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.

Monday, 31 August 2015

A new Coleophora and a new Phyllonorycter

Another excellent night on 3rd August with 409 moths of 107 species.  The highlights were mainly micros and among them were two that were new for me: Small Alder Midget Phyllonorycter stettinensis and Downland Case-bearer Coleophora lixella.

Downland Case-bearer Coleophora lixella, North Elmham, 3rd August

Small Alder Midget Phyllonorycter stettinensis, North Elmham, 3rd August

I was also pleased to get Bittersweet Smudge Acrolepia autumnitella and Mouse-ear Groundling Caryocolum fraternella - species I have only recorded once or twice before.

 Mouse-ear Groundling Caryocolum fraternella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

Bittersweet Smudge Acrolepis autumnitella, North Elmham, 3rd August

Also new for the year for the garden were Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, Pale-bordered Piercer Grapholita janthinana, Sharp-winged Drill Dichrorampha acuminatana and (belatedly) Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata.

 Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 3rd August

Pale-bordered Piercer Grapholita janthinana, North Elmham, 3rd August

Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella, North Elmham, 3rd August

Sharp-winged Drill Dichrorampha acuminitana, North Elmham, 3rd August

Other micros were 16 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, White-headed Ermel Paraswammerdamia albicapitella, Hawthorn Ermel Paraswammerdamia nebulella, Golden Lance-wing Epermenia chaerophyllella, 3 Golden-brown Tubics Crassa unitella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, 3 Dark Groundlings Bryotropha affinis, Cinereous Groundling Bryotropha terrella, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, 3 Gorse Crests Brachmia blandella, 2 Orange Crests Helcystogramma rufescens, 3 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Hawthorn Cosmet Blastodacna hellerella, Plain Conch Phtheochroa inopiana, Privet Tortrix Clepsis consimilana, Red-barred Tortrix Ditula angustiorana, 2 Grey Tortrices Cnephasia stephensiana, 2 Barred Marbles Celypha striana, 3 Holly Tortrices Rhopobota naevana, Two-coloured Bell Eucosma obumbratana, Bud Moth Spilonota ocellana, 3 Marbled Piercers Cydia splendana, 3 Round-winged Drills Dichrorampha simpliciana, 6 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, 60 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 53 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, 2 Little Greys Eudonia lacustrata, 12 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, 2 Ringed China-marks Parapoynx stratiotata, 2 Beautiful China-marks Nymphula stagnata, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Chequered Straw Evergestis pallidata, 2 Elder Pearls Anania coronata, 19 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 3 Rosy Tabbies Endotricha flammealis, Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella and Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla.

Round-winged Drill Dichrorampha simpliciana, North Elmham, 3rd August

The macros were Ghost Moth, 3 Chinese Characters, Large Emerald, 2 Blood-veins, 2 Least Carpets, 3 Small Fan-footed Waves, 9 Single-dotted Waves, Small Scallop, 16 Riband Waves, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Large Twin-spot Carpet, Shaded Broad-bar, Yellow Shell, 2 July Highflyers, Small Rivulet, Slender Pug, 3 Wormwood Pugs, Small Yellow Wave, 2 Clouded Borders, 2 Brimstone Moths, 2 Scalloped Oaks, 2 Willow Beauties, Engrailed, Pale Prominent, 2 Yellow-tails, 4 Black Arches, Round-winged Muslin, Rosy Footman, 22 Dingy Footmen, 8 Scarce Footmen, 7 Common Footmen, 3 Buff Ermines, Ruby Tiger, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Large Yellow Underwing, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 5 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 5 Double Square-spots, Nutmeg, Lychnis, 3 Clays, 3 Smoky Wainscots, Grey Dagger, 2 Straw Underwings, 3 Dun-bars, 3 Dark Arches, 3 Cloaked Minors, 4 Common Rustics, 2 Lesser Common Rustics, Common Rustic agg., Dusky Sallow, 10 Uncertains, Rustic, 6 Nut-tree Tussocks, Burnished Brass, Silver Y and 4 Snouts.

Spruce Bud Moth

2nd August was another good night.  A couple of moths were species I have rarely seen before:  Broad-barred Knot-horn Acrobasis consociella was only my second while the scarce Spruce Bud Moth Zeiraphere ratzeburgiana was my third.

