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current posts

Tue 31st October 2006 21:56 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Just a quick reminder about the AGM - which is on this Thursday, 2nd November, 7 o'clock at Ruishton Village Hall (ST268250).  Looking forward to seeing you there.
Tue 31st October 2006 15:51 by David Evans
Recorder's remarks etc.
We all have difficulty sorting out the November moths including Autumnal moths as well. The following might be helpful for those not too faint hearted, You will need a hand lens a very fine but stiff brush or as the old folk used to use a snipe pin feather. Yes they are available from ALS.

At the abdominal end of E. Dilutata and E. Christyi (males only) They have prongs found on the last segment of their bodies. All you need to do is sedate the moths turn them upside down and using your feather or brush gentltly remove the hairs form the last segment. This will reveal prongs. . With E. dilutata they are large and far apart and with E. Christyi they are much closer together and smaller. See picture. Photo of the prongs on epirrata species

Actually you can also do Autumnal moths in the some way though they are more difficult.

If you contact me direct on my e-mail address I will send full size versions of Pictures and drawings to help you. Failing that send the moths to me to sort out. Just 6 males would be enough.

Tue 31st October 2006 15:03 by David Evans
This is one from the wonderful sightings of Ian Mathieson this year. What it is to live in Migrant alley

2230 Feathered Brindle

caught on the 21st October, 2006

Tue 31st October 2006 12:54 by Jack Astley
Closworth 30/10/2006
Crocidosema plebejana
Sun 29th October 2006 12:45 by Jack Astley
Closworth 28/10/2006
Palpita vitrealis
Nomophila noctuella 6
Udea ferrugalis 5
Cypress carpet
Sat 28th October 2006 09:23 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Actinic in the garden last night and although milder just 4 species.  Highlight has to be the Cypress Carpet which I assume is a home grown individual perhaps from earlier immigrants.

First of those so difficult to separate Epirrita species.  One of these was very pale and another strikingly melanic.  I think these are all November Moths.

The Grey Shoulder-knot was in a chink of brickwork near the trap - the exact same position that I photographed one in (perhaps the same?) a week or so ago.  Very exposed and hardly an ideal 'return to roost' location.

Full trap list (Actinic 40W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana 1
  • 1795x November Moth agg. Epirrita dilutata agg. 3
  • 1855 Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata 1
  • 2237 Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus 1

6 moths of 4 species.

later - oops, earlier I had Cypress Pug in the species list, now corrected.

Fri 27th October 2006 21:49 by John Bebbington
Langport 27 October 2006

First specimens of Grey Shoulder-knot (sitting on a fence) and Dark Chestnut (to MV) this season. Also a pristine Hummingbird Hawk feeding on Viola flowers in our garden at lunchtime.

Sun 22nd October 2006 09:41 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Not the best of conditions last night - or the night before for that matter - but I put the trap out in the garden anyway.  Just three species braving the winds and downpour:

Full trap list (Actinic 40W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0998 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana 1
  • 1395 Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis 1
  • 1524 Emmelina monodactyla 1

This morning it was raining steadily so I thought I'd take the trap inside and use the downstairs loo as a counting station.  However, when I disconnected the power and had a peek inside there were a good number of diptera: I decided I may be 'in trouble' if I bring these inside.  I dashed back in, got my voice recorder and thought I'd just go quickly through and as you can see this didn't take long.

There still should be a fair few species on the wing about now - under the right conditions that is.  Looking at our What's on the wing tonight page you can see the likely candidates.  I haven't seen Beaded Chestnut or the Red- and Yellow-line Quakers yet this year, all of which are fairly common.

Looking at the number of species likely in each week I plotted the weekly summary data used on this site:

Moth species by week

This is an indication of what you could expect and is based on all Somerset records (including micros) averaged over 20 years.  The minimum (at the year end/start) is 16 species and this was written in week 43.  Of cause, even at the peak we are very lucky if we sample 100 species in a trap.

Sat 21st October 2006 09:46 by Jack Astley
Closworth 20/10/2006
Silver y 3
Nomophila noctuella
Convolvulus hawkmoth
Pearly underwing
Scarce bordered straw
Feathered thorn
Wed 18th October 2006 11:02 by Jack Astley
Closworth 17/10/2006
Sun 15th October 2006 12:35 by Jack Astley
Large wainscot
Sun 15th October 2006 09:40 by Mark Yeates
Just a quick reminder about records for National Moth Night 2006.  If you have records please send them in so we can do a return.  If you are on MapMate do a Sync to the SMG Hub 6my, if not please email to me at address on Contacts page.


