Saturday, 26 October 2013

Occult (ella)

Back from another week working on France, and yet again it looks like I missed the best mothing conditions (like the week I missed in September). Pleased to add another today though, with loads of Ectoedemia occultella mines on my garden silver birch, both tenanted and vacated and some leaves having multiple mines.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A wee smattering...

Really slowed this end - but still a couple new ones to report. Plus I forgot about a Large Ranunculus in my last post:

Large Ranunculus 

Green-brindled Crescent 

Red-line Quaker 

November Moth agg. 

November Moth agg. 

Acleris sparsana (Ashy Button)

So, the numerical advancement is as follows:

212. Large Ranunculus
213. Green-brindled Cresent
214. Red-line Quaker
215. November Moth agg.
216. Acleris sparsana (Ashy Button)

Keep on moth'ing good moth'ers!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Slowly does it

It's getting to the time of year where I can't really justify putting the trap out every night - sometimes I'm either afraid the rainshield won't cope with the weather, or it just seems too cold. Still, it is sometimes worth it - we had 52 individuals of 24 species on 7th October, and we continue to pick up a few new-for-years and even the odd new-for-garden (which pretty invariably means lifers for Xander and me). In the latter column in the last week or so, a Satellite, which feels like one of those which turn up once in the trap and never appear again; and in the former, several Red-line Quakers. There have also been a few migrants making their way to Oxford - we had our second Vestal on the 7th, and have had a smattering of Silver Ys and Dark Sword-grasses.

Satellite, 7th October
Red-line Quaker, 8th October
Dark Sword-grass, 6th October
All of which brings our total for the year to 388: 374 moths and fourteen butterflies. I've more or less given up on 400 moths for the year, but the total does feel frustratingly close to 400 all told - I have a suspicion we'll just fall short, but there are a number of species we had last year that have yet to show up, such as Green-brindled Crescent, so we might yet squeak home...

Friday, 11 October 2013

Missing the action

I haven’t been around much in the summer to run my trap, so I’ve missed out on a couple of month’s action. The blue glow of my actinic has been seen recently though in a bid to catch up and trap some autumn flyers. I haven’t had many species, with Large Yellow Underwings being the most numerous beasts lurking in the egg boxes, but I’m slowly adding to my garden list. My total currently stands at 134 (124 moths + 10 butterflies).

Swallow-tailed Moth was one of my favourites this year and I have had quite a few Privet Hawk-moths, which are always fun to scare/amaze people with (especially when left in the fridge!):

Swallow-tailed Moth

Privet Hawk-moth

Looking back...

We’ve been a bit slack with the trapping in the last couple of months – only managing one trap a week, if that, so we’ve probably missed out on some good ‘uns and we’re certainly lagging a bit with our total! Since the last blog, we’ve added a couple of hundred to our garden list (this may sound like a lot, but it was back in June when our last totals were sent in!), taking our total to 312 (291 moths + 21 butterflies).

We had a moth evening back in July, with 72 species recorded from the gardens alone. A Hummingbird Hawk-moth started off the night for us, which was the first of a few of these to be seen here this summer. The traps on the moth evening were dominated by micros, which have since quietened down here; we might get one or two micro species per trap at the moment if we’re lucky (or unlucky as some might say!).

We’ve had good numbers of butterflies this year, with Clouded Yellow and Purple Hairstreak being the highlights. The most numerous species fluttering around the borders were Green-veined White, but this year has also seen good numbers of Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma.

We’ve had some interesting moth records as well. Traps earlier in the summer were dominated by Dark Arches, leaving us wondering if they were planning a world takeover.  The Grey Pine Carpet has been an ever present moth, with the second generation in full steam at the moment. Some star species were:

The Blackneck (not particularly common here)

Anania perlucidalis (new species for The Lodge)

Sharp-angled Carpet (last record in Beds. was in 1987)

Oak Nycteoline (uncommon in Beds.)

Buff Arches and Buff-tip continue to amaze, also provoking debate as to which is the cooler moth

Red-necked Footman (5th & 6th records for Beds.)

Red Underwing (impressively big, even when lurking high up on a wall)

Merveille du Jour (we were wondering when this would turn up and it did last week)

and a few photos:
Burnished Brass

Scalloped Hook-tip

Pebble Prominent

Brindled Green

Large Ranunculus

Monday, 7 October 2013


Hi all,

Just two new to report since my last post:

210: Barred Sallow
211: Beaded Chestnut

Only two but they are beauts!

Barred Sallow

Beaded Chestnut 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Hallelujah! Whetstone Vestal at last


I've been waiting many years for one of these to turn up in the garden, and with the current nation-wide influx I'd have been especially gutted to miss out again this year. One with pink markings or an overall pink flush would have been especially nice, but I really can't complain. I have seen a fair few Vestals over the years, including one I found at work in Leics. back in 2001 when there was another influx - that one was quite smart ....

Vestal, South Wigston, Leics. October 2001

Also a Waved Umber last night. I have had a few odd things in autumn before, usually something that has a second-brood in the south but not here, but as far as I can tell there is no usual second-brood of Waved Umber even in south UK?

Waved Umber - not a typical autumnal moth

Another highlight was Pale Pinion, making this the first year that I've recorded both Pale and Tawny Pinions and Blair's and Grey Shoulder-knots in the garden - one of the other three British Lithophane spp. would be most welcome!

Pale Pinion

Otherwise more expected autumnal species continue to appear, though there are not too many expected species left to go. I'm now on 433sp. and can't see me pushing too far beyond 440.

Taxon Vernacular Date Added
426 Aporophyla nigra Black Rustic 29/09/2013
427 Nomophila noctuella Rush Veneer 04/10/2013
428 Acleris sparsana
429 Lithophane hepatica Pale Pinion 04/10/2013
430 Epirrita dilutata agg. November Moth agg. 04/10/2013
431 Rhodometra sacraria Vestal 04/10/2013
432 Conistra ligula Dark Chestnut 04/10/2013
433 Agrochola macilenta Yellow-line Quaker 04/10/2013

Black Rustic

Juniper Carpet

Barred Sallow

Green-brindled Crescent ab. capucina

Dark Chestnut

Rush Veneer

Acleris sparsana

Yellow-line Quaker

November Moth (probably)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Limping Along in Oxford

My last post back in early August was when I'd managed to reach the 200 mark in the GMC. Then the mothing was going well I was full of optimism and I posted a revised an end of year target of 250. I went away on holiday for a couple of weeks in August but since I've been back the mothing has not been the same. In fact when we had that cold week a while back I stopped bothering all together but now that things are milder I'm back putting the trap out each evening. My catches are often less than 20 (that's individual moths, not species!) but I've still managed to catch a smattering of NFY autumn moths which is keeping my interest up.

For the record, here are my new additions since my last posting.

09/08/2013    Sallow Kitten
09/08/2013    Svennson's Copper Underwing
09/08/2013    Flounced Rustic
09/08/2013    Cloaked Minor
09/08/2013    Crambus Perlella
25/07/2013    Purple Thorn
10/08/2013    Ypsolopha Scabrella
10/08/2013    Mompha Propinquella
12/08/2013    Copper Underwing
12/08/2013    Borkhausenia fuscescens
28/08/2013    Gold Spot
28/08/2013    Square-spot Rustic
28/08/2013    Lesser Yellow Underwing
28/08/2013    Vine's Rustic
28/08/2013    Small Square-spot
29/08/2013    Setaceous Hebrew Character
31/08/2013    Garden Pebble
03/03/2013    Centre-barred Sallow
03/03/2013    Eudonia angustea
05/09/2013    Nephoterix Angustella
09/09/2013    Red Underwing
10/09/2013    Hummingbird Hawk Moth
22/09/2013    Small Dusty Wave
23/09/2013    Agonopterix arenella
25/09/2013    Brown-spot Pinion
26/09/2013    Pink-barred Sallow
26/09/2013    Large Ranunculus
30/09/2013    Lunar Underwing
01/10/2013    Barred Sallow
03/10/2013    Red-line Quaker
03/10/2013    Angled Shades
03/10/2013    Beaded Chestnut

A while back I was thinking that there would be no chance of making my 250 revised total. However I've been adding NFY slowly but steadily and I've managed to limp along to 226 moths which together with my butterfly total of 15 takes me to 241 so there's a real possibility that I might make 250 now.

By way of moth porn for this posting I've picked out some autumn moths. As always please correct me if I'm wrong with any of the ID's.

Beaded Chestnut
Barred Sallow
Large Ranunculus
Lunary Underwing
Pink-barred Sallow
Centre-barred Sallow

Thursday, 3 October 2013

That was September, that was... plus ID requests

As expected, September saw a decrease overall in numbers and in quality - 103 species in the course of the month, but a number of summer favourites diminishing or vanishing: so we've seen no Mothers-of-pearl or Poplar Hawkmoths for some weeks, and very few Square-spot Rustics. Still, a few nice and unexpected species have shown up during the month, perhaps the most notable being a Vestal: interesting that an immigrant species should make it as far as Oxfordshire - it also gives me hope of a Convolvulus Hawkmoth one of these days. Another species new to the garden, and which has turned up a few times in the latter half of the month, is Large Ranunculus: a very handsome creature indeed.

Large Ranunculus, 21st September

Vestal, 29th September

A couple of ID quandaries we're left with, which I'd be grateful if people were able to help with: it's been suggested (and I've tended to agree) that the following is a Campion, on the basis that its kidney-mark and oval do, more or less, seem to join - however, I've also had suggestions of Lychnis instead: any thoughts?

Campion or Lychnis? 2nd September

Secondly, this micro, from 10th September, seems to me to have an orangey head, which should make it a Prays ruficeps, as opposed to fraxinella - again, any thoughts gratefully received.

Possible Prays ruficeps, 10th September

Anyway, temperatures remain fairly decent overnight, so I hope for a few more decent catches (and as ever live in anticipation of our first ever Merveille du Jour: Death's-head Hawkmoth seems a much more distant prospect, although one was reported in August about eight miles west of us, so you never know).

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Had this in the garden trap on Friday night. Meant to be a bit rare or something....

Pungeleria capreolaria