Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Mothvana in my face.

It's been an incredible July for moths. Staggering. 179 new species in this month alone, can't quite believe it. I haven't run the trap every night, but with good weather it's been rude not to. Each night has bought in a handful of new moths, as well as stacks of the old favourites - dark arches, flame, minors, more recently common rustics, uncertain, common footman, and riband wave. Here's a few pics:
Varied coronet

Bordered sallow

Large emerald

White satin moth

Leopard moth
Rosy footman
So, somehow I have manged to reach the almost absurd total of 349 moth and butterfly species recorded in the garden this year. The micros have been a new thing for me, and poring over them at the breakfast table is a new bad habit. But really enjoying the challenge, and learning lots. I only wish the dark green fritillary that turned up not far from the house had decided to stop in the garden. Ah well, you can't win em all. August - humming-bird hawk on the wanted list...

Some night-time neighbours in our garden at Thrupp (Oxon)

A beetle negotiates my Leopard Moth. It went all the way to the end
and then all the way back again

Hi there and it's great to join the Challenge though I will be well down with the wooden spoon brigade. But I've had huge enjoyment from my Robinson moth trap since my wife Penny gave it to me for my birthday in 2008, knowing that I had always wanted one since boyhood days when they were financially far out of reach.

Garden Tiger - a moth I've always hoped for

During five years in Leeds, I recorded a total of 205 macro moths and 36 micros (in which I was less interested until getting the brilliant new book on them last year), plus 19 types of butterfly. Then in April this year, we moved to the idyllic hamlet of Thrupp on the edge of Kidlington just north of Oxford, and since then I have recorded 138 macros and 25 micros, plus 18 butterfly species.

Another which was only a dream in Leeds - our biggest
resident moth, the Privet Hawk
I ramble on about my finds in a blog called Martin's Moths and I've just done an audit in today's post which is here. I am a huge fan of Waring, Townsend & Lewington and of a small but very generous group of more expert moth-ers who keep my wobbly identification skills on the straight and narrow via comments on the blog.

This Scarlet Tiger scampered off and ended up here - did it suss that the picture
display window had an element of the dark shine in its wings?

I'll try to keep updating my total, which underestimates the actual number of species in the trap because I lack the patience and time to check them all (partly because I am the one in the household who makes the early morning tea).  I've greatly enjoyed reading other entries on this blog and wish wonderful moths on one and all.  I've added pics of some of my favourites above and below.

All warm wishes,

Martin Wainwright

Five of seven Elephant Hawks which arrived one night in June

Female Ghost Moths are two a penny here but this is
the only male to have called

The Blotched Emerald, maybe an unfair name for a very pretty moth
The Grass Rivulet, one of the most delicate of what I think of
as 'Laura Ashley moths'

I am a ragwort fan

Two big hairy gents; first a Lobster Moth

And a Drinker, a moth whose caterpillars we found high up
on grass and bred at school

The purity of the White Satin

This White Plume gradually unfolded its wings from a simple
T-shape to a four-decker

Another one I'd always hoped for: the Puss Moth. Now for its caterpillar...

The third of the 'Op-art Trio' with the Leopard
and Puss moths, the Black Arches
Showing its knee breeches: a recent Ruby Tiger

One of the most extraordinary of many odd shapes; a Lilac Beauty

Quieter in Bucks

Due to the worsening of the weather, the number and variety of moths has decreased somewhat in my Bucks garden, but I do have a handful of species to add to my challenge list.

221. Ypsolopha scabrella
222. Clepsis consimilana
223. Shaded Broad-bar
224. Purple Thorn
225. Sycamore
226. Cloaked Minor
227. Waved Black

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Whetstone, Leics.

Up to 349 now, with more good catches but also a few missed nights for one reason or another. Best night was Monday 22nd with very warm and muggy conditions at dusk, though thundery down-pours during the night sadly meant lots of soggy moths in the morning - 601 of 122species plus loads of other interesting beetles, bugs and bits. Additions since last update include three garden ticks, of which one will need to be detted to confirm but looks quite likely to be the first record for VC55 of Biselachista utonella.

