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