Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Moths at work

I left my traps at the site at which I occasionally work over the last couple of nights; one in a small copse surrounded by fields, and the other on a woodland/chalk grassland boundary.
Due to the weather this morning (=wet) quite a few things got away before I could get a decent look or even get a photo. I have recorded at least 116 species, plus a few in pots still to look at; new for my year list were Dingy Footman, Tree Lichen Beauty (below), Ypsolopha scabrella, Dun-bar, Ruby Tiger, Gold Triangle, Buff FootmanScalloped Oak, Mother of Pearl, Dingy Shell, Dark Spectacle, Batis lunaris, Cloaked Minor, Small Waved Umber, September Thorn, Grass Rivulet, Brown-line Bright-eye, Purple Thorn, Bordered Pug, Ear Moth, Brown Plume, Aethes cnicana and Clouded Brindle.

Monday, 18 July 2016

A new moth for the world...

Found a chrysalis in the garden the other day whilst cutting back some ivy. Today was born a new moth for the world.

She didn't stick around for a full portfolio...

Thursday, 7 July 2016

A lot of moths, for a change!

After a week away in Wales (yes, mothing was included) and some very disappointing garden mothing, I left a couple of lights at my occasional place of work last night.

I was inundated with little brown jobs - I have a lot of things in pots now, so hopefully I will be able to add to my list and site records, but that is going to be in the future.

Meanwhile, my second-ever Leopard Moth was the highlight at the actinic light on a chalk meadow, with Scarce and Common Footman and Bird's Wing also new for the year list.

The MV light on a woodland edge added Swallow-tailed Moth, Dingy Footman, Smoky Wainscot, Eucosma cana, Notocelia uddmanniana, Clay and Pretty Chalk Carpet.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Moth Night Event

This morning I helped out in a small way with a Butterfly Conservation / Moth Night event for the public at the local BBOWT reserve, College Lake.

There are one or two micros that are still to be identified, but a good selection of moths, both brown and colourful, were available to interest the visitors.

This years Moth Night "theme" was Hawk Moths, and for once, the catch was well matched, with Privet, Poplar, Lime, Elephant, Small Elephant and Pine all available (the last named flew off before the ensemble could be completed).

New for my year list were Ghost Moth, Swallow Prominent, Broom Moth, Burnished Brass, Flame, Flame Shoulder, Brown Rustic, Marbled Coronet, Dark Arches, Shaded Pug, Puss Moth (a lifer!), Shark (also a lifer!), Lobster Moth, Bordered Pug, Figure of 80, Obscure Wainscot, Grass Rivulet and White Point - plus a bunch of micros...


Saturday, 4 June 2016

This Week's Moths

My weekly 6W trap in the woods caught 25 moths of 13 species. 13 of these moths were Scoparia ambigulis, but the rest included a handful of new-for-year species including Common Swift, Diamond-back Moth (just the one in spite of what I understand is a massive fall over the last couple of nights) and Maiden's Blush.

My 15w garden trap last night did even better with 21 species (although still 25 moths due to just the one Scoparia). New for the year were Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Currant Pug, Heart & Dart, a dark form of Marbled Minor agg.,  Willow Beauty, Epinotia bilulana and Notocelia cynosbatella.

Upside-down Currant Pug on the kitchen window...

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Woods and Gardens

Well, one of each really. Even so, worth making a post as I managed to attract a few new for year moths last night, with the 6W woodland trap and 15W garden trap.

The species in question included from the woods Pebble Prominent, Treble Lines (both traps), Tawny-barred Angle, Pale Oak Beauty, Common White Wave, Common Wave, Orange Footman and Brown Silver-line.

The garden added Mottled Pug to the year list. Also the first Yellow-barred Brindle and Flame Carpet for the garden year.

No pics, though, due to "camera issues".

Thursday, 12 May 2016

A great night...

Ran a regular 6W heath trap in a local woodland for the garden moth scheme last night. There were 20 moths of 12 species, inlcuding 4 Great Prominents. (Also new for the year list were Scoparia ambigualis and Green Silver-lines).

I also ran my 15W skinner in the garden, and although the haul was only 8 moths of 7 species, one of these was a new for the garden Great Prominent (also nfy was a Light-brown Apple Moth).

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Garden's picking up!

After 4 weeks of nothing in my garden trap, last night after a couple of warm days and nights, my GMS catch yielded a couple new-for-year and a few new-for-garden-year:

Most of the moths weren't actually in the trap, rather on the perspex and the wood, but they still count. Plus the few that I saw on my late-night check, but that had disappeared by the morning.

Clay Triple-lines (NFY)

Alucita hexadactyla (NFGY)
Waved Umber (NFGY)
Spruce Carpet
Shuttle-shaped Dart (NFY)
Esperia sulphurella

Brindled Pug
Hebrew Character
Early Grey
Least Black Arches (NFGY)
Emmelina monodactyla
Brindled Beauty (NFGY)
Double-striped Pug
Common Quaker (very tatty!!)

There's a very active Long-tailed Tit nest very close to my trap. No evidence that they're eating any moths, but I have seen potential future-moths disappearing inside!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

First Trip of the Year!

My first proper (ie not in the garden) trip of the year took place on Sunday night; the weather forecast showing overcast all night with a minimum of 9C (10C warmer than the previous night).

With two accomplices, we set up a range of MV, actinic and UV bulbs in an area containing scrubby woodland, old buildings and a bit of chalk grassland.

At the start of the evening we saw more bats than moths, although if there are bats, they must be feeding on something, so we hung on as the drizzle increased. There were moths, and we recorded 19 species before leaving at 11, all but one of the traps left on site until the morning.

Returning at 7:30, we were vindicated in the decision to leave traps as it was apparent there had been a lot more late night activity, as the traps revealed 83 moths of 34 species.

The largest number of individuals of any species was Clouded Drab (15) and there were a handful of Common Quakers and Hebrew Characters hanging on, but the warm weather had definitely encouraged emergences as there were some lovely fresh specimens, including Grapholita jungiella, Oak-tree Pug, Peppered Moth, Lesser Swallow Prominent and Streamer.

Peppered Moth

This is the start of my 3rd season trapping at this particular site, and yet there were 5 new species for the site list, including V Pug and Semioscopis steinkellneriana.

Other new for year included White Spotted Pug and 3 of the colour forms of Oak Nycteoline.

White-spotted Pug
Oak Nycteoline

Sunday, 24 April 2016

2015 Round-up

I can't say that 2015 has been the best year in my short mothing career; the garden catch was well down on the previous year numbers-wise, albeit with a handful more species. Two of these, though, were lifers in the form of Tachystola acroxantha and Slender Pug.

I concentrated my trapping at the Chiltern Open Air Museum this year, in conjunction with two others. Over two years, the site list stands at 402 species. I did track down 2 sets of records for the site from the mid-1990s, but there was nothing on the list that we haven't seen since. 15 species were lifers, although all micros identified through dissection. I was pleased at the end of the year to catch a Merville du Jour on the site, only the second on my life-list!

At my other regular site at the Chiltern Woodland Burial Park we run a 6W heath trap for the GMS scheme. Sadly, it has not been possible to run any other traps during the year, which means the year-on-year list is down somewhat, although it was nice to continue to see Red-necked Footman, and to add Red Chestnut and Grey Shoulder-knot to my life list (the latter was attracted to a window rather than the trap!).

The rest of my moth sightings resulted from attending trapping events run my the Buckinghamshire Invertebrate Group, which is a great way of meeting other moth-ers and getting access to interesting sites! Stoke Common (a rare bit of heathland in South Bucks) was most productive as far as the life-list is concerned, with Grass Wave, Pale-shouldered Brocade and Common Heath as far as macros are concerned.