Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 0 degrees
Last night we had the lowest August temperature I can remember with the predictable result of 12 moths of seven species. Earlier in the week we had an FFY - Yellow Shell (3).
Looking back through my records I haven't found an August night when I recorded less than 100 Macros before this year. I have now managed it four times in a row. Every night looks unpromising but last night I had had enough and put the trap out regardless. The result was 60 macros from 15 species with nothing of any interest except perhaps catching 10 Silver Ys.
Newly ecdysed Lobster Moth larva
My Lobster Moth larvae have both ecdysed into their final instar - I was fortunate to notice the second one this evening.The shed skin (exuvium) is just to the right of the larva.
Here the true legs are still soft and fully extended - you can see how amazingly long they are.
A little later, and the legs are now retracted into the resting position.
Somerset Invertebrate Group meeting, Tuesday 28 August
Malcolm Cotterill and I went out with the Somerset Invertebrate Group (SIG) to a derelict quarry near Langport (private access). An amazing range of plants but moths were a little disappointing - a few Treble Bar, one Straw Dot, a Common Carpet and numerous Silver Y adults.
Beating and sweeping were surprisingly unproductive and we spent most of the day searching for larvae by eye - with reasonable results. We found several unidentified Geometrid larvae - if anyone can identify the image below we'd be grateful.
unidentified Geometrid larva
There were numerous groups of young Buff-tip and two mature Pebble Prominent larvae on Sallows
Young Buff-tip larvae about to ecdyse
Pebble Prominent 5th instar larva
Perhaps the 'best' finds were two Privet Hawk-moth larvae, one half-grown and one mature, feeding on Wild Privet.
Privet Hawk-moth 5th instar larva.
We had been disturbing Silver Y moths all day and just as we were preparing to depart Malcolm spotted one roosting on a dead Teasel head - excellent camouflage and well found.
Silver Y roosting on dead Teasel head.
Weston Mothing News
: I've just learnt that Coleophora asteris
has been trapped before at Berrow in 2000.
Back on the 20th August I trapped a coleophora which has now been identified as 562 Coleophora asteris. This species is associated with Sea Aster (Aster tripolium) which is quite plentiful around our coastline so the possibility of it being a recent colonist are quite good. Although coleophoras are notoriously difficult to identify as adults Coleophora asteris does have some features that help point towards its identification; there are a scattering of dark scales on the forewing and with the use of a good hand lens a row of black dots on the underside of the antennae can be seen.
562 Coleophora asteris - Milton, Weston-super-Mare
A poor return for last night the only new being Frosted Orange, another first for me being a Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea dragonfly.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 11 degrees
36 species includng FFY - Maidens Blush (we did not see the first brood iin May this year) and Marbled Beauty. We have also had several Canary-shouldered Thorns which, William may be interested to know, we have caught in August every year in 14 years trapping here - in 2003 as early as August 6th.
This is just to test I can get a photo onto the blog! It was trapped on Thursday night with Tara Wright from Withiel Florey and was our first lutestring
Curry Rivel (VC5), 24 August 2012
Here are a couple of images of the Elephant Hawk-moth larva from Curry Rivel.
Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor
5th instar larva
Head and thoracic segments of Large Elephant Hawk-moth larva.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 14 degrees
150 moths of 35 speciies including FFY - Feathered Gothic (2), Orange Swift, Dusky Thorn and C.splendana.
We saw our first Painted Lady butterfly earlier this week.
Langport & Curry Rivel larvae
A couple of larvae from Langport over the last two days. The first isn't a moth - but although I hadn't seen any Painted Lady butterflies locally this year I found a mature larva on Creeping Thistle in a field below the A372. I didn't have time to search the field extensively, but must go back in the next few days.
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui
mature larva, Langport.
My wife asked me to look out for Hazelnuts for her botanical art workshop and I found some in Langport Town Garden. Sitting on one of the twigs was a fully-grown Peppered Moth larva.
Peppered Moth Biston betularia
mature larva on Hazel.
I have literally just beeen brought an Elephant Hawkmoth larva from Curry Rivel but as yet no time to photograph it. It's the time of year to look for these larvae on Willowherb - they are reasonably easy to spot in the evening when they crawl up to feed. There is also a very slim chance of finding Striped Hawkmoth larvae - the fact that 3 were caught earlier in the year raises the possibility that females may have oviposited on passage. Dream on!
Buff-tip larvae, East Lydford
Paul Newman asked me to put up this image of Buff-tip larvae and exuviae which his partner Biz Gibbs took. Originally there were 77 eggs on one leaf. They have done quite a serious denuding job on the tree!
Larvae of Buff-tip Phalera bucephala
, East Lydford.
Convolvulus Hawk-moth nectaring
We always grow Nicotiana sylvestris
in the hope of seeing nectaring Convolvulus Hawk-moths and indeed I did see this in 2006 (but my wife was not at home and was disappointed to have missed it).
So I kept my specimen from the trap quiet and cool today and took it out, perched on a garden cane, at dusk, and placed it next to our Nicotiana sylvestris
plants. It started to warm up and after about 10 minutes took off and immediately started to nectar on the flowers. Magic! We watched it for about 5 minutes before it flew off. I had set up and calibrated my twin flash unit beforehand so was able to get some reasonable images.
Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli
nectaring on Nicotiana sylvestris
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969 Chequered Fruit Tree Tortrix
The Last 2 nights that I've put the trap out (the 20th and 22nd) have both been enjoyable, with several firsts for the garden. On the 20th: Beautiful Peacock, Canary Shouldered Thorn (quite early, they're normally mid september here), Chequered Fruit Tree Tortrix (first for the garden), Common Wave, Dark Fruit tree tortrix,
European Corn Borer (another one of these migrants?), Orchard Ermine, Rush Veener (1 - yet another Migrant), Sallow Kitten and Yellow Shell.
453 Honeysuckle Moth
And on the 22nd - Acleris Laterana, Honeysuckle Moth (new for the garden), Small Waved Umber (new for the Garden), Strawberry Tortrix, and to top it off another migrant - this time a vestal (accompanied by 3 rush Veeners and 4 Silver Ys) and two firsts for the garden whilst clearing up - a Coxcomb Prominent and a Chocolate Tip.
We have had a new Pyralid moth for us, and apparently only the third Somerset record Apomyelois bistriatella.
Without Stirling and Parsons new book on Micros (page 252) I would not have been able to identify it. Mapmate says is late in the year for it but S&P say "late season examples may be immigrants". Perhaps it came over with
Cydia amplana !
A distinct downturn in numbers last night so it seems my chances of Cydia amplana
are looking rather grim now. I think John's light is stopping all the moths before they get to my trap! The only migrants I've had in the last few days are Diamond-back Moth and Rush Veneer. On the micro front my skylight trap has produced specimens of Bucculatrix maritima, Carpatolechia fugitivella
and a rather splendid looking Epermenia falciformis
all of which are new for the garden.
Langport, VC6, 21-22 August 2012
Although last night was cold and clear I put the trap out more in hope than in expectation. A generally poor catch but on the shed next to the trap was a male Convolvulus Hawk-moth.
Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli
male, Langport 21-22 August 2012
Migrants in Clevedon
The northern reaches of the County have also had a few (possible) immigrants in the last two nights - one Plutella xylostella, two Udea ferrugalis, six Nomophila noctuella and one Cydia amplana.
Dewick's Plusia from Stoke-sub-Hamdon
In case you hadn't noticed, hidden away in Ian's blog yesterday was a real star- a Dewick's Plusia, only the fourth county record (the Wells record from 2011 has been deleted as a misidentification, on receipt of a photograph). Well done, Ian. Perhaps we'll have a good run of migrants now.
Dewick's Plusia Macdunnoughia confusa
Lobster Moth - yong larva
Robin Clatworthy took a female Lobster Moth at Ram's Combe (Quantocks) on 25 July and she laid eggs. This is a 3rd instar larva - surely Britain's most bizarre caterpillar! Thanks to Robin and to Ian Mathieson for the chance to photograph it - I have been looking to get this photo for over 40 years!
Third instar larva of Lobster Moth Stauropus fagi
20 th August - Burnham-on-sea
A single Cydia amplana in the garden trap last night. :-) My second record here, the first was 2007. Also Paul Gay caught one on the same night at Berrow.
Just catching up after a busy few weeks of holiday, work and watching the Olympics. Numbers are still lower here than they should be but the number of species are holding up well. For example on Saturday night I had nearly 300 macros from 59 species with annual firsts in Jersey Tiger ( the only Tiger moth I've seen this year ), Shaded Broad Bar, Flounced Rustic, Rosy Rustic, Dusky Sallow, Tawny Speckled Pug and Cypress Pug. I also recorded my first Setaceous Hebrew Characters since June. This second generation is about 3 weeks later than normal. It will be interesting to see how they do in the next few weeks. If I don't record several hundred then I reckon all moths will be struggling with the weather conditions this year.
A reasonable number of moths in the trap this morning with the highlight being my best moth of the year so far, a Dewick's Plusia.
Like Doug I have also been seeing more Swallow Prominents than normal. I usually only record them in ones and twos but had 9 on the 9th August. The same thing is happening now with Iron Prominents. I rarely see more than 1 a night but this morning I had 4 in the trap.
There seem to be a few migrants about at the moment. Plenty of Silver Y but also my first Painted Lady of the year on Saturday and a White-point the highlight of an exceptionally busy trap on Friday night.
Manor Road, Taunton
Warmest trapping night to date and by far the best catch with over 200 moths of 39 species and a few unidentified micros. Plenty of Jersey Tigers in my garden and I trapped 18 last night. Several first for year including Old Lady, Marbled Green, Marbled Beauty, Knot Grass and two mew micros for my garden Oegoconia quadripuncta and probably the smallest moth I've trapped Apple Leaf Miner Lyonetia clerkella. Also 22 Light Brown Apple Moths which is by far the most I've ever trapped in one night.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 17 degrees
After a windy and wet night on Thursday with oly 20 species we had an excellent GMS night with 50! New for the year were Copper Underwing, Oak Hook-tip, Square-spot Rustic, P.purpuralis and best of all Cydia amplana.
Cydia amplana in Weston
I was delighted to find a fine specimen of Cydia amplana
in my trap this morning, sitting on top of the trap was a Jersey Tiger, the third this year.
Two really good nights this week, FFY Jersy Tiger, Flounced Rustic, Rosy Rustic, Sq-spot Rustic, Dusky Brocade, Sallow Kitten, Poplar Grey, Yellow Shell. Scorched Carpet, Agonopterix alstromeriana, Oegoconia quadripuncta, Monopsis weaverella, Acleris forsskaleana
, highlight a male Four-spotted Footman.
Jersey Tigers seem to be having a good year. I've recently had three reports from members of the public:
9 August: Jen Carr found one in the Sir Ian Botham stand at Taunton Cricket Ground
12 August: Jayne Fulwell at Withycombe (photo below)
13 August: Chris Goldsmith at South Petherton
Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria
Over the last few nights Swallow Prominent moths have increased in numbers last night 10, normally i would get two or three, are others finding the same, is it a good year for them ?.
Weston Mothing News
Once again it's been very quiet on the macro front. I caught my first ever Jersey Tiger on Friday 9th at Brean and Southern Wainscot in the garden on 10th. The only other NFG was Lunar-spotted Pinion on 5th August. Micro's have been far more interesting however. I recently confirmed a record of Acompsia cinerella
caught on 27th July at Sand Point. On 10th of August I trapped Roeslerstammia erxlebella
in the garden. There are Lime trees in nearby Ashcombe Park which could be the source.
Langport, VC6, 14-15 August 2012
Last night was very windy and numbers were well down on the previous few trappings but there was another Cydia amplana
in the trap.
