Monday, December 28, 2015

October & March on December 27th............. the wacky Winter weather continues, there seems to be no end to the unusual records. As well as record breaking early emergence, there seems to be evidence of some migrant activity too. I also have a query on a possible Acleris kochiella and have included a species list at the bottom of this post. 

Rusty Dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis
 Previous latest garden record, 22nd November in 2014

Silver Y
Previous latest garden record, 8th November in 2011. 

Dotted Border
 This was a real surprise. Earliest previous garden record 21st February, 2011. All time earliest in VC30 (Beds), 7th January. 

Hebrew Character
 No need to say really, but another early garden record. Previous earliest garden record 22nd February in 2014. This is an equal VC30 earliest record (27th December)

Pale Brindled Beauty
 Previous earliest garden record was 3rd January in 2013. Another record breaker as the earliest ever in VC30 was 1st January.

Acleris kochiella
 Has been retained, but looks like a good candidate. The Winter flight of this species always looks grey compared to the Summer flight, which is often extremely pale with prominent markings. If it does turn out to be one, it will be new for the garden and only the 2nd I have ever seen. Confirmed as A. kochiella, Gen Det AM Banthorpe

Acleris kochiella
For comparison, here is an example caught in Home Wood 2nd July 2014. The strong markings point towards kochiella, though this one was Gen. detted just to make sure. (photo: Ben Sale)

Acleris logiana
A second record for the year after one trapped 10th July. 

27-12-2015- 2 traps, Upper Caldecote Garden- 14 of 11 species-

1050  Acleris kochiella  1- Confirmed, gen det AMB
1051  Acleris logiana  1
1395  Rusty-dot Pearl (Udea ferrugalis)  1
1524  Emmelina monodactyla  1
1799  Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata)  4
1926  Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria)  1
1934  Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria)  1
1935  Mottled Umber (Erannis defoliaria)  1
2190  Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)  1
2258  Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii)  1
2441  Silver Y (Autographa gamma)  1

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Crazy Month

December 2015 has been an exceptional month. Usually I only trap on favourable nights in Winter. So if its too cold or too windy, I've tended not to bother. Unfortunately, I haven't got 'blanks' recorded for the first years of my records. A bit of a blunder really, though as said, this wouldn't account for many if any nights in some years, so not as scientific as I would have liked. But I suppose you can get the gist of it.
Clearly the high yields are down to high temperatures at night. This has led to more than a few surprises up and down the country, especially on the South coast. December isn't usually considered to be a highlight in migrant terms. But the season hasn't really tailed off since October. I for one will keep the traps burning until the end of the year as anything seems possible.

Black-spotted Chestnut
 This was the surprise of the year, caught 18th Decmber. Though I missed out on getting my first 'New for VC' macro moth by a matter of 20 hours as one was caught in Biggleswade (17th December)- by my father!
Incredibly, this species has only been know in the UK since 2011 and I actually had to renew my Mapmate licence to update my checklist as it didn't exist!
The only other records come from a small colony in Kent and a single record in Suffolk. Easily the rarest moth I've ever caught and the furthest North the species has ever been recorded in Britain!

Spring Usher
 .........Though should be called the 'Christmas Usher' this year. After an early record from The Lodge, Sandy on 17th, I was still very surprised to catch this on 21st December. My previous earliest record was 18th January!
Scarce Umber
Fairly scarce in my garden, usually with one record per year. All previous record have been in November. But this turned up 7th December.

Below is all of my records from the garden in December. This year comes off the back of three blanks, so makes it particularly unusual.

12/2009- from 2 records- 2 of 2 species

1524 Emmelina monodactyla 1- found indoors 2-12
2469 Scoliopteryx libatrix Herald 1- found hibernating 10-12

12/2010- from 7 Productive nights- 13 of 3 species

1631 Poecilocampa populi December Moth 1
1799 Operophtera brumata Winter Moth 11
1800 Operophtera fagata Northern Winter Moth 1

12/2011- from 5 Productive nights- 12 of 5 species

0695 Agonopterix alstromeriana 1
1631 Poecilocampa populi December Moth 1
1799 Operophtera brumata Winter Moth 8
2256 Eupsilia transversa Satellite 1
2258 Conistra vaccinii Chestnut 1

12/2012- No Records

12/2013- No Records

12/2014- No Records

12/2015- from 6 Productive nights (4 blanks)- 49 of 14 species so far........

