Monday, 24 April 2017

Grove Farm Revisited

Stigmella crataegella
Sam and I visited Grove Farm last Sunday 23rd April (The Christmas Tree plantation of Billy Dykes' post from last June). Not many moths but we managed to net 3 Epinotia subsequana and 1 Cydia strobilella, also 1 Phyllonorycter harisella, 1 Stigmella crataegella a Small Yellow Underwing and single Nettle-tap.

Epinotia subsequana

Epinotia subsequana

Cydia strobilella
Patrick Clement

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Garden mothing in Bewdley

April has seen quality but not quantity-last week had our second record of Broom Tip and last night our second record of an unusually early Barred Hook Tip. Few micros but did manage a Incurvaria Pectinea flying around the garden in the sunshine and quickly transported into a pot for closer inspection-a female.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Halesowen 20th April

Cochylis atricapitana
The garden trap went out last night for the first time in 10 days and although there were comparatively few moths I was rewarded with a pristine Cochylis atricapitana to photograph.

Oak-tree Pugs had largely replaced Brindled and there was one Golden-rod Pug, NFY. A couple of very tired looking overwintering species in the form of Acleris schalleriana and Acleris hastiana were still hanging on.
Oak-tree Pug
                                        Patrick Clement

P.S. Just dissected a very battered Noctuid from last night which is White-marked, a first for the garden!
Golden-rod Pug

Monday, 17 April 2017

Emperors Update!

Well, it wasn't so long after posting the previous entry, that the first wild male arrived. They are fast fliers and look very much like a butterfly in the air, but with quite an erratic flight pattern around the females. This one flew as far as 40 yards away in all directions before heading back again. It is rare to get Emperor coming to light traps so by far the best method is using lures. There is quite a good pheromone lure available now, but I prefer the traditional method of rearing the moth through its life cycle, using lured males to keep the gene pool healthy. The females are reluctant to lay eggs until they have mated, so they will hang upside down for days patiently. Once paired, egg laying happens soon after.

The caterpillars are also fun to rear through and quite easy. Just raise them in dry conditions, they are prone to fungal attack if in damp conditions. They start off black, then go orange and black and then green and black, forming a hard cocoon in which they pupate. Their preferred food is heather, but readily eat bramble in the wild. I've also used hawthorn and blackthorn and this year I will use Damson (less prickly). I keep the pupae in the garage over winter so they hatch at the right time. Sometimes the pupae over winter twice or even thrice before hatching. Males soon get active, so each morning and afternoon I remove the males from the cage to keep separate, so females are virgins and will emit pheromones for catching wild males. Here's two short videos of this afternoons action, which happened slightly early at 1.45pm. 2 short video clips, the first the male arriving, the second, the pairing up. If anyone is keen to try this for themselves, please let me know as I usually have plenty of spare caterpillars. then
Peter Hall

Bringsty April 16th

My captive bred Emperors have started hatching, so I have been quickly separating the females from the males and hanging the females up in a netted cage in the garden. There are currently 16 hanging up sending out pheromones to lure in males. I managed 5 males this way last year, but this year they are about 2 weeks earlier hatching, so I'll update you if I get some success again. The sun needs to come out. The window of attraction seems to be quite narrow between 2 and 4pm usually.

Female Emperor doing its stuff

Then last night despite the chill, I ran a moth trap in the garden , otherwise most of April will be gone without much activity. 16 macros and one micro with the first appearances of many, including Pale Tussock, Swallow Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Pebble Prominent and Poplar-hawk. Commonest was Clouded Drab at 11, then Brinded Beauty and Hebrew Character with 9 each. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Brindled Beauty

Bringsty Common: Poplar-hawk

Bringsty Common: Twin-spotted Quaker

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Elachistas etc.

A morning spent poking about Windmill Hill WWT reserve and Broadway wood with visiting 'early stage specialist' Ben Smart proved to be quite productive. Having found our two main targets on the roadside bank at Windmill Hill,  Stephensia brunnichella and Elachista gleichenella on Wild Basil and Glaucous Sedge respectively, we wondered up onto the reserve proper and found cases Coleophora anatipennella feeding on the Blackthorn and C. glaucicolella on Rose. Ben also found me Helcystogramma rufescens which I was very happy about because I have never found or photographed this exotic looking larva before.
Moving on to Broadway wood we found mines of Elachista humilis and adscitella before checking the Wild Raspberry for Lampronia corticella. I had been to the site 10 days or so ago and found a few withered shoots like last year but now they seem to be less visible and we found only one occupied shoot.
The progress of plants and moth larvae appear to be a couple of weeks ahead compared to last year.
Coleophora anatipennella
Helcystogramma rufescens 
Ophiocordyceps gracilis
A few days earlier I happened to be walking, again on Windmill Hill, when I spotted a small toadstool in the still short turf by the side of the path. On closer inspection it looked very like a species that I had seen in an email from Rosemary Winnall the previous day. The species is Ophiocordyceps gracilis which is unusual in its habits and may be of interest. This fungus attacks the larvae of Swift moths, eventually overwhelming them before producing a fruiting body directly from the mummified remains of the caterpillar. Since they are small, spring fruiting and short lived they are seldom spotted.

Larval corpse and fungal fruiting body

Oliver Wadsworth.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Grapholita jungiella

Conditions haven't been ideal over the past week or so here in Dodford with overnight temperatures struggling to start in double figures and quickly dropping as the nights have been mainly clear. The bright moon and fresh winds from the north also haven't helped.

I have been putting 4 traps around the garden on the nights I have trapped and numbers have been low but most nights have usually produced a few species new for the year and most things appear to be quite early.

Not many micros yet but last night did manage to trap Grapholita jungiella which is new to me. Attracted to a 3w UV LED.

Grapholita jungiella

Also trapped this rather nondescript looking micro which did not want to be photographed and it is a poor photo but does anyone have a suggestion as to ID.
The best I can come up with is Elachista canapennella? It was about 5mm long.

Elachista canapennella ?

Pete Smith

Monday, 10 April 2017

Every Cloud...

Ran two traps in the garden last night, mostly because after two warm days lots should have hatched out (including my first captive Emperor). The promised cloud cover evaporated and the breeze was stronger than forecast as well. The moon was exceptionally bright. And of course it got chilly quickly. All rather disappointing. 14 species in the end and the first Silver Cloud of the season for me. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Silver Cloud

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Caloptilia cuculipennella

Caloptilia cuculipennella
          I went to the first Kinver Edge trapping session of 2017 last night but with temperatures around 7°C it was not brilliant and my 3 traps recorded just 18 species. So it was just as well I potted this Caloptilia cuculipennella from my drive, just as I was going out, my third record here at Halesowen.

Patrick Clement

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Common Clothes moth

Following my posting of finding one Common Clothes moth in my house in Worcestershire last spring, this picture was taken in November from a trap placed in my lounge. We subsequently found a bare patch in the carpet. This was under the sofa,- so no real harm done.

Any Clothes with holes in out there?

This was on the BBC News app this morning:

Peter Hall

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Monkwood 4th April

I spent an hour or two at Monkwood in a fruitless search for Paracrania chrysolepidella but netted just 2 Heliozela sericiella and 2 Incurvaria pectinea along with several subpurpurella.  
Patrick Clement

Heliozela sericiella

Incurvaria pectinea

Early records

After arriving back in the U.K at the weekend, I have run a moth trap twice and been surprised by some very early records.  5 Brindled Beauty's, 3 Lunar Marbled Browns, Oak Tree Pugs, a Frosted Green and a male Muslin Moth on the 3rd April!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Helcystogramma rufescens larva

Helcystogramma rufescens larva
Still on the small side for easy handling and photography but these striking larvae where plentiful on a short walk yesterday.  

Patrick Clement

Monkwood 30th March

Eriocrania cicatricella
With a promising weather forecast I joined Steve and Oliver at Monkwood hoping to catch up with the only Eriocraniidae species I have yet to see, Paracrania chrysolepidella and although I failed to see my target it was an enjoyable night with several firsts for the year. The persistent spots of rain were a minor irritation and temperatures remained in double figures.
I recorded 31 species, of which 12 were micros, with highlights for me being Perittia obscurepunctella and Dotted Chestnut while 4 Eriocraniidae species were recorded including E. cicatricella from one of Steve's traps.      Patrick Clement
Dotted Chestnut
Perittia obscurepunctella

Friday, 31 March 2017

Garden mothing

Ran garden trap last night and quite a few early arrivals included Waved Umber, Water Carpet, Streamer and Purple Thorn. Best micro was ocellana. 14 species wasn't a bad haul.

Bringsty Common March 30th

Unable to go farther afield, I ran one trap in the garden on an unusually mild night, although it got a little breezy later into the night with an odd shower thrown in. Minimum temperature was 11.1 around 2am. 20 species recorded, of which 4 were micro-moths. Most surprising was a Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella. Phyl, is this the earliest record for Herefordshire?

The trap contained the usual crew. Brindled Beauty numbers are on the up. My first Lunar Marbled Brown of the year. Early and Purple Thorn and then singletons of Alucita hexadactyla, Acleris hastiana and Diurnea fagella. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Nomophila noctuella

Monday, 20 March 2017

Monkwood Leaf Mines I

Last mid-October Oliver Wadsworth kindly accompanied me around Monkwood NR looking for leaf mines on a variety of trees and shrubs. Alder and Sallow leaves (and other species) were then stored on slightly damp kitchen roll in see-through containers outside in a cold but dry rabbit hutch in the garden.

The various containers were all brought into the garage for a week in early February and the majority then moved again into a warm office mid-month. Two superb but visually quite different male Phyllonorycter rajellas (one below) emerged on 21st February.
Next day a Phyllonorycter hilarella was next to come out of Sallow. (see below)
A Phyllonorycter dubitella followed from Sallow on 25th February (see below).
 Also on the 26th a typically dark male Phyllonorycter stettinensis emerged from Alder followed by an orange form female on the 27th. (both below)

Finally two superb Phyllonorycter klemannellas both with deep orange 'crests' came out of the alder on 1st and 2nd of March. (one below)
Photographs of most adult moths by Patrick Clement. The process is still on going with 3 more species emerging by mid-March part II to follow

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Halesowen, 18th March

 Two from the garden trap last night. The first Diamond-back of 2017, which is about as good as it gets for migrants here - since 2006 anyway!
Also an early White-pinion Spotted.

Patrick Clement
Diamond-back Moth, Plutella xylostella
White-pinion Spotted, Lomographa bimaculata

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Agonopterix ocellana

Agonopterix ocellana
Slightly worse for wear having been around all winter, I think this is only my second record of the species in my garden here at Halesowen. Caught last night in the actinic trap.

Patrick Clement

Bringsty Common March 15th

Freshly back from my long trip to the sub-continent, and enthusiastic after a lovely Spring day, I decided to run one moth trap down the garden. Temperatures dropped quickly and the 17 achieved late afternoon quickly became 10 at dusk and finally dropping to 3.4 a short while before dawn.

I recorded 14 species, with Clouded Drab topping the frequency list at 32, followed by Common Quaker at 18 and Hebrew Character with 16. Small Quaker (8), Early Grey (5), Oak Beauty (5), Red Chestnut (4), White-marked (3), Twin-spotted Quaker (2) and then individuals of Shoulder Stripe, March, Grey Shoulder-knot, Pale Pinion and Brindled Pug. If my maths is correct 98 moths in total. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Egg boxes quite "busy"

Bringsty Common: Red Chestnut

Bringsty Common: Shoulder Stripe

Bringsty Common: Small Quaker

Monday, 13 March 2017

Pine Beauty

Pine Beauty
Returning home from Chaddesley Wood, I checked the garden trap and was pleased to find a Pine Beauty on the rain guard. Just my second record for the garden, presumably attracted by my neighbour's Scots Pine.

Patrick Clement

Chaddesley Woods NR

A first outing of the year on the 10th March to Chaddesley for Patrick Clement, Stuart and myself under clouding skies, calm and 12.5 degrees C at dusk. 22 species were recorded by 22:30 including highlights of The V-Pug, 6 Shoulder Stripe and 7 Red Chestnut.
The V-Pug by Patrick Clement

Twin-spotted Quaker, several Engrailed and Yellow Horned, 2 Ypsolopha ustella and 6 Semioscopis avellanella. Numbers of Noctuids remained low with only a single Satellite. Other notables were Small Brindled Beauty, 2 Oak Nycteolines, 2 Brindled Pugs and a large gathering of March Moth around the far trap.

Semioscopis avellanella by Steve Whitehouse
Shoulder Stripe by Steve Whitehouse
The Engrailed by Patrick Clement
Red Chestnut by Steve Whitehouse

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Acleris Cristana

Another variation from  Norchard, Worcs from last March. Things starting to pick up here with 5 Oak Beauty's this morning, and the first Clouded Drab of the season.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Acleris cristanas

Despite not seeing any Acleris in traps at Hawkbatch on Sunday evening there were two here at Berkeley Pendesham the following morning, both variations of cristana.