Friday, 13 December 2013

Saharan Dust

Interesting 'Tweet' from BC.

RT : Saharan dust over the UK tonight Might be worth putting the out

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Pugs - help needed

Here are 2 pugs that I photographed in late July.  Both are the same size with FW 9mm.  I keep changing my mind on their IDs.  I originally thought that both looked like Slender Pugs but the central spot on the earlier one is not round and the 28th July moth also seems a bit well-marked (more like a Grey Pug but too small).  Can anyone help?  Is there any significance to the bandings on the abdomens?

22nd July

28th July

Monday, 9 December 2013

Moth trap 8th December

6 December Moths (4 actually in the trap) and a Dark Sword-grass:

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Scarce and Mottled umbers

Put the trap out in the garden on Sunday night and had Winter moths, December moths, Feathered thorn, November moth agg, and Light brown apple moth. As Sarah has found, most of them were found outside of the trap.

Trapped in a small mixed woodland on Monday night and caught Scarce umbers, Mottled umbers, November moth aggs, Winter moth and Spruce carpet.

Mottled umber

Scarce umber

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Depressaria radiella/heraclei? otherwise known as the Parsnip moth

This one had a leg missing so it was euthanased.  The lines are 8mm apart and I measured the wl as 13mm.  Very shiny and flat with spots on the termen and a pale V with dark streaking on the inner part of the wing so I hope my id is correct.  OK, so you lot have been catching loads of them…
What is behind the name change?  What does heraclei mean and am I right in thinking the radiella is something to do with the streak pattern or that they are born with one leg short and crawl round in circles?

Chestnuts plus

I've just picked up on Sarah's Dark Chestnut.
 I had these 2 very contrasting Chestnuts in my box in late November which made me consult the books.  I'm sure they are Chestnuts but it would be instructive for some of our less experienced trappers  (inc me!) to see your Dark Chestnut Sarah, can you post it on the blog?

Bats are still flying as are lots of moths in my headlights.
Butterfly Conservation Newsletter with interesting stuff on our moths in Wales has just been published on-line.  Go to the website and click on newsletter.

Sorry second pic not cropped enough.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

30th November moth trap

I put the trap out again last night as it was another warm night (8-9C).  This morning there was a Yellow-line Quaker in the trap and a December Moth, Acleris sparsana X 2 and an Emmelina monodactyla on the house wall.  Plus a Caddisfly.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Light Brown Apple Moth

Although our garden trap last night yielded only two December Moths and one November Moth agg we found what we believe to be a male Light Brown Apple Moth in the house.

Carolyn & Evan

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Moth trap 26th November

No moths in the trap last night but 5 up the wall - 2  X Feathered Thorn, Dark Chestnut, December Moth and Acleris sparsana (I think...)

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Last night from a trap in an Aberystwyth garden the highlights were this attractive Brick and large numbers of Yellow-line Quakers.

Carolyn & Evan.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Just 2

Following on from our high winds on Wednesday (gusting to 66mph), we had our first cold(ish) night of the Autumn, with temperatures falling to 3.5C under a clear sky.  So, I was surprised to find 2 moths on the back of my moth trap this morning - a Feathered Thorn and a November Moth agg..  I also found a wasp investigating our shed at lunchtime today.

Feathered Thorn

Sunday, 17 November 2013

More Late Autumn Moths

We also put our garden trap out last night in the north of the county where the temperature dipped to 2.6°C.   We caught four December Moths, two Feathered Thorns and a November Moth agg (Epirrita sp) which unfortunately Peter we haven't kept for dissection!

Carolyn & Evan

Feathered Thorn
Epirrita sp

December Moths

19 moths in and around the trap this morning - 2 December Moths, a Chestnut, a tatty Dark Sword-grass, 7  X Feathered Thorn, 6 X Red-green Carpet, a Common Marbled Carpet and a November Moth Agg..  Plus a wasp.  No Micros.

December Moth

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Common plume: Emmelina monodactyla

No moths in the trap this morning (not surprising considering the wind and rain last night) but there was this plume sheltering inside.

Thank you for your comment Peter. I decided to try to photograph the tibial spurs. Not a great photo but hopefully you can see the evidence.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tachystola acroxantha

With temperatures staying above 10C, light winds and occasional light rain, it seemed a good night to put the moth trap out.  The result this morning was 47 moths, mostly up the house walls, including this Tachystola acroxantha.

Tachystola acroxantha

Friday, 8 November 2013

Yesterday I found an Angle Shades loitering in the ladies' toilets at the university, and the day before a 20 Plume moth in my bedroom.  Is anyone else seeing more moths coming indoors?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Moths Count newsletter

For anyone who has not seen this information click on the following link Latest moths count newsletter from Butterfly Conservation. It gives a summary of the mothing year and gives details of the next moth recorders meeting.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Five-spot Burnets

Can anyone help me with identifying whether these are Zygaena trifolii or Zygaena lonicerae, or is it just not possible?  They were all photographed in the same area of Aberporth.  The top 3 were recorded together on 5th July 2012 and the other 2 were on 26th June (showing unmerged 3rd and 4th spots) and 17th July this year.

Five-spot Burnets

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Brindled Ochre Distribution Map


Another good record.  You must have some Hogweed or Wild Angelica growing in the area. 


Friday, 1 November 2013

Brindled Ochre

An interesting trap from last night with this Brindled Ochre being the highlight.  There were also 2 Dark Sword-grass and a Silver Y in amongst the other moths.

Brindled Ochre

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Day flying Epirrita sp

I was in Strata Florida yesterday and today in very squally weather and was astonished to see day-flying Epirrita sp (probable Autumnal moths).  Disappointed they do not get a mention in the new book on Day-Flyers!  They were not disturbed but free flying at varying levels and in the rain storms at 250m    asl.  So strongly did they fly that it was some time before I could see one through the bins to id it.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Merveille du Jour

A late addition to last nights catch was our first Merveille du jour of the year. It was resting on a wall at least 7 meters away from the light trap.

What's the caterpillar?

From Chloe Griffiths:

I found 3 of these mystery caterpillars today, about an inch to an inch and a half long, very furry, and seemingly uniformly chestnut brown.  They were near a very acidic pool complex in the midst of Soft Rush, Heath bedstraw, Bilberry, Bramble, etc.  Could anyone let me know what they are, please?

Chinese character

The actinic light trap in the garden last night caught 18 moths of 8 species. All common autumn moths: Spruce carpet, Black rustic, Yellow-line quaker, Red-line quaker, Blair's shoulder knot, Common marbled carpet, Light brown apple moth, and Chinese character. The Chinese character looked very fresh but about a month later than its normal flight season.

Chinese character
 Has anyone else noticed how large the Spruce carpets are this year, could this be related to the better than average summer weather?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Carcina quercana

I found this worn Carcina quercana in the garden today. Since the books list its flight period as Jul-Aug, I assume it's a second-generation moth.  Other moths from last night were: Dark Sword-grass, Set. Hebrew Character, Feathered Ranunculus, Angle Shades and Merveille du Jour.    

Carcina quercana

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Micro moth from 8th October

I provisionally identified a Micro moth from my latest catch as the dark form of Ash Bud Moth (Prays fraxinella).  However, having read a bit about this moth on the internet, I see there is a moth which is now to be added to the British list called Prays ruficeps, which I understand has a red/brown head and no remains of fraxinella markings.  I think my photo fits this description (I have lightened it a bit to show the details better - to the eye it looked very dark brown/black) but was wondering if someone could let me know what they think.....


"Today Coed Phoenix kicked off its Micro Reserves project by having a tour of one of our brand new sites.  Even as we were having a cup of coffee on site, the first moth was discovered, in the toilet!  It was a beautiful Herald.  What a great omen for the start of our work."

From Chloe Griffiths

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Moth trap 8th October

A surprisingly good catch last night - 61 macro moths of 20 species: Common Marbled Carpet X 13; Dark Sword-grass X 2; LYU; Set. Hebrew Character X 8; Black Rustic X 8; Blair's Shoulder-knot X 3; Feathered Ranunculus X 5; Beaded Chestnut X 2; Angle Shades X 3; Pale Mottled Willow; Silver Y X 2; Flounced Chestnut; Turnip Moth; Red-line Quaker X 3; Grey Shoulder-knot; Yellow-line Quaker; Red-green Carpet X 2; Brown-spot Pinion; Green-brindled Crescent; and Merveille du Jour X 2.  Also, a Rush Veneer in the Micros.

Rush Veneer

Flounced Chestnut

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

You never know.....

Giant Atlas moth found on windowsill in Ramsbottom

24 October 2012 Last updated at 13:03 Help
A giant moth with a 1ft (30cm) wingspan has been found on a windowsill in Greater Manchester.

The Atlas moth is the biggest moth in the world and is normally found thousands of miles away in South East Asia.

When it landed at a house in Ramsbottom, it was so large the Blackmore family "thought it was a bat".

The moth, which only lives for a week, has since died but 30 of its offspring are being reared at a butterfly farm in Bolton.

How the moth arrived in Ramsbottom is a mystery although it's believed to have escaped from a private collection.

For video go to BBC News online

Caterpillar id

Lin has found this caterpillar and would like to know what it is.

Liz thinks it may be Bright-line brown-eye.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Lunar Underwing Distribution Map

Chloe,  I thought you might be interested to see the distribution of one of our more common moths.  Having said that we haven't caught one yet!


Feathered Thorn

Having just arrived home after a meeting this evening we noticed this colourful male Feathered Thorn at the kitchen window.

Carolyn & Evan

Palpita vitrealis

Here is a photo of the Palpita vitrealis caught by Chloe at her recent "Beer and Moths" evening. This lovely immigrant moth was recorded earlier this year, also from the Aberystwyth area.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Beer and Moths night!

Saturday night's "Beer and Moths" night in Penparcau produced the following results:

4 Silver Y
6 Common Marbled Carpet
1 Common Plume
12 Light Brown Apple
5 Rush Veneer
1 Twenty Plume
3 Black Rustic
1 Autumn Green Carpet
1 Blair's Shoulder-knot
3 Lunar Underwing
1 Palpita vitrealis

and 2 mystery moths - any suggestions please?

Sent by Chloe Griffiths


Its hard to believe these two are the same but I think they are both Chestnuts.  If that is so, hopefully it will help those struggling for hours to id moths in the trap at the moment.
Also had a Rush Veneer and 11 Green brindled crescents, 13 Red line Quakers, 11 Yellow line quakers and 3 well-marked Dark Swordgrass  with 2 fresh Satellites between 2 traps last night when the temp fell to 6.9C under a starlit sky.

Sugaring and wine ropes

At this time of year there are a declining number of nectar rich plants in flower but still plenty of moth species to see.
One of the best ways to attract moths and do them a good turn is to use a technique known as sugaring whereby a treacly mixture is painted onto fence posts or tree trunks avoiding lichens and mosses which are important habitats for micro-moths.
The recipe is as follows courtesy of Butterfly Conservation website.

Moths will also come to artificial nectar called “sugar”. Heat about 500ml of brown ale (or cola) in a large pan and simmer for five minutes to remove alcohol and other chemicals. Then stir in and dissolve about a kilogram of dark brown sugar, followed by a tin of black treacle. Simmer the mixture stirring well to make sure the molasses have all dissolved and then allow it to cool before transferring it to a suitable container for carrying outside. A drop of rum stirred in before use is recommended, but not essential. Just before dusk, use a brush to paint the mixture at eye level onto tree trunks or fence posts. Check the “sugar” for moths with a torch during the first two hours of darkness.  Store the remainder in a kiln jar or tin and use on other occasions through the season.

 Wine Ropes
An alternative method to sugaring uses thick cord or cloth made from absorbent material. You will need an old fashioned pyjama cord or strips of material 1cm wide by 1m long.  Boil the material for at least 10 minutes to remove chemicals. Heat a bottle of cheap red wine in a pan, stir in and dissolve a kilogram of sugar and, after cooling, soak metre lengths of the cord or twisted cloth in the mixture. Drape these “wine ropes” over low branches, bushes or fences just before dusk and later check for moths by torch-light.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

....And Dark Sword-grass!

Just up the valley from Tony and Ina's last night we also caught three migrants -  a Dark Sword-grass, a Vestal and a Silver Y.  The last time we caught a Dark Sword-grass was in August 2010 and a Vestal in October 2011.

Carolyn & Evan
Dark Sword-grass

Migrant Night !

You know the feeling, you wait ages for a bus and then lots come along at the same time.
Last night in Talybont - 2 Vestal, 3 Rush Veneer and good old faithful 10 Silver Y.
Could they feel happier about dropping in because we now have street lights that go out shortly after midnight?
Also a female Large Wainscot  - these can wander far from their breeding site.


Rush Veneer

Large Wainscot

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Frosted orange

The Frosted Orange will always sound like the name of a 1950s lipstick to me, but today I met the creature in the flesh, at the Coed Phoenix moth trap, in Bronant.  Tony and Ina had kindly come along to set up their 2 traps with my single Heath, and in spite of the very heavy rain, we managed to get 125 individuals all in, which included 15 species that were new to us on the reserve, including:  Black Rustic; Chevron; Flounced Chestnut and of course, the Frosted Orange.  We send all our records to the Local Record Centre - WWBIC. We hope to get a lot more local people into moths over the next year.

Frosted orange
Sent by Chloe Griffiths

Coed Phoenix moths

Despite a very wet night we had well over 100 moths in 3 heath traps at Coed Phoenix last night, with 21 species of macro moths. 35 Red-line quaker, 13 Yellow-line quaker, 31 Spruce carpet, 12 Flounced chestnut, 6 Green-brindled crescent, notable singletons of Small phoenix, Frosted orange, Red sword-grass, Autumn green carpet, Brick, Sallow and Chestnut.
Autumn green carpet

Flounced chestnut

Green-brindled crescent and Red-line quaker

Red sword-grass