Friday, 30 June 2017

An Anouncement - Hereford Recording

It is with some sadness that it has been decided that Mike Harper will no longer continue in the role of Hereford County Moth Recorder, due to long term ill health.  Sheila would really appreciate it if no-one made contact with Mike regarding this please.

From immediate effect Phyl King becomes Hereford Macro-moth County Recorder and I become the Micro-moth Recorder.  However, I will also have a copy of the Mapmate Macro-moth database and will be more than happy to receive macro-moth records from you all and answer queries and produce data upon request.  Of course Phyl will too. The county database is for everyone to have information from and I will be glad to help in this respect.

The Micro-moth database needs re-building, with a mass of information needing entering to bring it up to date, a lot of it Mike Harper's records.  This will take some time to do, but I plan to start as soon as possible with the aim to have available all information on Hereford micro-moths, both new and historical.

If you click on the link on the right hand side for the list of County Moth Recorders, you will find details of us both in there and this is a request for all people with moth records, however old, to submit them to me (or Phyl) soonest please.  If they are in notebook form, I am happy to input these for you.  One such recorder last year was delighted when I put in 30,000 of his moth records over the winter months.  I am happy to do this for anyone with Hereford records (notebooks returned after of course).

Some of you I know, and some I don't.  So please can I apologise now if I query a record.  For the micro-moths I shall be using the Butterfly Conservation guide, plus my own experience in micro-moths.  For Macro-moths it will be those that need dissection or are unusual in their rarity or timing.

Peter Hall

Thursday, 29 June 2017


Three nights of trapping just South of Barcelona did not produce any Vestals, but I had one at home this morning in Worcestershire. This Striped Hawk-moth was my Spanish highlight.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Palpita vitrealis & aberrant Swallow-tailed

Alan Prior at Hall Green has also had a good migrant in the last couple of nights, Palpita vitrealis (photo may follow).
He also trapped an interesting form of Swallow-tailed Moth which according to Warwicshire CMR David Brown is a recognised form but very scarce. Patrick Clement

Aberrant Swallow-tailed Moth
Palpita vitrealis

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Another Vestal

Upon returning from Patrick's Hawkbatch venture I just had time to go through the garden trap. The big surprise was a Vestal on the perspex. Are these breeding individuals? Seems rather like the Bordered Straw Summer records of 2015. Seems most unlikely to be a migrant.
Just to note that this June 2017 has been the second best for moths in 11 years recording, only bettered by 2011.

Hawkbatch, Wyre Forest, 26th June.

              With the weather forecasted to go downhill I decided to make use of possibly the last good night for a while and target the Norway Spruce at Hawkbatch for Argyresthia glabratella and Epinotia nanana. I ran 3 traps, using my custom built wheelbarrow to transport traps, cables and generator to a suitable location and was joined by Ian Machin and Steve Whitehouse.
              Sadly we failed to trap either of our targets or indeed some of the Wyre specialities such as Orange Moth, Great Oak Beauty, Oecophora bractella or Dasycera oliviella so the general feeling was that we had a below par performance despite recording in the region of 140 species!
             I photographed just the two specimens below from the nights catch.   Patrick Clement

Amblyptilia punctidactyla

Piniphila bifasciana

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Great Farley Wood, 21st June

Pammene regiana
           Great Farley Wood in North Worcestershire had just a handful of very old moth records on the Mapmate database so my visit on the 21st June, the last night of the heatwave, seemed more valuable than usual because even common moths would be new for the site. As it turned out it wasn't just common moths I recorded, Cydia illutana is a very scarce species in Worcestershire but I recorded 8 of them on a ride bordering mixed conifers and broadleaved trees.
           Argyresthia laevigatella, Cedestis gysseleniella and Narycia duplicella (adult) were all new moths for me and in the perfect conditions my 4 traps were humming. I'm still working on some of the tricky species but the total will certainly be over 160.        Patrick Clement

Cydia illutana
Argyresthia laevigatella
Cedestis gysseleniella
Narycia duplicella

Cryptoblabes bistriga

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Brockhampton Estate - updated!

