1 September 2014

Moth numbers fall as temperature drops

A sharp drop in temperature over the last couple of weeks producing cool nights, along with clear skies and a bright moon, have resulted in some poor moth trapping sessions at home. Just a few immigrants noted and very small numbers common moths. Best of a very sparse bunch have been:

Old Lady Mormo maura - 1 on 24/25 August
Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum - 1 on 24/25 August
Silver Y Autographa gamma - 1 on 30 August
Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata - 1 on 24/25 August, 30/31 August, 1 on 31 August
Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla - 1 on 24 August
Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba - 1 on 28/29 August, 2 on 30/31 August
Flounced Rustic Luperina testacea - 1 on 30/31 August
Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa - 1 on 24/25 August, 1 on 28/29 August, 1 on 30 August
Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum - 1 on 28/29 August
Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria - 1 on 24/25 August, 1 on 30/31 August
Bird's-nest Moth Tinea trinotella - 1 on 28/29 August
Tachystola acroxantha - 1 on 27 August
Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella - 2 on 30/31 August
Also, several Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe, Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis and Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata.

Old Lady Mormo maura, 25 August

Bird's-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, 29 August. Really liking the English names being given to micros now

A beautifully patterned Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba, 29 August

Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa, 25 August - quite similar to the one below (for a change)

Square-spot Rustic Xestia xanthographa, 29 August. Check out the huge variation shown by this species here.

25 August 2014

Washout at the patch

My first visit to the patch this morning for months turned out to be a complete washout, but it was great to have Rachel and good friends Andrew Proudfoot and Sam Woods along for soaking. 'Highlights' in the short period before the monsoon started and we were forced back home were 1 Hobby N, 6 Northern Lapwing SW, 3+ Barn Swallow over Stanwell Moor, and 1 Whinchat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Blackcap (all in the NW corner), 2 Eurasian Teal over, 1 Kestrel, c.60 Goldfinch, 3 Blackcap, a few Meadow Pipit and 1 Grey Heron at Staines Moor. The water level on the Colne is very high and the iris channels are also holding plenty of water - surprising for this time of year. On a negative side, it was depressing to find that the Himalayan Balsam Impatiens glandulifera is making rapid gains in its invasion of Stanwell Moor.

4 August 2014

Gypsy Moth

Bogged down at the moment building new websites for both REGUA and Beddington Farmlands. No time for birding or the patch, as I'm aiming to have the new REGUA website live before the Birdfair in two weeks. Rather a tall order, but I'm making good progress now and I'm learning a lot of new code.

Much cooler nights over the last few days have seen moth activity around the light very much reduced. The highlight was a male Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar on 2/3 August. No idea if this is an immigrant or locally introduced breeder, but a stunning moth all the same. Thanks to various people on Twitter for confirming the identification.

Male Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar, 3 August

Male Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar - immigrant or local breeder? The English race has been extinct since the early 1900s, but some
appear each year from the continent. However, since 1995 some larvae, probably accidentally introduced from the continent, have
been found in parts of London and the home counties, though apparently have not become established.

Also amongst the other species caught over the last few nights:
Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria - 2 on 31 July/1 August, 1 on 1/2 August
Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae - 6 on 31 July/1 August
Lime-speck Pug Eupithecia centaureata - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Small Rivulet Perizoma alchemillata - 1 on 2/3 August
The Lychnis Hadena bicruris - 1 on 2/3 August
Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana - 1 on 1/2 August
Lilac Leafminer/Privet Leafminer/Common Slender Gracillaria (Caloptilia) syringella - 1 on 2/3 August
Flame Carpet Xanthorhoe designata - 1 on 1/2 August
Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica - 3 on 31 July/1 August, 1 on 1/2 August
Single-dotted Wave Idaea dimidiata - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua janthe - 2 on 31 July/1 August
Cherry Fruit Moth Argyresthia pruniella - 1 on 31 July/1 August and 1 on 2/3 August
Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis - 1 on 2/3 August 2014
Phlyctaenia coronata - 1 on 31 July/1 August
Blastobasis adustella - Quite common at the moment

Lime-speck Pug Eupithecia centaureata, 1 August

Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, 1 August

Lilac Leafminer/Privet Leafminer/Common Slender Gracillaria (Caloptilia) syringella, 3 August

Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis corylana, 2 August

Flame Carpet Xanthorhoe designata, 2 August

The Lychnis Hadena bicruris, 3 August

Cherry Fruit Moth Argyresthia pruniella, 3 August. Presumably it was the larvae of these species that I found in some of the plums
I stoned for my other half the RAW Baker last month?

Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum, 1 August

Ash-bark Knot-horn Euzophera pinguis, 3 August. Mainly found in southern Britain, the larvae burrow into the bark of ash
(Fraxinus) trees and can kill the tree if present in large numbers.

