Sunday, 21 October 2012

Hibernating Herald Moths

At Brean Down Palmerston Fort this morning I found that all the doors were unlocked by the National Trust staff today so I picked up a torch and had a look. On the walls were thousands of flies and 4 Herald Moths.
Hibernating Herald Moth Brean Down Fort

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Clouded Magpie larvae

Walking around the local wood this lunchtime revealed several Clouded Magpie larvae suspended on a thread of silk on Wych Elm. The larvae seem to feed quite high and were spotted dangling not much below head height.
Clouded Magpie larva

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Emmelina monodactyla

Another moth by torchlight photo this time of Emmelina monodactyla found on Ragwort this evening whilst walking the dog. This species can be found virtually all year round but more so in spring and autumn. The emerging moths in autumn can be found overwintering in long grass where they are especially camouflaged amongst dead grass.
Emmelina monodactyla

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Buff Ermine larva

Whilst walking the dog yesterday evening I found this larva feeding at ground level on a creeping plant which I haven't identified yet. Several flicks through the book and some searching on the internet confirmed it as Buff Ermine. Not surprising as this is a common moth to the moth trap so they must be feeding in numbers in surrounding gardens.
Buff Ermine larva final instar

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Buff-tip larva

It's been quiet on the mothing front lately but today I bumped into the this final instar Buff-tip larva on a fence post. See how the rear end has been raised to warn off unwanted attention. This species feeds on a variety of trees and can be found from mid-September.
Buff-tip larva final instar

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

The Small Tortoiseshell is a common butterfly in the UK being found on the wing in spring, late summer and early autumn. The larval foodplant is Nettle.
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae

Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon)

2012 has been a poor year for migrant moths so far and my best migrant to date has been Dark Sword-grass. This is a regular migrant to the UK occurring mainly between July and October. Last night I trapped 2 on the coast along with a Rush Veneer and 7 Silver Y.
Dark Sword-grass Agrotis ipsilon

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Silver Maple Acer saccarinum

Whilst waiting outside the local Tesco I happened to notice some larval activity overhead on Silver Maple Acer saccarinum. I took it home for further investigation and found a spun white case of Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis cerasana.
Case of Pandemis cerasana

Leaves of Silver Maple Acer saccerinum

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Nectaring moths by torch light

I don't do it very often but have found looking for nectaring moths very productive. I first started back in July when my buddleia was in flower. I had Small Ranunculus two weeks before the first one reached the trap. Recently I got a lifer by looking for moths by torch light a Clepsis spectrana. Tonight in just half an hour I had 5 Silver Y nectaring on Campion, 5 Pretty Chalk Carpet (3 of which were on the food plant Traveler's Joy), 2 Angle Shades, Dingy Footman at rest on grass, Magie, Acleris rhombana, Square-spot Rustic and 2 Snout around Nettles. Not bad for a windy night. Take a look at the photos below. I think the moths look better in their natural environment.
Angle Shades moth Phlogophora meticulosa

The Silver Y  Autographa gamma

Friday, 31 August 2012

Comma butterfly Polygonia c-album

The best larvae I found last night was in the local park a Comma butterfly on Elm. I first noticed the  larval workings and then inspected the underside of the leaves and there it was. Comma butterfly foodplants also include Nettle, Willows (Salix) and Hop.
Comma Polygonia c-album caterpillar Final Instar

Comma Polygonia c-album

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Jersey Tiger

Jersey Tiger is a moth expanding it's range northwards in southern England. This year it has been having a good year with the poor weather seemingly having no negative effect. I caught this moth on 11th August and is my first ever capture. The larvae feed on a variety of shrubs including Nettle, Dandelion, Ground Ivy, Hemp Agrimony, Groundel, Plantain, Lettuce and White Dead-nettle from September to May.
Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria

Acrocercops brongniardella

Whilst looking for larvae I disturbed Acrocercops brongniardella in the woods. A fairly common moth in southern England creating a blister on the leaves of Oak species in June and then emerging from July.
Acrocercops brongniardella blister mine on Quercus

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Coleophora asteris

Coleophora asteris is an uncommon moth in the UK being found usually within a few miles of its food plant Aster tripolium. Around the area where I live Aster tripolium is a fairly common plant around the coastal bays and estuaries. This moth was trapped a mile inland to a 40W actinic on 20th  August.
Coleophora asteris

Coleophora asteris female genitalia plate.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Carpatolechia fugitivella

Trapped around the same time as the E.falciformis I potted this Carpatolechia fugitivella another new addition to the garden list. This species is mainly recorded through central England and feeding on Elm (Ulmus).
Carpatolechia fugitivella

Epermenia falciformis

During the period of warm settled weather I was fortunate enough to trap a few scarce micro wanderers. Epermenia falciformis is a scarce moth in my area but classed as a fairly common moth in southern England whose host plant is wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) or ground-elder (Aegopodium podagraria).
Epermenia falciformis

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Bucculatrix maritima

If you have Aster tripolium growing nearby chances are that you have Bucculatrix maritima too. This moth is so small that it is easily overlooked in the trap. The best way to find it is by checking the leaves of Aster tripolium for mines. Fortunately I found the one below in the skylight window of the roof of my house before setting the trap for the next night.
Bucculatrix maritima

Svensson's Copper Underwing identification

It's the time of year when lots of Copper Underwings are turning up in the moth trap but just how many are the Svensson's Copper Underwing. I started looking at the labial palps of many looking for the one's that were dark with pale tips. The one below was the first I found and dissection confirms it as Svensson's Copper Underwing.
Svensson's Copper Underwing upper side

Svensson's Copper Underwing under side

Svensson's Copper Underwing upper hind wing

Svensson's Copper Underwing under hind wing

Svensson's Copper Underwing labial palp

Svensson's Copper Underwing aedeagus spines

Monday, 20 August 2012

Choreutis pariana

On 11th August I found several larval webs on Hawthorn. After some digging around I eventually found out that they were the larvae of Choreutis pariana. A lovely little moth which I found farther up the road on Apple last year.
Choreutis pariana larval web and larva

Caloptilia elongella

I found this leaf cone on Alder on 19th August which I believe is Caloptilia elongella. This is a moth I have never found before as an adult or immature so I hope my ID is correct.
Caloptilia elongella leaf cone

Caloptilia elongella larva

Anthophila fabriciana

A mid August walk produced different stages of Athophila fabriciana. on 18th August I found an adult and plenty of larvae.
Anthophila fabriciana adult

Anthophila fabriciana larval web

Anthophila fabriciana larva

Acrolepia autumnitella

Whilst out walking on the weekend I noticed a fair amount of Bittersweet Solanum dulcamara along the roadside. Much of the plant had blister mines from the micro Acrolepia autumnitella.
Acrolepia autumnitella blister mine

Cydia Amplana

A fitting start to the blog with a short note on Cydia amplana. This is a rare migrant tortrix that has been turning up along the south coast from Kent to Cornwall  in the last few weeks. The best count I have heard of so far is 79 + 13 at Portland and many other places have trapped double figure numbers. I've still yet to trap one in my garden so here is a specimen from a neighbouring moth trappers trap.
Cydia amplana

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

What's the moth

The Pugs are a group that I often have trouble with and this one's I couldn't ID without knocking it out and brushing off the scales to reveal the abdominal plate. If you have a microscope and a bottle of Ethyl Acetate then all but one male Pugs should be no problem to ID.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

What's the moth

This one is a little more tricky than yesterdays. Apart from being a micro it isn't the typical form for this species.

Monday, 2 July 2012

What's the moth

With little birding and mothing on offer at the moment I thought I would publish some of my gen det moths to test your ID skills. Here is the first one. I will publish the answer soon in the comments section.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

First Dunlin back and sea bird dearth

Sand Point/Bay: Winds changed from south-westerly to WNW today and although still quite strong no sea birds were recorded. In Sand Bay 3 Dunlin turned up. Shelduck numbers were up to 24 and Black-headed Gulls up to 120. 219 Starling (count from photo) attempted migration off Sand Point but returned.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Manx Shearwater numbers again in treble figures

Manx Shearwater
A 2 hour sea watch off Sand Point produced good numbers of Manx Shearwater again but numbers not so good today. Yesterday 600 an hour recorded compared to todays 350 an hour. Birds were more distant today with several hundred moving mid channel. Birds were moving both up and down channel but mainly down. Also moving through 2 Woodpigeon, 61 Starling, 3 Swallow, 1 House Martin.
In Sand Bay just 104 Black-headed Gulls remained and Curlew numbers were up to 31

Friday, 22 June 2012

Max Manx Shearwater count

Off Anchor Head in an hour 600 Manx Shearwater nearly all heading south, 7 Fulmar south and 2 Gannet south before the count was abandoned for work.
Sand Point later in the morning: 150 Manx, 1 Gannet, 3 Fulmar (A.Hockey)
Sand Bay: 186 Black-headed Gulls and 15 Curlew.
Garden moth trap: 1 Silver Y

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Cream-bordered Green Pea

Cream-bordered Green Pea

Sand Bay: A quick look over the mornings high tide revealed an overnight increase in Black-headed Gulls to 270 whilst newly arrived Curlews seem to have moved on. Last night a Lesser Whitethroat was new in.
Garden moth trap: Cream-bordered Green Pea and Lobster were new for the garden.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Sand Bay/Point 18th June

Argyresthia spinosella feeds on Blackthorn

Dichrorampha alpinana feeds on Oxeye Daisy

Hedya pruniana feeds on Blackthorn

Monopis obviella feeds on refuse

Orthotaenia undulana feeds on various
Sand Bay: Curlew no.s up. Difficult to count in the marsh but 27 were eventually counted. 70 Black-headed Gulls still feeding along the tideline.
Sand Point: Diurnal micros on the wing this evening included Nemapogon cloacella, Scoparia ambigualis, Orthotaenia undulana, Monopis obviella, Argyresthia conjugella, Hedya pruniana, Dichrorampha alpinana

Monday, 18 June 2012

More micros from last week at Sand Point

Aethes tesserana feeds on Oxtongue and Hawkweed

Coleophora discordella feeds on Birdsfoot Trefoil

Homoeosoma sinuella feeds on Ribwort Plantain
Despite the poor results from over night trapping diurnal activity has been occasionally quite good in the evenings. Here are a few more micros from last week and Sand Point.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A few more sea birds

The Low system passing now and today saw lessening south-westerly winds and clearing skies. Just 13mph with gusts to 15mph. Temperatures much the same as yesterday 13c (10c with wind chill). 2 hours of Sand Point produced 27 Manx Shearwater, 1 Storm Petrel, 4 Tern sp and 13 Gannet. Black-headed Gull count in Sand Bay remained about 70 birds.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Sea watching in southerly winds

Sand Point: 13 degrees celcius, 10 with wind chill. 22mph SSW winds with 26mph gusts. 2 hours sea watch this morning produced 232 Manx Shearwater all but 15 up channel, 1 Commic Tern down channel, 10 Gannet up channel, 1 Grey Plover south, 24 Swift south and 2 Swallow west. In Sand Bay 70 Black-headed Gulls feeding on the tideline.
3 Crossbills seen flying over Clarence Park (B.Blake)

Thursday, 14 June 2012

13th June micros

Cnephasia Sp presumed incertana

Nemapogon cloacella

Paraswammerdamia albicapitella