I've put the trap out 3 times in the last week or so, and each time have been rewarded with good numbers. FFY have been Rosy Rustic, Magpie, Pebble Hook Tip, Small Scallop, Small Fan Footed Wave, Celphya Striana, Six Striped Rustic, Barred Straw, Riband Wave, Clouded Border, Hypatima rhomboidella, Iron Prominent, Catoptria falsella, Eudonia Delunella, Dark Spectacle, Marbled Green, Oak Hook Tip, Straw Underwing, Straw Dot, and a Mocha - I think the latter is a stunning moth!
858 Hypatima Rhomboidella and 1316 Catoptria Falsella
Langport, VC6, 12-13 August 2012
I had a specimen of 1262 Cydia amplana
in the trap on Monday night. There has been a big influx of this migrant Tortricid along the south coast (details on Atropos flight arrivals page).Cydia amplana
, Langport 12 August 2012.
This appears to be the third record for VC6.
Langport,VC6, 8-9 August 2012
Rather a late posting - apologies! Last Wednesday night was warm and humid and the trap attracted 85 species - not many individuals but a good range. Two new species of micro for the garden - 297 Eucalybites auroguttella
and 1211 Rhyacionia pinicolana
297 Eucalybites auroguttella
1211 Rhyacionia pinicolana
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 14 degrees
Despite a thunder storm we had over 280 moths of 65 species. One we have never had here before was an Olive - thanks Sue for the photo ! Other FFY were Least Yellow Underwing and a Jersey Tiger only tha 5th we have had here since our first in 2007.
East Lydford 11/8/12
I found a Small Phoenix resting on the staircase wall this morning - presumably snuck in during the night. Although this is a common species, this is the first one I've seen at this site in 7 years. Who needs a trap ?
Butleigh Thursday night
Fantastic haul here too, 49 Macro species at least 20 Micro and still counting. FFY Leopard, Copper Underwing, Straw Underwing, Mocha, Single-dotted Wave, Oak Hook-tip, Yellow-barred Brindle, Knot Grass and FFG an Olive.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 16 degrees
Over 250 moths of at least 64 species so, like Paul, we feel exhausted ! For the first time this year we had over 50 Large Yellow Underwings and it is always pleasant to get for comparison both Sharp-angled Carpet and Cloaked Carpet at the same time. The only FFY was a Wood Carpet.
East Lydford 8/8/12 additions
Just finished recording this morning's escapees - phew !! Another 79 moths, total now 408, and a further 6 species, making 68. Additional FFY was Iron Prominent (first since 2009). I'm going to take a couple of days off now to recover.
9th August 2012 Burnham-on-sea
A new moth species for the garden last night was a much anticipated Small Ranunculus. Further north at Berrow my father caught a Pretty Chalk Carpet which was new for his garden.
East Lydford 8/8/12
After not bothering to do any trapping for a week or so, with no rain forecast and a warm, muggy night with only half a moon in prospect, I had a go. This morning I had a very busy time sorting the catch - serves me right. Well over 300 moths, of 62 species so far. Half of the total was made up of 53 each Common & Dingy Footmen, 40 Common Rustic (agg) and 25 C.culmella. With this evening's round-up still to come, no doubt there will be more of all of these,. FFY so far were Orange Swift, Pebble Hook-tip, Straw Underwing, Pyrausta aurata, and Olive (first record for this site). One or two others still to be confirmed.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 13 degrees
150 + moths of 44 species - FFY August Thorn, Marbled Beauty, Six-striped Rustic and C.striana.
06/08/2012 Mount Farm Milverton
Heavy rain prevented a full count but did get to 60plus moths of 21 species including first
for here of Mocha and Yellow Tail also FFY of Rosy Footman and Lunar Thorn many
Common Footman and Common Rustic
Another late posting, a decent night considering some heavy rain halfway through, first for the year were buff footman, Nut Tree Tussock, Garden Rose Tortrix, Brown China Mark, Codling Moth, Common Emerald, Ruby Tiger and Dark Fruit Tree Tortrix.
East Lydford 7/8/12
I found a Mocha today (first record since 2009, and only 6th here in total) I rescued it from drowning in some of our surplus rainwater - makes a change from White-shouldered House-moths !!