22 July 2014

Warm spell brings out the moths

The mothing at my home in Worcester Park has been nuts over the last few days, with warm and humid conditions producing lots of activity around the actinic. I don't know how many species I've recorded (a lot) or individuals (hundreds) but there's been a lot of highlights - some nationally scarce species, lots of beautiful species, and some approaching plague numbers.

Highlights from trapping sessions on the nights of 16/17, 17/18 and 19/20 July include:

Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea - 1 on 19/20 July
The Sycamore Acronicta aceris - 1 on 19/20 July
Hoary Footman Eilema caniola - 2 on 19/20 July
Dingy Footman Eilema griseola - 1 on 16/17 July
Sallow Kitten Furcula furcula - 1 on 19/20 July
Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae - 2 on 18 July, 11 on 19/20 July
Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata - 1 on 16/17 July, 1 on 18/19 July
Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa - 1 on 19/20 July
Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria - 1 on 20 July
Scarce Footman Eilema complana - 3 on 17/18 July
Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria - 1 on 17/18 July
Single-dotted Wave Idaea dimidiata - 1 on 17/18 July, 1 on 20 July
Cloaked Minor Mesoligia furuncula - 3 on 16/17 July
Least Carpet Idaea rusticata - 3 on 16/17 July
Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica - 2 on 16/17 July
Mottled Beauty Alcis repandata, 1 on 16/17 July
Swallow-tailed Moth Ourapteryx sambucaria, 1 on 16/17 July, 1 on 18 July
White-spotted Pug Eupithecia tripunctaria 1 on 16/17 July
Brimstone Moth Opisthograptis luteolata - 1 16/17 July, 1 18 July
Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 1 on 17/18 July
Thicket Knot-horn Trachycera suavella - 1 on 16/17 July
Clouded Slender Caloptilia populetorum - 1 on 17 July
Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella - 2 on 16/17 July
Dotted Oak Knot-horn Phycita roborella - 1 on 16/17 July
Golden-brown Tubic Batia (Crassa) unitella - 1 on 18 July, 1 on 20 July
Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella - 1 on 19 July
Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana - 1 on 16/17 July, 1 on 17/18 July
Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana - 1 on 19/20 July
Woodland Marble Orthotaenia undulana - 1 on 17/18 July
Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella - lots on 19/20 July
Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella - huge numbers (hundreds) over this period, probably originating from the Horse Chestnut opposite my garden. Amazing to think that this species was discovered as recently as 1984 in Greece (described as a new species in 1986) and first recorded in Britain in 2002 (just down the road in Wimbledon). It has now 'infected' most of Britain. A rather beautiful but tiny species - I need an extension tube for the macro lens to photograph it properly.

Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea, 20 July

The Sycamore Acronicta aceris, 20 July

Hoary Footman Eilema caniola, 20 July

Scarce Footman Eilema complana, 17/18 July

Dingy Footman Eilema griseola, 17 July

Sallow Kitten Furcula furcula, 20 July

Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa, 20 July

Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria, 20 July

11 Tree-lichen Beauty Cryphia algae, 20 July

Thicket Knot-horn Trachycera suavella, 17 July

Clouded Slender Caloptilia populetorum, 17 July

Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, 17 July

Dotted Oak Knot-horn Phycita roborella, 16/17 July

Golden-brown Tubic Batia (Crassa) unitella, 18 July - love the declining posture of this species.

Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, 20 July

Woodland Marble Orthotaenia undulana, 18 July

9 July 2014

Proto garden moth list

I'm not one for keeping lists, but while learning about moths and doing so much moth trapping, I thought I'd start a garden moth list. I'm still adding many common species, and over the last few weeks I've added a few more species and also trapped some beautiful mid-summer species, including.

1 Waved Black Parascotia fuliginaria, 6 July - nationally scarce (Nb)
1 Pied Grey Eudonia delunella, 5 July - a nationally scarce micro (Nb)
1 Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata, 6 July
1 Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata, 6 June
1 Swallow-tailed Moth Ourapteryx sambucaria, 7 July
1 Rough-winged Conch Phtheochroa rugosana, 6 June
1 Swallow-tailed Moth Ourapteryx sambucaria, 6 July
1 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata, 5 July

I find that I remember the key identification features better if I photograph them, so here's a few pics from the last few week's mothing at home.

Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata, 6 July

Waved Black Parascotia fuliginaria, 6 July (Nationally Scarce B)

Pied Grey Eudonia delunella, 5 July - a scarce woodland species (Nationally Scarce B)

Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata, 6 June. First recorded in Britain in 1984 in West Sussex, this species has become established
in parts of southern England.

