Thursday, April 17, 2014


After a couple of cold nights, a slight upturn in temperature encouraged me to stick the lights on. A low of 6°C and a late rising moon leant itself to a little more variety, though numbers were still comparatively low.


Nut-tree Tussock
A record 4 caught.

Upper Caldecote Garden 16-04-2014 - 23 of 13 species-

0697  Agonopterix arenella  1
0998  Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)  1
1852  Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata)  1
1862  Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)  1
1936  Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria)  1
2063  Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica)  2
2187  Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)  2
2188  Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta)  1
2190  Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)  6
2221  Mullein (Shargacucullia verbasci)  1 NFY
2243  Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)  1
2306  Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa)  1 NFY
2425  Nut-tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli)  4

Monday, April 14, 2014

Recent Highlights...........

.....................these are some of last week's riches. This week the weather has turned cold, so the traps will remain off line for a couple of days at least.

1054 Acleris cristana

NFY on 7th April

649 Esperia sulphurella

672 Parsnip Moth Depressaria heraclei

Waved Umber
NFY- 9th April

130 Incurvaria masculella

Chinese Character
 NFY- 10th April

 Red Twin-spot Carpet
 NFY- 12th April

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tawny Pinion 6/4

...........Pretty rare these days. This is the third garden record of this moth after catching two in 2011. Previous to that, not seen in VC30 since 2006.

Tawny Pinion 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Garden Traps March Summary

38 species were caught on 15 trap nights in March. See how your totals compare with mine................The clear winner as with every year is Common Quaker with a high count of 44 on 30th. There will be a lot more in April!

Common Quaker
An unsurprising winner.

Garden Trap totals for March 2014- 720 of 38 species.

2187 Orthosia cerasi Common Quaker 278
2188 Orthosia incerta Clouded Drab 116
2190 Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character 86
2182 Orthosia cruda Small Quaker 58
1524 Emmelina monodactyla 55
2243 Xylocampa areola Early Grey 29
1862 Gymnoscelis rufifasciata Double-striped Pug 15
0688 Agonopterix heracliana 12
1917 Selenia dentaria Early Thorn 9
1663 Alsophila aescularia March Moth 5
2423 Nycteola revayana Oak Nycteoline 5
2258 Conistra vaccinii Chestnut 5
2237 Lithophane ornitopus Grey Shoulder-knot  4
1930 Biston strataria Oak Beauty 4
2189 Orthosia munda Twin-spotted Quaker 4
2179 Panolis flammea Pine Beauty 3
1747 Anticlea derivata Streamer 3
1760 Chloroclysta siterata Red-green Carpet 3
1288 Alucita hexadactyla Twenty-plume Moth 2
2260 Conistra rubiginea Dotted Chestnut 2
1852 Eupithecia abbreviata Brindled Pug 2
1659 Achlya flavicornis Yellow Horned 2
1934 Agriopis marginaria Dotted Border 2
2139 Cerastis rubricosa Red Chestnut 2
0974 Argyrotaenia ljungiana 1
0240 Tinea pellionella Case-bearing Clothes Moth 1
0263 Lyonetia clerkella Apple Leaf Miner 1
0483 Epermenia chaerophyllella  1
2256 Eupsilia transversa Satellite 1
0695 Agonopterix alstromeriana  1
1643 Saturnia pavonia Emperor Moth 1
0892 Mompha subbistrigella 1
0682 Depressaria chaerophylli 1- NFG
0998 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 1
2063 Diaphora mendica Muslin Moth 1
1947 Ectropis bistortata Engrailed 1
2469 Scoliopteryx libatrix Herald 1
0697 Agonopterix arenella  1

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dotted Duos............

Aren't the traps busy lately? I've had my best ever start to a campaign with 42 species by the end of March. I haven't recorded many micros so far, but have done incredibly well for macros.
I will post a few lists if I get a chance to catch up on my records. So just as a taster, I will offer these..........

Dotted Chestnut
 Finding one is great. But finding two is pretty unbelievable! Recorded for the third year running in the garden. NFY 31st March

 Dotted Border
 Well, it took a while. But just as I was beginning to give up hope- two turned up 31st March.

The Return of the King!............

......................well, Queen really.
My earliest ever Emperor record on 29th March. For the second year in a row one was just found in the Synergetic Skinner trap shortly after nightfall. The earliest recorded in VC30 is 23rd March.

Photo taken by Louie

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March- so far.........

Well, what a contrast to last year's weather. The start of March really did seem to herald the start of the moffing season. At present I am 7 species in front of this time last year with a few notable absences still to get. I also managed to drop a battery powered trap off in Home Wood on the 14th, unfortunately I picked a less favourable night which is reflected in the list further down the post. Also a list for 16th- the best night of the year so far..........

