Sunday, 22 October 2017

Large Wainscot male?

Could anyone confirm whether this is a male Large Wainscot, caught this weekend in Sonning ? I have only caught females before, which in Skinner are significantly bigger.

Wondered when this would turn up

Cold, strong westerly winds meant very few moths for me in the garden trap last night so a pristine Oak Rustic was a very nice surprise. I expect this is continued northward expansion after several caught in recent years in Reading and was wondering where it would turn up next - there's plenty of Evergreen Oaks so perhaps we'll start to see more and more of this species in the future - it could of course just be a migrant with all the recent activity. Marc Botham, Didcot

Dusky-lemon Sallow confirmed

Many thanks to Peter Hall for managing to dissect this rather worn specimen, despite the fact that the Post Office also used it for clog-dancing practice en route to him. As Martin Townsend suggested when I posted the image a week ago, it is indeed Dusky-lemon Sallow - a new record for me in Sonning.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

My first moth trapping night!

I recently bought myself a twin actinic Skinner moth trap and I couldn't wait to give it a go! This was my first moth trapping experience so I really wasn't too sure what to expect.
I set it up on Wednesday(18th) night in the thick fog in my garden. I was amazed the next morning to find 53 moths, 19 species. It did take me about 5 hours to identify them all.....I hope I'm going to get quicker with a bit more practice! I had 2 Vestal, 1 Delicate, 1 Green Brindled Crescent, 1 Large Wainscot just to name a few.
I'm now totally hooked and I can't wait to set it up again to see what else I might catch!

Lorna Woolhouse, Checkendon, South Oxfordshire

Vestal (sorry for such poor quality photo)

Westcott, Bucks

70 moths of 26 species appeared in the garden last night despite all that wind and rain from Storm Brian:  Blastobasis lacticolella (1), Acleris rhombana (1), Acleris variegana (1), Epiphyas postvittana (1), Common Marbled Carpet (4), Red-green Carpet (4), November Moth sp (8), Feathered Thorn (1), Figure of Eight (1), Lesser Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (4), Green-brindled Crescent (2), Merveille du Jour (1, tenth of the year and first time that the garden count has achieved double figures), Black Rustic (8), Satellite (1), Chestnut (1), Dark Chestnut (2), Red-line Quaker (2), Yellow-line Quaker (3), Brick (1), Beaded Chestnut (14), Lunar Underwing (3), Barred Sallow (1), Sallow (1), Angle Shades (2) & Rosy Rustic (1).

Figure of Eight, Westcott 20th October

There has been no sign of migrants here since the pair of Vestals on the 17th but I keep trying in the vain hope that something else will find its way this far inland.  The rather tired Figure of Eight last night was new to this year's garden list and takes the 2017 site total up to 322 macro species already (and more than 630 species of Lepidoptera altogether with many micros requiring dissection still to be added).  The target for me to beat is 324 macros (achieved here in 2015) and that should be easy with Sprawler, Scarce Umber and December Moth still to appear and things like Dark Dagger, Tawny Marbled Minor and Lesser Common Rustic likely to be confirmed after dissection.  This year is on course to become the best ever for the garden so far as numbers of species are concerned, quite surprising really as I've been away in Devon quite a lot since the beginning of August.  

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Joining the Vestal party...

A light left at the museum last night in the drizzle produced about 100 moths* of 24 species, mostly Beaded Chestnut and November Moth aggs, but I did get my second-ever Vestal.

Also NFY were Brick and Dark Chestnut.

*there were originally more than this, but 4 hornets got in...

Dave Morris, Chalfont St Giles

Vestal colours

As predicted by Dave, the Vestal continues its advance and mine came last night (left in the composite pic below). My last calls from the species were in late July 2014 and late September 2013 - the last a particularly white one (top right with the ace antennae) which I gather suggests that it would have pupated at a lower temperature than the yellowy/creamy ones and was probably therefore Northern Europe- or UK-bred.  I liked the way that its colours were so similar to Hollywood's interpretation of a Vestal Virgin, shown here in the person of Janet Stephens.

My other immigrant apart from the White-speck has been a lone Silver Y. Large Wainscots are currently calling nightly and it was good to have my first Sprawler for the year this morning.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Leafmine on Pear (3)

I collected the pear mine from Andrew Kershaw on Monday afternoon and while doing so had a quick look at the tree, on which another (vacated) mine was found which looked to be of the same species.  A selection of pictures was sent to John Langmaid later that day and John has now come back to me to confirm that unfortunately this is 'only' a mine of Stigmella oxyacanthella (a common species found on apple and hawthorn as well as occasionally on pear), so unfortunately not a first for Bucks after all!  While the frass appears to be dark brown or black rather than reddish, in all other respects I can see that the position of the egg, the colour of the larva and the shape of the mine are a perfect match for oxyacanthella.  The larva exited the mine today and is currently in the process of forming a brownish cocoon on some kitchen paper placed under the leaf, so I will still attempt to rear it through.

Complete mine, 16th October

Larva, 16th October

Position of egg (underside of leaf), 16th October

Cocoon, 18th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Red-green Carpet

No Vestal here yet and in the torch light at 6:30 this morning I hoped this might be something new.
However in the daylight it seems to be just another Red-green Carpet but with a much greater contrast than usual between the central cross-band and the rest of the wing.

With Sprawler, Phyllonorycter messaniella and Caloptilia stigmatella added to my garden list in the last few nights I should hopefully reach 400 species for the year.
Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Sacraria finally arrives

Although chilly and very wet, last night was a good one for the garden actinic trap here at Westcott with 71 moths of 27 species, at last including some welcome migrant activity:  Vestal (2) and Silver Y (2).  That makes six years in a row for Vestal in the garden and 14 individuals since the first here in 2006.  From reports on the web I'd be surprised if there's anyone who doesn't get to see the moth in our area at the moment because they seem to be around in very good numbers - keep trying if you haven't had one already!  The rest of last night's catch provided nothing new, just typical autumnal fare:  Acleris variegana (1), Eudonia angustea (1), Hypsopygia glaucinalis (1), Common Marbled Carpet (1), Red-green Carpet (1), November Moth sp (14), Feathered Thorn (4), Willow Beauty (1), Turnip (1), Large Yellow Underwing (1), Lesser Yellow Underwing (1), Setaceous Hebrew Character (2), Square-spot Rustic (1), Green-brindled Crescent (2), Merveille du Jour (1), Black Rustic (6), Blair's Shoulder-knot (1), Red-line Quaker (2), Yellow-line Quaker (3), Beaded Chestnut (12), Lunar Underwing (5), Barred Sallow (1), Sallow (1), Dusky-lemon Sallow (2) & Burnished Brass (1).

Vestal, Westcott 17th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

NMN catchup

For NMN I ended up carrying out my monthly survey at a local woodland site on Friday night and heading down to Thatcham to join Berks Moth Group on Saturday night. Friday provided a few nice moths with several Merveille du Jour and another Clifden Nonpareil. Numbers weren't great but there were a few surprises including fresh Light Emerald, several fresh Straw Dot and a fresh Yellow-tail. I had feared that I had missed Oak Lutestring this year as I normally catch it much earlier in the year and hadn't caught one in 2017 so far, so a fairly fresh one of these also came as a welcome surprise.

Just another Clifden Nonpareil! - 13-10-17 VC22
Yellow-tail - one of quite a few species squeezing in extra broods this year - 13-10-17 VC22
Oak Lutestring 13-10-17 VC22
Like many moth-ers around the UK, yesterdays storm got me excited and I switched the actinic light in the south facing part of the garden for an MV trap last night hoping for something special. I got fewer moths than I have had for a while and the one decent moth, a Vestal, was in a little actinic trap I put under a tree near the house expecting to catch very little at all!

