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current posts

Tue 28th March 2006 20:47 by Mark Yeates
SMG Website
Seeing that the most popular list type is a plain list (for catches etc.) I have added a new markup for this.  See Markup Reference which is now updated.  Basically you just enter:


  • item 1
  • item 2
  • item 3
  • etc

So this avoids typing all those [] line breaks at the end of each line!

Mon 27th March 2006 19:17 by David Evans
On Saturday Evening I put out 6 actinic traps
4 in Merryfield drome and 1 in Heliars Copse the other in Clay Copse
The results were somewhat surpising

Merryfield Airfield North end
0701 Agonopterix ocellana 4
1025 Tortricodes alternella 20
1061 Acleris literana 1
1746 Shoulder Stripe 48
1747 Streamer 1
1930 Oak Beauty 3
1934 Dotted border 18
1960 March moth 1
2182 Small Quaker 249 IN four traps
2187 Common Quaker 40
2188 Clouded Drab 9
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker 23
2190 Hebrew Character 41
2236 Pale Pinion 1
2241 Red Swordgrass 1
2256 Satelite 1
2258 Chestnut 19
2260 Dotted Chestnut 1
2469 Herald 1 I do like to start the year with a herald

Heliars Copse ST324121
1025 Tortricodes alternella 1
1746 Shoulder Stripe 6
1930 Oak Beauty 1
1934 Dotted Border 1
2182 Small Quaker 1
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker 1
2190 Hebrew Character 1
Clay Copse ST 327126
0701 Agonopterix ocellana 1
1025 Tortricodes alternella 2
1746 Shoulder Stripe 6
1930 Oak Beauty 1
1934 Dotted Border 1
2182 Small Quaker 112 YES 112 Unbelievable
2187 Common Quaker 3
2190 Hebrew Character 2
2258 Chestnut 6
2260 Dotted Chestnut 1
2423 Oak Nycteoline 1

My thanks to James for sorting out the moths and Battery carrying

Mon 27th March 2006 18:49 by David Evans
Recorder's remarks etc.
Please Note: this was the start of the original 'Recorder's remarks etc blog' which has been merged into our 'Latest Sightings' archive on 27th November 2011

Best wishes to you all and good hunting for the 2006 season

As County Recorder I have at last started mothing after a very cold wet and windy start to the year

These I will put into the whats on the wing blog

If you want help indentifying any moths please let me know

You can send pictures to my e-mail address and I can come and collect if necessary but please make contact. If I cannot indentify the moths I do know others that can and if its that rare we will send it to the British Museum

As for records please record the date when the traps were set or the night before you see them on your window
Please also record numbers of the individuals

For example on Saturday night in the smallest of actinic traps apart from other moths were 112 Small quakers

Best wishes and if I can help please let me know

David Evans

Sun 26th March 2006 09:00 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Managed to get over the initial shock to the system of the clock change this morning...  Trap out last night (40W Actinic) and find I have five moths!:

2187 Orthosia cerasi Common Quaker 1
2188 Orthosia incerta Clouded Drab 2
2190 Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character 1
2236 Lithophane hepatica Pale Pinion 1

My garden, ST5715, VC9, Dorset.

Some thoughts on the trap...

WD 40W Actinic

The W&D 40W trap needs a bit of a re-think in some areas.  It does work (as you can see) but I have problems with:

  • The rain collect funnel diameter is too small (almost the same as the hole in the top funnel) so the trap tends to collect water.
  • The double folded actinic tube doesn't really sit right in the middle of the three baffles.  It's a job to get this right.
  • The wire connecting the tube is too stiff and either the plug tends to come out or it jumbles your egg trays as you assemble things.
  • The last two, together with the fact that the main funnel overlap is very small and the cap holding the baffles in place is iffy, make putting the trap out a lot more painful than it could be.

Constructive criticism I hope.

Oh, and mustn't forget - It's Mother's Day.

Sat 25th March 2006 09:18 by Jack Astley
Closworth 24th March.Hebrew character
Grey shoulder knot
Dotted chestnut
Fri 24th March 2006 10:15 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
A request - Does anyone out there have SMG Newsletter Number 1?  If so I'd very much like to copy this.  Please see Contacts page for my details.

Later... many thanks, now sorted!

Fri 24th March 2006 09:39 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
My next job (well one of many) is to try to produce a 'Somerset List'.  This is by no means straightforward.  The often-asked question: "just how many species are there...?" will usually result in an answer like: "ah, it depends if you include...".  Even "how many British Butterfly species are there?" is generally answered with: "about...".

As a prelude to this, I have just completed a basic 'cleaning' exercise on the existing database.  This process was needed to:

  1. remove records for non-lepidoptera species
  2. validate sites by name, grid-reference and Vice-county to check they are in VC5 and 6
  3. remove records for sites not in 2
  4. remove associated data (like recorder names and references) where these are now unused

Prior to producing a draft list, we need to review all species where there is only one modern record (post 1980) and also review all recent records on our 'Category 1' list.  I'll prepare these for comment shortly.

Tue 21st March 2006 17:12 by Mark Yeates
SMG Website
Just moved comments from Pictures Uploaded page to here.

Though it a good idea to collect any similar comments here.

Tue 21st March 2006 10:37 by Jack Astley
Closworth 20th March

dotted border
shoulder stripe
early moth 3

Sun 19th March 2006 11:19 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Many moons ago I went through Turner's Lepidoptera of Somerset and typed into a then new 'computer' all of his descriptions for the macro moths.  This was the last published account of the moths in this area (1955) and I was interested in comparing his descriptions with status today.  Each species had a simple one-line account like "Very common in most parts, but curiously scarce in some parts." - or "Scarce and local, often in marshy places."