Sun 15th October 2006 08:54 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Milder last night (15°C at 23:00) and the first opportunity to put a trap out for some time now so I left both the Robinson and Actinic out in the garden.  Similar seasonal catches in the two traps with highlights of Gem and Merveille du Jour new for the garden this year.  All of the Angle Shades were outside the trap in nearby long grass.  In all, 19 species across the two traps.

Full trap list (Actinic 40W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0695 Agonopterix alstromeriana 2
  • 1395 Udea ferrugalis 5
  • 1720 Gem Orthonama obstipata 1
  • 1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata 4
  • 2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 2
  • 2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes 1
  • 2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra 1
  • 2240 Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri 2
  • 2270 Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa 1

20 moths of 10 species.

Full trap list (Robinson 125W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0695 Agonopterix alstromeriana 3
  • 0998 Epiphyas postvittana 2
  • 1398 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella 4
  • 1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata 1*
  • 1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata 1
  • 2087 Turnip Moth Agrotis segetum 1
  • 2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes 1
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 3
  • 2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra 2
  • 2240 Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus 1
  • 2247 Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina 2
  • 2270 Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa 7
  • 2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa 2
  • 2389 Pale Mottled Willow Paradrina clavipalpis 1
  • 2441 Silver Y Autographa gamma 1

32 moths of 15 species.

Some snaps from this morning's trap:

0695 Agonopterix alstromeriana Agonopterix alstromeriana

2237 Grey Shoulder-knot Grey Shoulder-knot

2306 Angle Shades Angle Shades

2306 Angle Shades (side view) Angle Shades again

2247 Merveille du Jour (MY) Merveille du Jour

* Later found a Red-green Carpet on a wall by the Robinson trap site.  Although not uncommon, this is another first for the garden.

Fri 13th October 2006 16:12 by Peter Tennant
James McGill kindly confirmed the IDs of the following -

10-Oct-06 Haddeo, Wiveliscombe Uresiphita polygonalis Code = 1369 Fourth Somerset record of this attractive rare migrant. Another was reported from the Portland Bill Lighthouse on this date.

26-Aug-06 Whitefield, Wiveliscombe Eilema caniola (Hoary Footman) Code = 2045 Only thirteen previous Somerset records which were all coastal.

Fri 13th October 2006 10:45 by Jack Astley
Closworth 13/10/2006
Vestal 2
Silver y1
Delicate 1
noctuella 2
Pearly underwing 1
Thu 12th October 2006 21:33 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog

Review: 'Butterfly Days'

Just finished a little book (which is just out) called Butterfly Days by Richard Stewart.  I must say I did enjoy this.  It has a number of nice anecdotes and re-lives those balmy summer days (and some bad ones) with clarity.

It's really a collection of diary entries covering the millennium survey period and gives you a grass roots perspective on 'square-bashing' - or the process of getting as many (or at least 5) records from all grid-squares across a county.  Largely based in the recording area of Suffolk but taking in many trips for particular species across the UK and beyond.  Despite being a collection of discrete accounts it does read well from cover to cover.

As the title suggests, it is mostly about butterflies.  Moths get the odd mention: like a disappointing moth trapping session where the author laments how much better it was with the old County Recorder.  The author also doesn't seem to like children, dogs or anything in the countryside that shouldn't be there and this adds to the charm of the book.

It is available from the Author at:

  • Richard Stewart
  • 'Valezina'
  • 112 Westerfield Road
  • Ipswitch
  • Suffolk
  • IP4 2XW

Cost is just 6.50p including postage (cheques made to 'Richard Stewart').

ISBN 1-905126-68-9, 124pp Soft-back, 205x140mm

Wed 11th October 2006 10:12 by Jack Astley
Closworth 10/10/2006
Scarce bordered straw
November moth.
Grey pine carpet
Sun 8th October 2006 14:42 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog

The blacked-out sign

The blacked-out sign

Most days I pass this signpost with an erased entry: reflecting our local Councils' minimalist approach to highways management - and it repeatedly reminds me of what was there.

Ghost of the blacked-out sign
...nearly got run-over trying to take this picture: hope you can see the ghost behind the black paint!

