Thursday, 29 April 2010

Swallow Prominent

It rained till 1am which meant I didn't put the trap out but at 2am-ish I let one of the dogs out into the garden and I thought I might as well nip out for a look around.....I found this resting on the wall! :0))

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

More unexpected arrivals.....

Ruby Tiger

Iron Prominent

Chinese Character

Clouded Drab

Lead-Coloured Drab

Grey/Dark Dagger

Chocolate Tip
Plenty of moths around tonight thanks to the mild weather so a lot of time was spent potting things up to study....mainly pugs!, I did see several more familiar faces from last year with the first Ruby Tiger, Iron Prominent and Chinese Character of the year and a rather surprising Grey/Dark Dagger turned up too. I also got what I hope is a Lead-Coloured Drab but it could be a Clouded Drab(?) as could the other example I got, if either of them are Lead-Coloured that's a new one for my garden. As if all that wasn't enough for one night I also got a Chocolate Tip which is unusual for this part of the country but hey....I'm not complaining :0).
 The trap was out from 8pm to 4am

1 Early Grey
1 Ruby Tiger
1 Iron Prominent
1 Waved Umber
1 Purple Thorn
2 Pine Beauty
1 Garden Carpet
2 Twenty Plume
1 Early Thorn
1 Chinese Character
1 Brindled Beauty
1 Herald
1 Shuttle Shaped Dart
1 Grey/Dark Dagger
2 E. Monodactyla
3 A. Acanthadactyla
7 Micropterix Calthella
1 Lead-Coloured Drab
1 Clouded Drab
1 Light Brown Apple Moth
2 Hebrew Character
4 Common Pug
1 Foxglove Pug
1 Double Striped Pug
1 Chocolate Tip

Small Phoenix

I had a lot to do last night so the trap stayed out later than expected and had quite a few moths in it when I cleared away, the only newbie was a very fresh Small Phoenix which was was also nice to see Waved Umber and Pine Beauty again.
 The trap was out from 8:50pm to 4:20am

4 Early Grey
4 Common Quaker
2 Waved Umber
1 Pine Beauty
1 Garden Carpet
2 Early Thorn
1 Small Phoenix
1 Micropterix Calthella
2 Light Brown Apple Moth
2 Double Striped Pug
2 Common Pug

Monday, 26 April 2010

Micros & Pugs Night

Brindled Pug?
Common Pug
Light Brown Apple Moth?
Micropterix Calthella
Much colder tonight with the temperature down to 4c by 2am but I got a few things in the trap which included a few Pugs and some interesting micros. The first micro I'm guessing is just a Light Brown Apple Moth but with a different patternation to the ones I usually get, the second is Micropterix Calthella which I have found locally but never in my back garden before. The Pugs I should know better than to guess at but it has to be said I think the first one could be Brindled and the second one could be a White Spotted so I'll risk that until someone tells me I'm wrong....again!.
The trap was out from 8:45pm till 3:15am

2 Early Grey
1 Common Quaker
1 Early Thorn
2 Double Striped Pug
1 Common Pug
3 Micropterix Calthella
1 E.Monodactyla
1 Light Brown Apple Moth

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Bright-line Brown-Eye

Bright-line Brown-eye
A bit cooler than last night with a clear sky and a bright moon so it was a lot quieter but still a bit of action around the trap with my first 2 Bright-line Brown-eye of 2010, I saw one of these last year so it's not a new moth for the garden but I hope to see a lot of familiar species again before the end of the year so I can beat last years 115 garden ticks.
The trap was out from 8:15pm to 3:45am

2 Bright-line Brown-eye
2 Early Grey
1 Common Quaker
1 Clouded Drab
1 E. Monodactyla
2 Large Brown Apple Moth
1 Common Pug
2 Double Striped Pug

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Waved Umber, Pine Beauty, Purple Thorn etc....

