Saturday, 27 May 2017

Late May surge

Some nice familiar species making their first appearances of the year over the last week in our garden in Wolvercote, Oxon., including Riband Wave, Clouded Silver and Bright-line Brown-eye on the 22nd and Straw Dot on the 24th. A few others which aren't necessarily annual here have also shown, such as Figure of Eighty on the 22nd, and a Scalloped Hazel on the 24th was a welcome addition to the garden yearlist.

Figure of Eighty, 22/5/17
And, as ever, a few uncertainties: perhaps most strikingly, the individual below, which showed up on 24th May, shown first with a clear example of a Pale Tussock, then on its own: the orange-brown markings make it look like a Dark Tussock, and it seems the right shape, but according to the Bible (flight season July-August) it would be over a month early: any thoughts?

Pale Tussock and possible Dark Tussock (and Common Swift), 24/5/17

Possible Dark Tussock (and Common Swift), 24/5/17
The macro below is, I think, a surprisingly worn Clouded-bordered Brindle, considering it would be such an early individual; and the micro, I suppose, Scoparia ambigualis.

Possible Clouded-bordered Brindle, 23/5/17

Possible Scoparia ambigualis, 22/5/17
And finally, a macro which I haven't even begun to develop ideas on: as ever, all suggestions on this or any of the others, would be most welcome!

Unknown, 24/5/17
Steve Goddard


  1. Hi Steve, I'm afraid we don't get Dark Tussock around here. Your moth is just another Pale Tussock and the 'orange-brown' markings are simply where it has lost some scales. Yes to Clouded-bordered Brindle (lots of early moths this year!) and Scoparia ambigualis, while the final one might be one of the dark forms of the Marbled Minor group.

  2. When I saw Dark Tussock it was pretty obviously different to Pale Tussock. It has dark grey antennae as opposed to they yellowy ones for Pale Tussock.
    As the blog covers Berks as well as Bucks and Oxon, Dark Tussock does (perhaps has) occurred on the East Berks heaths

    1. Brian Baker's book on the Moths of Berks (1994) mentions a record from "Owlsmoor Nature Reserve" in 1984 (= present day Wildmoor Heath?) but I don't think it has been recorded since then, although I'm sure Martin H could tell us!

    2. I recorded 2 (male & female) at Wildmoor/Owlsmoor 31 July 2003.

  3. Hi Dave et al. -- thanks: I thought it was a long shot, especially given the timing.


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