Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Return of the Prodigal Carpet

Well, that was unexpected!  32 moths of nine species in last night's trap at Westcott despite the very cold, windy conditions and one of them was my first garden year-list addition since a Pale Pinion on the 15th.  In fact it was a species that wasn't even on my home moth radar, having last been seen here in 2005:  a smart Water Carpet:

Water Carpet, Westcott 20th March

This is actually my earliest ever sighting for Water Carpet by about a week but I note that there are some half a dozen earlier records for Bucks going back to 9th March.

The conditions were such that I wouldn't normally have bothered running traps elsewhere, but with a need to check on whether Small Quaker had reached its peak yet I took two 125wt MV Robinsons and a single 15wt Heath trap to Bernwood Forest.  I might as well not have bothered with the actinic as it brought in a grand total of 14 moths of seven species, but the two Robinsons performed exceptionally well considering how windy and chilly it became.  Small Quaker is a hardy little beast and I'd counted 347 (130 in one trap, 217 in the other) by the time I packed up at 11pm and they were still arriving in numbers.  Common Quaker (53) and Oak Beauty (21) were the only other species to give a double-digit count but amongst the remainder were my first Brindled Pugs (3), Early Tooth-striped (1), Pine Beauty (1) & Blossom Underwings (5) of the season.  Definitely a worthwhile visit.

Early Tooth-striped, Bernwood Forest 20th March

Pine Beauty, Bernwood Forest 20th March

Blossom Underwing, Bernwood Forest 20th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Monday, 20 March 2017

A better catch at last

Having been away for 10 days it was good to have a couple of mild, if windy, nights to catch up on my moths for this month.
Last night's 52 moths of 8 species (all macros) was encouraging with my first Early Grey and Twin-spotted Quakers of the year. Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Clouded Drab all in double figures.

I thought this Hebrew Character was particularly well marked and this Dotted Border seemed to have an extra cross line compared to most images I have seen.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Very blurred photo and a wing

Sorry about the pic - I don't know if it's possible to do an ID from this - unfortunately it was in probably the worst place to photograph (or subsequently catch) on the funnel of the trap.

Then a wing that turned up a week or so ago

Mark Griffiths, Garsington, Oxford

Red Sword-grass at Lavendon, Bucks

It is only 6 months (22 Oct 2016) since I posted a record for someone else of Red Sword-grass.
This time it is a record for Geoff Moss, found in his trap this morning 19 March 2017 at Lavendon which is only about 2km from the Northern-most tip of Bucks and about 60km from last October's record at Chorleywood.  This record will bring the Buck moth database records to five, of which three have been in the last three years.
Thanks to Geoff for supplying the record.

Martin Albertini

W T & L

I was surprised to see a review of the third edition of the Waring, Townsend and Lewington field guide in this week's Spectator magazine. A two-page spread, no less. Not, perhaps where you might expect to find one.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Garden Micro Update

Micros haven't done too badly in the garden so far this year.  Recent activity has included Ypsolopha mucronella, a daytime sighting on 11th March when it was disturbed from vegetation while I was mowing the lawn.  Acleris kochiella was caught again in the trap last night (its third appearance this year), while Agonopterix ocellana was added to the year list on 9th March and has appeared on four subsequent occasions.  Mompha jurassicella, a garden regular, has been found three or four times already both indoors and out, while a good candidate for the very similar Mompha bradleyi was netted during the daytime yesterday but will have to await closer inspection (it hasn't been recorded here since 2011).

Acleris kochiella, 15th March

Agonopterix ocellana, 10th March

Two MV traps run for the usual few hours from dusk in local woodland last night produced 492 moths of  19 species (272 of them Small Quakers).  The only thing of interest was Caloptilia populetorum which despite its name is a birch-feeder.  Although known from the site it is still a relatively uncommon species in Bucks with only about a dozen previous records.

Caloptilia populetorum, 15th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A small haul

Last night's trapping produced two well overdue garden firsts - March Moth and Dotted Border. An Oak Nycteoline had me scouring through the micro book before enlightenment dawned. The total haul was: Common Quaker(6), Small Quaker (1), Twin-spotted Quaker (1), March Moth (2), Oak Nycteoline (1).

