A diary of my mothing activity covering highlights and photos from my moth trapping activities. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I may mention other wildlife sightings here, especially insects, but for birds see my birding diary.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Windy night

A windy night on Wednesday didn't bode well for moths but apart from the wind, conditions were ok and the night did produce a reasonable selection - 23 species including 5 new for the year (for the garden).  The five were Skin Moth Monopis laevigella, Daisy Bent-wing Bucculatrix nigricomella, Mottled Pug, Grey Pug and Burnished Brass.

Burnished Brass, North Elmham, 27th May

Daisy Bent-wing Bucculatrix nigricomella, North Elmham, 27th May

Mottled Pug, North Elmham, 27th May

Grey Pug, North Elmham, 27th May

Skin Moth Monopis laevigella, North Elmham, 27th May

Best of the rest were Maiden's Blush, May Highflyer and 2 Poplar Hawkmoths.

Poplar Hawkmoth, North Elmham, 27th May

The others were Yellow-faced Bell Notocelia cynosbatella, 4 Bee Moths Aphomia sociella, Common Swift, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Silver-ground Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, Green Carpet, 2 Common Pugs, Brimstone Moth, Orange Footman, White Ermine, 2 Heart and Darts, Flame Shoulder, Shears and 2 Treble Lines.

Last night was less productive: Mottled Pug, Common Pug, Scalloped Hazel, White Ermine, Muslin Moth, Heart and Dart, 2 Small Square-spots, Lychnis, Shears, Treble Lines and Spectacle.  

Found another Ptinus sexpunctatus beetle in the house this evening.

Ptinus sexpinctatus, North Elmham, 29th May

Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Last night's moths were few in number and there was just the one micro among them.  But that was Copper-tipped Ermel Pseudoswammerdamia combinella, a new moth for me.

Copper-tipped Ermel Pseudoswammerdamia combinella, North Elmham, 26th May

The macros were Red Twin-spot Carpet, 5 Common Pugs, Orange Footman, Muslin Moth, Flame Shoulder, Small Square-spot, Shears, Rustic Shoulder-knot and Vine's Rustic

Vine's Rustic, North Elmham, 26th May

Earlier I had come across this Cinereous Groundling Bryotropha terrella flying round the garden.

Cinerous Groundling Bryotropha terrella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 26th May

This colourful little beetle appeared at my study window while I was working from home today, my first Common Malachite Malachius bipustulatus.

Common Malachite Malachius bipustulatus, North Elmham, 27th May

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Maiden's Blush

A day-time moth flying in the garden proved to be Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana - probably indicates that I need to do some gardening as they're rather fond of stinging nettles.

Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana, North Elmham, 25th May

First moth of the evening was this fine Maiden's Blush, new for the year.

Maiden's Blush, North Elmham, 25th May

Can't go wrong with Chocolate-tip, even if it was my third this year (I'd only ever seen 4 before).

Chocolate-tip, North Elmham, 25th May

Garden Carpet was new for the year and the other contents of the moth trap were 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Brimstone Moths, 2 White Ermines, 3 Small Square-spots and 2 Treble Lines. 

Small Square-spot, North Elmham, 25th May

Monday, 25 May 2015

Back to normal

The big improvement on Friday night was short-lived and Saturday night was back to cold weather and moth numbers barely reaching double figures.  Still, another Puss Moth was very welcome!  

Puss Moth, North Elmham, 23rd May

As seems to be the way on cold nights now, 5 Muslin Moths were the only moths appearing in multiples, the others being Scalloped Hazel, Waved Umber, Pale Prominent, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Small Square-spot, Shears, Hebrew Character and Angle Shades.

Sunday night was marginally warmer but produced a similar number of moths.  However 3 of those were new for the year, at least for the garden: Common Swift, Peppered Moth and, best of all, Light Brocade.  It was only the second time I've ever seen Light Brocade, and the first at home.

Light Brocade, North Elmham, 24th May

Peppered Moth, North Elmham, 24th May

The other moths on Sunday night were Green Carpet, Treble-bar, 3 Brimstone Moths, Waved Umber, 4 White Ermines, Small Square-spot and Spectacle. 

Beetles included this Ptinus sexpunctatus found inside the house, a new species for me - and nationally scarce apparently.

Ptinus sexpunctatus, North Elmham, 24th May

I think there may be other similar species to the next one so not sure if the ID should be considered definite:

probable Cantharis cryptica, North Elmham, 24th May

I've found a couple of these striking Zebra Spiders at home recently - don't think I've noticed this distinctive species before.  They seem to like the Wisteria but am also finding them inside.  If only all spiders looked so cute.

Zebra Spider, North Elmham, 25th May

On Sunday morning I went birding at Burnham Overy.  Little in the way of noteworthy insect: 4 Cinnabars were the only moths while butterflies included Small White, 2 Small Coppers and 3 Wall Browns.

 Wall Browns, Burnham Overy, 24th May

And finally here's Ratty who I forgot to include in last Thursday's post.  

Brown Rat, Bittering, 21st May

A decent evening at last

Warm, calm and cloudy - a perfect recipe for moths.  For the first time this year all three were in play on Friday night (well, not quite calm, but no more than a light breeze) and we were sure to enjoy the best night of the year so far.  Indeed it proved, though I think I've had better nights at this time of year in better years.

