Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Greetings from Devon

Hi, just a quick post to introduce myself. I'm Richard (or Rik) Fox (also @RichardFoxBC),

I've been mothing since 2002, first in Hampshire, then for a brief spell in Nottingham and for the past 8 years here near Newton Abbot in south Devon. I use a 125W MV Robinson trap in the garden - thanks to tolerant neighbours - even though the garden isn't that big and is surrounded by other houses. I usually trap about twice a week during the warmer months and infrequently during the winter, when conditions are particularly favourable.

Despite living in a lovely part of the world, my garden's not great that for moths - it's optimised for small children! I recorded 218 species of moth and butterfly in the garden last year, so I'd be happy to beat that this year. Highlight of 2013 so far was Oak Nycteoline, new for the garden, last week.

Thanks to Tristan for organising this fun event and see you all on Twitter #teammoth


Sea Mist Moths

Hi I'm @debbyseamist. I am retired,originally from Tampa Florida, now living in Southwell, Portland. We moved here 15 years ago for the birds and haven't been disappointed! I became interested in moths through the Portland Bird Observatory and have been running an MV trap for four years. I have recorded all moths trapped, but having only been on line since January, have just started entering data onto Living Record. I have joined the Dorset Moth Group and they have been very helpful. Being Portland, the moths and birds can be very interesting. I enjoy photographing moths and am becoming addicted to micros.

We have a large, wildlife-friendly garden with mostly local flowering plants such as: Alexanders, Valerian, Fennel, Bramble and Ivy. We leave some to just grow whatever comes up. There's lots of Sycamore, various small trees and several apple trees.

I look forward to the Garden Moth Challenge and to sharing our moths with you.

Monday, 29 April 2013

It’s not all about the birds...

Hi there,

Here at the RSPB headquarters in Bedfordshire, the ‘B’ stands for much more than just ‘Birds’. It’s bats, bees, beetles, butterflies... but they don’t all begin with a ‘b’ – we’re into moths too! We’re an enthusiastic bunch of moth-ers and run a fairly regular MV Robinson trap in The Lodge gardens. The nature reserve encircling the gardens is a mix of dry heathland, acid grassland and mixed woodland so there’s quite a good range of different habitat around. Moth traps have been run on and off over the years, but this year we have a newly fledged moth group so there will be more of a concerted effort to check out the moths that we have here.

It’s been a fairly slow start so far, with our count on 19. Highlights have included Oak Beauty, Purple Thorn, Yellow Horned, Nut-tree Tussock and Lunar Marbled Brown. We’re hoping to add some butterflies to the list soon too.

We’re looking forward to being part of this challenge, which is a really fun idea! Here’s to a decent summer to make up for the late spring.

Happy mothing!

The Lodge Moths

Sunday, 28 April 2013

A proper introduction!

Hi All,

I've just realised that in the excitement of making my first post, I forgot to give it a title or to introduce myself or my garden! So, apologies for that - I shall rectify both here...

I'm Cheryl and I'm running an MV trap with my partner in rural Warwickshire. We first began trapping in 2004 whilst living in Argyll, running the trap just a few times a year until 2007, during which time we recorded about 150 species of macro moth.

In 2008, we returned south but didn't really begin trapping regularly again until last July. Current total for the present garden is 120 species, and the current total for 2013 is just 15. It's quite interesting to compare the similarities and differences between two such disparate locations, and also to note what is missing here - the ostensibly common Early Grey, for instance, remains stubbornly absent from the trap. The site is quite elevated and exposed, so I'm not sure yet if they just aren't here, or are merely behind. Time will tell...

Habitats nearby are mainly parkland, arable farmland and mixed deciduous woodland. There must be plenty of wet flushes nearby too, because the garden pond brought in 9 dragon/damsel species before its third birthday - ironically nearly as many moths as this year!!!

Here is my list for 2013 so far:

Spring Usher
March Moth
Pale Brindled Beauty
Dotted Border
Common Quaker
Small Quaker
Oak Beauty
Clouded Drab
Hebrew Character
Lead-coloured Drab
Twin-spotted Quaker
Red Chestnut
Brindled Beauty
Diurnea fagella

I'm hoping this will be the year to get to grips with the micros - the single Diurnea record is a reflection of that!

As for the day job, I'm a chemist-turned-geologist. The closest I've ever got to a moth at work was receiving a plea to remove a poplar hawkmoth from the lock to the liquid nitrogen cage, where it had decided to snooze for the day!

All the best for a great mothing summer...


Saturday, 27 April 2013


Hey there, moth maniacs.

My name is Mark Lawlor, I live in Guernsey and I have been running a moth trap in my various gardens since 1999, so I guess I am quite experienced with the beasties, or at least the ones that visit my garden. Although we probably have less resident species here on the island compared to the mainland, a few of these residents are interesting non-British species (although most of these are now expanding their range north into the UK). This is an excellent spot for migrant moths, and we can also get some exciting rare visitors from France, although people don't tend to realise that Kent is closer to France than Guernsey is.

Recently, my trapping has become a lot more irregular and I only put the trap out 20 or so times in the whole of 2012. However, with my attempt at Mr. Muzza's "1000 for 1KSQ" challenge in 2013, this has encouraged me to get my arse into gear and I have had 2 new species for the garden already - Oak Beauty and Acleris ferrugana. I generally don't have time to get the trap out on a school night so I am mostly a weekend moth-er, but during the long summer holiday I can hit it big time!

Had the trap out last night despite it being frickin' freezing and had just 5 species. Two of these were new for the year however - Mullein, and my first migrant in the trap, a Silver Y. These two, along with a Mompha divisella in the shed brings me to 38 species in my garden this year. Cheers!

[nb. My personal website/blog is at http://lalarinho.webs.com/apps/blog/ ]


Silver Y

Be He moth

Hi, I'm Rob,

I have been trapping moths for a few years, and currently run a pseudo-Robinson trap in my back garden. It has an MV bulb, which is very bright, but the neighbours are shielded by thick hedges. The house was built in 1937, and is a bog-standard Norfolk bungalow, and the garden has been substantially altered, though the boundary hedges may be as old as the house. The surrounding area is typical village fringe, with some woodland and pastoral areas, but predominantly arable. The garden is actually quite exposed, which might help moths to be attracted from some distance.

When I was seventeen (in 1986), I ran a heath trap for a full season from my parents' house just two miles down the road. I got around 180 species of macro moth, and would hope to get a similar range of macros here this year. The micros are a new adventure for me, but with the excellent Sterling/ Parsons/ Lewington field guide this group have certainly become more accessible.

So far it's been good, and my garden list currently stands on 34 species. My fave so far has to be oak beauty, with its fantastic black n white patterning.

I am also doing the excellent 1000 for 1ksq challenge, which is a pan-species list. I regard these two challenges as being a terrific way to enlarge your natural history skill set, and to discover species groups which you never even knew were possible to identify. And, for me personally, they also provide a welcome distraction from the day job (yes, I am a consultant ecologist, but there is seldom any commercial need to move away from protected species).

I would just like to wish everyone good luck with the garden moth challenge, and may the weather be good - please!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Mothing in Beds

Having been part of a fiercely competitive mothing challenge at work last year (which ended in an honourable draw) it seems only natural to graduate to the garden mothing challenge, with the assistance of my girlfriend Lizzie. I suspect our small garden and twin actinic/uv skinner trap may restrict us to a mid-table position but I'm sure it'll be fun along the way.

It's been a quiet start to the year, with the total currently standing at 26, but hopefully that will be shooting up soon. Highlights so far this year have been my first ever Dotted Chestnut and the first garden Brindled Beauty

Dotted Chestnut
Dotted Chestnut - cracking moth!
Brindled Beauty
Brindled Beauty

Still slow - but awesome!

Morning all, following on from my introductory post last night I awoke to a very soggy garden! Luckily a carefully position table kept the worst of the rain out the trap. 

Just seven moths of four species; 3 Double-striped Pug (see below), 2 Common Quaker, single Early Grey and a single Brindled Beauty! A new one for me - hurrah! 

Pretty sure this is Double-striped Pug?

Brindled Beauty and what a beauty! 
So, Brindled Beauty was garden moth species number 16 for me. I sit middle of the pack and poised for a downpour of moths when the weather improves!

From the edge of the Long Mynd

I am a relative newcomer to moth trapping. I have always had some interest, but had never got round to getting my own trap. Then one morning last July I found a Drinker resting in my porch (moth, obviously) and was just blown away by having such an incredible insect in my garden. I promptly got my first moth trap, a 20w actinic heath from Paul Batty, and have very quickly become completely moth obsessed!

The Drinker

I trap in my garden in a village on the edge of the Long Mynd in Shropshire and have now recorded over 100 species since I started in August. Despite the poor conditions I have managed to record 26 moth species this year. I try to trap two or three times a week if the weather is willing, though I think I may have to try some other search tactics to try to boost my totals!

Small Quaker

Along with a friend in the next village, I run a local mothing blog http://strettonmoths.blogspot.co.uk/ (he is far more of an expert than me and catches far more moths!). We also run a moth survey group for our local area trapping in peoples gardens to encourage more people to start moth recording themselves. Despite having access to several gardens, my totals for this will just be for my own!

Good luck all. I suspect I will finish towards the lower end of the table, but looking forward to seeing what others are catching. If you like you can follow me on twitter @mike_shurmer

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Hi from Norfolk

Hi all - good idea this blog. I probably won't be posting often as I'm a bit busy/dedicated/obsessed with chasing 1000 species (of all species - not just Lepidoptera!) in 2013 in my home 1 km square here in Shotesham, a few miles south of Norwich. So I'm mostly posting on the separate 1000for1ksq blog instead

However, I've been moth-trapping for many years now (bought my first trap in '95) and it's always fun to tot up the totals for the year. Since we moved here in August 2006 I've noted just over 500 species in the garden, although for the last few years I've only really been trapping once weekly for the Garden Moth Scheme. However, I'm putting in a lot more effort this year as I'm expecting a decent moth-tally will form the bedrock of my attempts to reach 1000 species. Not sure I'll stay at the top of the rankings for long, if we get any REALLY serious experts joining in. Although I do try to identify most of the reasonable micros, there are still a lot I just run away from...

Have fun everyone!

P.S. This is one of the best ones so far (although I have to admit it's actually an individual I photographed a couple of years ago)

Small Eggar

So far - slow - but good!

Evening all,

Jonny here - I record for the Garden Moth Scheme from my Bury St Edmunds (VC26) garden.

Despite not posting yet I've thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone else's posts and jealously looking at the photos!

Bit of a slow start for me with just 15 species logged to date:

1. Agonopterix alstromeriana
2. Pale Brindled Beauty
3. Emmelina monodactyla (Common Plume)
4. Oak Beauty
5. Agonopterix heracliana
6. Double-striped Pug
7. Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
8. Agonopterix scopariella
9. Hebrew Character
10. Clouded Drab
11. Common Quaker
12. Earl Grey
13. Herald
14. Grey Shoulder
15. Small Quaker

The stars of the show so far are this Oak Beauty and Herald - both new to me this year!

Its been a super mild day today and even with the breeze and forecast rain - the moth trap is on!

Happy mothing everyone.

Whetstone, Leicestershire

Hello all. I've decided to jump into the mix seeing as I always keep a close track of my garden moth records anyway, and I have the extra impetus of the 1000 in 1kmsq challenge this year as well. My garden is a very modest suburban plot in Whetstone, Leicestershire. It is flanked on one side by a nicely maturing scrubby embankment that separates the housing estate from an industrial estate. There is no substantial woodland or water body within a 3km radius of my house, though over the 14 years that I've been trapping I've managed to build up a decent garden list which currently stands at 625 moths (302 macros, 323 micros) plus 20 butterflies. In a typical year I'll record c340 species, with the highest so far being 393 in 2011. This year has been a bit rubbish so far though so no high expectations for the total. I'll also expect to be well down on those recording east and south of here!

Total as at 25/04/2013 is 36 (33 moths, 3 butterflies), and two have been recorded as larvae only (Large Yellow Underwing and Old Lady):

Code Taxon Vernacular Added
1497 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
1549 Pieris brassicae Large White 25-Apr-13
288 Caloptilia stigmatella
483 Epermenia chaerophyllella
1927 Lycia hirtaria Brindled Beauty 23-Apr-13
2186 Orthosia gracilis Powdered Quaker 23-Apr-13
667 Semioscopis steinkellneriana
1917 Selenia dentaria Early Thorn 22-Apr-13
1862 Gymnoscelis rufifasciata Double-striped Pug 20-Apr-13
435 Zelleria hepariella
1054 Acleris cristana
2237 Lithophane ornitopus lactipennis Grey Shoulder-knot 16-Apr-13
663 Diurnea fagella
1047 Acleris schalleriana
1288 Alucita hexadactyla Twenty-plume Moth 15-Apr-13
1597 Inachis io Peacock 14-Apr-13
2235 Lithophane semibrunnea Tawny Pinion 14-Apr-13
697 Agonopterix arenella
2189 Orthosia munda Twin-spotted Quaker 13-Apr-13
389 Choreutis pariana Apple Leaf Skeletoniser 10-Apr-13
695 Agonopterix alstromeriana
2182 Orthosia cruda Small Quaker 10-Apr-13
2243 Xylocampa areola Early Grey 10-Apr-13
1746 Anticlea badiata Shoulder Stripe 07-Apr-13
2188 Orthosia incerta Clouded Drab 07-Apr-13
2190 Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character 07-Apr-13
1546 Gonepteryx rhamni Brimstone 06-Apr-13
1524 Emmelina monodactyla
2187 Orthosia cerasi Common Quaker 04-Mar-13
1663 Alsophila aescularia March Moth 03-Mar-13
2256 Eupsilia transversa Satellite 03-Mar-13
2300 Mormo maura Old Lady 03-Mar-13
1934 Agriopis marginaria Dotted Border 16-Feb-13
688 Agonopterix heracliana
2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing 29-Jan-13
1960 Theria primaria Early Moth 04-Jan-13

These are the highlights so far:

Tawny Pinion - second garden record, first was 23/09/2006

Acleris schalleriana - first recorded in 2011

Grey-shoulder Knot - sixth garden record, first since 2010

I'll update my totals on here through the year, alongside postings on my blog and of course the 1000 in 1kmsq blog.

Don't fear the Micro !

That's my mantra this year.
 I started trapping March 2012, and enjoyed the season, which was about 4 weeks with the crap weather.
To be honest I nearly lost my mojo, only managing about 40 odd species. But I realised it was a bad year, and I am attempting to make my small garden a bit more mothophillic, so hopefully the macro range will be better.
I use one of Paul Batty's Actinic Eco Traps, but I can feel a bit of sugaring coming on this year, if it doesn't work, I reckon it will make a good cocktail base. I guess by the time I surface some weekends everything has left too ;)
I am also determined not to go to pieces at the sight of a Micro this year, and stalk the garden, not just examine the trap.

My first Twenty-plume was a highlight last night, I'm up to 14 now
Good Luck everyone !



I'd like to introduce myself to the group

Graham Dixon

I'm 59 retired and have been trapping since Aug 2008

I record all my catches on Mapmate and sent them to the County Recorder

I live in The Village of Gregon Lane just south of Preston. 

My interest in moths was kindled when I worked on nights at Warton Aerodrome (BAESYSTEMS) the sodium lights attracted insects by the thousands.

I am Newsletter Editor for Butterfly Consevation - Lancashire.

If you want to know what I do outside of mothing  -check TROUBLE at' MILL

12 Species so far this year

March Moth



Oak Beauty

Small Quaker

Common Quaker

Twin-spotted Quaker

Early Grey (Numbers up on previous years)

Hebrew Character

Clouded Drab

Early Thorn

Double-striped Pug

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Wow! I'm venturing into unknown territory here, with my first ever blog post...

Last week I trapped two "Little Brown Jobs", initially identifying both of them as Clouded Drab. It wasn't until I got the second one in the viewfinder that I realised it wasn't the same as the first!

With a little help from twitter (thank you!), I discovered that the second was actually a Lead-coloured Drab. What a great way to learn the difference between them, by fortuitously having both of them in the trap at the same time...

Anyway, here they are:

The Clouded Drab with its pointed wingtips...

and the Lead-coloured Drab with its rounded ones...

I've learned since that the male Lead-coloured Drab has feathered antennae too, but I forgot to check that bit.

As for whether the black spots are diagnostic for the Lead-coloured, I don't know that either...

