Two Orange Tips in the garden this afternoon, but no sign yet of any Vanessids this year to date.
Signs of spring...an Adder on the cliffs at Ebbor Gorge, and Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper fighting each other at Black Rock. Hopefully the moths will follow soon!
Carymoor Environmental Centre
The Centre, which is based at the Dimmer Waste Disposal Site near Castle Cary, are holding a BioBlitz over the weekend of 7th/8th.May. As part of this, I have been asked to do some moth trapping, as I did last year. The Centre have their own MV trap which they are setting up themselves, and I am supplying my battery-powered Actinic. The trapping takes place overnight, and I am planning to open the traps at about 10.am on the Sunday (indoors). If any other SMG members could attend to give me some assistance to open up, capture/remove and identify the moths and record them, I would be very grateful. The Centre will almost certainly provide some refreshments afterwards.
The Centre is at OS gridref ST 617312, and is reached via the main entrance to the Waste Site, turning sharp left after entering the main gates. Be warned, there are a couple of humps in the road !! If anyone can offer some help, please let me know in advance, if possible, on 01963 240605, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Like Sue, I have recently returned from a few days in Donana in Andulacia. I was quite concerned by the quantity of common butterflies seen although there were good numbers of Clouded Yellows. However we did come across lots of moths as we drove through pine wood clearings one night looking for Red necked Nightjar. We did see a Nightjar sitting on the road. I thought it would fly as soon as the headlights touched it but it refused to move and after slowly approaching I had to drive around it until it eventually flew off when we were about a metre away.
since I have been back I have only trapped once and came up with a single Clouded Drab.
Tree House Butleigh
I thought it was pretty dire here with too, just 3 Heb.Ch, 1 Clouded Drab and 1 Small Quaker until I found the 3 Streamers at the bottom of the trap :) Just spent 2 weeks in Andalucia, there were nothing like the usual numbers of moths at dusk around the wall lights there either.
East Lydford 24/4/16
It gets worser and worser - just one Hebrew Character & one Common Quaker - et c'est tout mes amis !!
Fri. 22nd, Nr. S.Petherton
Once again with the lower than expected numbers; 7 macro sp. and a solitary A. alostromeriana. NFY were a Brimstone Moth and a Double-striped Pug. The rest: Hebrew Character(7), Common Quaker(4), Clouded Drab(2), Muslin Moth(1), Brindled Pug(1).
It was quite warm enough for me to hang about for a while - which I did with at least some reward - I recorded the pugs, the A.alostromeriana and the Brimstone , and so doubled my sp. count as they had gone by dawn!
Two traps last night in my friend's garden in the village of Lullington near Frome produced just 8 moths of 5 species. NFY Brindled Beauty (1) and Muslin moth (1) with new for me Streamer (1) the others were Hebrew Character (2) and Common Quaker (3). Still low numbers, but I'm not too unhappy as Streamer is a moth I'd particularly been wanting to see in the flesh.
Kestrels Rise ,Little Quantock
This seems to be a scratched record, I also had a disappointing night with only 26 moths of 9 species from two traps. This may be more than some are getting but we have zero light pollution up here in the hills and my totals seem to generally be higher. No FFY last night but catch included Shoulder Stripe(1),Early Thorn(1),Oak Beauty(1),Red Chestnut(3) ........ I noticed that I omitted to post the catch details from monday 18th. A similar total (28) moths of 11 species, but 4 FFY ; Streamer(3),Engrailed (1),Angle Shades(1)and Powdered Quaker(1).
Bishop's Hull 21/4/16
T Min 9.5°C, mainly overcast with no wind to speak of. Despite the promising conditions results were dire here too with only seven moths of three species: Common Quaker (4), Twin-spotted Quaker (1) and FFY Nut-tree Tussock (2).
Langport, vc6, 21-22 April 2016
Dire! Although it seemed promising there were only 4 Hebrew Character in the trap this morning.
Pen Elm, Taunton. Min T 10.1°C
It seemed like a promisingly mild night but only yielded 13 moths of 6 species and 2 Caddis Flies. Nut-tree Tussock (2) the only new kid on the block for 2016.
Combe St Nicholas, South Somerset
Still not many moths last night but at least the number of species is improving! 12 moths of 7 species - FFY Brindled Beauty, Red Chestnut and Clouded Drab (2), also Early Thorn, Common Quaker (2), Hebrew Character (4) and Early Grey. Red Chestnut is interesting in that I first recorded it as recently as 2014 and this is only my 4th record - it's doing better than the commoner species this year!
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 7.4 degrees
21 moths of eight species including FFY - a Streamer.
