Sunday 27 February 2011

Field Trapping...

I have looked on in envy at the totals of moths caught by Skev and Ben on their expeditions outside of their gardens and today have been eyeing up a site in totally different habitat not too far away.

My friend John has been working on a farm cottage on the moors to the west of Alnwick and the land owner has given permission to 'do as he pleased'. So, along with Johns colleague, Derek, who has a nice generator and a quad bike we are looking good to transport the gear to a place where no man has gone before...well, not for moths anyway.

The site is in a strip of mature birch woodland with a large heather moor on the north side  and a blanket sphagnum bog on the south side...Clearings like this above, look ideal.

This is the view north.

Very old lichen and fungi covered birches...

Above - View south, sphagnum bog with cotton grass in summer.

So, we are hoping to start in May, when the weather up here is milder, and maybe do monthly visits until September. I hope this all comes together, there are sure to be some good records to be had in this habitat...

Saturday 26 February 2011

Another Dotted Border...

My first all nighter as it was mild and the wind was dropping off. Down to 6 degrees at dawn.

0688 Agonopterix heracliana 3
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 1
1934 Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria) 2
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 2
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 1
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 2

11 moths of 6 sp.

I fancy one of the Dotted Borders was the same as yesterday, I saw it fly in. The other was a much more patterned example.

No trap tonight, its clear and cool. I hope this forecast cooler period changes again for next Fridays GMS 2011 debut...

Friday 25 February 2011


Trap on from 6pm - 11pm, temp down to 6 degrees by 11.15pm.

0688 Agonopterix heracliana 4
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 3
1934 Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria) 2 NFY
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 1 different to yesterday's. Seems to be even brighter.
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 2

12 moths of 5 species.

Click on image for a bigger picture.

0688 Agonopterix heracliana
2179 Pine Beauty. Can't have too many pictures of this stunner.

1934 Dotted Border
Another, darker Dotted Border

Thursday 24 February 2011

Two early surprises...

A very mild February night for rural Northumberland last night. The trap was on from 6pm - 11pm and the temp was no lower than 8 degrees. As a result a few moths were caught including some early examples...

0688 Agonopterix heracliana 1
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 1
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 1 NFY only 2 previous county Feb records.
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 1 NFY only 1 county Feb record.
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 1 NFY
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 3

Trap only on from 6 pm - 11pm. Down to 8 degrees.
8 moths of 6 species...

2139 Red Chestnut
2179 Pine Beauty
2190 Hebrew Character

Wednesday 23 February 2011

At last...

...another moth. No trap on though, it came to our porch window last night...

Pic from last year, too dark for this one. March Moth. 
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 1 NFY

I have the trap on now, as its a balmy 10 degrees outside. I counted a dozen moths in the car headlights in the mile before home tonight so lets hope there's some in the garden...

Total for 2011 - 32 moths of 10 sp. ( Last year I only had 5 moths of 3 sp at this time).

Friday 18 February 2011

10th - 18th February...

No trapping at all this week.

The weather has been poor the whole time, either too cold, or blowing a gale. A couple of nights have been down to -2 degrees. I'm sort of giving myself a temperature limit to warrant the trap out, and that is 5 degrees+ at the onset of darkness. Most of this last week it has been only 3 or 4 degrees or cooler. The full moon hasn't helped things either.

Things look to continue in this vein for at least the next 4 or 5 days...

I think moth trappers are a bit like gardeners when it comes to weather forecasts. Its just never quite good enough...

Friday 11 February 2011

Wednesday 9th Feb..

Trap on from 6pm - 11pm.

Pale Brindled Beauty 1
Chestnut 1

2 moths of 2 sp.( But you can see that already!)

Sunday 6 February 2011

Another new species....

Trap on last night from 5.30pm - 11.30pm. Calm overcast down to 5 degrees.

0688 Agonopterix heracliana 2 NFY
1055 Acleris hyemana 1 NEW
1799 Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata) 1
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 5
1932 Spring Usher (Agriopis leucophaearia) 1 my second this year.
1960 Early Moth (Theria primaria) 2
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 4

Total 16 moths of 7 species.

A great catch for Feb here. Last year I only caught one moth all month!

A.hyemana feeds on heather and bilberry so what it is doing in Howick is beyond me. A new species for the garden.

Acleris hyemana

Agonopterix heracliana


Pale brindled Beauty. 2 light, 1 darker.

Winter Moth

Early Moth
Spring Usher

Wednesday 2 February 2011

1st February's Catch.

Trap on last night from 6pm until 11pm. These two moths arrived almost at the same time shortly after I turned it on...

1799  Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata)  1
1926  Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria)  1

Mild tonight at 10 degrees but a bit too windy for the trap. Hopefully it will remain mild after the wind dies down.