Tuesday 29 March 2011

Cool again.

Cold last night, down to 1 degree. Clear. As a result -

2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 2
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 7
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 5
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 14

28 moths of 4 species.

The forecast is cool for the next few days, getting milder possibly on Friday, though that is still some way off. I'll leave the trap to rest until then, GMS night.

To summarise the garden catch for the first quarter of 2011 -

770 moths of  27 species.
(2010 first quarter - 203 moths of 14 sp)


Monday 28 March 2011

Back to normal...

...after a couple of weeks of good activity.

Last night was cool, down to 4 degrees. Clear at first, clouding over later.

2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 1
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 6
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 3
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 26

37 moths of 5 species. Nothing to photograph.

Tom Tams, County Recorder caught a Tawny Pinion in his Tynemouth garden last night, only the 5th Northumberland record. Nice one.

This is one I caught on Halloween 2009. Tell the difference from darker Pale Pinions by the very dark mohican stripe and the blackish marks leading to the trailing edge. A nice moth to look out for...


Saturday 26 March 2011

Another quaker...

Powdered Quaker
A cooler night, last night, for the Garden Moth Survey, down to 4 degrees. Mainly overcast, light N1.

1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 2
1775 Mottled Grey (Colostygia multistrigaria) 1
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 2
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 1
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) 1
2186 Powdered Quaker (Orthosia gracilis) 1 NFY
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 24
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 18
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 44
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 1

95 moths of 10 species

Not a sniff of a micro, not even an agonopterix...Powdered Quaker is about 2 weeks earlier than my first last year I think, nicest of the Quakers, a welcome find.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Early Tooth-striped? NO!

Its a Mottled Grey, as I first guessed. Pays to stick with first impressions... 

A mild night with a low of 8 degrees. Calm and cloudy, the good March run continues...

0663 Diurnea fagella 1
0688 Agonopterix heracliana 4
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 6
1775 Mottled Grey (Colostygia multistrigaria) 2 NOT Early Tooth striped as recorded. I should have stayed with my first guess...Its still new to me though...
1934 Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria) 2
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 2
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 43
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 16
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker (Orthosia munda) 3
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 63
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 3

146 of 12 species.

At first I thought the Early Tooth-striped were Mottled Greys, as I have never seen either before, but the photos seem to point to ETS. Please let me know if you think I am mistaken. The guides say they are easy to identify but not without experience of both...

[Thanks to Tom, Keith, Ben, Roger et al for their help]

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Down to 5 degrees last night but a good catch was had -

0663 Diurnea fagella 2
0688 Agonopterix heracliana 11
0705 Agonopterix umbellana 1 NFY only my second.
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 7
1934 Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria) 1
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 3
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 7
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) 3
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 42
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 25
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker (Orthosia munda) 2 NFY
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 40
2243 Early Grey (Xylocampa areola) 1
2256 Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) 1
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 2

148 moths of 15 species.

7 Pine Beauty is a good number for a single catch here.

Agonopterix umbellana

Twin spotted Quaker

Small Quaker

Tuesday 22 March 2011


...or trap. I'm well pleased with last nights lot, not least because of this -

Red Sword-Grass

0672 Parsnip Moth (Depressaria heraclei) 1 NFY
0688 Agonopterix heracliana 5
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 6
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 2
1930 Oak Beauty (Biston strataria) 1 (yawn...)
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 9
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 1
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) 1 NFY
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 18
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 12
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 37
2241 Red Sword-grass (Xylena vetusta) 1 NEW
2243 Early Grey (Xylocampa areola) 1
2256 Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) 1

96 moths of 14 sp.

What a great catch. The Red Sword-grass is bigger than expected. I only managed these dull images in a quick attempt after work tonight so I have kept it in cool accomodation for another night.

I dont like keeping moths too long, so I put a small piece of kitchen roll soaked in sugar solution in with the moth. We've just looked and he is getting stuck in!

I'll take a pic of the Small Quaker tomorrow too, but the Parsnip flew into the house and out of sight...

Monday 21 March 2011

Earl Grey

No not THE Earl Grey of Howick, this one...

Early Grey

A 5 degree minimum, with cloud cover last night, gave me the best catch of the year so far.

0688 Agonopterix heracliana 9
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 3
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 1
1930 Oak Beauty (Biston strataria) 2 (Like buses...)
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 8
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 12
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 9
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 28
2243 Early Grey (Xylocampa areola) 2 NFY
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 2

77 moths of 11 species.

Early Grey is new for the year but I was well pleased with another 2 Oak Beauties in there...8 Red Chestnut in one catch is quite good too.

Sunday 20 March 2011

A variety of Drabness.

Another big moon but thin cloud cover down to 3 degrees

Diurnea fagella

0663 Diurnea fagella 1 NFY
0688 Agonopterix heracliana 1
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 6
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 3
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 3
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 25

40 moths of 7 species.

A respectable turn out. The cast above will no doubt be the stalwarts of the garden for the next 3 weeks ...

Above - All Clouded Drabs.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Bootiful...Oak Bootiful.

The fullest of full moons last night, with a white frost, down to 0 degrees. At 11.20pm it was light enough outside to still read the time on my watch, so it was a surprise to catch anything really...

0688 Agonopterix heracliana 1
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 1
1930 Oak Beauty (Biston strataria) 1 NEW
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 1
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 10
2256 Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) 1 NFY

16 moths of 6 sp.

Oak Beauty was one of my most wanted species. Anyone south of the Tyne must be wondering what I'm on about but this one is just the 4th for VC68. What a superb moth...
It was nice to meet up with the Satellite again after the winter. This one has nice white spots, but I get orange ones too...

Reading Trent's blog (We are the Campions), it was strange to see him taking his trap in when the temp dropped to 2 degrees. If I had done that, I would scarcely have put a full night in! The warmest minimum night temp here so far this year has never been above 5 degrees...It looks like that might change over the next few days though with a mild spell forecast on Sunday / Monday.

Oak Beauty

Thursday 17 March 2011

Chokey cokey....

An email from Bioquip today -

Hi Stewart

I've received your electrical unit thanks, rewired and sent back on a 24hr ParcelForce, so it will be with you tomorrow



Hoho, how good is that! Lets hope trusty old Parcel Force get here in time for the Garden Moth Survey. I bet it snows...

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Croaked Choke...

Well, after dabbling for a while and getting no where with the burnt out choke, its time to contact the professionals. In the choke box a live wire was pressing against the earth wire. They had fused together and burnt out.

I emailed Paul at Bioquip at about 10pm, who rang me five minutes later. Great service that. After some advice I have packaged it up and sent it to him where he will look at doing a repair free of charge. It seems that although rare, this must have been like that from its manufacture.

I am hoping a turn around within a week or so...watch this space. Or dont. There wont be any moths for a while...  

Monday 14 March 2011


No moths last night. Too cold for the trap. It was 3 degrees by 4pm and down to -2.5 through the night. This is the top of my car this morning, so I probably made a wise decision by not bothering to trap. I have it on now though, even though it was 2 degrees at 7pm...What a glutton for punishment....

[10pm update. Choke box on trap burnt out! Shite up a height!]

Sunday 13 March 2011

At last, a few moths...

GMS a day late, mainly due to a forecast of snow and gales on Friday that failed to materialise. Finally a night where the temperature only dropped to 4 degrees, it was calm and drizzling.

1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 1
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 2
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 1 NFY
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 2 NFY
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 14
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 1

21 moths of 6 species, including two new species for 2011.

Common Quaker
Two Clouded Drabs, photomerged together to show differences.  

Saturday 12 March 2011

Frustrated of Howick....

I've just trawled Google for moth type blogs and have come out quite frustrated. Everyone is having a mild time of it, with phrases such as '9 degrees after dark' etc. We cant get 9 degrees during the day, let alone after dark. For over a week now we struggle to hit 7 or 8 during the day rapidly falling to 4 or so at dusk. Tonight it was 5 degrees - wow!

Many trappers in the south are having to get two people to carry the trap and need a calculator to work out the totals. Oh for a Quaker (of any kind) or maybe an Early Grey...some have even had Pale Pinion and Red Sword-grass for goodness sake...

Rant rant rant, chunter chunter......


Thursday 10 March 2011

6th -10th March...

I tried the trap on for a couple of hours last night until it became too windy. A single noctuid fluttered around the sheet and vanished into the night, with no chance to id it.

Other than that, each night has been either too cold, down to -1, or too windy. Roll on a reasonably calm and mild night...

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Mystery revisited...

A sharper image of the murdered micro from the other day. Click for a larger picture. Rusty scales and black specks can be seen. It also has striped legs though this is difficult to see in this one.  Its now looking more like ustella? Anyone?

See further down for the original post about this moth.

Above - Comparison with my moth, centre, and two variable ustella. The spotting on the bottom individual is echoed in the centre individual.

Saturday 5 March 2011

Let the Survey commence...

Last night was the first 2011 Garden Moth Survey. It takes place each Friday from now until November right across Britain. Last year started with a blank session so I was pleased that, despite the cold, I caught three moths...

An almost empty trap...

Above and below - Below is Agonopterix heracliana, but what about the one above? The spotting is different. Could it be ciliella? I haven't recorded it yet as I'm not sure of the identity...

Above - The two usual suspects at this time, Pale Brindled Beauty and Hebrew Character.

It would be great to get through the whole lot without an empty session. 

0688 Agonopterix heracliana 1
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 1
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 1

3 moths of 3 sp.

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Mystery Moth. Help Required...and not just for me.

Right, first of all, an explanation.

Walking along the road near home at dusk this small moth flew close by me. It looked like a pug in size and jizz, so I reached out and caught it by hand and carefully put it in my coat pocket. Back home, I removed the jacket and unzipped the side pocket and there it was ready to fly off. Gently, I potted it up, and as the light was going fast went for the camera to get a shot. The moth was, as usual, tapped out onto the slate to be positioned for best light.

Except for a school boy error. I put the pot down on top of it! Bugger.

So, er, apologies for my cack-handedness, I will do better in future.

Anyway, the photo is properly crap as by now the light had all but gone leaving me with a blurred, dead semi-flattened moth of an unknown species.

Is it, do you think, 461 Ypsolopha ustella ? Its wing span is about 17 - 18mm.