Oak Beauty

NFY- 6th March, 3 recorded so far

Small Quaker

NFY 6th March

Grey Shoulder-knot

NFY- 3 caught 8th March and another 17th March.

Yellow Horned

NFY- 9th March, 2 caught so far.


NFY- 12th March, not recorded in 2013.

974 Argyrotaenia ljungiana
NFY- 12th March, 2 recorded so far. This is one of the most striking tortrix species and in VC30 at least, one of the commonest.

Home Wood

A little disappointing really. The 14th wasn't great by any means. A strong, cold westerly breeze blowing straight along the woodland rides seemed to have affected the catch.

Shoulder Stripe

Only one caught. Also surprisingly no Dotted Border, a moth that in previous years has been extremely common.

Home Wood- 14-03- Battery powered Actinic/BLB Skinner- 19 of 8 species-

0663  Diurnea fagella  1- NFY
1663  March Moth (Alsophila aescularia)  2
1746  Shoulder Stripe (Anticlea badiata)  1- NFY
1947  Engrailed (Ectropis bistortata)  1
2182  Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda)  6
2188  Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta)  2
2190  Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)  2
2258  Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)  4

Back in the garden

Twin-spotted Quaker
NFY- 15th March, 2 caught so far

 Early Thorn
NFY- 16th March, 2 records so far.

 Oak Nycteolene
NFY- 16th March. An incredible 3 recorded in one night. Only the 5th, 6th and 7th garden records.

 Pine Beauty
 NFY- 16th March, 2 recorded so far.

Upper Caldecote garden- 16-03-2014- 3 traps- 69 of 13 species

0688  Agonopterix heracliana  1
0998  Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)  1- NFY
1524  Emmelina monodactyla  3
1663  March Moth (Alsophila aescularia)  3
1862  Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)  1- NFY
1917  Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria)  1- NFY
2179  Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea)  1- NFY
2187  Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)  30
2188  Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta)  10
2190  Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)  11
2243  Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)  3
2258  Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)  1
2423  Oak Nycteoline (Nycteola revayana)  3- NFY

Monday, February 24, 2014

The first stirrings...........

............finally appeared after the worst start to a year I've ever had. In fact up until the 16th February, I had only recorded three species; Pale Brindled Beauty, Agonopterix heracliana and Emmelina monodactyla. To be honest I hadn't really put the trap out much, electing to use the single BLB bulb on the shed at the bottom of the garden. On 17th February the wind had finally died down, it had stopped raining and the temperature had increased, so I put out two traps as well as using the bulb.
A quick patrol at 8.00pm revealed a single Ypsolopha ustella, attracted to the bulb, that evaded capture. A moth I didn't see last year. The rest I found in the morning.

Upper Caldecote Garden- 17-02-14 7 of 6 species-

0461  Ypsolopha ustella  1 NFY BLB Bulb
0688  Agonopterix heracliana  2 BLB Bulb
1663  March Moth (Alsophila aescularia)  1 NFY Twin 20w Synergetic Skinner
1932  Spring Usher (Agriopis leucophaearia) 1 NFY Twin 15w Actinic Skinner
2236  Pale Pinion (Lithophane hepatica) 1 NFY  Twin 20w Synergetic Skinner
2258  Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) NFY  1 Twin 20w Synergetic Skinner


March Moth

 Pale Pinion

Spring Usher

The night after, another night with three lights burning produced two more NFYs. Singles of Dark Chestnut and Hebrew Character brought the years total to 11 species.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Belated review- 2013

Firstly, remember this? The original post is HERE. Well, it seems almost certain that this was indeed a Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet. There doesn't appear to be any red in the 'bar' whatsoever. But despite this, a gen. det. by Andy Banthorpe found it just to be a plain old Red Twin-spot. So back to the drawing board to find this species, not seen in VC30 since 2010.

 Red Twin-spot Carpet
 Caught by Actinic light- 7th May 2013

A total of 522 species were recorded in the garden in 2013.

I recorded 218 species in 2013, below is a list of the 33 new additions for the year. All species requiring gen. dets. have been confirmed by the David Manning- VC30 micro moth recorder.