Dave Ferguson, Beaconsfield, Bucks

Double figures, and a Dark Chestnut?

My Cookham garden trap can never match the numbers found in Westcott, but I have now managed to reach double figures. 14 moths of 9 species in last night's trap, of which only 1 was a micro - a single Emmelina monodactyla.
The macros were Oak Beauty (1), Pale Pinion (1), Hebrew Character (3), Clouded Drab (1), Common Quaker (2), Small Quaker (3), Early Grey (1), and finally what I think is a rather worn Dark Chestnut - picture below.

Steve Trigg

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Further new emergences

New species for the year recorded last night included the smart Early Thorn and Dotted Chestnut illustrated below:

Early Thorn, 11th March

Dotted Chestnut, 11th March

The garden trap produced a healthy 44 moths of 13 species, including a Twin-spotted Quaker with almost non-existent spots which is posed below alongside a more obviously marked specimen.

Twin-spotted Quakers, 11th March
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Better late than never

I have just seen my first adult moth of the year at last!  I've recorded quite a few Blue-bordered carpet eggs and dug up an Angle-shades larva while gardening already, but today I actually saw a moth. I have identified it as a Dotted Border, correctly I hope. It was low down on the outside of the glass door of the Optician's shop in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks. I went home to get my camera and it was still there when I got back even though customers were going in and out of the door all the time.

Wendy Wilson

Small Eggar

I received a message from Chris Williams letting me know that he ran a light near Olney, Bucks on the night of 9th March 2017 and amongst his small catch was a Small Eggar.
This has always been a rare moth in Bucks and the last record was from North Bucks, not too far from Olney, in 1997 (the same site also had single records in 1991 & 1976) and the only other Bucks record in the last 50 years was of larvae found near Olney in 1990.
Very pleasing to know that it is still around.
Thanks to Chris for allowing his record and picture to be put on the blog.

Martin  Albertini
Bucks Moth Recorder

Friday, 10 March 2017

Museum Moths

Spurred on by the warm weather, I left a light at Chiltern Open Air Museum last night. Only about 20 moths were still there by morning, but new for year were Small Quaker, Clouded Drab and Oak Beauty.

Dave Morris
Chalfont St Giles

Small Quaker numbers building

On the 8th (Wednesday) I ran two MV lights in Finemere Wood, Bucks and got 106 Small Quakers between them, while last night (Thursday) the same two lights in Bernwood Forest, Bucks caught 211 Small Quakers.  However there's no sign of Common Quaker numbers, or any of the other Orthosia species for that matter, building in local woodland yet.  Last night's collection from Bernwood included Red Chestnut, Twin-spotted Quaker and Early Grey which were my first sightings of the year, while numbers of Yellow Horned (23) and Small Brindled Beauty (47) seem to have passed their peak now.  One Small Brindled Beauty came a cropper on the sheet while my back was turned, most of it being consumed by a visiting example of the ground beetle Carabus nemoralis.  These large carabids (problematicus as well as nemoralis) are regular sightings in Bernwood but they usually disappear under the sheet to get away from the light.  This one must have been rather more brave (or hungrier) than usual!

Red Chestnut, Bernwood Forest 9th March

Carabus nemoralis eating dinner, Bernwood Forest 9th March

Back home at Westcott, last night's actinic trap performed quite well, bringing in 37 moths of 11 species.  New for the year's garden list were Diurnea fagella, Agonopterix ocellana and Engrailed.

Agonopterix ocellana, Westcott 9th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Spider food

My tally creeps up two-by-two, the latest pair being the lovely Oak Beauty above and the Common Quaker below. I've also added a pic of what I fear is the March Moth which I reported on the other day. Our house is spider-infested and no place for straying moths.   Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Another Orthosia appears

Thanks to having some black poplars within sight of the garden, the first of hopefully several Lead-coloured Drabs appeared in an otherwise rather sparsely populated actinic trap here at Westcott last night.  If you have poplar or aspen nearby then this is a likely catch.  Slightly smaller, less "chunky" and without the pointed wing-tip of Clouded Drab, the most obvious thing to look out for is the male's feathered antennae.