That institution, Worldwide Butterflies, has re-located to Cornwall and now does Internet based business only.  A 'sign of the times' perhaps.  Their website states (with a hint of kiss and tell):

"A number people started by buying from Worldwide Butterflies, and have gone on to become professional in Entomology and Natural History in a number of ways."

and that:

"The British Butterfly Conservation Society (now Butterfly Conservation) was originally founded and run from Worldwide Butterflies until it grew and established its own headquarters which are now at Lulworth."

MY at WWB Aug 1985
Me at WWB August 1985 yes! tight shorts were fashionable in the 80's my first visit (and prior to moving down to the south west)

Over the years I have seen most of the businesses serving this interest slowly disappear.  Perhaps the last remaining stalwart is Watkins and Doncaster who have been going since 1874.  Of cause, newcomers fill needs and niches and perspectives are different now - or are they?

Yesterday (Saturday 7th) I went to the Amateur Entomologists' Society (AES) Annual Exhibition held at Kempton Park near London.  I've been to this most years since I can remember.  This is really a 'trade fair' and does cross that controversial line of providing insect specimens for sale and all the necessary paraphernalia for collecting so is not to everyone's taste.  It is still very popular though and without doubt the biggest event of its kind in the UK.  Many visitors now have interests in large spiders, giant millipedes and other unusual insects as pets!  Overall - business is still booming.

Worldwide Butterflies link
Amateur Entomologists' Society link
Watkins and Doncaster link

Sun 8th October 2006 11:15 by Mark Yeates
Re: John's post from Sun 8th.  I have edited the post you mention to remove extra text, which read:

"4 October, a Rush Veneer at Tucking Mill reserve, ST764615, near Bath; a couple of grass moths disturbed as well which did not stay around to permit identification.  Moths disturbed from the vegetation at this site almost always outnumber the butterflies."

Not sure how this happened as only the post originator or an administrator should be allowed to edit.  Will investigate, as this may be a bug in the system!

Sun 8th October 2006 08:40 by John Bebbington
The Saturday records from Tucking Mill and Stoke St. Michael are not mine! John Bebbington
Sat 7th October 2006 18:32 by John Bebbington
7 October, a Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on Buddleia in the quarries at Stoke St Michael in the East Mendips, ST669476.
Thu 5th October 2006 12:50 by John Bebbington
Night of Wednesday 3rd October: a very poor catch (I was unable to switch the trap on until 10pm) but yet another female Convolvulus Hawk. The only other migrant species was a really fresh Rush Veneer.
Thu 5th October 2006 08:45 by Mark Yeates
and yet again --
Thu 5th October 2006 08:37 by Mark Yeates
Thu 5th October 2006 08:27 by Mark Yeates
Tue 3rd October 2006 11:30 by John Bebbington
Langport, migrant species night of 1 October: 1 (male) Convolvulus Hawk, 2 Delicate, 3 Pearly underwing, 3 Silver Y migrant species night of 2 October: 1 (female) Convolvulus hawk, 2 Pearly underwing, 1 Silver Y Both Convolvulus were badly worn. Detailed shots of a super female taken on 25th September in latest pictures: one shows the front leg spines which she rammed into my finger when I picked out of the trap and the other the warning colours on the thorax and abdomen. She actually twitched the tufts of hairs on her abdomen when I annoyed her!
Tue 3rd October 2006 11:10 by Jack Astley
Closworth 2/10/2006
Convolvulus Hawk-moth.
Sun 1st October 2006 08:42 by Mark Yeates
Chairman's Blog
Inspired by all the Convolvulus Hawk-moths being taken at the moment I left the Robinson out last night.  Alas, no hawks but Blair's Shoulder-knot and Angle Shades new for the garden list this year.  Very breezy last night here and getting cooler so conditions not ideal.  Light so bad this morning I couldn't take any pictures - will try later.

Full trap list (Robinson 125W, ST5715, VC9, Dorset):

  • 0998 Epiphyas postvittana 3
  • 1465 Nephopterix angustella 1
  • 1764 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata 1
  • 2107 Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba 2
  • 2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes 2
  • 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character Xestia c-nigrum 1
  • 2232 Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra 2
  • 2240 Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri 9
  • 2270 Lunar Underwing Omphaloscelis lunosa 21
  • 2306 Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa 1
  • 2389 Pale Mottled Willow Paradrina clavipalpis 1

44 moths of 11 species.


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