Marc Botham, Didcot

Vestal - Didcot, 16-10-17

Ophelia moths

I managed to find a relatively sheltered spot on our patio to run the actinic trap again last night but with regular wind gusts in excess of 40mph (which brought down a massive branch from our ancient willow) I wasn't really expecting much to be flying and did wonder if the trap was still going to be present this morning!  However, it was still there undamaged and contained 23 brave moths of 10 species.  They included my second Hoary Footman of the year but there were still no obvious migrants.  Amongst numerous examples of even more brave diptera and trichoptera, the by-catch included the first Speckled Bush-cricket I've had in the garden trap for a couple of years.

Hoary Footman, Westcott 16th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Monday, 16 October 2017

Good session on Friday

99 moths of 23 Species in the MV overnight trap at the Ewelme Watercress Beds with Delicate, Silver Y and Merveille du Jour of special note together with one of my favourites Green-brindled Crescent.

2 Vestals

Continuing the Vestals theme, I had 2 Vestals in my garden trap last night and one of them was a particularly nice pink specimen.

The only other migrant was a single Silver Y.
I am still waiting for some autumn regulars to appear in my garden - I have yet to see Green-brindled Crescent, Blair's Shoulder-knot or Yellow-line Quaker, to name but 3.

Steve Trigg, Cookham

Migrants, what migrants?

There's not been much sign of migrant activity in the garden at Westcott so far.  I had a Silver Y on Friday night (amongst 75 moths of 27 species), nothing on Saturday night (amongst 63 moths of 20 species) and another Silver Y along with Nomophila noctuella last night (amongst 107 moths of 30 species).  Slim pickings here to date, then, although whatever is being blown in locally on former Hurricane Ophelia could still be around for a week or two yet.  Here's hoping ... I'd even settle for Richard's Vestal which has been an annual sighting here for at least the last five years!

I ran a couple of traps in nearby Finemere Wood again last night but the only thing of note was my first sighting this autumn of Diurnea lipsiella.  Figure of Eight was again out in force (33 seen) but there was nothing else significant other than a reduction in the number of hornets to "just" ten.

Diurnea lipsiella, Finemere Wood 15th October
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


A Vestal in my trap last night, the first I have seen here since 2014:

Richard Ellis

Dark Chestnut?

I was thinking this was a Dark Chestnut on the basis of the wing shape but I'm really not sure?

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Stenoptilia pterodactyla?

Wondering if this is a late Brown Plume, Stenoptilia pterodactyla?

Catches remain poor here although I did get my first Barred Sallows last night.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Further images of Longwick leafmine on pear

I have added two more photographs. They are not brilliant but you should be able to see the gut line - the head appears pale through a lens. Hopefully they are good enough for your purposes. The leaf is currently stuck to our window!

Leafmine on Pear

The trap hasn't exactly been that exciting the last couple of nights with Nettle Tap and Burnished Brass the limit of the excitement. However I thought I would look for Dave Wilton's recent mine on the pear tree in my Longwick garden. I didn't find that one but did find the one below.

I struggled to identify it from the keys available. I thought it was a stigmella but the options that most closely matched were unexpected at best or very rare! The closest was Stigmella Pyri which I would discount entirely except for the fact that I know the tree has been in Bucks for 18 years but started life in Ludlow in Shropshire and there appear to be S. Pyri records from the Marches.

So either its interesting, it isn't a stigmella or its swapped hosts and I'm literally barking up the wrong tree! Help appreciated.

National Moth Night(s)

The final tally for my Maidenhead garden from all three National Moth Nights came to 31 species (25 macro & 6 micro).  The second night 13th was the best for species with 23 (first night 13 & third night 20).  The most noteworthy species being: Boxworm Cydalima perspectalis (upto 5), Least Carpet (1), Cypress Pug (1), Hoary Footman (1m genitalia checked), Buff Footman (1m genitalia checked, in good condition so probably a second generation). The only migrant was Silver Y, one on each night.



I am diligently sorting out my National Moth Night records and wonder if the above is a White-speck; new for me, if so.

