WINE RACE 2016 .. MATTc380 .. TRENT 353 .. BEN 347 ...... Garden species:- Macros 357, Micros 365, Total 722

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

27th April 2015 ... Half century

The predicted invasion of Shuttle-shaped Darts was put on hold due to the poor conditions of late, the only decent night was the 25th when there were a good selection in flight but the persistent rain meant the trap covers were in use.
Wet traps or fewer moths is the choice.
The half century was reached on the 25th with a Brimstone Moth or Common Pug depending on the Wine Race committee accepting Oak Eggar in larval form, my case being the acceptance of micro moth leaf mines. Ben ? Matt ?

Oak Eggar larva,
80mm long on a Hawthorn sapling trunk at ground level
Oak Eggar larva, 80mm

Brimstone Moth

Common Pug

Apart from the above, the only other highlight of the week were my Mums 90th birthday party and the first sightings of Orange-tip butterflies in the garden, 2 x males, both on 27th April.
The poor mothing conditions are with us for a few more days according to the weather forecast and so far this year I am 25 species down on 2014.

Friday, 24 April 2015

23rd April 2015 ... The shape of things to come ...

... Shuttle-shaped Dart that is.
I am usually inundated with them in late April and I'll bet they will run into double figures tonight as the wind finally stops chilling us from the N/E and changes to a South-westerly, to give us a warm night at last.
Shuttle-shaped Darts in the trap this morning waiting to be released from the butter carton.
I'll probably need a bigger carton tomorrow morning.

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart
I almost missed this one due to its tiny size and its colour, making it difficult to see in the egg boxes.
When I first started mothing in 2009, I sent one of these to the micro moth recorder for identification, not realising it was indeed a macro moth.
Another year tick ...
2078 Least Black Arches
23rd April
0697 Agonopterix arenella, 1
0998 Epiphyas postvittana, 1
1428 Aphomia sociella, 1
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 2
1728 Garden Carpet, 1
2078 Least Black Arches, 1, year first
2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 5
2187 Common Quaker, 1
2243 Early Grey, 2

Song Thrush at its morning perch on the top my neighbours large conifer enjoying the early morning rays ...

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

21st April 2015 ... Warm days,cold nights ... Red Valerian

3.5 deg C min temp.
Crystal clear nights mean the temperature drops rapidly soon after dark, especially with the wind direction from the North-east.
The North Sea is at its coldest at this time of year and it chills the wind that passes across it as it heads our way, so says the Met Office.
Early evening flyers are trickling into and around the traps but it remains a slow trickle.
Having said that, two more species were added to the garden year list last night.

A brace of Holly Blue butties were spotted in the garden during the day feeding on the freshly opened flowers of Red Valerian.
These Valerians have self seeded, from where I know not, but they are highly recommended for all kinds of insect life.
Last year I had Hummingbird Hawk-moth feeding on them, so I have let them spread and they now grow as perennials.
If you don't have this plant, get down to your local garden centre and buy a couple of clumps, you won't be sorry.
Below: Red Valerian, (Centranthus rubra), just coming into flower

Back to the moths ...
Last nights trap results.
0647 Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 2 (Brown House Moth)
0892 Mompha subbistrigella, 2 (Both in shed, late pm)
Mompha subbistrigella
0998 Epiphyas postvitta, Pair in cop
Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana
1342 Eudonia angustea, 1, year first
Eudonia angustea
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 1
1862 Double-striped Pug, 4
1883 Yellow-barred Brindle, 1, year first
1883 Yellow-barred Brindle
2063 Muslin Moth, 1
2190 Hebrew Character, 2
2243 Early Grey, 1
2425 Nut-tree Tussock, 1

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

20th April 2015 ... Cobs and Tussocks

I was thinking about planting a Kent Cob nut tree yesterday.
They are self fertile but do much better with a suitable cross pollinator.
The secret is to match it with a pollinator that flowers at the same time and there are many varieties that simply do not match a Kent Cob.
The common wild Hazel, Corylus avellana, is an option but I would prefer another type of Cob or Filbert for a better return.
After scanning the internet, ( the Cobweb ? suit yourself ) I found that the experts recommend a Cosford Cob as the ideal pollinator, so if I can find room in the little garden .....
Coincidentally, Nut-tree Tussock made an appearance, ...