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata

Swallow-tailed Moth Ourapteryx sambucaria, 6 July

Peppered Moth Biston betularia, 6 July

Rough-winged Conch Phtheochroa rugosana, 6 June - a local woodland specialist, found mainly in southern England

6 July 2014

Moth Night 2014 at Mitcham Common: 5 July

Met up with Peter Alfrey and Derek Coleman last night for some moth trapping at Mitcham Common in Surrey for moth night 2014. We ran three MV traps in a small patch of oak woodland close to the boundary with Beddington Farmlands known as the Gunsite (TQ 28535 67263) for three hours from 21:47. The theme of this year's Moth Night is woodland moths. We caught several oak specialities, plenty of other woodland species, and a couple of immigrants. Got a few identifications to confirm before I submit our records to Moth Night, but the list so far is as follows:

2 Scarce Silver-lines Bena bicolorana
4 Black Arches Lymantria monacha
3 September Thorn Ennomos erosaria
1 Oak Hook-tip Watsonalla binaria
1 Green Oak Tortrix Tortrix viridana
2 Kent Black Arches Meganola albula
1 White-point Mythimna albipuncta
1f Ghost Moth Hepialus humuli
1 Dusky Sallow Eremobia ochroleuca
1 Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides
1 Peach Blossom Thyatira batis
1 Buff Footman Eilema depressa
1 Peppered Moth Biston betularia
1 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata
1 Marbled White Spot Protodeltote pygarga
1 Dingy Footman Eilema griseola
1 Early Thorn Selenia dentaria
1 Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria
Several Small Fan-footed Wave Idaea biselata
1 Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana
1 Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla
5 The Dun-bar Cosmia trapezina
2 The Clay Mythimna ferrago
1 Hoary Footman Eilema caniola
1 The Flame Axylia putris
2 Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis
1 Heart & Dart Agrotis exclamationis
1 Heart & Club Agrotis clavis
2 Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella
1 Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata
1 Common Footman Eilema lurideola
1 Small Fan-foot Herminia grisealis
1 July Highflyer Hydriomena furcata
2 Smoky Wainscot Mythimna impura
1 Bee Moth Aphomia sociella
1 Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella
1 The Coronet Craniophora ligustri
1 Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor
1 Riband Wave Idaea aversata
1 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum
1 Bordered Pug Eupithecia succenturiata
1 Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana
1 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana
1 Dotted Oak Knot-horn Phycita roborella
1 Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana
1 Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella
2 Rosy Tabby Endotricha flammealis
1 Double-striped Tabby Orthopygia glaucinalis
1 Barred Marble Celypha striana
1 Twin-barred Knot-horn Homoeosoma sinuella
2 Cock's-head Bell Zeiraphera isertana
1 Warted Knot-horn Acrobasis repandana
Lots of Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella
1 Base-lined Grey Scoparia basistrigalis
1 Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana
Lots of Brown-spot Flat-body Agonopterix alstromeriana
1 Hoary Bell Eucosma cana

Black Arches Lymantria monacha

Scarce Silver-lines Bena bicolorana

Female Ghost Moth Hepialus humuli

Weather: Cloudy, very light SW wind, fairly warm, rain earlier in the day.
Date and time: 5 July 21:47 - 6 July 00:40.

24 June 2014

Moth trapping on Dartmoor

Just back from a week staying with our friends Kevin and Donna Cox at their 'pad' Brook Manor, in the Mardle Valley on the east side of Dartmoor. We made good use of Kevin's Robinson MV moth trap and recorded a huge diversity of species over four trapping sessions. White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda was the most abundant species, but we also recorded a wide diversity of species, a few regional specialities as well as a few migrants. Here's a selection of the species trapped during the week.

Double Line Mythimna turca, 10 June - largely confined to south-west England and south Wales

Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi, 10 June

Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria, 10 June

Buff-tip Phalera bucephala on a broken Silver Birch twig - amazing camouflage!

Mating Buff-tips Phalera bucephala, 9 June

Elephant Hawkmoth Deilephila elpenor, 9 June

Small Elephant Hawkmoth Deilephila porcellus, 9 June

Pebble Prominent Notodonta ziczac, 9 June

Green Silver-lines Pseudoips prasinana, 9 June

Small Angle Shades Euplexia lucipara, 9 June

Pale Tussock Calliteara pudibunda, 9 June

Barred Umber Plagodis pulveraria, 9 June

Brown Rustic Rusina ferruginea, 9 June - note the rather worn look, even though it is fresh

Peppered Moth Biston betularia, 9 June

Beautiful Golden Y Autographa pulchrina, 9 June

Peach Blossom Thyatira batis, 10 June

True Lover's Knot Lycophotia porphyrea, 13 June

Foxglove Pug Eupithecia pulchellata, 10 June

Brindled Plume Amblyptilia punctidactyla, 10 June