Taxon Vernacular Date Added
318 Acrolepia autumnitella
319 Agriphila tristella
320 Leucoptera laburnella Laburnum Leaf Miner 19/07/2013
321 Xanthorhoe quadrifasiata Large Twin-spot Carpet 19/07/2013
322 Yponomeuta cagnagella Spindle Ermine 19/07/2013
323 Discestra trifolii Nutmeg 19/07/2013
324 Brachmia blandella
325 Argyresthia bonnetella
326 Swammerdamia pyrella
327 Aethes rubigana
328 Udea lutealis
329 Pieris napi Green-veined White 20/07/2013
330 Anthophila fabriciana
331 Gypsonoma oppressana
332 Biselachista utonella / eleochariella Biselachista sp. 22/07/2013
333 Cedestis gysseleniella
334 Lobesia abscisana
335 Phycita roborella
336 Ypsolopha scabrella
337 Acleris variegana Garden Rose Tortrix 22/07/2013
338 Caloptilia robustella
339 Conobathra repandana
340 Argyresthia goedartella
341 Epinotia tenerana Nut Bud Moth 22/07/2013
342 Eucosma campoliliana
343 Carpatolechia decorella
344 Bryotropha domestica
345 Scoliopteryx libatrix Herald 26/07/2013
346 Mompha raschkiella
347 Yponomeuta rorrella Willow Ermine 26/07/2013
348 Abraxas grossulariata Magpie Moth 26/07/2013
349 Noctua interjecta caliginosa Least Yellow Underwing 26/07/2013

Gypsonoma oppressana - 98th garden tortrix sp.

Biselachista utonella / eleochariella

Cedestis gysseleniella

Endotricha flammealis



Mompha raschkiella

Small Ranunculus - Great Record for Derbyshire

Caught this wee beauty the other night and no matter how hard I looked in the books I couldn't ID it. Posted this picture to #teammoth and @Stewchat suggested Small Ranunculus. Checked in Waring and it looked good, however on reading the text appeared doubtful as this species recently disappeared from the UK.  It's classed as a Nationally Scare B species and has slowly been spreading north since its reappearance in Kent in 1997. 

No way, not in my garden. 

Les Hill (@dorsetmoths) confirmed the ID of Small Ranunculus as did my County Recorder who added the following interesting information - 

'The Small Ranunculus first turned up at Beeston in 2009. It was then recorded in Alvaston in 2010 and later at Midway in 2012.  Your record serves to consolidate the likely breeding in the area.'

I have since had one more fresh looking one at the light trap so I had best get checking Prickly Lettuce!

Small Ranunculus (19/07/2013)

Just goes to show the importance and value of moth trapping and that even records from a small urban gardens are very valuable.  

Certainly the highlight of my moth-ing year (so far!) 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Over 200 for July

Monday 22nd was the last night we put the trap out in our garden in July, as we headed down to Dorset on holiday on Tuesday. It was a record-breaker for numbers of individual moths - 216 - although not for species, of which we've identified 67. They included some good garden records, including Small Waved Umber, Acleris aspersana and Ypsolopha scabrella and brought the total species recorded in the garden in July to 204. Our total on the year is now 294 - 283 moths and eleven butterflies.

Acleris aspersana, 22nd July

Small Waved Umber, 22nd July

Ypsolopha scabrella, 22nd July
As luck would have it, I caught and photographed a micro moth in a bedroom of our holiday accommodation in Christchurch, Dorset, and it seems likely to be an Udea fulvalis, quite a rare species for the county, although not unknown around Christchurch. However, I appreciate that it can't be counted for the GMC...

Likely Udea fulvalis, 25th July (in Dorset)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

More Bucks Moths

I shall be so disappointed when the mothing starts to wind down again, but for now, it is certainly making up for the poor start to the year.

Although the numbers at my trap are not that high at the moment now the weather is slightly more cold/windy/damp than it has been of late, I am getting new species arrivals, which is all good for my challenge list :)

New for the year last night were:

216. Euzophera pinguis
217. Spilonota ocellana
218. Dun-bar
219. Juniper Webber
220. Gothic

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Some ids in Bucks

After going through the contents of my fridge, I have managed to id a few additional moths from the last few nights, adding in a small way to my challenge list:

203. Agriphila tristella
204. Thrachycera advenella
205. Athrips mouffetella
206. Cork Moth (NFG)
207. Timothy Tortrix (NFG)

Last night was a thunderstorm and heavy rain, but there were still moths in the trap, including a few new ones:

208. August Thorn
209. Vapourer (NFG)
210. Copper Underwing agg. (flew off before I could have a decent look...)
211. Agriphila inquinatella
212. Carcena quercana
213. Phoenix
214. Scalloped Hook-tip
215. Orthopygia glaucinalis

Monday, 22 July 2013

Pushing 300 in Oxon...

... but the downside is that we're about to be away for almost a fortnight on holiday. Still, the last few nights have continued to be highly productive - we nearly got up to 200 individuals on the 21st, with a catch of 195 (Uncertains, Agriphila straminella and Mothers-of-pearl accounting for a lot of those), and we've even had some butterflies to boost numbers (though interestingly not as many as Adam Hartley, in a slightly more urban location within a mile or two of us) - I was pleased to see Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper in the garden over the past couple of days, which I don't think I've seen there before.

A few species I remember from late July and August last year have started to show up - the afore-mentioned Mothers-of-pearl, Dun-bar, and various Footmen and Yellow Underwings: I'm especially fond of the Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, though it takes a long time to type.

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 21st July

Dun-bar, 19th July
Several other big species have visited too, including a continuing steady stream of Poplar Hawkmoths, as well as a Small Elephant Hawkmoth; also our first ever Large Emerald clinging to the outside of the trap.

Large Emerald, 21st July
And as before, micros remain interesting to identify, and often quite spectacular in their own right:

Mompha propinquella, 15th July

Recurvaria leucatella, 20th July

So we've now hit a combined total of 288: 277 moths and eleven butterflies: I'm almost more surprised that we've a total of 197 moth species for July (might possibly hit 200 if tonight goes OK), which is more than my overall total for 2012 (although admittedly I wasn't then working at it as much as I am now).

Like Adam, I'm very much enjoying the fact that my son, a little older than his at nine years, gets much enjoyment from the moths: he's quite a dab hand at identifying them. I'm wondering about diversifying into wine rope trapping in August, but my experiments in that area so far have been singularly unsuccessful: if anyone has nay top tips, I'd be very grateful.

175 Up in Oxford

In my last post I wondered whether I might reach 150 by the year end. Well it's taken all of 10 days to add the necessary extra moths and in fact I'm now at the giddy heights of 176 with 200 now in my sights. Whilst I'm still making only modest catches by the standard of many who blog here (my record for the year is only 65 moths of 45 species) I'm adding a few NFY each day which is keeping me happy.

Here's the list of new moths since my last posting

12/07/2013    Ancylis Achatana
13/07/2013    Yellow Shell
13/07/2013    Blood-vein
13/07/2013    Pammene  Regiana
13/07/2013    Aleimma Loeflingiana
13/07/2013    Swallow Tail
13/07/2013    Dun-bar
13/07/2013    Common Rustic Agg
13/07/2013    Bud Moth (Spilonota Ocellana)
14/07/2013    Barred Straw
14/07/2013    Bramble Shoot Moth
14/07/2013    Endotricha flammealis
14/07/2013    Agriphila straminella
14/07/2013    Clepsis consimilana
14/07/2013    Batia lunaris
14/07/2013    Paraswammerdamia nebulella
15/07/2013    Scarce Footman
15/07/2013    Celypha Striana
15/07/2013    Eucosma cana
07/07/2013    Small Emerald
16/07/2013    Dark Sword-grass
16/07/2013    Bird-cherry Ermine (Yponomeuta evonymella)
16/07/2013    Batia Unitella
16/07/2013    Wax Moth (Galleria mellonella)
16/07/2013    Diamond-backed Moth (Plutella xylostella)
16/07/2013    Acrobasis Advenella
16/07/2013    Argyresthia Retinella
17/07/2013    Crescent Plume
17/07/2013    Apple Ermine (Yponomeuta malinellus)
17/07/2013    Helcystogramma rufescens
19/07/2013    Pebble Hook tip
19/07/2013    Anania Coronata
19/07/2013    Small Fan-footed Wave
19/07/2013    Dwarf Cream Wave
19/07/2013    Dingy Shears
19/07/2013    Eudemis Porphyrana
19/07/2013    Teleiodes vulgella
19/07/2013    Single-dotted Wave
19/07/2013    White Plume
20/07/2013    Phoenix
20/07/2013    Leek Moth (Acrolepiopsis assectella)
21/07/2013    Ethmia Dodecea
21/07/2013    Small Ranunculus
21/07/2013    Triple-spotted Clay
21/07/2013    Muslin Footman
21/07/2013    Cnephasia Longana
22/07/2013    Carcina quercana
22/07/2013    Recurvaria nanella

I've done very well with the butterflies and am now on a total of fourteen. In fact I can't think of any butterfly species that I'm likely to get in the garden which I haven't already seen.

My seven year old son is getting quite obsessed with the mothing and rushes downstairs as soon as he hears me get up, reading to inspect the trap. His main enjoyment is still having them on his finger but he seems to love the whole process as much as I do.

Here's a selection of some of the more photogenic moths I've caught recently.

 Blood Vein
 Pammene  Regiana
 Barred Straw
 Dark Sword-grass
 Dingy Shears
Ethmia Dodecea