).

However, there were a few micros that require verification below that I have from top to bottom as Epinotia tenerana, ? possible worn Celypha lacunana, ? possible Gracillarid and, lastly, Paraswammerdamia nebulella.

Many thanks

Olly Fox
Coleshill (VC22)

Bigger catches - More questions

Having just finished sorting through my photos from Wednesday night's catch I have discovered that I have potentially 12 new micros for my garden. Although it is the first year I have made a serious attempt to identify the micros. I have tried to reduce my questions to the following 6 images.

Is this one of the Scythris species?

Possibly Plutella porrectella ?

A ginger coloured tortrix with no clear markings.

Unknown pyralid ?

Maybe Ypsolopha ustella? based on size and shape.

Maybe Aspilapteryx tringipennella?

Sorry about the number of questions but as always any help gratefully received.
Andy Newbold. Sibford Ferris. Oxon.

Micro help please

I think the first three shots of the same moth from the resting position might be Pedisasia contaminlla, the next one Agonopterix arenella and I'm not sure about the next two.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford