Sunday, 30 June 2013

Perking up in Northumberland...

And the results from Howick are....( in true eurovision stylie)

My biggest catch so far this year...

0017 Common Swift (Hepialus lupulinus) 3
0018 Map-winged Swift (Hepialus fusconebulosa) 5
0018 Map-winged Swift (Hepialus fusconebulosa f. gallicus) 1
0647 Brown House Moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella) 1
0945 Aethes cnicana 1
0989 Timothy Tortrix (Aphelia paleana) 1 NFY
1021 Flax Tortrix (Cnephasia asseclana) 1 NFY
1076 Celypha lacunana 7
1174 Epiblema cynosbatella 2
1201 Eucosma cana 2 NFY
1333 Scoparia pyralella 1
1376 Small Magpie (Eurrhypara hortulata) 2
1392 Udea olivalis 2
1428 Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella) 2
1653 Buff Arches (Habrosyne pyritoides) 1 NFY
1693 Cream Wave (Scopula floslactata) 2 NFY
1727 Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata) 44
1738 Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata) 1
1776 Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria) 11
1807 Grass Rivulet (Perizoma albulata) 1 NFY
1817 Foxglove Pug (Eupithecia pulchellata) 1
1827 Freyer's Pug (Eupithecia intricata) 1 NFY
1834 Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata) 1
1837 Grey Pug (Eupithecia subfuscata) 1
1902 Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata) 2
1906 Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) 4
1920 Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata) 1
2007 Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula) 1
2060 White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda) 10
2061 Buff Ermine (Spilosoma luteum) 1
2069 Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae) 1 NFY
2089 Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) 1
2098 Flame (Axylia putris) 1 NFY
2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) 1
2123 Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi) 2
2128 Double Square-spot (Xestia triangulum) 5 NFY
2158 Pale-shouldered Brocade (Lacanobia thalassina) 2
2160 Bright-line Brown-eye (Lacanobia oleracea) 1
2173 Lychnis (Hadena bicruris) 1
2199 Common Wainscot (Mythimna pallens) 1 NFY
2302 Brown Rustic (Rusina ferruginea) 4
2305 Small Angle Shades (Euplexia lucipara) 3
2337x Marbled Minor agg. (Oligia strigilis agg.) 2
2340 Middle-barred Minor (Oligia fasciuncula) 9
2345 Small Dotted Buff (Photedes minima) 1 NFY
2387 Mottled Rustic (Caradrina morpheus) 2
2442 Beautiful Golden Y (Autographa pulchrina) 3
2450 Spectacle (Abrostola tripartita) 1
2477 Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) 1 NFY

157 Moths of 49 sp

The new ones put me on 121 species for the garden this year.

Better in Bucks!

After some top trapping sessions in local woodlands, I decided to run an MV in my garden last night, and stuff the neighbours. I had a haul of 115 moths of 51 species, plus about 10 pots of micros still to be id'd, so definitely worth it!

New for my challenge list were the following:

108. Ash Bud Moth
109. Green Pug
110. Clouded Silver
111. Elephant Hawk-moth
112. Buff-tip
113. Lobster
114. Pebble Prominent
115. Figure of Eighty
116. Beautiful Golden Y
117. Beautiful Hook-tip
118. Double Square-spot
119. Flame Shoulder
120. Straw Dot
121. Marbled White Spot
122.Small Fan-foot
123. Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix
124. Grey Dagger agg.
125. Marbled Minor agg.

Figure of Eighty, Ash Bud Moth  and Marbled White Spot are all new for my all-time garden list as well! Happy days! (and nights...).

 Beautiful Hook-tip
 Figure of Eighty
 Green Pug
 Pebble Prominent
Small Fan-foot

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A wave of waves

Nothing very out of the ordinary in Oxfordshire for a few days now (although a Small Elephant Hawkmoth on the 24th was a rather lovely garden first), but a sense both of numbers slowly continuing to improve (last night's catch of 51 individuals of 28 species was fairly typical) and of a change in the species showing up: pugs and carpets are perhaps less numerous than they were, and waves starting to show up more regularly. These latter I find rather more productive identification challenges than pugs - as long as they're well marked, they're not too difficult to work out - and they're also neat, quite attractive moths. Micros have also been numerous, and can be quite agreeable to look at, too - as well as interesting ID challenges.

Small Elephant Hawkmoth, 24th June

Riband Wave, 26th June

Dipleurina lacustrata, 26th June

Anyway, over the last couple of nights, seven NFY species: Aphelia paleana (or rather more memorably, Timothy Tortrix), Mottled Beauty, Small Fan-footed Wave, Dipleurina lacustrata, Riband Wave, Scoparia pyralella and Single-spotted Wave - three of those new to the garden, too.

North Lincs Update

More new moths over the past few days.
Lime hawkmoth
Tawny Marbled Minor
Treble Lines
Buff Ermine
Full list of new moths this week.
Common marbled carpet
lime hawkmoth
wormwood pug
scoparia ambigualis
light brown apple moth
mottled beauty
blastobasis lacticolella
cydia pomonella
treble lines
silver ground carpet
freyers pug
large yellow underwing
buff ermine
tawny marbled minor

Should take me to 68 :)

Bucks Update

It's been a very quiet week here in South Bucks, but while driving home from a barbeque last night, I noticed that there were quite a few moths out and about so I had high hopes.

In the end, there were a total of 11 moths in and around the trap, but at least a few of them were new for my challenge list:

103. Uncertain
104. Small Magpie
105. Snout
106. Clouded Brindle (new for garden list)

PS - just found another moth lurking in the trap...

107. Riband Wave

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Whetstone Leics.

A few more added from the last trap nights, last night being pretty good for additions. Up to 163.

Taxon Vernacular Date Added
150 Alcis repandata Mottled Beauty 21/06/2013
151 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet 21/06/2013
152 Clepsis spectrana Cyclamen Tortrix 21/06/2013
153 Aphelia paleana Timothy Tortrix 25/06/2013
154 Mompha sturnipennella
155 Spilosoma luteum Buff Ermine 25/06/2013
156 Biston betularia Peppered Moth 25/06/2013
157 Paradrina clavipalpis Pale Mottled Willow 25/06/2013
158 Myelois circumvoluta Thistle Ermine 25/06/2013
159 Xestia triangulum Double Square-spot 25/06/2013
160 Cabera exanthemata Common Wave 25/06/2013
161 Phalera bucephala Buff-tip 25/06/2013
162 Diachrysia chrysitis Burnished Brass 25/06/2013
163 Argyresthia cupressella

Thistle Ermine

Burnished Brass


Very slow season in Wiltshire

We are having a very slow season in Wiltshire. Last night we recorded two new species but only two moths in total; Hart and Dart and a Buff Ermine, which brings us up to 7 in total now. 

Is anyone else having a very slow season (apart from Les and Lionel!)? Compared to our records from last year, when the box was in the same place, this year is very disappointing.

The Mothketeers.

Our most exciting moth so far this year.... Gold spot. 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Wet Weekend in Bucks

I thought it was supposed to be summer, but it has been cold and wet here in Bucks all weekend, and after a promising build in moth numbers last week, the catch has dropped back to February levels...

Two new garden species over the weekend; one in my GMS catch on Friday, and one (the only moth in the trap) last night.

101. Buff Ermine
102. Ingrailed Clay

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Mam-moth catches

Well, the last week has produced some impressive catches in the moth trap, mostly due to a couple of very muggy, still nights in the middle of last week. Both Wednesday and Thursday nights were very busy, each with 2-300 individual moths in the trap. This necessitated some pretty speedy processing, just picking out the moths that looked like new species, and discarding the rest for later release. These bumper nights seem to produce more than their fair share of new species, and in the two nights produced 34! Well chuffed!

The moth trap at night makes a humming noise like a distant harley davidson with so many inside. The common species around here at this time of year are heart and dart, common wainscot (few smoky too), marbled and middle-barred minors, green carpet, setaceous hebrew character, elephant hawk, spectacle. The Thursday night may have bagged one or two migrants, silver Y and bordered sallow (my first of this species). Having a nice view out the back of the garden may have other benefits!

I use a "Robinson" style 125W MV trap, which I bought a couple of years ago. Previously I ran a battered 12v actinic "Heath", which had seen better days, and wasn't being wonderfully effective. The new trap certainly appears to draw in and retain a very high proportion of its moths. I have, like many others I think, the problem of birds around the trap in the morning, in my case blackbirds. But I have found that so long as the moths are dispersed in the bushy vegetation on release, the blackbirds won't spend time looking for them, rather they go back repeatedly to the lawn where the moth trap was. So touch wood most of the released moths survive for another day.

After an absence...

We’ve had a few weeks without setting a trap, so thought it would be a good idea to make up for it last week and get back to the challenge. And what a difference we saw! There seemed to be a sudden surge in numbers last week, which must have had something to do with the mild nights. The best catch so far this year was had last Tuesday night with a total of 41 species! Normally in mid-June we’d expect more, but for this strange year we’re quite happy with this bonanza.

Highlights from last week included:

Elephant Hawk-moth
Bordered White
Peppered Moth (we had 14 of these beasts on the Wednesday night – first double figures of any species in one night so far!)
Eyed Hawk-moth
Buff-tip (always the crowd-pleaser)
Brindled White-spot
Thistle Ermine
Epinotia rubiginosana (6th record for Bedfordshire)
Small Elephant Hawk-moth
Figure of Eighty
Scorched Wing
Total count is 118 (108 moths + 10 butterflies).

Picking up speed

The moths are on the up here in Cambridge and it’s been a good month of trapping. The most I’ve had in one night so far is 26 species. I’ve been overwhelmed with Heart and Darts, Mottled Pugs and Garden Carpets. Pugs in general have been the challenge: 1. in terms of catching the beasts before they escape the trap and 2. in terms of IDing them. It’s safe to say that there has been a fair amount of cursing as they fly off before I get a pot on them, and a fair amount of time spent leafing through my books trying to see if the – often battered – creature in front of me fits with any of the pictures! Oh, the trials and tribulations of moth trapping! Don’t you just love it!

The best beasts of the month have been:

Maiden’s Blush
Buttoned Snout
Clouded Silver
Pale Prominent (I love the look of these)
Treble Brown Spot
Freyer’s Pug (one of the many problem Pugs!)
Sallow Kitten
Tachystola acroxantha (a species probably introduced from Oz  c.100 years ago, which is spreading around the place)
Light Brocade
Poplar Hawk-moth (always pleased to get some Hawks!)
White Ermine
Grey Dagger
Lime Hawk-moth
Total count is 77 (70 moths + 7 butterflies).

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Getting busy in Oxfordshire

The last few days, and especially the night of the 19th, have been quite time-consuming in terms of going through catches, checking IDs (and taking photos where necessary) and getting help with identification. The night of the 19th was more or less a perfect mothing storm: muggy and still, and accordingly they showed up in numbers: 114 individuals of 44 species, which I think is a record for our garden. Thirteen of those species were new for the year, and eight new to the garden. Catches since then have been less spectacular, but not lacking in interest, with a number of gorgeous moths showing up, including Middle-barred Minor and Varied Coronet. We're still waiting for some really spectacular hawkmoths (Eyed would be good, but failing that, we've never yet had Elephant or Small Elephant), but things do seem to have taken off a little over the last week - although, like others, I have the impression that overall numbers are low.

Clouded Brindle, 19th June

Green Pug, 19th June
Middle-barred Minor, 20th June
Pandemis cerasana, 21st June
Varied Coronet, 21st June

Silver-ground Carpet, 19th June

Perhaps the best discovery we've made over the past few days, though, was that a trio of unassuming-looking micros we recorded for the 18th (we had one on the 19th, too), Telechrysis tripuncta, seem to have been not only the first record of that species in the region this year, but also the first ever in Oxfordshire (looking at the relevant map in the Sterling and Parsons Field Guide to micro-moths, this appears to be accurate, as the Oxfordshire area looks to be a blank for the species).

Telechrysis tripuncta, 18th June
My son, Xander, was suitably impressed when told this, and has continued to be assiduously helpful in going through catches every morning (though I think he's really holding out for one of those really big hawkmoths we're going to get one of these days).

Marching onwards...

With many thanks to Stewart and Benny for their comments on my last post which added the following to my total:

59. Freyer's Pug
60. Vines Rustic
61. Large Nutmeg
62. Heart and Club.

In addition I trapped my first Elephant Hawkmoth of the year on Monday night, always awesome beasts.

63. Elephant Hawkmoth

Last night I did some more serious damage! Without the distractions of work and nursing a minor hangover I have spent most of the day identifying the catch. Very therapeutic and relaxing.

I had all but forgotten about the 'competitive' element of the challenge, so I basically choked on my beer when I read that the leaders have broken not the one ton but the two ton barrier! Congrats to Les on is Herculean efforts.

So, here is the additions from last nights bounty and a couple of photos for your delight and pleasure:

64. Small Dusty Wave
65. Poplar Hawkmoth
66. Flame
67. Common Footman
68. Green Pug
69. Knot Grass
70, Setaceous Hebrew Character
71. Willow Beauty
72. Buff Ermine
73. Common Carpet
74. Straw Dot
75. Tawny Speckled Pug
76. Scoparia ambigualis (Common Grey)

Small Dusty Wave

Poplar Hawk - the boss! 

This Vine's Rustic?

Common Carpet 

Buff Ermine 

Marbled Minor! 

Wee Pug I took to be Freyer's? 

Catching Up in Oxford

I was away last week (birding in Scotland since you ask). I returned on Sunday to find that the GMC scores has all lept up since I'd last looked and that I was now being left behind. As I've mentioned in the past, I'm not blessed with the best of moth gardens nor the best mothing equipment so I was expecting to be seriously out-caught during this competition anyway but I wanted to retain at least some shred of dignity. Accordingly clearly I had some serious catching up to do.

I've run the trap every day since I've been back and I too have found that things have improved significantly since I went way. Whereas before I was getting totals of around 10 moths now it was often in the heady heights of twenty or more and one day I got a new best of year total of 31 moths. When I read of others getting 100+ catches in a single night it is enough to make me weep but I must somehow soldier on.

During the last week I've managed to add 13 moths to my year list as well as another butterfly (a Comma). The new moth additions have been the following

53    17/06/2013    Heart and Dart   
54    17/06/2013    Tachystola acroxantha   
55    17/06/2013    Grey Pug   
56    17/06/2013    Celypha Lacunana   
57    18/06/2013    Udea Olivalis   
58    18/06/2013    Willow Beauty   
59    18/06/2013    Mottled Rustic   
60    20/06/2013    Green Pug   
61    20/06/2013    Tinea Trinotella   
62    20/06/2013    Mompha Raschkiella   
63    20/06/2013    MomphaSubbistrigella   
64    21/06/2013    Marbled Orchard Tortrix   
65    21/06/2013    Marbled Minor Agg   

 Celypha Lacunana - I've been catching lots of these lately

 Heart and Dart has become another trap regular

Grey Pug, or so I've been told

Tachystola acroxantha - the first for the year for the whole recording area

 Buff Ermine
Udea Olivalis
Willow Beauty

Rustic Shoulder-knot
Green Pug
Mompha Raschkiella - another recording area first for year

Tinea Trinotella
 Marbled Minor Agg
Marbled Orchard Tortix- another recording area first for year

You'll notice in the above that I mention when I've found a first for the year for the whole Upper Thames branch recording area. Keeping track of this reminds me that even my modest catches are actually making a difference to the sum of mothy knowledge. Don't be fooled by my moaning about my relatively poor catches - actually I'm very much enjoying the whole GMC and my son seems to be getting more keen as well. We now unpack the trap together first thing each morning and he's always very keen to look out for "finger moths" as he calls them - larger moths which are docile enough to go on his finger, something he very much enjoys.

Lastest Score = 65 moths + 8 butterflies = 73