Saturday, 31 August 2013

Finally cleared a second ton...

Evening moth'ers,

My last update for a few weeks owing to imminent three weeks away. I am proud to have limped and spluttered over the two ton threshold...

194. Orange Swift - Bury St Edmunds, 26th August 
195. Square-spot Rustic - Bury St Edmunds, 26th August 
196. Centre-barred Sallow - Bury St Edmunds, 26th August 
197. Old Lady - Bury St Edmunds, 26th August 
198. Large Red Underwing - Bury St Edmunds, 26th August 
199. Lesser Yellow underwing - Bury St Edmunds, 26th August
200. Green Carpet - Bury St Edmunds, 31st August 
201. Pale Mottled Willow - Bury St Edmunds, 31st August 
202. Flounced Rustic - Bury St Edmunds, 31st August 
203. Garden Pebble - Bury St Edmunds, 31st August 
204. Small Blood-vein - Bury St Edmunds, 31st August 
205. Diamond-back Moth - Bury St Edmunds, 31st August
206. White-point - Bury St Edmunds, 31st August   

Happy moth'ing one and all - couple of few pics for I.D. confirmation below... 

Flounced Rustic

Centre-barred Sallow

Pale Mottled Willow

Small Blood-vein 

I'll leave you with these copulating beauts - currently horizontal dancing on me front door! 

Friday, 30 August 2013

"Armchair Ticks" in Bucks.

My garden trap has been pretty quiet as we move inexorably into autumn, with 3-4 species dominating the catch each night, but there have been a handful of new species arriving:

290. Blastobasis adustella
291. Purple Bar (NFG)
292. Small Square-spot

I also sent off a selection of moths caught during June & July, mainly micros, to a local expert for identification and confirmation, and received the list back today. Some of these were new for my Challenge list, so here they are:

293. Monopis crocicapitella (lifer)

294. Parornix anglicella (lifer)

295. Parornix finitimella (lifer)

296. Paraswammerdamia nebulella
297. Coleophora serratella (lifer)
298. Larch Case-bearer (Coleophora laricella) (lifer)
299. Coleophora argentula (lifer)
300. Parachronistis albiceps (lifer)
301. Bryotropha affinis (lifer)
302. Holly Tortrix (Rhopobota naevana)
303. Epiblema rosaecolana (lifer)
304. Plum Fruit Moth (Grapholita funebrana)
305. Dichrorampha alpinana (lifer)
306. Ephestia parasitella
307. Hoary Footman (lifer)

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Capturing Old Ladies

We've had a succession of Old Lady moths in the trap over the last week or so, which led to an odd conversation with my nine-year-old while walking down the street recently: we were discussing putting Old Ladies in pots and photographing them, which could have sounded suspicious.

Old Lady, 11th August

This culminated in a total of six of them in the trap on 27th August, which was quite a striking sight. Apart from that, there is beginning to be an autumnal feel to the moths we're catching - the first few Centre-barred Sallows have shown up - although numbers have remained very healthy, topping 300 individuals a couple of times and usually over 50 species for the last week. We've continued to enjoy spectacular individuals, such as a couple of Red Underwings and a substantial second generation of Poplar Hawkmoths, but also entirely new species to the garden - these including Feathered Gothic and Lesser Treble-bar.

Lesser Treble-bar, 21st August

Feathered Gothic, 26th August

That said, the continuing good weather has also led to some additions to the butterfly list for the year, with Common Blue and Green-veined White sighted in the last couple of days. Still, it's moths that are providing the main momentum for the Garden Moth Challenge, and with a total of 350 moths now reached for the year, we're wondering whether 400 is a reasonable target for 2013.

Howick Northumberland

Unable to keep up with Marks expertise below, I'm sure I miss some micros, my garden total is coming along nicely, now up to 323 species for the year.

This Annulet, is a first for me and the first county record for 17 years.

This one is Pyrausta despicata, the first record for Northumberland since 1976!