Anyway, it's great to be involved. I'm limited to weekend trapping, but I often put sugar out during the week. Hope everyone has a great summer of trapping - look forward to reading/seeing the moths on here!

You can find me on twitter @lilylouhart if you'd like to...

Best Moth night for a newby

Ok, I haven't been doing this mothing malarkey long. In fact only about a month. My garden is in Worcestershire on a housing estate so in addition to annoying my neighbours, my moth trap hasn't been producing much!
Until last night, when I got 4 new ones!

Brindled Beauty

Pale Pinion

Clouded Drab

And a Pug I can't ID!

Garden Moth Challenge – Derby

I am delighted to be part of the Garden Moth Challenge and hope this turns in to a fun exchange of mothing adventures during 2013 – #teammoth.
I live in a suburb of Derby and run my own Ecological Consultancy so work all over the UK and abroad.  Trapping (and updates) may therefore be a little hit and miss over the next few months but when I am at home I have three very willing helpers who will hopefully badger me in to trapping on all suitable nights when I am at home.

I used to work at the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory where we ran a moth trap most nights and was well and truly bitten by the mothing bug.  On leaving SBBO I went and worked as a Ranger in both Nottingham and Derbyshire and used moth traps as part of adult and child education activities.
However it wasn't until late last year that I got my very own moth trap (off Twitter!) and we now have an MV Skinner trap to use in the garden and maybe on holidays if I can sneak it in the car! 
First moth of 2013 was caught on the 2nd January however since then the weather has seriously hampered catching and this year is proving to rather frustrating.  Although by all accounts this certainly is not limited to my Derbyshire garden.
 Anyway totals so far are 24 moths caught of 7 species - so things can only get better.
Highlights of the year include -

The Herald

Brindled Beauty
Most common moth so far this year has been these Early Greys (although I am sure that I am catching the same ones every night!)

Early Grey
 All my records will be submitted at the end of the year to my local moth recorder.
I will try and update the Garden Moth Challenge blog as the year goes on, however you can also follow me on Twitter (@MarkG76) if you feel so inclined.
Glad to be on board

10 SP so far


Great to see the list of contributors growing!

It is great to see people joining the challenge. At the time of writing we have fourteen moth-ers joining in the challenge. We hope many more of you will sign up! All you have to do is let me know you want to take part and give me the following info:

  1. Your name
  2. The county you live in
  3. Your current species total for 2013
  4. Your email address (this isn't compulsory, but I will need it if you want to contribute to the blog) 
This challenge is open to anyone interested in moths (beginner or expert alike). Owning a moth-trap is not vital, though it will help boost your species total. Once you are registered, please feel free to use the blog to post updates and to post images of species you are having difficulty identifying!

You can keep me updated with your running species totals via twitter (@inkednaturalist) or by emailing me directly!If you use twitter, you can also follow updates by using the hashtag #teammoth

Plain Clay - 1st record in Cumbria since the 50's (trapped in my garden last year)!
We encourage you to submit all your moth records to you local recorder. If you don't know who your recorder is, have a look at this link: http://www.mothscount.org/uploads/CMR_List_County_Format_04_03_2013.pdf

We would like to get as many moth-ers involved in this challenge as we can, so if you know someone who would be interested in participating, please let them know! This challenge is available to people world-wide.

We look forward to hearing and seeing what you have recorded in your garden!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Welcome to the Garden Moth Challenge 2013

Moths are absolutely stunning creatures and are one of the most accessible species group to the amateur naturalist! Many of us who run a moth trap in our gardens, soon realise the huge number of species on their doorstep!

Peach Blossom (Thyatira batis)    
Robert Yaxley challenged a few of us to a 'Garden Moth Challenge'! The rules are simple; record as many species of moth and butterfly within the boundaries of your garden as possible.

The friendly (mostly...;-) ) competition has caught on via Twitter an there seems to be a fair bit of interest. So, we thought we would open the competition to everyone! We hope to get people from all over the UK and the rest of the world! It will be great to see what species people are catching across the regions!

If you have a trap and a garden, then you can join in! We encourage your to submit your moth records to your local recording scheme/recorder!

If you are interested, please email me on tristan at theinkednaturalist dot co dot uk and I will send you an invite so that you can contribute to this blog!