0099 Stigmella hybnerella
0254 Leucoptera laburnella Laburnum Leaf Miner
0266 Bucculatrix nigricomella
0293 Caloptilia syringella
0318 Phyllonorycter tenerella
0325 Phyllonorycter mespilella New for VC30
0358 Phyllonorycter froelichiella
0385 Anthophila fabriciana
0428 Yponomeuta rorrella Willow Ermine
0495 Coleophora spinella Apple & Plum Case-bearer
0559 Coleophora peribenanderi
0563 Coleophora argentula
0602 Elachista apicipunctella
0629 Biselachista utonella
0718 Ethmia dodecea
0719 Ethmia quadrillella
0737 Monochroa palustrella
0756 Parachronistis albiceps
0822 Scrobipalpa acuminatella
0868 Helcystogramma rufescens
0877 Stathmopoda pedella
0879 Batrachedra pinicolella
0936 Cochylimorpha straminea
0987 Ptycholomoides aeriferanus
1023 Cnephasia genitalana
1097 Endothenia gentianaeana
1165 Zeiraphera isertana
1168 Gypsonoma sociana
1192 Eucosma conterminana
1329 Donacaula forficella
1354 Cataclysta lemnata Small China-mark
1454b Dioryctria sylvestrella
1495 Marasmarcha lunaedactyla

0719 Ethmia quadrillella
Garden first- 14th July 2013

I recorded 304 species in 2013, below is the list of 36 new additions for the year. If required, all contentious species were confirmed by A & M Banthorpe- VC30 macro moth recorders.

1652 Thyatira batis Peach Blossom
1720 Orthonama obstipata  Gem
1722 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet
1736 Catarhoe cuculata  Royal Mantle
1749 Pelurga comitata Dark Spinach
1788 Rheumaptera cervinalis Scarce Tissue
1792 Philereme transversata Dark Umber
1807 Perizoma albulata Grass Rivulet
1816 Eupithecia linariata Toadflax Pug
1874 Euchoeca nebulata Dingy Shell
1882 Pterapherapteryx sexalata  Small Seraphim
1889 Macaria notata Peacock Moth
1907 Epione repandaria Bordered Beauty
1920 Odontopera bidentata Scalloped Hazel
1944 Hypomecis punctinalis Pale Oak Beauty
1962 Hylaea fasciaria  Barred Red
1984 Macroglossum stellatarum   Humming-bird Hawk-moth
1992 Deilephila porcellus Small Elephant Hawk-moth
2014 Drymonia dodonaea Marbled Brown
2035 Thumatha senex Round-winged Muslin
2039 Atolmis rubricollis Red-necked Footman
2049 Eilema depressa Buff Footman
2105 Rhyacia simulans Dotted Rustic
2119 Peridroma saucia Pearly Underwing
2120 Diarsia mendica Ingrailed Clay
2223 Calophasia lunula Toadflax Brocade
2276 Xanthia ocellaris Pale-lemon Sallow
2323 Apamea sublustris Reddish Light Arches
2326 Apamea crenata Clouded-bordered Brindle
2331 Apamea unanimis Small Clouded Brindle
2335 Apamea scolopacina  Slender Brindle
2336 Apamea ophiogramma Double Lobed
2345 Photedes minima Small Dotted Buff
2399 Pyrrhia umbra Bordered Sallow
2400 Helicoverpa armigera Scarce Bordered Straw
2410 Protodeltote pygarga  Marbled White Spot

Peach Blossom
Garden First- 12th July 2013

............And now onto the wine.

The remit at the beginning of 2013 was for the contest to take place over a decent bottle of red wine to the value of £10 or more.

We won't go into statistics, (it will take too long) but safe to say both Trent and Ben had their arses handed to them last year!
Ben Sale
A plucky effort, that very early on, fell on stony ground. So far I haven't heard a lot from Ben, but consider him an honourable man. I think Stevenage could be a problem for him though, as quality wine shops could be a bit few and far between. Ben is a relative newcomer to said town, but has probably realised that most of the indigenous people prefer to drink alternatives such as HSL, Carlsberg Special Brew and Meths.
Ben- I await your offering!
Trent Duval
Trent made huge efforts in 2013 and early on at least he was the front runner, but through Summer and Autumn he took a real spanking. Last week, I managed to finally prise some wine out of him. Trent went more for quantity than quality, though that being said. Lindeman's Tollana punches well above it's weight for a wine of just £4.00 per bottle. This is a half price offer from Asda, so making his 3 bottle deal an acceptable offering.

Lindeman's Tollana
Acceptable- if you get three!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

While I wait................

.............for something to actually happen in the garden this year, it was nice to get a modicum of success with the Pearly Underwings (see this POST). After the eggs hatched , I fed them on Dandelion leaves. Unfortunately, most didn't make it and the larvae just died as they reached their final instar. Then out of the four that pupated, just two hatched and developed into adults. One hatched and died before developing its wings and one is still in the pupal case presumed to be dead. I don't know why the mortality rate was so high- perhaps the food plant?

Pearly Underwing Pupae
Just four out of the sixty plus larvae that hatched from eggs in mid November 2013 made it to Pupa.

Pearly Underwings
 Just two survived to adulthood and hatched 18th January. They were released in Bigglewade a few days later. But I really don't know if a migratory species will survive a British winter?