 A small brown pyrale-like moth has now been identified that came to one of the traps.  It's a Marsh Oblique-barred.  Such a tiny macro-moth, but nonetheless a county first for Hereford.

After a very successful return to Bernwood Forest in Buckinghamshire a couple of nights ago where Dave Wilton and myself recorded well over 200 species (and completed the double - 100+ macros and 100+micros), I felt suitably recovered and enthused to venture out again. This time I went to Limepits Wood on the Brockhampton Estate.  I chose this part as it was fairly well sheltered from the stiff breeze.  Not the most exciting of evenings, but the number of species slowly increased during my 3 hour trapping session.  72 macro species recorded and 24 micro species, with a few potted up to look at more closely.  Blomer's Rivulet numbers were surprisingly low considering I trapped next to a line of young Wych Elm trees, with just 7 individuals.  Other species of note: Dingy Shell (4), Lilac Beauty (1), Sandy Carpet (13), Dingy Shears (1), Triple-spotted Clay (1), Minor Shoulder-knot (2) and the surprise of the night a Vestal.  Commonest moth of the night was The Flame (34). Peter Hall
Brockhampton Estate: Beautiful Carpet

Brockhampton Estate:Blomer's Rivulet

Brockhampton Estate: Dingy Shell

Brockhampton Estate: Swallow-tailed

Brockhampton Estate: Vestal

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The heat is on...

Had to have a day's rest today to catch up on the recent heatwave moths and pinch several 40 winks-oh and a few dog walks! First up are all the garden goodies in this hot spell: Macro highlights have been Satin Lutestring, Beautiful Snout, Red-necked Footman, Blotched Emerald, up to 8 Scarlet Tigers nightly, more Grass Rivulets, Lilac Beauty, Beautiful Carpet, Leopards and a Wainscot invasion on the 20th-14 Smoky, 4 Common, 2 Shoulder-striped and a garden first Obscure.  Unusual Micros included formosa, oppressana and ljungiana.

At Burlish Top, I have netted trifolli, many sinuella, pterodactyla, brunnichana and Marbled White butterflies. Today in the Wyre, near Tanner's Hill car park, I netted the scarce oliviella.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Bromyard Downs

My third night in a row.  Who needs sleep?  Promising to be another warm still night, I decided I was well overdue a visit to this site.  The weather station hit 33 late afternoon, but it dropped really quickly just before dark and by the time the lights went on it was 21.  The good news was that it stayed warm, dropping only to 18 by the time I had packed up and left after the 3 hour session plus going through time (around 2.30am).  The bad news was that the breeze picked up and this seemed to reduce the micro-moths in particular from flying too much.  I was joined for part of the night by a neighbour - Evan Bowen-Jones of HWT.

As per usual I have some Minors and Pugs to look at more closely plus around 10 species of micro-moth to id also.  To date the species tally stands at 101 species of macro-moth and 29 species of micro-moth, so I anticipate the final list will be about 140 species.  To my surprise the commonest moth was Grass Rivulet with 88 individuals counted.  Single examples of Triple-spotted Clay, Ruddy Carpet , White Satin and an Obscure Wainscot appeared.  Phyl, how many Obscure Wainscot records do we have now for Hereford? Two or three? The only Dagger to turn up proved to be a Dark Dagger upon closer inspection.

Since trapping in Herefordshire (third season now), all of my Burnished Brass have either had no band between the two burnished parts, or at best a narrow band.  Chatting to Colin Plant, these are likely to be the real Burnished Brass.  For the first time last night I had a good candidate for the Cryptic Brass (stenochrysis), it having a thicker band and a very rounded edge to the cross linkage.  It's worth noting each time you catch one in the event they are offically recognised as two species. See:

Lots of water species like Catacylsta lemnata and Elophila nymphaeata, but no Water Veneer at all (Acentria ephemerella).  And with the lack of any dew, a cool breeze, it was a joy to be outside. Peter Hall
Bromyard Downs: White Satin