Garden moth survey 3 August 2012, Langport VC6
Minimum temerature 13˚C, 189 moths of 50 species on Friday night;43 of these were Common Footman. Of the macros the only ffy was Magpie.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 13 degrees
97 moths of 40 species FFY - Dunbar, Flounced Rustic and Triple-spotted Clay.
Bishop's Hull 3/8/12
48 moths of 20 species including four Jersey Tiger, single Garden Dart and Aethes smeathmanniana
. Square-spot Rustic and Black Arches were FFY.
947 Aethes smeathmanniana
I had Stigmella microtheriella
emerge today from a collected Hazel leaf. I first found the mines last year but they were all vacated so this year I kept an eye out and sure enough the first ones started appearing about a month ago.
This week I found a bag of moths in the freezer from last year. Looking through them there were none very interesting until I came across a Gelechid caught near the River Axe on 28th August 2011. It turned out to be Chionodes fumatella
. Quite an uncommon moth in the region and one thing I noticed was that all the records are nearby rivers/stretches of water.
111 Stigmella microtheriella
790 Chionodes fumatella (Gen. det - PAB)
East Lydford 1/8/12 addendum
A further 49 moths rounded up this evening, total now 317, and 5 additional species, total now 50, with FFY Carcina quercana & Small Scallop(2) - the first record here since 2008.
Weston Moths 31st July and 1st August
Only Pebble Prominent and Miller new for the macros year list. On 31st there was a period before dusk when the wind dropped so I went to Sand Point with the net and caught Teleiodes sequax
a new moth for me. I also found Metzneria lappella
on Burdock on the south slope. The wind soon picked up and feeling quite warm I decided to try for some migrants on Brean recording 30 Silver Y and a Dark Sword-grass. Whilst there a Scrobipalpa costella
came to the light another new moth for me.
Scrobipalpa costella Brean Down 31st July 2012
Teleiodes sequax Sand Point 31st July 2012
East Lydford 1/8/12
A larger catch than I was expecting because of the nearly full moon, and fairly cool temperatures. 268 moths of 45 species so far (plus the usual bunch of escapees to be rounded up this evening), including 84 Common Footmen. FFY were Catoptria falsella(3), Dingy Footman (16) including 1 f.stramineola, and Yponomeuta malinella. Nothing very exciting.
New species for my garden
Tuesday was a good night - reasonably warm and not too windy - 65 species recorded including ffy Black Arches, Jersey Tiger and Straw Underwing. Common Footman made up the majority of the catch.
A second search trough the trap revealed this tiny micro (6mm wing length) which I needed to photograph to see detail. From the illustration in Sterling & Parsons it appeared to be 294 Aspilapteryx tringipennella
- many thanks to David Agassiz for confirming my ID.
294 Aspilapteryx tringipennella
(Gracillariidae), Langport, 31 July 2012.
New species for Somerset list
Bob Heckford (who, for those who don't know him, is a Devon 'micro' specialist) has found 813 Scrobipalpa salinella
at Steart on 27 June. This is a new addition to the Somerset list. Sadly no image is available.
The larval foodplants are sea-blite, sea aster and glasswort, growing on saltmarshes.
Butleigh Tuesday Night 31st July
Very full trap, 49 Macro sps with > 50 Common Footmen, and 16 micros processed so far!, FFY Chinese Character, Small Blood-vein, Marbled Beauty, Square-spot Rustic, Small Emerald, White-spotted and Narrow-winged Pugs, Gold Triangle, Mother of Pearl, Anania crocealis, Catoptria falsella.
Bishop's Hull 31.7.12
43 moths of 24 species with Yellow-tail, Lesser B-b Yellow Underwing, Nut-tree Tussock and Crambus perella
all FFY. In addition single Jersey Tiger and Garden Dart were firsts for both me and the garden.
2082 Garden Dart Euxoa nigricans
Thanks to Paul Newman I now have specimens of Acentria ephemerella
, so now only require Cataclysta lemnata
East Lydford 1/8/12
Found a FFY Ruby Tiger (deceased) on a window-sill this morning - presumably beat itself to death trying to escape.