2425 Nut-tree Tussock, Colocasia coryli

... two in fact, not actually in the trap but on the adjacent wall.
These are regular in the garden both in Spring and mid Summer to early Autumn.
No doubt they would be in favour of the Kent/Cosford Cob trees.
There was quite a bit of activity in the early part of the evening last night until temperatures slowly dropped to 2.7 deg post midnight.
Shuttle-shaped Dart was overdue and Plutella xylostella, the Diamond-back Moth was also added to the garden year list.
20th April:-
0464 Plutella xylostella, 1, year first
0483 Epermenia chaerophyllella, 1
0647 Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 1
0648 Endrosis sarcitrella, 1
0998 Epiphyas postvittana, 1
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 2
1862 Double-striped Pug, 11
2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart, 1, year first
2187 Common Quaker, 2
2190 Hebrew Character, 2
2243 Early Grey, 2
2425 Nut-tree Tussock, 2, year first

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart
464 Plutella xylostella

Saturday, 18 April 2015

17th April 2015 ... December Moth larvae

My garden is about as popular as a rattlesnake in a lucky dip when it comes to December Moths.
The surrounding trappers get them annually, sometimes in numbers but not here.
I had a brief glimpse of one back in 2009 around the trap in my complete novice days and nothing since, which leads me to doubt my ID at the time.
To boost my chances of getting another, Matt of trappingsofsuccess arrived at The Dells couple of days ago with a pot of newly hatched larvae which I attached to a branch of a young Hawthorn tree growing in the garden.
Two days on I found 6 of them resting on the trunk during this afternoon, some distance away from the release branch.
As they are night feeders I will see if I can locate any of them feeding on the leaves tonight and try to monitor their progress if possible.
December Moth larvae
The larvae are about 8 or 9mm long at present and are vunerable to birds as there are Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits nesting nearby, but maybe they prefer the numerous green larvae inhabiting the garden.
A year first Dark/Grey Dagger was added to the year list on the 16th April which is very early, but little else.
2284x Dark/Grey Dagger agg.

Cold N/E winds will hamper the mothing this week as it gets a good chilling from the cold North Sea, might be ok for bird migration though.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

15th April 2015 ... Latest Moths --

8.1 deg C minimum
This one is probably on everyone's top ten favourite moth list ...
The Herald
The Herald ... Scoliopteryx libatrix
 ... and this one is probably on everyone's least favourite list, "It's all a matter of taste," said the Bull as he kissed the Pig.
Brown House Moth
Brown House Moth ... Hofmannophila pseudospretella
Both of the above were added to the garden year list.
A cool front came through right on dusk last night on a light breeze which had a very fresh feel to it, not ideal mothing conditions,  32 moths of 15 species were recorded compared to 61 of 15 species on the previous night.
The catch:-
0647 Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Brown House Moth 1, year first
0688 Agonopterix heracliana, Common Flat-body, 1
0998 Epiphyas postvittana, Light Brown Apple Moth, 2
1497 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Beautiful Plume, 1
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, Common Plume, 5
1862 Double-striped Pug, 12
1917 Early Thorn, 1
2186 Powdered Quaker, 1
2187 Common Quaker, 7
2188 Clouded Drab, 1
2190 Hebrew Character, 1
2243 Early Grey, 3
2306 Angle Shades, 1
2389 Pale Mottled Willow, 1
2469 Herald, 1, year first

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

14th April 2015 ... Garden Moth traps latest

22 deg at dusk dropping to 9 deg at dawn.
Light breeze, clear with a fresh feel.
Much better night temperatures at last but not for long unfortunately.
An early Bee Moth couldn't match last years record of March 16th, the earliest ever in VC30.
Aphomia sociella

Agonopterix arenella and Endrosis sarcitrella were year first micro's.
Agonopterix arenella
Endrosis sarcitrella

Double-striped Pug numbers have reached plague proportions with 35 potted up and released on the Biggleswade to Kings Cross line.
Another Red Chestnut turned up and a Powdered Quaker made its 2015 debut as did Chestnut.
Powdered Quaker

14th April :-
0483 Epermenia chaerophyllella, (Golden Lance-wing) 1
0648 Endrosis sarcitrella, (White-shouldered House Moth) 1, year first
0697 Agonopterix arenella, (Brindled Flat-body) 1, year first
0998 Epiphyas postvittana, (Light Brown Apple Moth) 3
1428 Aphomia sociella . (Bee Moth), 1, year first
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, (Common Plume) 6
1862 Double-striped Pug, 35
1917 Early Thorn, 1
2063 Muslin Moth, 3
2139 Red Chestnut, 1
2186 Powdered Quaker, 1, year first
2187 Common Quaker, 2
2188 Clouded Drab, 3
2256 Satellite, 1
2258 Chestnut, 1, year first