Shuttle Shaped Dart
Common Pug
Pine Beauty
Foxglove Pug?
Waved Umber
Purple Thorn
Pale Tussock
It's quite astonishing how just a few extra degrees on the thermometer can make such a huge difference to a nights trapping!, it stayed at 10c till well after midnight and had only dropped to 7c by the time I got the trap in. The night started with Pugs again but by 9:30 every time I went out to look I found another new species for my garden starting with a Waved Umber which was quickly followed by a Pine Beauty then a Purple Thorn then something I haven't managed to positively ID yet(Pale Tussock!). In amongst all the Pugs in the trap I found 2 of what I think is a Foxglove Pug along with another Pug which is another new one for my garden(Common Pug). A good amount of new species as well as some familiar faces which included the first Shuttle Shaped Dart of the year.
The trap was out from 8:35pm till 3:30am

8 Double Striped Pug
2 Foxglove Pug?
1 Common Pug(ID thanks Ben)?
1 Waved Umber
1 Pine Beauty
1 Pale Tussock(ID thanks Ben)
1 Common Quaker
1 Small Quaker
1 Hebrew Character
1 Shuttle Shaped Dart
2 Early Grey
2 Purple Thorn
2 Brindled Beauty
4 Clouded Drab
2 E. Monodactyla
1 Agonopterix Hercliana
2 Caloptiia Stigmatella

Friday, 23 April 2010

Double-Striped Pugs and a Garden Carpet

Garden Carpet

It didn't stay as warm as promised but that didn't stop the Pugs from coming to visit, there looked to be 2 distinct species but it's so difficult to tell them apart and I'm guessing it will be a while before I can speak fluent Pug so I just called them Pug 1 and Pug 2 for now(Ben Sales has now informed me that they are all Double-Striped!). I also got my first Garden Carpet of the year which flew into the spare bedroom as opposed to the trap but it was still nice to see it.
 The trap was out from 8:15pm to 3:30am

2 Early Grey
2 Early Thorn
1 Clouded Drab
1 Common Quaker
1 Herald
1 Garden Carpet
5 Double-Striped Pug
1 Twenty Plume
1 E. Monodactyla

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Elvaston Castle Country Park May 15th(NMN) an invitiation

With the kind permission of the head ranger at Elvaston Castle I have manged to get the go ahead to trap there on May 15th which as I'm sure you all know is National Moth Night. If anyone is interested in coming along please contact me at so I can keep the head ranger updated on how many people are likely to turn up on the night.
 Elvaston Castle is at the Leicester/Nottingham side of Derby and easy enough to get to and there will be car parking spaces available on the night. The country park area is mainly woodland with flower gardens and a small nature reserve, as there is a chance that it could all be getting turned into a golf course in the near future this could be one of the last chances to find out what's there.,-1.393204&sspn=0.091921,0.22007&ie=UTF8&hq=elvaston+castle+country+park&hnear=&ll=52.892632,-1.395199&spn=0.005748,0.013754&t=h&z=16

Friday, 16 April 2010

Twenty-plume Moth

Not exactly a warm evening but impatience and the fact that I can't trap tomorrow night got the better of me and I put the trap out, I ended up with 12 moths most of which appear to be the same ones everyone else is getting(fed up of). Hiding at the bottom of the trap and very nearly missed was a micro which I'm guessing is a Twenty-plume Moth but I could be wrong....again!
 The trap was out from 8:10pm to 3am

5 Early Grey
2 Common Quaker
1 Small Quaker
2 Hebrew Character
1 Clouded Drab
1 Twenty-plume

Friday, 9 April 2010

Agonopterix alstromeriana & Caloptilia stigmatella

The temperature stayed at 9c till nearly 1am and by the time I cleared away it was still just above 5c, the biggest catch so far this year and I got a couple of new micros to add to my list....the first one I know is Agonopterix alstromeriana and the second one is a Caloptilia but I'm not sure which one(it's not Elongella this time).
 The trap was out from 8pm to 3:30am

12 Common Quaker
4 Small Quaker
12 Early Grey
5 Clouded Drab
2 Hebrew Character
2 Double Striped Pug
1 Emmelina Monodactyla
1 Amblyptilia Acanthadactyla
1 Early Thorn
1 Agonopterix alstromeriana
1 Caloptilia stigmatella(ID thanks Skev)

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Grey Shoulder Knot

I spent a couple of hours today wandering from tree to tree at Elvaston Castle looking for Diurnea fagella in the hope that I might find Semioscopis avellanella or Semioscopis steinkellneriana but I was unlucky which is particularly annoying because last week I did find S. Avellanella but I didn't realise at the time what it was so I didn't get a photo....D'oh!. After the fantastic warm(16c) day we had it cooled down rapidly to 5c but I still got a reasonable catch which included my first Grey Shoulder Knot of the year, I got this species last year too so it's not a first for my garden.
 The trap was out from 8pm to 3:15am