Unfortunately, over the years this project was overtaken by other events, and the files became lost.

Recently I have been thinking how useful this would be now but couldn't bring myself to go through all that typing again!  So, I was very pleased to find, whilst rummaging through some 'boxes of stuff' last night, old backup disks with all this preserved.

It would be good to make this available in a planned species accounts feature on this website.  Like a '50-years ago' thing.  Maybe I need to check the copyright issues first.

Turner (1955) Title page Title page from Turner (1955).

Turner1 is now out of print but still comes up occasionally. 

That shown is J M Chalmers-Hunt's annotated copy.

1. Turner A. H., Lepidoptera of Somerset, published by the Somersetshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, Taunton, 1955.

Thu 16th March 2006 18:55 by Jack Astley
14th March Closworth

Pale brindled beauty1
Early moth 5
Grey shoulder knot 3
Dotted border 1
March moth 1

Wed 15th March 2006 19:51 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
There's at least one moth out tonight down my way!

It's that common micro Agonopterix heracliana (see uk moths link if you are not familiar with this).

I think there must be one outside every lighted window in house at the moment.

Perhaps I should add, for the record (as I have been asked this) that the site is at ST5715, Dorset, VC9.

Sun 12th March 2006 20:51 by Mark Yeates
SMG Website
As users may wish to find information from scientific names, vernacular names or Bradley and Fletcher codes, this is probably best handled by lookup in the search or indexing.  So, I don't think it too important to add the BF Code - or to add the scientific name if a common name is given.

However, Bill has a fair point - you can search now, for example, for 'Acleris bergmanniana' or '1035' and get this speices image listed.

One problem may be when we get more than one image of the same species - and how to name these.  But I assume that if a suffix is added to the name then this should be OK.  Similarly, adding say (female) is OK as well.

Sun 12th March 2006 13:35 by Bill Urwin
SMG Website
Can I suggest that picture uploaders add the Bradley and Fletcher number of the species involved as part of the title. This will enable much easier searching.
Sun 12th March 2006 09:45 by Jack Astley
Early moth 13/2/06. Agonopterix heracliana 25/3/06. Pale brindled beauty 2 . Grey shoulder knot, Early moth 7/3/06. Agonopterix heracliana. Hebrew character 10/3/06. All at Closworth.
Sun 12th March 2006 09:20 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Tried the Actinic again last night. Result this morning: nothing but melted snow.


Mentioning the 'first moth of the year' in the last post made me think how obsessed (if that the right word) we are with this.  I tend to be - and even look forward to the first Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba of the year.

Whilst on this first topic: perhaps my superlative first of the year was on Jan 1st 2000.  Remember that, the millennium celebrations etc.  Having woken late, obviously after overdoing it the night before, I staggered out of bed and drew back the curtains and what was the first thing I saw?  A Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta, on the windowsill outside happily sunning itself.  Not a moth but Lepidoptera non the less.

So having said that, I have to say that my first butterfly of this year was only last week - when I saw atalanta again on Monday 6th March in Ashburton, Devon.  Usually down here you can see something on the wing in January and February on warm days, not so this year.

Sat 11th March 2006 21:25 by Moth Widow
moth widow
Spring must be on the way, three big boxes arrive by post, two containing a moth trap and the other a generator.  One of the traps have found a home in the downstairs loo- not the ideal storage situation!
Sat 11th March 2006 11:30 by Mark Yeates
News and Views 2006
A new publication is available from Butterfly Conservation:

'The state of Britain's larger moths'

Butterfly Conservation - The state of Britain's larger moths

This is available for 6.50 inclusive from BC at Butterfly Conservation link

It's an impressive 33 page A4 summary of data from the Rothamsted Light Traps over a 35-year period.  It has a forward by Sir David Attenborough and generally concludes that things are looking glum!

I was encouraged to see however, that moths (in terms of abundance) were actually increasing in the north, holding their own in the west but decreasing in the east.  However, the east decrease was such that the overall picture for the UK was of a downward trend over the years.

It was also interesting to see how the species loses were (almost) balanced by gains.  Many species included in proposed IUCN 'vulnerable' category were a surprise though - as they are fairly common down here.

I'd recommend you get a copy of this.

Sat 11th March 2006 11:13 by Mark Yeates
This blog is for latest sightings and topical comments - particularly in Somerset - but anything that may be of interest countrywide could be included.
Thu 9th March 2006 17:19 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
To get things going - and by a strange coincidence - I put a trap out last night for the first time this year.  "What?" I hear you shout - "I've had 20 species already this year!"

I decided to try out a new plastic tub-type 40W Actinic (from Watkins and Doncaster - see Links Page) in the garden at home.  The weather was OK at dusk but when I looked out at about 23:00 it was blowing like mad and I decided to take it in.  The net result?  A single moth but the first moth of the year:

2256 Eupsilia transversa (Satellite) 1

I should add that my garden is actually in Dorset (just) so any garden trap records are Dorset records!

Thu 9th March 2006 11:03 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Please Note: this was the start of the original 'Chairmans blog' which has been merged into our 'Latest Sightings' archive on 27th November 2011

Hi and welcome to my 'blog'.  This is a bit of a step in the dark for me but lets see how we get on.

Mark Yeates Feb 2006

I'm Mark Yeates and there is a very iffy likeness above (which my kids say should be subtitled "I'm watching you").  Maybe I'll get a less scary shot later.

I hope the blog idea will be useful for feeding back what's going on in the moth world from my perspective and ranting on about various related (and perhaps not related) issues.  This is called 'Chairman's Blog' but it is entirely my own views and not necessarily those of the Somerset Moth Group.


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