0998 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 5
1047 Acleris schalleriana  1
1524 Emmelina monodactyla 3
1799 Operophtera brumata Winter Moth 18
1932 Agriopis leucophaearia Spring Usher 1
1933 Agriopis aurantiaria Scarce Umber 1
1935 Erannis defoliaria Mottled Umber 1
2087 Agrotis segetum Turnip Moth 1
2258 Conistra vaccinii Chestnut 1
2259 Conistra ligula Dark Chestnut 11
2259a Conistra rubiginosa Black-spotted Chestnut 1
2306 Phlogophora meticulosa Angle Shades 1
2321 Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches 1
2441 Autographa gamma Silver Y 3

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mines..... Help needed!

It's about this time of year that my attention turns to leaf mines. The majority of species mine leaves between September and October. Generally I compile a list of around 20 species, but even though the garden has changed very little as far as hosts are concerned, the species list varies quite considerable and has never been the same from one year to another. Once again I have added new species to the garden list. The top two images are the newbies and below those are are few that I'm not sure about.........

112 Stigmella luteella  Lyonetia clerkella
 Totally caught out by this. I can't remember seeing the larvae so clearly. The 'Michelin Man' heavily segmented look of the larvae is diagnostic.

260 Leucoptera malifoliella
 NFG- This was found on Conference Pear. Again only one mine found.

Mine on Birch?
 Not sure on this one, very small. Could just be an aborted L. clerkella mine.

99 Stigmella hybnerella
On Hawthorn- very common

Mine on Hawthorn?

Stigmella Sp. on Bramble
To me this looks like Stigmella splendidissimella but after doing a little research it seems that it could be a sub species of S. aurella (f. gei). My question is; can you tell the difference without breeding through?

Full list below- Sept/Oct

0050  Stigmella aurella   Bramble, NFY
0075  Stigmella floslactella   Hornbeam, NFY
0099  Stigmella hybnerella   Hawthorn, NFY
0111  Stigmella microtheriella  Hazel, NFY
0254  Laburnum Leaf Miner (Leucoptera laburnella)  Laburnham, NFY
0260  Pear Leaf Blister Moth (Leucoptera malifoliella)  Pear, NFG
0263  Apple Leaf Miner (Lyonetia clerkella)
0272  Bucculatrix cidarella  Alder, NFY
0275  Bucculatrix bechsteinella  Hawthorn, NFY
0293  Caloptilia syringella  Lilac/Forsythia, NFY
0303  Parornix anglicella
0304  Parornix devoniella  Hazel, NFY
0323  Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae  Hawthorn, NFY
0332  Phyllonorycter corylifoliella  Hawthorn, NFY
0345  Phyllonorycter rajella  Alder, NFY
0353  Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella  Birch, NFY
0358  Phyllonorycter froelichiella  Alder, NFY
0360  Phyllonorycter kleemannella  Alder, NFY

Monday, September 21, 2015

A decent haul...............

..........for variety/numbers anyway, though not particularly good for any hoped for migrants with just a single Dark Sword-grass. For the time of year, 43 species is not to be sniffed at. Even if you do have to sift through Large Yellow Underwings and Setaceous Hebrew Characters to find the good stuff!
The Humming-bird Hawk-moth was seen in the back garden nectaring on Buddleja weyeriana, a yellow variety. The 2nd record this year.