6 Common Quaker
5 Early Grey
3 Hebrew Character
1 Clouded Drab
1 Diurnea Fagella
1 Light Brown Apple Moth
1 Twin-Spotted Quaker
1 Grey Shoulder Knot

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Tawny Pinion

It was the warmest evening in Derby for quite a few months and things got off to an interesting start with a fly invasion closely followed by a micro stampede and eventually followed by an influx of macros. A few of the micros I recognise but 2 of them I'm not familiar with so some ID help will be needed(bottom 2 photos). I got my first Pug(Brindled?) of the year, first Carpet moth of the year(Red-Green) and what turned out to be my first Tawny Pinion ever as well as at least one of almost every different moth species I have seen in the last few weeks.
 The trap was out from 8pm till 3:30am

4 Emmelina Monodactyla
2 Amblyptilia Acanthadactyla
1 Double Striped Pug(ID thanks Ben)
7 Caloptilia Elongella(ID thanks Skev)
2 Epermenia Chaerophyllella.(ID thanks Skev)
1 Brindled Beauty
1 Early Thorn
1 Tawny Pinion(ID thanks Ben)
1 Red-Green Carpet
2 Hebrew Character
1 Clouded Drab
4 Early Grey
7 Common Quaker

Ready for the busy season?

Last year I started off with an energy saving light bulb, a few bits of broom handle and an old sheet...this was a similar set up to the one I used when I first trapped back in the early 1970s and it worked ok but things have moved on since then so I had to move on too. I made my own Skinner type trap and got some MBT electrics....the amount of moths I was trapping quadrupled, I now also have a MV and actinic system so I can keep up with the changing seasons BUT no matter how many moths I catch some of them have a habit of flying away the second I take the top off the trap(specially if there are a lot of over excitable Large Yellow Underwings in there too!). This obviously proved to be frustrating on many more than one occasion, 'losing' a moth before I had a chance to ID and get a photo of it meant that my records didn't really show the correct numbers or possibly all of the different species I had actually trapped so this year I have taken a few steps to try to avoid it happening again. I looked on eBay and found a freestanding tent style mosquito net(see photo above) which I will be setting up in my garage, I can go inside to empty the trap and even if something does escape it wont get far, this should lead to some interesting comedy moments if there's a wasp in the trap but that's a risk worth taking. If you think this is a good idea and want something similar I must point out that some mosquito nets are treated with a chemical which kills insects so be very careful when choosing!!. Another problem I have had is getting decent photos of the moths I trap with lighting being the main problem, after trying several different types of lighting combined with assorted camera settings and I've found that tungsten lights seem to do the best job but in order to get the moth in a suitable position for the light to work I have had to place it in a plastic tray so the photos don't exactly look 'natural'. In my local branch of B & M I found a small fish tank(see photo above) which I have placed a piece of tree bark in and I will find other 'backgrounds' as time goes on, I have fixed 2 250w tungsten lights to a block of wood behind the tank and made a makeshift lid to stop the moths escaping....results so far are promising now all I need are some moths!. I must also add a big thank you to Ben Sale from the Essex Moths blog( for all of his help over the last 10 months.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Early Thorn

I got quite a few Early Thorn last year but because I didn't start trapping till July I only got second brood examples which didn't quite compare to the one I trapped tonight, it's a shame it's so difficult to get them to open their wings and smile for the camera!.
The trap was out from 7:45pm to 4am

2 Early Grey
3 Common Quaker
1 Early Thorn

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Small Quaker

It was down to 2c by midnight so not a perfect night for trapping even though it had sneaked back up to 5c by 3am but it was starting to rain by then too so the temperature rise didn't make much difference. Despite that I still found a few moths in the trap which included a Small Quaker, I got a moth late last month which I thought was a washed out Small Quaker but this one was much easier to ID so that's another new species for my garden.
The trap was out from 7:50pm to 3:15am
2 Clouded Drab
3 Common Quaker
1 Early Grey
1 Small Quaker

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Brindled Beauty

It rained from 11pm to 1:30am so I didn't get many moths but I did get a Brindled Beauty to add to my garden list and what could possibly be a Red Chestnut?.
 The trap was out from 7:50pm to 3:30am

1 Brindled Beauty
1 Common Quaker
3 Early Grey
1 ??????(see top photo)
1 Diurnea Fagella(sat on the wall near the back door)