A little bit of dusking on the patch secured Skin Moth Monopis laevigella, Swan-feather Dwarf Elachista argentella and Hook-streaked Grass-Veneer Crambus lathoniellus in the Beetley area. 

Swan-feather Dwarf Elachista argentella, Rawhall Wood, 22nd May

Then I set up the light at Creaking Gate Lake where things got off to a slower start than I had anticipated.  Eventually it picked up and a reasonable selection was accrued.

The highlight was a new moth for me, Downland Marble Endothenia oblongana.There are very few inland records of this moth and it's not an easy ID to separate from the slightly more frequently-recorded Teasel Marble Endothenia gentianaeana.  Size was just about within range for a small gentianaeana and I thought at first I could detect the small pale mark beyond the post median fascia that is supposed to be shown by that species.  But it had little grey/violet irrotation in the base, no violet near the tip and the pattern of the apical region seemed better for oblongana - indeed one of the oblongana shown on Lepiforum looked  a very good match for my moth.  They're not the easiest to gen det either, but all internal features I could see seemed to support oblongana.

Downland Marble Endothenia oblongana, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Other highlights included Figure of Eighty, a species I've only seen occasonally, and my first Lime Hawkmoth of the year.

Figure of Eighty, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Lime Hawkmoth, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

The supporting cast were 3 Carrion Moths Monopis weaverella, 2 Ribwort Slenders Aspilapteryx tringipennella, 2 Dark-barred Tortrices Syndemis musculana, Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana, Hook-streaked Grass-Veneer Crambus lathoniellus, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Common Swift, Pebble Hook-tip, 2 Silver-ground Carpets, 3 + Green Carpets, May Highflyer, Brindled Pug, Treble-bar, Brimstone Moth, Scalloped Hazel, Common White Wave, Iron Prominent, 2 Pebble Prominents, Coxcomb Prominent, 3 Pale Tussocks, Orange Footman, 2 White Ermines, Cinnabar, Least Black Arches, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, Hebrew Character, Angle Shades and Nut-tree Tussock.

Common Swift, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

May Highflyer, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Silver-ground Carpet, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Non-lepidopteran interest was kept up with a bug-lifer, Harpocera thoracica.

 Harpocera thoracica, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Among the beetles were a couple I can't identify and a couple I've tenatively identified - let me know if you can help.  Also Cream-spot Ladybird and, once again, 16 Cockchafers - seems to be a good year for them, unfortunately.

unidentified Beetle, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

unidentified Beetle, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

probable Athous haemorrhoidalis, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

apparent Cantharis nigricans, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Plenty of other insects there too, including the first Bramble Sawfly that I recall seeing.

Bramble Sawfly Arge cyanocrocea, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Birch Shieldbugs, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Chloeon diperum, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Downlooker Snipefly Rhagio scolopaceus, Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

Micropterna lateralis (I think), Creaking Gate Lake, 22nd May

I gave up shortly after midnight and returned home at which point it started drizzling.  The garden was heaving with moths.  I ended up with 68 moths of 41 species - including no less than 16 that were new for the year for the garden.  Those were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, Ribwort Slender Aspilapteryx tringipennella, Yarrow Conch Aethes smeathmanniana, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Hook-streaked Grass-Veneer Crambus lathoniellus, Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis, Water Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, May Highflyer, Sandy CarpetWhite-pinion Spotted, 2 Orange Footmen, Shears and Rustic Shoulder-knot.

Shears, North Elmham, 22nd May

Grey Pine Carpet, North Elmham, 22nd May

May Highflyer, North Elmham, 22nd May

Orange Footman, North Elmham, 22nd May

Rustic Shoulder-knot, North Elmham, 22nd May

White-pinion Spotted, North Elmham, 22nd May

Yarrow Conch Aethes smeathmanniana, North Elmham, 22nd May

Hook-streaked Grass-Veneer Crambus lathoniellus, North Elmham, 22nd May

Bird's-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, North Elmham, 22nd May

Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis, North Elmham, 22nd May

Water Carpet, North Elmham, 22nd May

Sandy Carpet, North Elmham, 22nd May

Among the others another Fen Flat-body Depressaria ultimella was notable, as were Pale Pinion and Herald.

Fen Flat-body Depressaria ultimella, North Elmham, 22nd May

Pale Pinion, North Elmham, 22nd May

Herald, North Elmham, 22nd May

5 Waved Umbers was my highest count ever of this species.

Waved Umbers, North Elmham, 22nd May

The others were Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Yellow-faced Bell Notocelia cynosbatella, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, 2 Bee Moths Aphomia sociella, 2 Chinese Characters, Blood-vein, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Green Carpet, 9 Common Pugs, Treble-bar, 7 Brimstone Moths, 2 Scalloped Hazels, Buff-tip, 2 Pale Tussocks, White Ermine, 2 Cinnabars, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Bright-line Brown-eye, Angle Shades and 3 Treble Lines.

Angle Shades, North Elmham, 22nd May

Cinnabar, North Elmham, 22nd May

Treble-bar, North Elmham, 22nd May

Other insects included a Birch Shieldbug here too:

Birch Shieldbug, North Elmham, 22nd May

This caddisfly is a new one for me, I think - though I'm not 100% sure if the ID is correct or if there are other similar species that should be considered.

probable Ecnomus tenellus, North Elmham, 22nd May