Upper Caldecote Garden- 2 traps- 20/09/2015- 311 of 43 species-

0015  Orange Swift (Hepialus sylvina)  1
0674  Depressaria badiella  1 NFY
0998  Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)  5
1048  Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana)  1
1293  Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella)  1
1309  Agriphila geniculea  1
1342  Eudonia angustea  3
1413  Gold Triangle (Hypsopygia costalis)  1
1728  Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata)  1
1745  Mallow (Larentia clavaria)  1 NFY
1764  Common Marbled Carpet (Chloroclysta truncata)  2
1862  Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)  1
1906  Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)  3
1914  Dusky Thorn (Ennomos fuscantaria)  2
1937  Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria)  1
1961  Light Emerald (Campaea margaritata)  2
1984  Humming-bird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum)  1
2087  Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum)  1
2091  Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon)  1
2092  Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta)  3
2107  Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba)  89
2109  Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes)  11
2110  Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (Noctua fimbriata)  1
2123  Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi)  1
2126  Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum)  69
2134  Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa)  19
2199  Common Wainscot (Mythimna pallens)  17
2231  Deep-brown Dart (Aporophyla lutulenta)  4
2232  Black Rustic (Aporophyla nigra)  5
2266  Brown-spot Pinion (Agrochola litura)  2 NFY
2267  Beaded Chestnut (Agrochola lychnidis)  1
2269  Centre-barred Sallow (Atethmia centrago)  1
2270  Lunar Underwing (Omphaloscelis lunosa)  25
2274  Sallow (Xanthia icteritia)  1 NFY
2293  Marbled Beauty (Cryphia domestica)  1
2299  Mouse Moth (Amphipyra tragopoginis)  3
2306  Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa)  1
2364  Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago)  1
2384  Vine's Rustic (Hoplodrina ambigua)  27
2389  Pale Mottled Willow (Paradrina clavipalpis)  4
2434  Burnished Brass (Diachrysia chrysitis)  2
2477  Snout (Hypena proboscidalis)  1


Brown-spot Pinions


Depressaria badiella

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Another SMW!

This year, my list totals are down considerably from the last two years.
2014- 434 species.
2013- 446 species.
This year, I have puffed and panted to 385. But can catch up a bit when I look for leaf miners.

Small Mottled Willow

What has been exceptional is the number of Small Mottled Willow caught this year. On 17th August I caught my seventh of the year; pretty good for Bedfordshire!
The list below is a combination of some late afternoon sweep netting and the use overnight of a twin 15w Synergetic Skinner. 73 species is pretty decent for August.

Upper Caldecote Garden- 17-08-15- 230 of 73 species.