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

13th April 2015 ... Latest garden Moth

Alucita hexadactyla, the Many-plumed Moth or Twenty-plume Moth.
Garden status: Common
The clear and fresh conditions were not ideal as can be seen by the catch.
The forecast for the next 3 or 4 days looks very good and it is easy to predict a large number of "year first" moths this week.
A new addition to the "critter" list was discovered in the house and not the most welcomed visitor by a long chalk.
Silverfish, Lepisma saccharina

13th April :-
6.2 deg.C min.
Calm, clear, fresh
0688 Agonopterix heracliana, 1
0892 Mompha subbistrigella, 1
0998 Epiphyas postvittana, 1
1288 Alucita hexadactyla, 2, year first
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 4

1862 Double-striped Pug, 15
1917 Early Thorn, 1
2063 Muslin Moth
2187 Common Quaker, 2
2188 Clouded Drab, 1
2190 Hebrew Character, 1
2243 Early Grey, 1

Sunday, 12 April 2015

11th April 2015 ... Buttoned Snout

2.7 deg.C
Calm, clear, cool & fresh

Cooler than recent nights,which was reflected in the lower catch numbers.
Buttoned Snout came out of hibernation a tad earlier than my previous garden records, most of which have been recorded in late May.
2480 Buttoned Snout
11th April
0668 Agonopterix heracliana, 1
0998 Epiphyas postvittana, 1
1862 Double-striped Pug, 6
1917 Early Thorn, 1
2190 Hebrew Character, 2
2243 Early Grey, 3
2480 Buttoned Snout, 1, year first

Friday, 10 April 2015

9th April 2015 ... Ochreous Pug is out of shape

5 deg C minimum, calm and hazy.
Another Ochreous Pug was found amongst the Double-striped Pugs and a Pale Mottled Willow was added to the year list, exactly a month later than 2014.

Last nights catch:-
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 1
1844 Ochreous Pug, 1
1862 Double-striped Pug, 12
2063 Muslin Moth, 1
2182 Small Quaker, 1
2187 Common Quaker, 2
2188 Clouded Drab, 7
2190 Hebrew Character, 3
2243 Early Grey, 4
2389 Pale Mottled Willow, 1, year first

2389 Pale Mottled Willow
Ochreous Pug
Rests with wings drooping or below the horizontal.
That's what all the literature tells you and I found this a bit misleading.
In actual fact, Ochreous Pug when it first alights will sit with wings above the horizontal or level and remain in that position for quite some time.
When it is completely settled it usually droops its wings.

The top pose is unnatural, it was wind assisted by blowing from behind its forewings, although it made no attempt to change its position. The rest are natural positions after short flights around the inside of my garden shed windows.

Settled with wings above the horizontal

This time with wings horizontal

The text book positions

Thursday, 9 April 2015

8th April 2015 ... Garden Moths Latest

5.6 deg C minimum
chilly light breeze, cloud cover.
Coniferous woodland moth species are few and far between in towns but I record a few annually, probably due to the large Scots Pine growing in the garden a couple of doors down.
This really is the "Lonesome Pine", standing tall in the middle of two rows of houses.
Bordered White and Pine Beauty are two examples of pine feeding moths that come to the traps on occasions, Ochreous Pug is another, . . .
1844, Ochreous Pug
  ... not in its normal resting pose, having just been tapped down to the lid of the pot for a photo.
The rest of the nights mothing was unspectacular ...
0483 Epermenia chaerophyllella, 1
0892 Mompha subbistrigella, 1 (bathroom window)
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 3
1728 Garden Carpet, 1
1844 Ochreous Pug, 1, year first
1862 Double-striped Pug, 11
1917 Early Thorn
2187 Common Quaker, 5
2190 Hebrew Character, 2
2243 Early Grey, 4

Song Thrushes are still hanging on around town with about half a dozen pairs in the vicinity.
This one was in the conifer next door.
As far as bird song goes these guys really are tops ...

Song Thrush

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

7th April 2015 ... Double-striped Pug invasion

7th April 2015
Warm, cloudy, calm.
4.6 deg C minimum.
A much better night than the previous which saw a morning frost.
Temperatures stayed above double figures until well after midnight when the sky cleared.
The warm sunny day certainly prompted a big hatch of Double-striped Pugs, but no Brindled Pug amongst them.
32 were potted up for release this morning, but the true figure was probably 50 or more.
Double-striped Pug
The same Double-striped Pug two hours later.....