A more usual year list addition and an absolute stunner is - 

Autumnal Rustic 
My total garden list now stands at 470 species. A few autumn faves are yet to appear so heres to continued mild weather...

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Garden Gold - Whetstone Leics. Update

All moths are equal, but some are more equal than others .......

Gold Spot - a personal favourite and a spanking moth

I was pleased with that for another reason as well: Gold Spot first appeared in my garden back in 2003, with one/two in 2005-2007. There was a sudden upturn in 2008, a massive unexplained hike in 2009 and then an equally sharp decline in 2010 with no records in 2011 and 2012. Really good to see it again, with another couple last night.

Another one I was pleased to see this morning was Sallow Kitten, mainly as again I missed it in the early brood. Another smart moth, and the only kitten I get (no idea why Poplar hasn't turned up yet, Alder is rare in VC55).

Sallow Kitten

Last nights trap was very busy with 370 of 63sp. There was a clear upturn in Garden Carpet (18), Double-striped Pug (13) and Brimstone Moth (15) which are all in 2nd/3rd broods. Garden Carpet in particular seems to have two broods appearing in my garden with a bit of overlap. This year, no records between 19th - 31st July.

Garden Carpet - common in gardens ...

Bucking the trend though, my last Green Carpet this year was 5th July, and I should be seeing a few by now from the second brood but none so far. Seems odd with the really good summer weather in July, but perhaps explained by a later start to the year?

Meanwhile, Yellow-barred Brindle is doing very well - usually less than ten in the year, previous best was 13 in 2011, already up to 26 this year.

Yellow-barred Brindle (which is usually green)

I've also started thinking about species that I've missed this year, and it's always interesting how your mind remembers only the good bits until you look at the data. I was surprised that I'd missed Large Nutmeg this year as it is usually common in the garden. However on checking I've found that actually it isn't always common here; it had a good period in 2009 - 2011 but I'd completely missed the fact that it had dropped right off last year. Maybe not so surprising that I missed it and another one that I'll have to start hoping comes back.

Aside from the above, main highlight was the third garden Maiden's Blush (following singles in 2000 and 2008).

Maiden's Blush

That's probably enough wittering for now. I'm now up to 403sp., including an unexpected Common Blue upping the butterfly year-list to 11. Additions are:

Taxon Vernacular Date Added
392 Lathronympha strigana
393 Scrobipalpa costella
394 Cyclophora punctaria Maiden's Blush 18/08/2013
395 Polyommatus icarus Common Blue 19/08/2013
396 Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot 19/08/2013
397 Trichiura crataegi Pale Eggar 19/08/2013
398 Luperina testacea Flounced Rustic 20/08/2013
399 Batrachedra praeangusta
400 Plusia festucae Gold Spot 21/08/2013
401 Furcula furcula Sallow Kitten 23/08/2013
402 Atethmia centrago Centre-barred Sallow 23/08/2013
403 Cameraria ohridella

Pale Eggar

Centre-barred Sallow - usually the first sallow to appear in my garden and, hopefully, the start of a more yellowy flavour to the trap empying sessions

Wet GMS in Bucks

It was pretty wet last night for my GMS session, but I had the largest catch of the month last night in my Bucks garden, which included species new not only to my Challenge list, but also to my all-time garden list!

281. Caloptilia populetorum (NFG)

282. Apotomis betuletana
283. Small Waved Umber (NFG)
284. Wormwood Pug (NFG)
285. Common Wave
286. Six-striped Rustic (NFG)
287. Feathered Gothic (NFG)
288. Canary-shouldered Thorn (NFG)
289. Mouse Moth

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Autumn approaches in Bucks

It's been a bit quiet again here in Bucks on the moth front. It definitely feels like autumn is approaching fast, and I'm starting to get a few species appropriate for the time of year, along with a lot of second-generation stuff that I simply didn't encounter last year.

As far as new stuff for the challenge list is concerned:

263. Caloptilia stigmatella
264. Aspilapteryx tringipennella
265. Aethes smeathmanniana
266. Acleris laterana
267. Epinotia nisella
268. Cydia splendana
269. Tracycera suavella
270. Square-spot Rustic
271. Knot Grass
272. Svensson's Copper Underwing
273. Old Lady
274. Straw Underwing
275. Vine's Rustic

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Pebble Prominent 193...

Hi moth'ers, 

Incredibly since my last post I caught another Tree-lichen Beauty! I didn't appear to be the same individual, so either a further migrant or more suggestive of a colony nearby. 

Anyway, just a few more additions below as I slowly plod towards two ton. Pebble Prominent was new to me and a total beaut! 

184. Euzophera pinguis - Bury St Edmunds, 2nd August
185. Eudonia mercurella - Bury St Edmunds, 2nd August
186. Oegoconia deauratella - Bury St Edmunds, 2nd August
187. Copper Underwing - Bury St Edmunds, 7th August
188. Coxcomb Prominent - Bury St Edmunds, 9th August
189. Lime-speck Pug - Bury St Edmunds, 9th August
190. Wormwood Pug - Bury St Edmunds, 9th August
191. Agriphila geniculea - Bury St Edmunds, 9th August
192. Acrobasis suavella - Bury St Edmunds, 9th August
193. Pebble Prominent - Bury St Edmunds,16th August 

A couple of pics for your delight and pleasure:

Copper Underwing 

Coxcomb Prominent 

Pebble Prominent 

What is this?

Found this Blood Vein at Birdfair! Don't worry it got out of the mud and into the safety of a bush! 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Whetstone Leics. Update

About time I posted an update, though not too much garden trapping since the start of August and the drop off in night-time conditions. I have noted a marked increase in garden butterfly numbers though with buddleia in full flower, and the Small Tortoiseshell that I probably overlooked earlier in the year duly turned up. Still waiting for first garden Red Admiral and Painted Lady for the year, but fully expect both in the next week or so.

By far the main highlight recently was this ......

Gelechia senticetella

Maybe not too exciting to look at, but it was a first for me, a first for the garden and most importantly a first for VC55. It's one that relatively recently colonised the UK and has been gradually spreading north so not massively unexpected.

Otherwise, these were most welcome to the yearlist ....

Bulrush Wainscot - second for the garden, first was 01/08/2004

Tissue - fifth garden record

Pale Prominent - only as there was no spring brood record so good to get this later one

Year list is now up to 391 (381 moths, 10 butterflies). Despite the poor start to the year, and thanks to the summer bonanza, I'm easily on track for a best-ever year year for garden moths. Previous best was 393sp. in 2011, and a typical year is c340sp.

Taxon Vernacular Date Added
375 Aglais urticae Small Tortoiseshell 06/08/2013
376 Gelechia senticetella
377 Epinotia nisella
378 Amphipyra tragopoginis Mouse Moth 08/08/2013
379 Pterostoma palpina Pale Prominent 08/08/2013
380 Ancylis badiana
381 Triphosa dubitata Tissue 09/08/2013
382 Ennomos fuscantaria Dusky Thorn 09/08/2013
383 Xestia xanthographa Square-spot Rustic 09/08/2013
384 Eudonia pallida
385 Catocala nupta Red Underwing 10/08/2013
386 Euzophera pinguis
387 Ypsolopha dentella Honeysuckle Moth 10/08/2013
388 Xestia sexstrigata Six-striped Rustic 10/08/2013
389 Nonagria typhae Bulrush Wainscot 10/08/2013
390 Caloptilia syringella
391 Coleophora alcyonipennella

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Howick, Northumberland

Finally nudged the species total over the 300 mark last night with -

 0658 Carcina quercana 1 

1043 Acleris aspersana 1 
1197 Eucosma campoliliana 1 

1913 Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos alniaria) 1

 2269 Centre-barred Sallow (Atethmia centrago) 2

I had 608 moths of 66 sp... thats me on 302 for the year.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

August continues well...

As someone all too well acquainted with the birder's summer doldrums, I'm appreciating the fact that moth-ers can enjoy July and August perhaps more than any other months. Certainly August seems at the moment at least as productive as July: so far we've had 154 species in the garden, compared to 204 in the whole of July, and the last week or so has produced some 60-odd species most nights, and usually over 200 individuals: comparing very well with 2012. It's also produced some welcome new species: I've long wanted a Lime-speck Pug to show up, as it's such a good contrast to most of its family:

Lime-speck Pug, 11th August
I thought Canary-shouldered Thorn rather handsome, and it was good to find an Old Lady in the trap: I've seen them in the garden in previous years on apples, but not previously had them come to light.

Canary-shouldered Thorn, 9th August
Old Lady, 11th August
It's also good to find species which hadn't featured among our expectations at all - such as Small Phoenix (I didn't even really register its existence before finding it), Chinese Character and the micro Lobseia littoralis which, as its name suggests, is commoner on the coast than as far inland as Oxfordshire).

Small Phoenix, 10th August
Chinese Character, 10th August
Lobesia littoralis, 8th August

We're now away for another week, so I expect to sink in the rankings once again - but look forward to the second half of August if it continues to be as productive as the first couple of weeks of it.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Baby boomers?

Hello. Just a note to wonder if others are experiencing good second generations in this excellent season of moths? When I first saw the unmistakable outline of this Poplar Hawk in the trap this morning, I thought: "Goodness, aren't they stayers" because they've been flying in regularly since early June. But looking more closely, this one seems in tip-top condition and unlikely to have been around that long. The Moth Bible says that they sometimes have a partial second generation in the south, and I guess that this might be one of those times. Hope you like my pyjamas and the Brimstone in the background.

Meanwhile my total creeps towards 200 but I haven't had time to do a proper audit yet.  All warm wishes to all and hope there's treasure in them thar eggboxes.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Better News in Bucks

There are a few species of moths that seem to be held up by the "Bucks Force Field" that is well-known to the birders of the county, preventing anything rare from breaking through.

However, over the last few days, it seems that there may be holes small enough at least for moths to pass through, as on a trapping session at a local nature reserve on Friday produced a Tree-lichen Beauty and more importantly for this blog:

260. Toadflax Brocade

Oh yes !!

There have been a couple of "lesser moths" to add to my challenge list from the 3 nights of National Moth Night as well:

261. Orange Swift
262. Spindle Ermine

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Many Mothers-of-pearl

... or possibly 'Many Mother-of-pearls'? In any case, one of the least micro-looking of all micros more or less took over the garden on 4th August, with 117 individuals in the trap (not counting, of course, those that managed to get away without our seeing). Although that night was record-breaking in terms of numbers of individuals (288 all told, 61 species), we've generally not had numbers similar to those of the July heatwave since returning from holiday at the weekend - still, the species showing up in the garden have changed quite substantially since we went away in July, with Uncertains and Buff Ermines now few and far between. Still, we clocked 26 new species on our first five nights back, including some gorgeous ones: Ruby Tiger, Mullein Wave, Gold Spot, and Purple and Dusky Thorns. The butterfly list continues to creep upwards, too, with a long-expected Comma in the garden on the 7th, and there have been good numbers of some presumed migrants - plenty of Silver Ys, and a Dark Sword-grass on the 3rd.

Ghostly Ruby Tiger, 4th August
Mullein Wave, 7th August
Gold Spot, 3rd August
Purple Thorn, 3rd August
Dusky Thorn, 6th August

Although I have the impression that micros are less numerous than previously, there are still plenty around, with some distinctive-looking creatures among them, such as these:

Hedya salicella, 4th August
Agonopterix alstromeiana, 6th August

So we're hoping to keep the list going upwards as the autumn comes in (I suspect we may, however, have got as high as we're going to as far as butterflies are concerned...).