Lead-coloured Drab, Westcott 8th March
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks   

Spring finally underway?

I know its not a lot in the great scheme of things, but I was so pleased to have 6 species in the Burial Park trap this morning; Engrailed (NFY), Twin-spotted Quaker (NFY), Dotted Border, Hebrew Character (NFY), Diurnea fagella (NFY) and Tortricodes alternella.

Dave Morris
Seer Green

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Beautiful Plume in Mursley

I saw a small plume moth fluttering around a clump of snowdrops this afternoon. I managed to pot it and in order to get a photograph, I placed it in our freezer. The intention was to leave it there for about 5 minutes to slow it down, but a phone call led me to leaving it for about 15 mins and sadly it was dead when I took it out. I had a good look at it under the microscope and keyed it out using Hart, 2011. British Plume Moths to be Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Beautiful Plume. I have plenty of Hedge Woundwort, Lemon Balm and various species of mint in my garden, so there are a number of options for the larvae. It seems very early and Hart says "Spring records are few, so it appears that many adults do not survive the winter".

Mick Jones

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Garden Improvement

It is good to see reports from elsewhere beginning to appear here now!  Although it rained until after midnight, last night was quite reasonable for moths at Westcott and I managed a double-digit count in the garden actinic trap:  Shoulder Stripe (2), Dotted Border (1), Common Quaker (4), Clouded Drab (3) & Hebrew Character (4).  Another caterpillar also appeared in the trap.  Measuring only 8mm, it appears to be one of the Footmen and I think probably Dingy Footman.

Shoulder Stripe, Westcott 3rd March

Clouded Drab, Westcott 3rd March

Early instar Footman caterpillar, Westcott 3rd March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks 

A couple more, one of them nicely on time

My modest 2017 tally of two - Pale Brindled Beauty and Hebrew Character - has been doubled, I think, by this March Moth and a Spring Usher - below, I hope correctly identified. I originally thought that it was a PBB but was put right by a commentor on my own blog.  The March Moth may have been one of two or even three as I opened the trap indoors because of the rain, found one MM and released it outside, but later spotted (or rather Penny, Mrs W, spotted) one on our kitchen ceiling and later on, one on the bedroom ceiling. The last two may have been the same moth, so I was visited by either one (which somehow got back indoors), two or three. Such are the perils of compiling data. Martin Wainwright, Thrupp, Oxon

Tawny or Pale Pinion?

The last couple of nights have produced small catches but have added significantly to my species list for the year.
2nd March Moth (2), Common Quaker (2), Clouded Drab (1) and Hebrew Character (1) - All new for the year!
3rd Pale Brindled Beauty (1), Common Quaker (1),  Oak Beauty (1) and this one that I think is a Tawny Pinion. The last two being new for the year.

Andy Newbold, Sibford Ferris, Oxon.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Bernwood last night

Perhaps I was being a little bit optimistic as the temperature dropped quite quickly below the hoped-for minimum of 5C due to the lack of forecast cloud cover, but I still got a few moths for my trouble during three hours in Bernwood Forest last night.  Yellow Horned has emerged (18 seen) and Small Quaker has now begun to join Common Quaker although neither have got going properly there yet.  Small Brindled Beauty was around in numbers (70 seen) while other species to the MV comprised Acleris hastiana, Tortricodes alternella, March Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty, Oak Beauty, Dotted Border and Chestnut. 

Yellow Horned, Bernwood 2nd March

Yellow Horned, Bernwood 2nd March

Small Quaker, Bernwood 2nd March

The garden actinic trap at Westcott keeps ticking over, with Dotted Border (1), Grey Shoulder-knot (1), Common Quaker (2) & Hebrew Character (2) on the 1st followed by Early Moth (2), Common Quaker (1) & Hebrew Character (2) last night.

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Trapped Caterpillars

Fully-grown caterpillars attracted to the twin-30wt actinic trap in the garden here over the past two nights have been examples of Angle Shades and Large Yellow Underwing.

Angle Shades larva, Westcott 27th February

Large Yellow Underwing larva, Westcott 28th February

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks