Saturday, 22 October 2016

Westcott, Bucks

Another week, another reduction in numbers.  Last night's collection to the garden actinic trap comprised 18 moths of eleven species, probably more than I should have expected as we were close to having a frost by dawn this morning:   Emmelina monodactyla (2), Red-green Carpet (2), November Moth (1), Pale November Moth (1), Lesser Yellow Underwing (1), Green-brindled Crescent (3), Merveille du Jour (1), Black Rustic (1), Red-line Quaker (1), Beaded Chestnut (3) & Lunar Underwing (2).  However, others which have visited the trap over the past seven days include Agonopterix heracliana, Agonopterix arenella, Eudonia angustea, Blood-vein, Common Marbled Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Dark Sword-grass, Large Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Grey Shoulder-knot, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Dark Chestnut, Angle Shades & Snout so there is still a fair amount of variety out there.  The Blood-vein (17th) was a bat casualty, being just a set of four wings on the grass next to the trap. 

The ivy in our immediate area has been nowhere near as productive for moths this autumn as it was last year.  Brick, which seems to love ivy blossom, has so far reached the dismal total of 7 individuals here whereas the garden produced a record 156 of them in 2015.  The Xanthia species seem to have given up already (a Pink-barred Sallow on the 14th was my last sighting) and Sallow itself has had a very poor season (28 seen in the garden as opposed to 103 last year).  Looking forward, Feathered Thorn should start appearing any day now, followed by Sprawler. 

It was quite difficult, but I've managed to resist the temptation to upload another picture of that most photogenic of autumn moths, the Merveille du Jour ... so here's the Dark Sword-grass instead!

Dark Sword-grass, Westcott 17th October

Today I had a look for leaf-mines on some black poplars in the village  and quickly managed to find those of Stigmella trimaculella and Phyllocnistis unipunctella.  There was, however, no sign of the hoped-for Ectoedemia hannoverella, a rare species which has yet to be recorded in Bucks although it has been found in adjacent Bedfordshire and counties further east.  I also saw several feeding signs of what is probably the tortrix Gypsonoma oppressana (quite common locally) but, because Gypsonoma dealbana constructs similar 'feeding tubes' and can also use poplar, I don't think these constitute a safe record.

Active mine of Stigmella trimaculella, Westcott 22nd October

Vacated mine of Phyllocnistis unipunctella, Westcott

Grazing and vacated feeding tube of Gypsonoma sp, Westcott

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

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