The catch:-
0483 Epermenia chaerophyllella, 1, year first
0649 Esperia sulphurella, 2, year first
0998 Epiphyas postvittana, 2
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 9
1728 Garden Carpet, 1, year first
1862 Double-striped Pug, 32
1917 Early Thorn, 1, year first
2139 Red Chestnut, 1, year first
2182 Small Quaker, 1
2187 Common Quaker, 5
2188 Clouded Drab, 5
2190 Hebrew Character, 3
2243 Early Grey, 5

Epermenia chaerophyllella
Esperia sulphurella
Garden Carpet

Red Chestnut
Early Thorn
Early Thorn

Monday, 6 April 2015

March ... In like a lamb, out like a lion. ... Mar 28 - Apr 5

Gale force winds at the tail end of March certainly defied the old proverb, even so I decided to run the garden traps in the vain hope of getting a stray March Moth or Oak Beauty.
These two common early Spring moths are rarely encountered at The Dells and it looks like both species have eluded the 2015 year list.
Brindled Pug is an immediate target right now as I missed it last year for the first time ever, although I spent 10 days in hospital during the height of the flight.
The mothing has been dire of late but will pick up big time from now.
 Species list is 22 down on last year but 11 better than 2013.

March 28 - April 5

28th March
Warm (min. temp. 8.2 deg)
Windy, gusts to 40 mph.
0998 Epiphyas postvittana, 1
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 1
2187 Common Quaker, 1
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker, 1
2190 Hebrew Character, 1
2243 Early Grey, 2
2189 .. Twin-spotted Quaker

29th March
Cooler, 4.2 deg C min. temp.
Windy, 35mph gusts
light rain clearing
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 2
2187 Common Quaker, 2
2188 Clouded Drab, 3
2190 Hebrew Character, 1
2243 Early Grey, 2
Larva on garden brick wall, grazing on lichen.
Around half an inch long.(width of a brick seam)
Marbled Beauty, final instar before pupation.

30th March
6.9 deg C min. temp.
Very windy, 70mph gusts.
One trap, sheltered side of house.
The strong gusts were enough to re-arrange my garden furniture, despite this, there were two "adrenalin rush" moths in the trap the following morning ...
2188 Clouded Drab, 1
2243 Early Grey, 1

31st March
2.8 deg C min. temp.
Cold and windy, 30mph gusts
2190 Hebrew Character, 1

Year first Peacock butterfly in garden amongst the Dog Violets, much later than last year (9th March) ...

... however, Brimstone and Tortoiseshell were only 5 days later than 2014

1st April
4.6 deg C, prolonged light rain with a strong gusting breeze.
Traps under rain covers.
0663 Diurnea fagella, 1
2182 Small Quaker, 1
2188 Clouded Drab, 2
2190 Hebrew Character, 3
2306 Angle Shades, 1, year first
Angle Shades

Small Quaker

Year first Bee Fly, warming up on the garden wall, much later than 2014, on the 8th March.
Bee-fly, Bombylius major
2nd April
6.4 deg C min.temp.
Persistent light rain after midnight.
A year first Muslin Moth (male, females are white) arrived on exactly the same day as last year
Muslin Moth

0663 Diurnea fagella, 1
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 1
1862 Double-striped Pug, 2
2063 Muslin Moth, 1, year first.
2187 Common Quaker, 4
2190 Hebrew Character, 3
2243 Early Grey, 3

This tiny Pea Weevil was on the garden shed window.
About 5mm in length ...
Pea Weevil, Sitona lineatus
3rd April
6.8 deg C min. temp. Calm but light rain. Trap covers on.
0663 Diurnea fagella, 1, white, the previous 2 were dark
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 1
2187 Common Quaker, 1
2188 Clouded Drab, 3
2243 Early Grey, 2

4th April
6.1 deg. C min. temp. Calm, overcast
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 3
2187 Common Quaker, 3
2188 Clouded Drab, 2
2190 Hebrew Character, 5
2243 Early Grey, 6

5th April
2.4 deg C min. temp. Calm, sharp drop in temp when skies cleared, with a near full waning moon.
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 2
2187 Common Quaker 2
2190 Hebrew Character 4
2243 Early Grey 3

2015 ... 24 species to date
2014 ... 46 species to date
2013 ... 13 species to date