Bromyard Downs: Scallop Shell
Bromyard Downs: Oak Nycteoline

Bromyard Downs: Grass Rivulet

Bromyard Downs: Obscure Wainscot
Bromyard Downs: Burnished Brass (Cryptic Brass)

Bromyard Downs: Ruddy Carpet

Haugh Wood

With the weather looking extremely promising I returned to Haugh Wood again to trap in the same spot as last week, which is adjacent to a number of large Small-leaved Lime trees.  Patrick Clement joined me for the evening and together we ran 4 Hall-Robinson 125w moth traps.  At switch on time it was around 21 degrees and after the usual 3 hour session and an hour or so packing up, it was still 15 degrees when we left.  To our surprise things started off slowly, despite the perfect conditions, but slowly increased in activity as the night progressed.  I'm unable to give you exact numbers of species, but my 2 traps recorded to date 91 macro-species and 38 micro-species and I reckon I have about another 15 or so still to id later in the year.  That will make -  using my Grammar school education  - around 140+ species.  In all probability, when Patrick's list is merged with mine, we will be looking at around 180+ species.  Not bad at all in the end.  This site usually turns up moths of interest.  This was no exception, with a Double Line a nice find and the 5th county record.  Beautiful Snout also appeared.  Then I had 2 Brown Scallop in the traps - the first records for 17 years.  And a regular, but still stunning Beautiful Carpet. The star of the show this time, was a micro-moth (of course) when we both recorded Salebriopsis albicilla which will be the third and fourth records for this moth in Herefordshire. I recorded it on the other side of the wood last year. Peter Hall
Haugh is a really excellent site and for me it is like holiday mothing, even relatively common species like Pretty Chalk Carpet and Haworth's Pug are species I don't see in north Worcestershire. Unfortunately the journey from Halesown to Haugh is also a bit like going on holiday so it is not a site I visit very often.   Patrick Clement
Haugh Wood: Beautiful Snout

Haugh Wood: Brown Scallop

Haugh Wood: Beautiful Carpet

Haugh Wood: Double Line
Epinotia signatana

Salebriopsis albicilla

Monday, 19 June 2017

Hereford moths

A couple of new ones in my Hereford garden in the last two days, both of which I sort of expected might turn up soon. Metalmpra italica and Small Ranunculus. The other I had down as Delplanqueia.dilutella, (this from Great Doward on the 16th), but I've been reliably informed it's probably D.inscriptella, a new crypto species recently discovered lurking amongst the former. This being the one found inland. Scarlet Tigers the main garden moth of note right now. 18 last night!

D.dilutella/inscriptella - Great Doward 16/6/17

M.italica - Hereford 17/6/17

Small Ranunculus - Hereford 18/7/17

Scarlet Tiger Mansell Gamage

Scarlet Tiger day flying in my garden today.

Scarlet Tiger, Mansell Gamage 19 June 2017
Penny Hurt

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Post Card from North Wales

Just returned from a week at Nant Cottage on the edge of the Gwyrdyr Forest, VC49, an excellent location for running a moth trap in the grounds and just 30 mins from the North Wales coast.
Photography was limited to snapshots, often in-the-pot, so a montage of just a few of the species recorded.
Clouded Magpie, Nemapogon koenigi, Horehound Plume larva (Wheeleria spilodactylus),
Pyrausta ostrinalis, Nant Cottage,  Cloaked Pug, Plain Plume (Hellinsia tephradactyla) TBC.
Brussels Lace, Garden Tiger larva.
Patrick Clement

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Green Peas

Ran 2 lights in the garden last night (Bringsty Common), on what proved to be a busy night for moths (and glow-worms).  I say glow-worms because I had 3 females shining 2 nights ago, with only 1 last night and that attracted 2 males fairly swiftly. So my mv light had no competition. Rather a lot of micros to go through, but the species numbers will top 100 for sure, not too bad for mid-June. The most interesting arrival were 2, not 1, Cream-bordered Green Pea moths. A new one for the garden. One very tatty and one pretty fresh. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Cream-bordered Green Pea