Martin and I were desperate for a spot of trapping so off we went to Sand Point. Full moon and clear skies and you can probably guess the rest.
3 traps produced 2 macro moths, a Shoulder-stripe and a female Small Eggar that walked onto a sheet. An excellent moth non the less.
Also seen were some Angle Shades on the Sloe blossom and some Elachista rufocinerea in the grass.
A nice night to be out with Whimbrel calling in the bay but perhaps not the most productive of trapping sessions.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 4.4 degrees
11 moths of seven species including FFY a Water Carpet.
12 moths of 6 species in my own garden in Frome last night. Singles of Hebrew Character, Clouded Drab, Early Grey and Double-striped Pug. Micros were LBAM (7) and Common Plume (1).
Combe St Nicholas, South Somerset
A better night last night but still lacking species and numbers. Thirteen moths of six species - FFY Light-brown Apple Moth (2), Shoulder-stripe (1) and Brindled Pug (1), plus Common Quaker (1), Hebrew Character (4) and Early Grey (4).
Pen Elm, Taunton. Min T 4.9°C
Not a lot better here Paul with 9 moths: Common Quaker (5), Hebrew Character (2), Early Grey and Clouded Drab. Drab is the word.
East Lydford 18/4/16
Things do not improve - just 3 moths last night, all in the MV trap (the actinic was suffering from flat-battery syndrome) - one each Early Grey, Early Thorn and Clouded Drab.
Emergence of my first leaf miner
Well it's been a slow start so far this year but my first adult leaf miner emerged today. A fine Phyllonorycter maestingella 15.063 (BF341) collected from Beech last autumn. Collecting 'tenanted' mines is the best way of seeing these stunning micro moths as they are rarely attracted to light and not easily seen in the field.
Bridgwater, 2pm, 16th April
Spotted on a Bay (Laurus nobilis) in my garden this afternoon. I'm not proficient with moth identification so my attempts to identify this subject were not successful.
Visually, I thought it could be a Summer Fruit Tortrix (Adoxophyes orana) or a Red-barred Tortrix (Ditula angustiorana), but according to the UKMoths website, it's too early for either species to be on the wing, by about two months.
Update: "This is a male (with costal fold) Epiphyas postvittana (Light Brown Apple Moth). It is on the wing more or less all year round." - Nigel Richards from UK Moths.
This is the second one of this species found in my garden recently, yet I have no apple trees in my garden. It also looks quite different to the first one of this species I photographed.
Chris Iles, thank you for the link to the leafmines website.
Combe St Nicholas, South Somerset
In view of the low night temperatures being forecast over the coming days, I decided to run the trap last night. It was another poor night, with 5 moths of 4 species. The only FFY was The Streamer.
I've managed only 4 trapping sessions in the last month. My YTD tally is 35 moths of 9 species, which compares with 301 moths of 26 species at the same time last year (admittedly with more sessions). An abysmal spring so far for me!
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 7.8 degrees
A wet night with only 13 moths of six species including FFY - a Muslin Moth and one A. cristana.
Kestrels Rise ,Little Quantock
Two posts for the price of one; April 11,two traps caught 63 moths of 12 species, including FFY Pebble Prominent(1) FFY Red Swordgrass. Last night using just the actinic, 27 moths of 10 species including a nice early Spruce Carpet (FFY) and ,also FFY a White-shouldered House Moth at last.I was beginning to think that Paul had drowned them all!
Langport, vc6, 13-14 April 2016
The warmer weather tempted me to put the trap out last night and despite the rain there was a reasonable catch (36 moths of 16 species) including the first Silver Y of the year. I had had Peacock, Bristone and Green-veined White butterflies in the garden around midday.
Light Brown Apple Moth 5
Twenty Plume Moth 1
Doouble-striped Pug 1
Early Thorn 2
Angle Shades 1
Common Quaker 6
Twin-spot Quaker 1
Powdered Quaker 1
Clouded Drab 2
Hebrew Character 10
Early Grey 1
Nut-tree Tussock 1
Silver Y 1
I think I was lucky with the rain last night here in east Somerset. Just a sprinkle so only slightly soggy egg boxes.
I had the best night so far this year in my own garden with 26 moths of 9 species. NFY Pale Tussock (1) Early Grey (3), Clouded Drab (2), Common Quaker (2), Hebrew Character (1), Double-striped Pug (2) and micros LBAM (12), Common Plume (2) and Agonopterix heracliana agg (1).
Combe St Nicholas, South Somerset
The warmer weather forecast last night encouraged me to put the trap out. Unfortunately rain arrived and forced me to give up at 11.00p.m when I had 5 moths of 3 species - FFY Water Carpet and Early Thorn, and 3 Common Quakers.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe. Min Temp 7.8 degrees
The warmer night produced 54 moths of 12 species including FFY a Brindled Beauty.
East Lydford 13/4/16
Still not a lot happening, in spite of the improving conditions weatherwise. Just 8 moths in the traps last night, including FFY Brindled Beauty, Bright-line Brown-eye and Oak Nycteoline (first since 2012). Also 6 White-shouldered House-moths, all ifound n the rainwater butt (why do they commit suicide like this ?)
Two Brimstone butterflies in the garden today (male & female) - first butterfly sightings here this year.
They sure are - check out http://leafmines.co.uk/ which has keys to the mines.
Stigmella aurella 11/4/16
I think these are leafmines in blackberry leaves created by Stigmella aurella. Meads Eco Park.
Paul, I have invited Adam to join the SMG. Thank you!
East Lydford 11/4/16
Another poor night's trapping - only 6 moths in total. Only one FFY - a Shoulder-stripe.
Simi - nice photo ! Adam Kent isn't a member of the Moth Group - would he like to join ? He seems to know his moths.
Mompha subbistrigella 11/4/16
Mompha subbistrigella (identified by Adam Kent) photographed in my back garden, on a Viburnum tinus.
Oak Eggar (Lasiocampa quercus) larva.
Photographed this morning by Graeme Neal, a fellow Friend of the Meads, at the Meads Eco Park, Bridgwater.
Thank you, Jenny, for the book and website recommendations.
Much appreciated and much needed for a novice moth enthusiast!
Message for Simi
Yes, that is a Light Brown Apple moth. If you haven't got it already, I would recommend the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland by Phil Sterling and Mark Parsons.
I can't help you with the caterpillar, but if you're on Facebook, then there is a great community on there which I'm sure could help you. Just search for Caterpillars UK and ask to join the page. Alternatively try ukleps.org website. Good luck.
Friday 8th, Nr. South Petherton
A less successful night here, and with bad weather forecast I decided to pack up at 11.30 - total; a Cranefly and 2 Common Quakers.
On a brighter note, yesterday I saw my first Humming-bird Hawkmoth of the year, nectaring on primroses.
Ammerdown Park 9/4/2016
Another good night in the woods:
Hebrew Character 41
Common Quaker 21
Clouded Drab 16
Twin-spotted Quaker 7
March Moth 7
Brindled Beauty 3
Brindled Pug 2 (new to 10km square)
Oak Beauty 2
Small Quaker 1
Powdered Quaker 1 (new to 10km square)
Diurnea fagella 1
The attraction of sallow blossom at this time of year - 86 moths in the trap placed underneath a sallow in flower, just 17 in the other trap. It was a similar story at Harridge Wood a couple of weeks back. On each occasion more March Moths were caught in the trap away from the sallow - could it be that they have no interest in the blossom?
I think this is Epiphyas postvittana (Light brown apple moth).
Photographed this afternoon in my garden.
I also discovered this larva, but don't know what species it could be.
Bishop's Hull 8/4/16
Found this beautiful male Esperia sulphurella
this morning - a new one for the garden list.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 3.3 degree
32 moths of ten species including one FFY, a Red Chestnut.
Tree House Buteligh
Not exactly good weather overnight, but 16 moths of 9 spp with FFYs Powdered Quaker, Engrailed and Common Plume.
Combe St. Nicholas, South Somerset
With windy spells and cool nights, the weather hasn't been good for trapping here this spring. Last night's forecast suggested a higher temperature and skies clouding over but it seemed to stay clear for much of the night. So my second trapping session of the year produced just 10 moths of 3 species - 5 Hebrew Character, 4 Common Quaker and 1 Early Grey.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 5.1 degrees
32 moths of nine species including FFY a Powdered Quaker. We also had a Red Admiral butterfly in the garden.
Pen Elm, Taunton. Min T 8.3°C
More species (12) but fewer moths (37) last night with Diurnea fagella and Angle Shades the only FFYs.
East Lydford 4/4/16
Nearly as bad here Jenny - only 4 Hebrew Characters & 2 Common Quakers last night, evenly distributed between the two traps. Clearly they have all migrated to Berkley Marsh !!
In contrast to Nigel, I had just 4 moths from my Mum's garden in Frome last night. 1 x Early Grey, 1 x Common Plume and 2 x LBAMs.
Berkley Marsh, Frome
Over the last week or so I have been trapping in Berkley Marsh for the first time this year and after a slow start -- 23/3 - 11 moths / 3 species, 25/3 36 moths / 7 species -- the number of moths and species count have gradually increased - the last 3 nights have produced 73, 83 and 108 moths with a total of 21 species. Apart from the more numerous species at this time of year the most notable species have been Pale Pinion 23/3, March Moth and Powdered Quaker 25/3, Oak Beauty (7 on 25/3), Chestnut, Brindled Pug, Small Eggar, Twin - spotted Quaker, Herald, Shoulder Stripe, Early Moth, Early Thorn, Nut-tree Tussock, and Brindled Beauty. Also a few micros - Agonopterix hericliana, A. alstromeriana, Acleris schallerian, Depressaria daucella and Emmelina monodactyla.
I was hopeful for an interesting trapping at the Mill House on the outskirts of Frome last night. However, nothing exciting turned up despite a diligent search of the areas around the traps. 29 moths of 5 species. The most numerous being Hebrew Character (10), Clouded Drab (8), Common Quaker (9), Small Quaker (1) and Agonopterix heracliana agg. (1).
Still quite small numbers here in Frome. In my home garden on the first of the month I had 12 moths of 6 species : 2 x Hebrew Character, 2 x Clouded Drab, 3 x Common Quaker, 1 x Powdered Quaker (first for me), 1 x Early Thorn and 3 x Common Plume.
Rearing larvae from sallow catkins
I am currently playing host to several tiny (5 mm long) Slender Pug caterpillars, collected from sallow catkins blown from the trees in high winds last weekend. This species, along with the Sallow, Pink-barred Sallow and Brick, can reasonably easily be reared through when the majority of catkins come down. They are perhaps not recorded as often and as widely as they might be, and some at least appear to be found in most places where the foodplant occurs. The pugs and noctuids should probably be separated; I've come across references to the noctuids eating the pugs, and the pugs eating the noctuids, and am not sure what to believe, but do not want to take any chances.
Here in the east Mendips most of the sallow has not even come into blossom yet, so there will be plenty of time to collect catkins later in the month; in the south of the county, the sallow is generally well into blossom already, so the catkins should be falling any time soon.
2nd April Nr S.Petherton
The night started cold and ended even colder with a chilly 5C but somewere in the middle there was a warmer spell which probably accounted for the eight NFYs; Small Quaker(2), Brindled Pug(1), Pale Pinion(1), Twin-spotted Quaker(1), Shoulder Stripe(1,), Diurnella fagella(1), Angle Shades(1) and Chestnut(1). I had hoped for a few NFYs as my last attempt was 10 days ago, but was not expecting to find two NFGs: Small Eggar(1, Photo) and a Tawny Pinion. ( Find
being the apt word - excepting the Sm.Quakers none of the above were in the trap!)
Altogether 46 individuals of 14 macro sp. and 3 micro sp. with C.Quaker(12) and Early Grey(9) the most common
Kestrels Rise,Little Quantock Sat.April 2 2016 Min temp 5.8c
I ran both the actinic and the mbt with 44 moths of 12 species caught. FFY were Early Tooth-striped (4),Early Thorn (2),and Red Chestnut (2). During the afternoon an Agonopterix arenella woke up in the garage,also FFY. A belated report for March 30. 28 moths of 9 species including Depressaria daucella (FFY) and Pale Pinion (2) FFG.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 6.1 degrees
37 moths of nine species including FFY an Early Tooth-striped.
My best night of the year so far on the 30th March in the village of Lullington with the Heath actinic pulling in 1 x Oak Beauty (a first for me), 3 x Clouded Drab and 1 x Common Quaker and 1 x Small Quaker (another first for me).
The Skinner MV produced 1 x Oak Beauty, 6 x Hebrew Character, 3 x Clouded Drab and 1 x Common Quaker
When I got home from emptying the traps the next day, I found a Psychoides filicivora in my conservatory (many thanks to Paul Wilkins for confirmation). We have some Hart's Tongue ferns at the back of our garden pond.
Pen Elm, Taunton. Min T 9.8°C
83 moths of 10 species last night from the MV trap. 30 were discovered later resting in the grass around the trap including all of the Twin-spotted Quakers (7) and a Powdered Quaker, both FFYs. The only other other FFY was a single Shoulder-stripe. Common Quaker (38) was the most abundant.
East Lydford 1/4/16
After a gap of 10 days, mainly due to a combination of iffy weather and visiting relatives over Easter, I managed to run the traps again - hooray ! It was a bit milder last night than for a long time, but this still didn't produce vast numbers of moths. The actinic produced 10 Hebrew Characters, 5 Clouded Drabs, 3 Small Quakers and 1 Common Quaker. However the MV (surprisingly I think) managed only singletons of H.C.,C.Q.,C.D., and Depressaria daucella. Clearly the blue light was the in thing !