Saturday, 19 January 2019

Oak Beauty

The relatively mild night of Tuesday the 15th saw an early Oak Beauty, Small Quaker and a Dotted Border to my Worcs garden Robinson, all new for the year here.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Warndon Wood Actinic

Here we go again! Despite a stiff breeze on the outside,  the central diagonal path through the wood seemed quite sheltered at 17:30 on a cloudy but mild Saturday night the 12th January at 9 degrees C. Immediately after setting the trap, a male Winter Moth fluttered straight onto the perpex. A torchlit search of the once again heavily flailed perimeter hedge, did produce 3 Early Moths clinging onto outer twigs at head height. The return at 23:15 in much windier conditions for the trap inspection. 2 Pale Brindled Beauty, 2 Chestnuts, 17 Spring Usher, 7 Winter Moth, 7 Mottled Umber and the only micro - a fresh Tortricodes alternella. A predictable score but nice variety for the second week of the year. 
Early Moth
Spring Usher
Tortricodes alternella

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Micro identification.

This micro came to my garden Robinson at Norchard, Worcs last night. It is about 7mm long. I am looking for an identification if possible. Thanks in advance.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Bucculatrix thoracella, Luffia ferchaultella and Pammene regiana

In the last week or so I have been looking for overwintering larval cocoons of Bucculatrix thoracella on the trunks of lime trees, intending to rear some adults to photograph.

Vacated or predated cocoon of Bucculatrix thoracella.

So far the couple of dozen cocoons that I have found have all been vacated or predated, but as is often the case, while looking for one species another will be found.

Luffia ferchaultella larval case.

While checking some roadside Limes in Hagley I quickly found 3 small larval cases of Luffia ferchaultella, actively feeding on the lichen. This appears to be the earliest larval record for VC37 and a dot in an otherwise blank square.

A group of Limes in a Halesowen park drew a blank for B. thoracella but while there I noticed an avenue of mature Sycamore trees with lots of loose, flaky bark at their base, the perfect habitat for overwintering larvae of Pammene regiana. The fully fed larvae of this species descend from the canopy in early autumn and overwinter in cocoons behind loose bark, before pupating in the spring.

Loose, flaky bark at base of Sycamore.

Lifting off a few pieces of bark I soon found several cocoons, both vacated, and occupied.

Vacated cocoons of Pammene regiana with exuviae.

Pammene regiana cocoon with larva revealed.

Pammene regiana larva.
Patrick Clement

Thursday, 3 January 2019

The West Midlands On-line moth Atlas

Hello again,
I spoke about this under my General Information blog the other day, but I thought I'd give you a sample of what is in the pipeline so you can see what is what. Still a few tweaks to do. Hope it meets with approval. These are "screenshots" and in reality both images fit on the same computer screen. Don't worry if your record is missing, these are not complete datasets, just to show you what it will look like. Peter Hall


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Herefordshire Recorders Meeting

Hi Everyone
A Happy New Year to you all. Following on from our successful meeting last year I've arranged another Hereford Moth Recorders meeting/social evening on Tuesday 5th February 2019 at The Swan Inn, 171 Aylestone Hill, Hereford HR1 1JJ. As Last Year if you'd like to eat, meet around 6:30pm and after we shall move to the area at the back of the pub for a more general chat towards 8:00pm and join the non diners. Please let me know if you plan to eat by 4th Feb and I can let the landlord know approximate numbers. Please pass this invite with my apologies to any Moth Recorders who I haven't included, I know there are some out there.
Ian Duncan co author of the Butterflies of the West Midlands and Nature of the Malvern Hills is hoping to come and chat about his forthcoming book on The Moths of The West Midlands and tell us of any ways we can help with the publication.
Hopefully we can reflect on the year just gone and discuss any issues you may have, or things you would like to do as a group.
I hope everyone will get their 2018 records into the County Moth Recorders; Peter Hall or Phyl King, if you haven't already. If you participated in GMS get your completed form back to John Walshe asap.
If you have recorded any exciting or rare moths last year(2018) please let me (as well as the Recorders) know so I can try and complete some sort of review of 2018 to include in Martyn Davies's newsletter and The Comma. It's nice for us all to keep in touch with changes to our county list. I know there were at least 2 Clifden Nonpareil and a few other late migrants. Robin Hemming

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

General Information

Happy New Year!

Just wanted to update you on a few things.  The blog has probably been a bit quieter than ideal over the past 12 months, but posts are well read by quite a large audience, both in the West Midlands and further afield. And further afield inlcudes abroad as well.  Over 50 looks today and we haven't posted anything for quite a while. We have quite a large membership, so it would be good to have a few more participants.  It can be anything moth related, from interesting finds, to queries to observations, to nice photos taken.  It is aimed at beginner to advanced levels. Don't be shy! We now have a link on the West Midlands Butterfly conservation website as well.

Talking of West Midlands BC, work on the new moth atlas website is quite advanced now and the next phase is to populate it with records and fix some small bugs.  It will cover the West Midlands area and provide distribution maps of species and you can zoom in and out. Phenology graphs too and some basic stats per moth are added. There will also be direct links to the NBN Gateway, where you can view national distribution maps, and if BC will let us, we'll also include the data from the forthcoming atlas of larger moths too.  It is looking quite good.  Access will be via the West Midlands BC website.

We plan to use verified records sent in to BC as the data source. As I'm busy building the Hereford Micro-moth database at the moment initial maps may not be totally complete, but these maps will be updated regularly, so hold on in there. What I like is that you should be able to pin-point your records on the maps and what is rare in one county may not be in another, so you can see this too.

It is time to send in your records now.  Any moths that you haven't been able to identify, but still have, can get sent to me or various others in Worcestershire too. Myself and Oliver are the verifiers on iRecord, so you can use this route for records if you choose. Otherwise ideally Excel spreadsheets and if you need help on the format, let me know as well.

 Finally, I'd like to change the cover moth photo, 2018 was a micro-moth, so 2019 ideally should feature a macro-moth.  If you have an absolute favourite picture, please mail it in to me.
 Peter Hall