I'm also perplexed (as ever) by the quartet below. I think they are all Common or maybe Dark Marbled Carpets but cannot be sure. Help much appreciated as ever.  Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Scarce Bordered Straw

Scarce Bordered Straw this morning in the garden trap, a female. Also 1 Silver Y, which as has been said elsewhere has not been particularly numerous this year.

Saturday, 14 October 2017


Last night I decided to make one more visit to Rammamere Heath on the Bucks/Beds border because the forecast temperature seemed more than adequate for the time of year.  While that was indeed  the case, in actual fact it proved difficult to get out of the southerly breeze and counts were low as a result, a mere 21 species being the final tally.  However, as has often been said in the past, it only takes one moth to make a trapping session a memorable one!  For me, last night's moth was a Streak which despite being listed as common is actually very rare in Bucks because there are few areas with significant amounts of its larval food-plant, broom.

Streak, Rammamere Heath 13th October

By way of contrast, the garden trap at Westcott brought in 74 moths of the following 27 species:  Clepsis consimilana, Hypsopygia glaucinalis, Common Marbled Carpet, November Moth, Feathered Thorn, Willow Beauty, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Square-spot Rustic, Common Wainscot, Green-brindled Crescent, Merveille du Jour, Black Rustic, Blair's Shoulder-knot, Red-line Quaker, Yellow-line Quaker, Beaded Chestnut, Lunar Underwing, Barred Sallow, Sallow, Angle Shades, Burnished Brass, Silver Y, Straw Dot & Snout.  Nothing new but still quite a good tally for the time of year.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Pseudargyrotoza conwagana

From last night in among hundreds of wasps was this Pseudargyrotoza conwagana which seemed a bit out of season.

Like others I also had a Swallow-tailed moth and also my second Scarce Bordered Straw of the year.
What is a good time of night to look at ivy blossom? I seem to be finding hundreds of woodlice along with millipedes and earwigs but no moths!
Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Possible Pale-lemon Sallow ab. gilvescens?

I think I might have a Pale-lemon Sallow ab. gilvescens here - caught last night in the Robinson trap at Ali's Pond LNR in Sonning. The slightly hooked forewing tips appear to point to that rather than the rounded-winged Dusky-lemon Sallow. Can any experts confirm or correct me? And should I send it off to Peter Hall for dissection or can I let it go? If it is PLS then it looks like that is fairly unusual for Berks as I can't find any records for it on Mapmate. Comments welcome.

In addition to the above, it was a great National Moth Night's trapping for me last night all round as I am sure it was for many. Caught 68 macro-moths of 21 species, including firsts for the year for me of Red-green Carpet, Barred Sallow, Yellow-line Quaker, Green-brindled Crescent and Brown-spot Pinion. Also caught a pristine, presumably second brood, Buff Footman and this fantastic Giant Ichneumon - another first for me.

A couple of queries

Nothing very exciting in the garden trap last night: 39 moths (probably a similar number of wasps!) Red-green Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet and Acleris sparsana were joint top in abundance with 7 each, then 6 Snout, 2 Green-brindled Crescent and singles of Merveille du Jour, Willow Beauty, Light Emerald, Chestnut, Pink-barred Sallow, Large Yellow Underwing, Copper Underwing agg, Epiphyas postvittana and the two micros below, which I have posted for comment/confirmation.

The first I think must be Rhopobota naevana.  I get lots of these through the summer and generally they look fairly straight forward, but occasionally I see one that seems slightly different, though they can be variable.

The second is about 5mm long and looks to be the Aproaerema anthyllidella/Eulamprotes immaculatella pair, so one for Peter I guess.  Photos aren't that sharp but give a reasonable idea of the features.

Adam Bassett
Marlow Bottom

Friday, 13 October 2017

A new combo for National Moth Night?

Caught an unlikely pair of trap-mates in my Sonning garden on the first of this year's National Moth Nights last night - Swallow-tailed moth and my first November Moth agg of the year. The former was in pristine condition and slightly smaller than normal, so I assume it was a second brood specimen. Other species caught were Black Rustic, Brimstone Moth, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Large Yellow Underwing and Willow Beauty.

