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Thursday, 2 September 2021

A week in Cornwall

Thanks to the generosity of my Brother-in-Law Kev and his partner Liz who arranged a week 21st - 29th August in a beachside cottage in Gorran Haven, Cornwall (VC2), I seized the opportunity to trap in Liz's nearby garden each night.  The weather was fabulous during the day with mainly wall-to-wall sunshine, the clear skies and large moon affected the catches overnight; the one cloudy night on 26th August gave the best results with 154 moths of  52 species.







The catches were fairly modest but did provide me with three new species and a selection of southern species which I haven't seen since leaving Dorset in 2006.  The new species were Azalea Leaf Miner Caloptilia azaleellaLobesia littoralis and a Jersey Mocha Cyclophora ruficiliaria, while those that I had seen before when living down south were Sharp-angled Peacock, Black Arches and L-album Wainscot.  The last three have just about made it as far as Yorkshire but I have yet to see them here.

15.007 Azalea Leaf Miner, Caloptilia azaleella, 23 Aug 21

49.185 Lobesia littoralis, 23 Aug 21

70.034 Jersey Mocha Cyclophora ruficiliaria, 25 Aug 21






Gorran Haven beach

Fantastic scenery, beautiful weather, great company, very tasty food, some good moths, all in all a great week!

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Another unwelcome addition to the garden list, Langthorpe VC65

On the night of 25 July I ran the Robinson trap on my parking spot adjacent to the house.  One of the first moths seen was on the underside of the trap collar, a Box-tree Moth.  As good as it is to get a new species, this adventive is not a popular addition to the UK list, and perhaps significant that my small garden is dominated by two large Box bushes, about the only plant that thrives there!  A first for VC65.

63.054 Box-tree Moth (Cydalima perspectalis)

In addition there were several moths new for the garden, and a selection of the more colourful ones are included:

49.338 Codling Moth (Cydia pomonella)

62.035 (Acrobasis advenella)

73.084 Marbled Beauty (Bryophila domestica)


Saturday, 31 July 2021

July records at work, Roecliffe, VC64

I have worked at the Alexanders site in Roecliffe VC64 near Boroughbridge since 2013, and regularly recorded moths attracted to the security lights, and more recently operated a 125w MV Robinson trap on waste ground adjacent to a small pond at the rear of the premises.


I operated the trap on six nights in July, on the 1st, 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd and 26th, at slightly different locations when on subsequent nights.  Fairly modest totals each night but managed a total of 807 moths  of 143 species.  Many of these are new for site, and there were a fair number of significant records.  The most numerous were Chrysoteuchia culmella (Garden Grass-veneer), Bird-cherry Ermine and Common Footman.  Working through the list the moths of interest with comments, as follows:

Some of this family are difficult to identify to specific level but this is noticeably dark with a distinct spur shaped white mark on the forewing. 

15.010 Caloptilia stigmatella 

This tiny moth was very mobile and difficult to photograph, three were seen in total. 

28.015 Batia lunaris

Another tiny moth, a damp grassland species, larval plant Canary Reed-grass and one I have seen at Staveley and the Brafferton woodland area.

38.039 Elachista maculicerusella

One of the Mompha species, this quite a distinct one, the larval plant is Willowherb spp, of which the site has many plants.

40.004 Mompha propinquella

This next moth provoked some interest in that I knew which page to look on for the family, the photos were taken in poor early evening light boosted by LEDs giving an orange cast to the image.  Typically after photographing it the moth made a dash for freedom so was just left with the images to try and put a name to it.  It should have been easy but the unusual colour made it less straightforward; initially Cochylis flaviciliana was considered but after input from Charlie and Harry C.roseana was thought to be more likely.  Teasel, the larval foodplant is fairly common close by.  Still a reasonable record and a new species for me.  

49.134 Cochylis roseana

A very distinctive tortrix moth presenting little difficulty in putting a name to it, and only my second.

49.288 Epiblema foenella

A Gold Spangle which is a great looking moth, has an interesting distribution in that with global warming this species is retreating to higher ground at least in Yorkshire, but this shows the odd ones are still hanging on in lowland areas, as this is 16 metres asl.

73.018 Gold Spangle

The next two photos are interesting in that it shows a classic Gold Spot in the first photo, followed by one showing characteristics of Lempke's Gold Spot.  The best feature is the shape of the post median line where it meets the silver dash: in Gold Spot the line is very acutely angled pointing to the forward blotch, resulting in a pointed and long silver dash.  In Lempke's it is more obtuse and pointing towards the rear blotch, resulting in a shorter, broader apical streak.  However, at least in Yorkshire there appear to be some that should be confirmed by gen. det., with Lempke's paler, smaller and commoner on higher ground.  Being very cautious I ran this past Charlie who agrees that this is as good a candidate as could be for Lempke's Gold Spot, hardly an intermediate!

73.022 Gold Spot

73.023 Lempke's Gold Spot

It was good to see a Silky Wainscot here, a moth I have only recorded at the nearby reed-beds at Staveley.

73.100 Silky Wainscot

A moth that did not make it into the trap but was seen attracted to one of the security lights was a Scarce Silver-lines, a moth I have only seen once before in Yorkshire in 2012 when I had three at Pilmoor.

74.007 Scarce Silver-lines


Monday, 12 July 2021

An unwelcome first for VC65

I have claimed Tinea pellionella caught in the house on three previous occasions but not taken photos or kept specimens.  I caught this one during the evening of 29 June and eventually managed to get a photo without letting it escape, and this time dispatched the moth to Charlie Fletcher for gen. det. confirmation.  As usual, Charlie got back to me without delay confirming that it was indeed what I suspected and was a first for VC65.  The fact that the common name for this moth is Case-bearing Clothes Moth does make this a rather unwelcome addition to the house list.

12.027 Tinea pellionella Case-bearing Clothes Moth


Saturday, 10 July 2021

National Moth Night 2021

The theme for 2021 is reed-beds and the nearest suitable habitat to me is at Staveley, just a couple of miles from home.  The big drawback for the site is poor access with long distance to lug the equipment to get to the reedbeds.  In the past I have used a wheelbarrow but since my daughter moved her horses away I no longer have that luxury.  On Thursday night 8th July, I managed to get set up based at the furthest hide by 2215, and I retired to the car to get some sleep.  A start at counting and identifying from 0400 and took 3 hours to count the four traps and pack everything away.

A fairly modest haul with no great numbers, and surprisingly few Wainscot species.  A total of about 360 moths of 85 species, several micros still to be sorted, the most numerous being 47 Clouded Border, 40 Smoky Wainscot, 33 Uncertain/Rustic agg., and 26 July Highflier.  The reedbed specialities were few in number but included singles each of  Crescent, Southern Wainscot, and a new Yorkshire record for me of Obscure Wainscot.

73.119 Crescent Helotropha leucostigma

73.294 Southern Wainscot Mythimna straminea

73.302 Obscure Wainscot Leucania obsoleta

A good feature shown by Southern Wainscot is a browband clearly seen when viewed head-on.

Southern Wainscot, browband feature.

Other species seen included the following, some colourful moths others rather plainer but still of interest. 
49.215 Ancylis achatana

63.020 Anania perlucidalis

63.079 Calamotropha paludella

63.080 Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella

70.013 Small Fan-footed Wave Idaea biselata

70.093 Barred Straw Gandaritis pyraliata

70.278 Common Wave Cabera exanthemata

73.101 Treble Lines Charanyca trigrammica



Sunday, 27 June 2021

Several new for the garden

I have rarely done much trapping in the garden mainly due to it being small, overlooked, and suffers from streetlight pollution.  Therefore on the odd occasion I do give in and set a trap, I often get a NFG, new for garden, but bearing in mind I am starting from a low baseline...

Last night I actually set the two traps IN the garden rather than in the sheltered parking spot, this due to the neighbours adjacent to the back fence have moved away and my daughter was also away.  Not too bad with 55 moths of 24 species, and five species NFG.

49.180 Piniphila bifasciana

49.254 Epinotia bilunana

70.008 Idaea seriata Small Dusty Wave

71.021 Ptilodon capucina Coxcomb Prominent

73.333 Diarsia mendica Ingrailed Clay

The two images below are Piniphila bifasciana which is a Scot Pine feeder and fairly scarce, the nearest Scots Pine are in the carpark of the nearest pub.  I have seen one elsewhere in the County.

Piniphila bifasciana

Piniphila bifasciana

The Small Dusty Wave was another NFG, and my first in VC65.

Small Dusty Wave

Another small moth I trapped was one I had seen before, but not a particularly common moth.  I can't deny I do like micro-moths, even the 'brown' ones, and this is a cracking little moth: it is 35.056 Metzneria lappella.

Metzneria lappella

Metzneria lappella

I was fortunate enough to also catch four hawk-moths of three species, an Eyed, Poplar, and two Elephant Hawk-moths.  Not a bad night in all.

Elephant Hawk-moth

Eyed Hawk-moth