Saturday, 29 June 2013


Friday night saw another 'moths in YOUR garden' survey, this time just down the road from me in All Stretton. It was another successful night with several moths recorded, and an enjoyable couple of hours looking through them in the morning.

The highlight from the trap for looks was this rather smart Burnished Brass, a species that Graham also caught in his garden on the same night.

Burnished Brass

Another moth in the trap was the Small Angle Shades, a species that we have only record on a few occasions this spring. It is also one which has not featured here before.

Small Angle Shades

The new species for us were in the form of a few micro moths. We recorded two species that I have not seen before, the first was this Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix.

Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix

The other new species was this Epiblema trimaculana, one of a few similar species. This is a common species which use hawthorn as the larval food plant.

Epiblema trimaculana
So a relatively modest 23 moths of 17 species held several surprises, and I look forward to running the trap in the same garden in a few weeks time.

Full swing

I will try to reconstitute this post, as somehow I managed to delete it!

The simple thing is to just show the pictures again as they all appear in the label list. The first was a rather worn Barred Umber
Barred Umber

The reason I managed to delete the post was because I found out that the moth I had labelled as E dodecella was in fact B terella and in trying to change it, lost the lot.
Bryotropha terrella

Also featured were the first Burnished Brass here - a moth under scrutiny as some people believe there are 2 different ones (others do not). The debate concerns whether the brass band is H shaped (like this) or split in 2.

Another first, not only for the site, but for me personally was a Purple Clay and  a very well marked Shoulder-striped Wainscot.

Purple Clay

Shoulder-striped Wainscot

Lastly I pictured Tinea semifulvella, related to the clothes moths, but usually living in bird's nests.

Tinea semifulvella

Thursday, 27 June 2013

An awesome wave

A few new species have appeared at the moth trap over the last few days, with a noticeable shift in the commons species as well. This week has seen the emergence of the Heart & Club. Not having been recorded before, the last two trapping sessions in Batch Valley have recorded nine individuals, making it the commonest moth at present.

Heart & Club

Others have appeared in smaller numbers. One of them is the delicate Satin Wave, which I found in the garden on Tuesday night. This is one of the moths which overwinters in the larval stage, with the caterpillars hibernating over the winter.

Satin Wave

Micro lepidoptera have been in short supply this week, but I was pleased to find one new species for the garden in the trap this morning. This was a Celypha striana, like the Satin Wave the larval stage feeds on dandelion, a plant which is in good supply in the garden.

Celypha striana

Other new species for the garden including The Flame, which Graham mentioned in a blog recently, and a long-awaited Buff-tip. The Buff-tip is a species I have been hopeful of attracting one to the moth trap. I recorded a caterpillar in the garden last year, but until this week had never recorded the adult stage. Whilst we try not to repeat pictures of the same species on the blog, I will make an exception for this exceptional looking moth.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Time and Tide ....

It has all been happening, except for me finding time to do the blog, but better late than never (I hope).

We had a report the day after I did my last post that there were Grizzled Skippers at Coppice Leasowes, so we dodged the showers and went to see. No Skippers in sight and the only "brown job" flying was actually a Burnet Companion moth. By chance, I looked at the hedgerow planted alongside the stream near where we had parked the car and there were dozens of Spindle Ermine caterpillars, in untidy larval spinnings munching away there.

Burnet Companion

Spindle Ermine larvae

 With the steady improvement in the weather, trap catches have improved and there have been several new species present - far too many to include all their photos, so here is a selection;

The first is a Lobster Moth. Not named because of its colours, but because of the way its caterpillar sits. Have a look on the internet and see if you can find one!

Lobster Moth

The Flame

This one is called the Flame, which curls its wings tightly round its body. Can you see why it is called that? 

The next is an Alder Moth, look out for its caterpillar which has yellow patches on a black background and it has several long black hairs too. most unusual.

On the home front, there was a crop of micro-moths hatched out from the larvae off the Hart's-tongue ferns from the garden. Surprisingly these were not P. filicivora like the previous ones, but P. verhuella, meaning that both species were living side by side n the same plant. I was also very pleased to find that the Mullein plants we begged from a friend's garden have indeed got Mullein moth larvae feeding on them.

Alder Moth

Have a look on your own plants and see if you have got any.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Pincer movement

The Strettons Area Community Wildlife Group 'moths in YOUR garden' surveys continued on Saturday night. This time we went for a pincer movement, with both Graham and I taking our traps up to a site near The Lawley.