Longest night of the year

National Moth Night is here again, lasting from Thursday night to Saturday night.
My Maidenhead garden mv light managed 12 species, plus one not at light. A very efficient species recording session with only one individual of each to light.

Silver Y, Hoary Footman (genitalia checked), Red-green Carpet, Vapourer, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Cypress Pug, Black Rustic, Grey Pine Carpet, Willow Beauty, Large Yellow Underwing, Acleris variegana, Orthopygia glaucinalis and, not at the light, cases of Psyche casta.
Half the species were present at 23.30 and all bar one were present at 8.30 this morning.

Thursday, 12 October 2017


Dear All
Just to say, in case anyone hasn't noticed, the coming weekend looks like being warm, with favourable winds for immigration of moths to the British Isles, with warm air from Iberia, from Friday to Sunday. Most of the migrants will be on the south coast, but inland records are also likely. In particular, look closely at your Flame Shoulders and pot any that could be Radford's. There have been several on the south coast recently.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Lonesome Pear

In a field a few metres from our house in Westcott stands a lonely Pyrus which I inspect for leaf-mines every year.  The only difference between today's search and those of previous years was that I actually found one this time, and quite a good one too.  Between July and October the larvae of the gelechiid Recurvaria nanella mine leaves of pear (and apple) before going on to hibernate externally then feed again in spring on the leaf and flower buds.  This is a nationally scarce species and thought to be in decline.  In Bucks there are fewer than ten records, all of the adult, and it appears to be quite rare unless you live in Marlow Bottom!  I have one or two possible candidates awaiting inspection from away-trapping in the county this year but, as with any scarce moth, it is always nice to find evidence of it close to home.

The Lonesome Pear, Westcott 11th October

Mine of Recurvaria nanella, Westcott 11th October

Mine of Recurvaria nanella, Westcott 11th October

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Little and Large

Two MV traps run in Bernwood Forest last night for the usual three-hour session produced 28 species, a fairly typical result for the time of year.  Again, there was nothing unexpected but it was good to see both Small and Large Wainscot together.  My impression is that Small Wainscot has had a really good season locally.  I had my first of the year in Bernwood on the ridiculously early date of 21st June (there is only one other June record for Bucks and this pre-dates it by a week).  It has appeared regularly in traps there ever since with a high of eight together on 8th July.  My first in the garden was on 5th July and it has appeared here a record six times up to the last which was on 30th September.

Small Wainscot & Large Wainscot, Bernwood 10th October

The other species seen in Bernwood were Blastobasis lacticolella, Acleris emargana, Acleris rhombana, Epinotia nisella, Hypsopygia glaucinalis, Red-green Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, Spruce Carpet, November Moth sp, Feathered Thorn, Mottled Umber (my first this autumn), Figure of Eight, Large Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Green-brindled Crescent, Merveille du Jour, Brindled Green, Satellite, Chestnut (25 of them, the only moth to appear in any numbers), Red-line Quaker, Barred Sallow, Sallow, Copper Underwing, Straw Dot & Snout.  Plus the usual collection of Hornets, of course!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Large Wainscot?

Just checking - it lacks the black dots on the outer edge so Large rather than Bulrush?

Got my first Green-brindled Crescent of the season, still waiting for the Pink-barred and Barred Sallows to turn up.

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Museum Moths

First time for ages I've had a chance to leave a light at Chiltern Open Air Museum.

Most numerous species was Beaded Chestnut, but new for my year were Mottled Umber, Red-green Carpet, Yellow-line Quaker, Green-brindled Crescent, Feathered Thorn, Brown-spot Pinion, a brace of Merveille du Jour and a lifer in the shape of Orange Sallow.

MdJ and friends...(had to take this pic on my phone which seems incapable of focusing properly!)

Orange Sallow

Also this which looks to me like Small Fan-footed Wave, but strikes me as being a tad late in the season?

Dave Morris, Chalfont St Giles