          Coleophora species (Coleophora sp.)  2
0227  Skin Moth (Monopis laevigella)  1 NFY
0263  Apple Leaf Miner (Lyonetia clerkella)  1
0411  Argyresthia goedartella  1
0418  Apple Fruit Moth (Argyresthia conjugella)  1
0424  Bird-cherry Ermine (Yponomeuta evonymella)  1
0464  Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella)  1
0647  Brown House Moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)  1
0695  Agonopterix alstromeriana  1
0787  Bryotropha terrella  1
0936  Cochylimorpha straminea  1 NFY
0969  Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis corylana)  2 NFY
0970  Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandemis cerasana)  1
0974  Argyrotaenia ljungiana  1
0998  Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)  1
1010  Red-barred Tortrix (Ditula angustiorana)  1
1038x  Acleris laterana/comariana  1 NFY
1048  Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana)  1
1113  Eudemis profundana  1 NFY
1159  Holly Tortrix (Rhopobota naevana)  2
1207  Pine Leaf-mining Moth (Clavigesta purdeyi)  1 NFY
1293  Garden Grass-veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella)  1
1304  Agriphila straminella  4
1305  Agriphila tristella  12
1309  Agriphila geniculea  8
1331  Water Veneer (Acentria ephemerella)  20
1344  Eudonia mercurella  1
1361  Pyrausta aurata  2
1405  Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis)  3
1424  Endotricha flammealis  1
1470  Euzophera pinguis  1
1497  Amblyptilia acanthadactyla  1
1524  Emmelina monodactyla  2
1713  Riband Wave (Idaea aversata)  1
1728  Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata)  1
1742  Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata)  2
1825  Lime-speck Pug (Eupithecia centaureata)  1
1858  V-Pug (Chloroclystis v-ata)  1
1862  Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)  4
1906  Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)  6
1914  Dusky Thorn (Ennomos fuscantaria)  1
1937  Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria)  2
1981  Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi)  1
2006  Lesser Swallow Prominent (Pheosia gnoma)  2
2033  Black Arches (Lymantria monacha)  1 NFY
2044  Dingy Footman (Eilema griseola)  1
2061  Buff Ermine (Spilosoma luteum)  1
2081  White-line Dart (Euxoa tritici)  1
2087  Turnip Moth (Agrotis segetum)  14
2092  Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta)  13
2102  Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta)  4
2107  Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba)  11
2110  Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (Noctua fimbriata)  1
2111  Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (Noctua janthe)  10
2123  Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi)  1
2126  Setaceous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum)  11
2134  Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa)  5
2145  Nutmeg (Discestra trifolii)  2
2154  Cabbage Moth (Mamestra brassicae)  1
2192  Brown-line Bright Eye (Mythimna conigera)  1
2194  White-point (Mythimna albipuncta)  2
2199  Common Wainscot (Mythimna pallens)  2
2284x  Grey Dagger / Dark Dagger (Acronicta tridens/psi)  1
2293  Marbled Beauty (Cryphia domestica)  1
2300  Old Lady (Mormo maura)  1 NFY
2303  Straw Underwing (Thalpophila matura)  13
2343x  Common Rustic agg. (Mesapamea secalis agg.)  5
2352  Dusky Sallow (Eremobia ochroleuca)  2
2353  Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea)  6
2384  Vine's Rustic (Hoplodrina ambigua)  14
2385  Small Mottled Willow (Spodoptera exigua)  1
2441  Silver Y (Autographa gamma)  1
2450  Spectacle (Abrostola tripartita)  1

Sunday, July 26, 2015


..........and this time it's the turn of the micros. A good run of late has added ten new species since 30th June. Five of which were recorded in just three nights!
  • Orchard Ermine Yponomeuta padella- 30th June
  • Pammene regiana- 30th June
  • Delplanqueia dilutella- 3rd July
  • Phtheochroa inopiana- 4th July
  • Plum Fruit Moth Grapholita funebrana- 4th July
  • Scoparia basistrigalis- 17th July
  • Dioryctria abietella- 18th July
  • Elachista maculicerusella- 18th July
  • Olindia schumacherana- 18th July
  • Oidaematophorus lithodactyla- 19th July

Orchard Ermine Yponomeuta padella

Pammene regiana

Delplanqueia dilutella

Phtheochroa inopiana

Plum Fruit Moth Grapholita funebrana

300 continued..........

Scoparia basistrigalis

Dioryctria abietella

Elachista maculicerusella

Olindia schumacherana

Oidaematophorus lithodactyla

Monday, June 29, 2015


Battered Pugs at this time of year are the hardest to identify. In fact, after a certain amount of wear this becomes pretty much impossible. The most common in the garden at the moment are Green, Grey and of course Common Pug. Though most of the pugs are on the wing in June/July. Below are a couple that have/are testing me.
Oak-tree Pug?
Caught 27th June. It's been ages since I've caught one (11th May), but this seems to be what it is? Size, shape and distinctive white area to the outside of the discals all seem to fit. If it is an Oak-tree, it certainly is late. My latest previously record was 24th May 2010.................

Dwarf Pug
Caught 26th June. This could be a new species for the garden. 18mm wingspan, posture and very large discals give it all the hallmarks of a Dwarf Pug. I could easily be wrong of course as its so badly worn- retained for gen. det. So will find out soon enough....... confirmed by gen det. A. Banthorpe

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Recently, I clocked up moth species #650 for the garden. It is now getting very difficult to find new macro species, there is little likelihood of getting more than a few per year. But in the micro department, I still have plenty of wriggle room. This is mainly due to (a) Not patrolling the traps at night- this is the best chance of something new as most micro species are gone by morning. Skinner traps tend not to hold too many and most manage to abscond well before morning. (b) Not retaining- I have had plenty of chances to retain Cnephasias (Grey Tortrix), Coleophoras and Phyllonorycters. I haven't bothered over the years, as I can't be arsed. But these three groups alone could yield 10's of new garden ticks.
Below are my latest offerings, all micros were caught by Keely and Louie's relentless daytime netting along the hedgerow- I don't know where they get it from!

Cherry-bark Moth Enarmonia formosana
NFG- A long awaited tick on 7th June. A lack of suitable food plants in the area

Silky Wainscot
NFG, 16th June- Only the 7th record for Beds VC30. But my garden punches well above its weight for Wetland species.

Psyche casta
 NFG, 17th June. Swept from the hedge by Louie and is the first 'Bagworm' type micro I have seen.

Apple Leaf Skeletonizer Choreutis pariana
 NFG, 22nd June- No doubt the best name for a moth in the whole book! Yet again, swept from the hedge, this time by Keely. Surprisingly scarce- only the 12th VC30 record of this species, though is almost certainly overlooked. Skeletonizer indeed!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


......And what a good year it's been so far with good numbers all over the place this year, including Striped Hawk-moth and Ni Moth. This usually means absolutely nothing in Bedfordshire. But this year I have already had a few notables.

Bordered Straw
This tatty specimen on 7th May is very early in the year for this species. Only my second record.

Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella
Unusually early, I don't normally see these until Autumn- NFY 5th June.

Bordered Straw
 After a five year absence, a second one turns up in just under a month on 6th June! Third garden record.

Small Mottled Willow
 A third record for the garden on 12th June, after missing out in 2014

Thursday, May 14, 2015

13/05 Camomile Infusion

This has been on the 'expected' list for a long time. The last Shark sp. I caught in May turned out to be just a Shark. This one is fairly dark in colour too. Anyway, its macro #356 for the garden.

Camomile Shark

The shot below shows the diagnostic feature. The thin lateral lines terminate beyond the fringe with no dashed terminal line. Unlike Shark, in which the lines terminate neatly up to the lighter fringe.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


After another short break, testing some new electrics gave me an excuse to put a trap at either end of the garden.
Amongst the usual orthosias, a bevy of NFYs. Early Thorn, Engrailed, Light Brown Apple Moth, Oak Nycteolene and a fairly poorly marked Lead-coloured Drab.

Lead-coloured Drab

Oak Nycteolene


Upper Caldecote Garden- 2 traps- 07-04-2015- 66 of 13 species

0998  Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)  2 NFY
1524  Emmelina monodactyla  8
1862  Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)  6
1917  Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria)  1 NFY
1947  Engrailed (Ectropis crepuscularia) 1 NFY
2182  Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda)  6
2185  Lead-coloured Drab (Orthosia populeti)  1 NFY
2187  Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)  19
2188  Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta)  9
2190  Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)  8
2237  Grey Shoulder-knot (Lithophane ornitopus)  1
2243  Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)  4
2423  Oak Nycteoline (Nycteola revayana)  1 NFY

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Breakfast- 03-04-2015

After a two week break, the traps were back on. There seemed precious little point of trapping in the last week in March as it seemed unlikely any insects would be flying in winds gusting up to 60MPH.
Anyway, four NFY's was a positive outcome, although numbers of individual species are still pretty low. No shot of the Nut-tree Tussock as it was gone by morning.

Brindled Pug

Double-striped Pug

Red Chestnut

Upper Caldecote Garden- 2 Traps- 30 of 9 species

1524  Emmelina monodactyla  1
1852  Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata)  1 NFY
1862  Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)  1 NFY
2139  Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa)  2 NFY
2187  Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)  9
2188  Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta)  5
2190  Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)  7
2243  Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)  3
2425  Nut-tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli)  1 NFY