It was not an ideal night for trapping, a bit too windy and wet, but we still had a successful night with 59 moths of 32 species. We also had an enjoyable morning looking at the moths followed by some welcome bacon and egg buttys! These are the aims of the surveys, to enthuse and inform people about the moths lurking in their gardens, and to improve recording of moths in the Strettons area.

We had several new species, including the Lychnis. A noctuid moth which was found roosting close to Graham's trap.


It is fair to say that the majority of the moths were found in Graham's 125w Robinson trap compared to my actinic heath trap. This is not surprising as the former is more powerful, but as we suspected there were a few different species in the actinic. One of these was a Common Wainscot, found on a final sweep of the grass.

Common Wainscot

One of the most numerous species, and one which had not had a picture yet appear here, was the Beautiful Golden Y. We had seven of these around the traps. This was a particular interesting individual being unusually marked.

Beautiful Golden Y

We also had a couple of migrants. Like some of our butterflies, we get moths which migrate to this country each year form the continent. One which is familiar to many people is the Silver Y, and we saw one of these. Another is the Diamond-back Moth, a small micro moth that appears in its thousands in the UK each year. One of these has made it to the Lawley.

Diamond-back Moth

There were quite a few other new micro moths. This Coleophora albicosta was one of them. There are quite a few similar species, but as the scientific name suggests, this species has a white streak along the costa (forewing edge).

Coleophora albicosta

So another successful survey was complete. We still have a few gardens to visit before we begin on our second sessions for some sites.

Friday, 21 June 2013


A warm and muggy day on Tuesday turned into a warm a muggy night. It was the best night of the year so far to run the mothtrap, and both Graham and I duly switched ours on. In the morning I could tell it was a good night. There were Brimstones and Brown Silver-lines around the trap and a Poplar Hawkmoth resting on a nearby log.

On opening the trap there was a feast for the eyes. I recorded a staggering 12 new species for the garden, with several more making their first appearance this year. The contents of the trap took on an 'animal' theme, starting with this female Fox Moth.

Fox Moth

Next to come were the elephants, with the next egg tray holding both an Elephant Hawk-moth and a Small Elephant Hawkmoth. In total I had three Small Elephant Hawkmoths to the one Elephant Hawkmoth. These moths get their name from the larval stage of the Elephant Hawkmoth. The caterpillar of this species bears an uncanny resemblance to an elephants trunk. The Elephant is shown below, with the Small Elephant in the background.

Elephant Hawkmoth

On the same egg tray we went from blundering elephants, to a kitten. This Alder Kitten to be precise, and in my opinion just shading it in terms of the moth of the morning. As the name suggests the larvae feed on alder, but they will also feed on birch. I have several of both these trees around me so hopefully this will not be the last time this impressive moth makes an appearance.

Alder Kitten

Moths then took on an ornithological theme. Following the Common Swifts that both Graham and I have caught in recent weeks, I had three Map-winged Swifts in the trap. This moth is named due to the white markings on the wing resembling a map. The larvae of this species live underground and feed on the roots of bracken, and with the bracken dominated slopes around my home I am expecting to record this species quite frequently from now on.

Map-winged Swift

There were also several micro moths in the trap, and I am still trying to identify all of them. One which was quite straightforward to name was this Udea olivalis.

Udea olivalis

Finally, as a reminder to check around the trap as well as in it, I found this May Highflyer on one of my windows after I had packed away the trap. As with the Alder Kitten, this moth also feeds on alder in the larval stage.

May Highflyer

When the final totals were compiled, there were 62 moths of 33 species in and around the trap. My highest totals since last August, and hopefully a precursor for more moths to come.

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Birds

Moth trapping took on an ornithological theme on Saturday night, with two of the new moths having our feathered friends to thank for their names. The definite highlight was this Bird's Wing. A stunning moth that gets it's name from the markings on the forewing looking like a birds wing.

Bird's Wing

The second bird-related moth was this Common Swift. A moth that Graham has caught before, but had eluded me up until now.

Common Swift

Other new moths for the garden came in the form of two pugs and a micro. There was a Grey Pug and a few Slender Pugs in the trap, along with a micro Scoparia ambigualis.

Scoparia ambigualis

Grey Pug

I also recorded a Purple Bar, a species I recorded last summer, along with a few Broom Moth, Treble Lines and Brown Rustic. Commonest moth is still Brown Silver-lines, with 15 in the trap.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Beaten at the post ...

But hopefully not a second class delivery.  It has been a busy time since my last post and there has been far too much going on for it all to appear here in pictures.

There have been moths everywhere, but not always when wanted. For example there was a Common Marbled Carpet on the CS Library wall last Friday and in the wetland field down Ludlow Road I caught a Common White Wave and a Crambus lathionellus.  Then on a trip to Rushbury later that day I caught several micros, including Pammene rhediella.

Pammene rhediella

Then on Saturday the trap went to Longhills Road as part of the SACWG survey and in spite of the reasonable weather, the catch of just 6 moths was disappointing. Fortunately, the ambience was "tops".
Undeterred, on Sunday night the trap travelled about 100 yards down and across Ludlow road, backing on to the woods of the Mynd and this was the most productive night of the year with 24 species, several of them being new for us. Not enough space to post all the pictures, so just a selection here, including a Sandy carpet and a Silver-ground Carpet. A couple of nice, if common micros were Acleris literana and Notocelia cynosbatella (it has changed its genus name!)

Sandy Carpet

Silver-ground Carpet

Follow that, I thought and so I did, with the trap on here last night. And, yes, it was a bumper night here too, with several more new moths for us. here is a small selection.

Figure of eighty


Poplar Grey

Nemophora degeerella

And lots more, including an Elephant Hawkmoth!

Clean sweep

As so often with moths, the first time you record a particular species each year you can record several of them, even though they were not around just a few day before.

In this instance, Broom Moths have been emerging in Batch Valley, with four in the trap. This is actually quite a pretty noctuid moth, with subtle shades of orange, pink and brown. The key identification feature is the distinctive pale line near the wing tips, running into a blotch were the wings meet over the body. Despite what the picture suggests, this moth had two healthy antennae. The left one was folded along the body when the picture was taken.

Broom Moth

There was competition for the prettiest moth of the night though. Another contender was this Buff Ermine was found resting just outside the trap. It is certainly an attractive moth, and also a common species probably found in most gardens. The line of dark markings running across the wing is the distinctive feature, as some White Ermines can be of a similar colour but have many more darks spots spread across the wings.

Buff Ermine

There was another new species for my garden, a Heart & Dart. The reason for the name is obvious when you look. The long dark mark on each wing is the 'Dart', and the heart-shaped kidney is the 'Heart'.

Heart & Dart

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Where do cinnas drink?

No, that is not a spelling mistake and it it not a reference to our evening in the Bucks Head! Answer is of course in a Cinnabar, and I was pleased to get one in my trap last night. There has been a lot of activity and my trap on Sunday night and last night has produced some quite pretty and very different moths, as hopefully you will see from the photos below. It is interesting that with only a couple of miles between our traps and the fact that we are in similar environments, we are often getting a different selection of moths, though there are those in common too. So, I will not mention the two Small Elephant Hawk-moths I got last night.

Sunday night produced the following new moths for me here: White-pinion Spotted, Scorched Wing and Small Phoenix (all geometrids).

White-pinion Spotted

Scorched Wing
Small Phoenix


There were a couple of micros on the front lawn and they were Diamond-back Moths and they are "important" because they are immigrants, sometimes arriving in the UK in large numbers and can breed here - and from reports from Yorkshire, this seems to be a bumper year. (Not a good photo I'm afraid).

Diamond-back Moth
This morning, as on Monday morning, the most numerous "thing" in the trap was Cockchafer beetles! However, there were some more pleasant surprises.

First was a different Nematopogon (longhorn) moth N. schwartziella (cf. my previous post) this one being a bit smaller and slightly darker.

Nematopogon schwartziella

Star of the show for me was the above mentioned Cinnabar. You will have seen its caterpillars, with black and yellow bands, feeding on ragwort. There was also a Buff Ermine as well as a White Ermine.

Buff Ermine

There was an Orange Footman too, not really a surprise, but 10 years ago it would have been "a suspected immigrant", but now seems to live throughout the UK.

Orange Footman

Then there was a Pug - a species of moth which are considered very difficult to identify easily. Fortunately there are a few which are easy, and this included the Foxglove Pug - you may look back and find a photo of its caterpillar.
Foxglove Pug

Swallow Prominent, Muslin Moth, White Ermine and Spectacle and last but not least was a Common Swift, reminding me that I have lived here more than 9 months now and that most of the moths in the future may be repeats - though there are still several hundreds to find!

Swallow Prominent

Muslin Moth


Common Swift