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Bodenham June 14th

Two moths of interest last night, neither in the trap either! One was Metalampra italica and the other another County first for Hereford Stathmopoda pedella.  This is one which sits with its thickened hind legs sticking out. Robin Hemming
Bodenham: Stathmopoda pedella

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Haugh Wood last night

As the wind had finally dropped and it was forecast to be reasonably warm, I decided at the last minute to set off for Haugh Wood.  On cue, the skies cleared at dusk and the temperature, which started at 14 degrees at sunset, slowly dropped, so that by the time I packed up after a 3 hour session, it was just 9 degrees and feeling chilly too.  The cooler temperatures meant fewer micros and the macros came in slowly and steadily and all but drying up by pack up time.  So far I recorded 62 macros, with a couple of Minors and Pugs to be looked at more closely and just 18 micro species to date, although I have a few potted up for id'ing later.

In addition to the usual crew of expected moths, there were a few nice ones.  Blotched Emerald is always good to see (7).  A really black Satin Beauty, a single Barred Red and a Common Lutestring all put in an appearance.  My first Ruddy Carpet of the year turned up and 2 Brussels Lace also.  Undoubtedly the star of the show was a County first in Agrotera nemoralis, a very pretty Pyrale and well away from its known haunts in the country.  Migrant or resident? Peter Hall
Haugh Wood: Agrotera nemoralis

Haugh Wood: Blotched Emerald

Haugh Wood: Satin Beauty

Haugh Wood: Ruddy Carpet

Haugh Wood: Brussels Lace

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Chimney Sweeper

I found a small colony of Chimney Sweeper moths near to my home at Norchard this afternoon. I think they are recent colonists as I have not seen them here before. According to the Worcestershire maps they are the first 10 kilometre square sighting since at least 1990.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Mullein moth

One of my 2 Verbascum thapsus plants now has 2 Mullein moth larvae munching their way through. Last year it was carnage for the plants, but so far fewer larvae seen this time around. Peter Hall

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Last Friday

On Friday evening on the 26th, I trapped in the garden until midnight potting a few micros to do later. I had to drive down to Kent at 4am so I took the micros with me to id at my leisure that afternoon. One of the micros proved to be quite a rare one in Worcs-Cydia conicolana (number 1269). The only confusion species is cosmophorana -not recorded in Worcs, which I'm sure I have eliminated. I have retained the specimen for confirmation-perhaps Oliver or Patrick would be kind enough to study it after I bring it along to a forthcoming mothing event.
Had a few entertaining day flying moth sessions at Sandwich Bay, netting Cream Spot Tiger, Oblique Striped, Dew Moth and Restharrow.

Friday, 2 June 2017


My second Hummingbird Hawk-moth today, this time inside the house. Wings nice and steady with this one!. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Hummingbird Hawk

Where did you get that hat?

Carpatolechia proximella
                                                                                                              I was flummoxed when I examined this Carpatolechia proximella while trapping with Tom Woodhall and Sue Wright at Ashwood Nurseries last Wednesday, I had never seen one with a dark red head. On closer inspection the following day it appears that part of the pupal case has remained stuck to the head like a Dutch cap. The eyes are not covered and so I guess it has had no detrimental effect.

Patrick Clement

Dodford Pammene follow up...

Further to my post of 28th May Patrick Clement collected the 2 Pammene specimens and did the gen det.

They both turned out to be Pammene ignorata , a male and a female and a new moth for VC37 Worcestershire.
Pammene ignorata - female (Image Patrick Clement)

Pammene ignorata - Male (Image Patrick Clement)

Thanks to Patrick for not only doing a great job on the gen det but also getting some great images of the moth (far superior to anything I could have done). You can find the gen pictures on the Moth dissection web site)

Pete Smith

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

I was pleased to see this Hummingbird Hawkmoth on the white Valerian this evening. My first sighting this year, after several local reports. This photo shows the proboscis deep in the flower.

Wigmore Rolls

Walking through the abundance of Wood Whites (140+) and Drab Loopers (20+) today, I netted a Little Thorn. Nice to see.
Wigmore Rolls: Little Thorn
Peter Hall