Friday, November 15, 2013

#305- 13th Nov

An expected species, but are there any more to get? As predicted, Sprawler has proved to be difficult yet again. It's not too late yet though and I'm just hoping for a few more mild nights. My other targets include Scarce Umber and Northern Winter Moth, both of which I've trapped before.

December Moth
Just one so far, the only other moths recently were a Diamond-back on 14th. Red-line Quaker, Agonopterix alstromeriana on 11th.

Monday, November 4, 2013

October Top 20..................

Here is a quick summary for October from my garden traps in Upper Caldecote. I didn't trap on 8 of the 31 days. It is no surprise that Setaceous Hebrew Character topped the league again as it did in September. A high count of 63 was recorded on 2nd. Also notable was the exceptional catch of Dark Sword-grass, a total of 22 caught this year so far after 3 in September.

2126 Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Character  208
2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing  118
2267 Agrochola lychnidis Beaded Chestnut  117
2240 Lithophane leautieri Blair's Shoulder-knot  76
2389 Paradrina clavipalpis Pale Mottled Willow  44
2232 Aporophyla nigra Black Rustic  39
2109 Noctua comes Lesser Yellow Underwing  39
2270 Omphaloscelis lunosa Lunar Underwing  35
1937 Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty  31
2091 Agrotis ipsilon Dark Sword-grass  19
1745 Larentia clavaria Mallow  19
2092 Agrotis puta Shuttle-shaped Dart  17
2306 Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades  15
0998 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth  14
2264 Agrochola macilenta Yellow-line Quaker  12
2375 Rhizedra lutosa Large Wainscot  12
1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet   11
1760 Chloroclysta siterata Red-green Carpet  9
2263 Agrochola lota Red-line Quaker  8
1524 Emmelina monodactyla  8

Friday, November 1, 2013

Moth Gods keep Smiling........

........and they really do! In my last post, I dared to hope for a Pearly Underwing and Halloween night duly obliged. Having waited a long time for this species, I made sure all the diagnostic features were there before calling it. This particular individual really does resemble a Turnip Moth, as colour, pattern and size are all very similar.
 It has just laid c60 eggs in the pot I was keeping it in- apparently they feed on low growing plants such as Docks, Dandelions and Clovers. But the larvae are rarely found in Britain.

Pearly Underwing
 The size of the 'mohawk' is one of the distinguishing features- Pearly Underwing display a prominent raised stripe down the middle of the thorax. This one has very little frosting though.

The best feature is the 'pearly' hindwing and this one does have dark-veined, semi-translucent wings so is a clincher!

Feathered Thorn
Nice to see a few of these about too.

So what's left to get now?
Well I can think of a few more- Scarce Umber, Herald, Sprawler and December Moth are all possible.
Oh, and dare I hope for a Clancy's Rustic or a Delicate................

Upper Caldecote Garden- 31-10-2013- 1 trap- 6 of 6 species

1524  Emmelina monodactyla  1
1760  Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata)  1
1923  Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria)  1
2119  Pearly Underwing (Peridroma saucia)  1 NFG
2240  Blair's Shoulder-knot (Lithophane leautieri)  1
2306  Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa)  1

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


After several days of warm southerly winds, it was about time that something other than the more common found its way into my trap. On the 21st an unprecedented four Dark Sword-grass seemed to be a prelude of what was to come. The 22nd was again ridiculously warm, after sunset it was still 16°C! The wind then began to strengthen and just before the first of many short, sharp downpours I found this-

Scarce Bordered Straw
 Macro #345 for the garden and a very smart individual too. Now, dare I hope for a Pearly Underwing as well? The way this year has gone in the garden, you just can't rule it out.

Rather than using two traps, I have opted for the 25w BLB bulb at the other end of the garden to my main twin synergetic skinner trap. Mainly to save a bit of time in the morning.

Upper Caldecote Garden- 1 trap, 1 BLB bulb- 22-10-13- 27 of 17 species-

1524  Emmelina monodactyla  1
1745  Mallow (Larentia clavaria)  1
1760  Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata)  1
1937  Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria)  3
2091  Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon)  2
2107  Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba)  1
2109  Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes)  1
2126  Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum)  1
2232  Black Rustic (Aporophyla nigra)  1
2240  Blair's Shoulder-knot (Lithophane leautieri)  5
2247  Merveille du Jour (Dichonia aprilina)  1
2267  Beaded Chestnut (Agrochola lychnidis)  4
2306  Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa)  1
2381  Uncertain (Hoplodrina alsines)  1
2400  Scarce Bordered Straw (Helicoverpa armigera)  1 NFG
2434  Burnished Brass (Diachrysia chrysitis)  1
2477  Snout (Hypena proboscidalis)  1