Broad-barred Knot-horn Acrobasis consociella, North Elmham, 2nd August

Spruce Bud Moth Zeiraphera ratzburgiana, North Elmham, 2nd August

2 White-triangle Buttons Acleris holmiana were new for the year.

White-triangle Buttons Acleris holmiana, North Elmham, 2nd August

Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella and Scalloped Hook-tip were also new for the year for home.

 Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, North Elmham, 2nd August

Scalloped Hook-tip, North Elmham, 2nd August

This Dotted Grey Groundling Athrips mouffetella was suspiciously similar to the one I trapped a couple of nights earlier - I guess it was the same individual.

Dotted Grey Groundling Athrips mouffetella, North Elmham, 2nd August

This Ash-coloured Sober Acompsia cinerella wasn't the same as the one I had recently.

Ash-coloured Sober Acompsia cinerella, North Elmham, 2nd August

An excellent selection of micros also included Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, 5 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, Meadow Case-bearer Coleophora mayrella, 3 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, 2 Dark Groundlings Bryotropha affinis, 4 Cinereous Groundlings Bryotropha terrella, 3 Gorse Crests Brachmia blandella, Orange Crest Helcystogramma rufescens, Marbled Cosmet Mompha propinquella, Hawthorn Cosmet Blastodacna hellerella, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, Privet Tortrix Clepsis consimilana, Red-barred Tortrix Ditula angustiorana, Maple Button Acleris forsskaleana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 2 Holly Tortrices Rhopobota naevana, Two-coloured Bell Eucosma obumbratana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, 3 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, 46 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 28 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, Little Grey Eudonia lacustrata, 3 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, Beautiful China-mark Nymphula stagnata, 2 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, Chequered Straw Evergestis pallidata, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, Dusky Pearl Udea prunalis, 9 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 5 Rosy Tabbies Endotricha flammealis, 2 Bee Moths Aphomia sociella and 5 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella.

 Marbled Cosmet Mompha propinquella, North Elmham, 2nd August

Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, North Elmham, 2nd August

Two-coloured Bell Eucosma obumbratana, North Elmham, 2nd August

 Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, North Elmham, 2nd August

Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, North Elmham, 2nd August

The rest of the macros were 2 Chinese Characters, Blood-vein, Least Carpet, 2 Small Fan-footed Waves, 7 Single-dotted Waves, 15 Riband Waves, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Shaded Broad-bar, Yellow Shell, Barred Straw, July Highflyer, Small Rivulet, Slender Pug, Double-striped Pug, 4 Brimstone Moths, Purple Thorn, Willow Beauty, Coxcomb Prominent, Yellow-tail, Black Arches, 3 Rosy Footmen, 9 Dingy Footmen, 3 Scarce Footmen, 12 Common Footmen, Buff Ermine, 3 Large Yellow Underwings, 7 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Double Square-spot, 3 Smoky Wainscots, 2 Dark Arches, 2 Cloaked Minors, 8 Common Rustics, Dusky Sallow, 8 Uncertains, 2 Nut-tree Tussocks, Spectacle and Snout.

 Slender Pug, North Elmham, 2nd August

I'm still trying to sort out how to identify Agonopterix ciliella.  I thought this one was a good candidate being large and dark, though it lacked much in the way of pinkish tones underneath (just a bit on the legs).

 Agonopterix sp., North Elmham, 2nd August

The hindwing showed a very strong pink flush to the cilia around the apex and five fusous bars through the cilia.  Not as distinct as some ciliella can be and so still not a firm ID, but at this point it's looking hopeful.

 Agonopterix sp., North Elmham, 2nd August

The genitalia are very similar to the very much commoner heracliana, but there are supposed to be differences.  To me this one's bits look exactly the same as every other male Agonopterix heracliana I've examined.  So either it was heracliana, or the genitalia of ciliella are harder to separate than various texts suggest.  I await a clear and undisputable ciliella to compare, but in the meantime am increasingly suspicious about how accurately a lot of records of ciliella have been identified.

 Agonopterix sp., North Elmham, 2nd August

One curious thing if this was just a Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana is that of all the ones I've examined (scores now) the large dark ones have also been the ones with the best looking hindwings.  But I'm yet to find one with 5-6 really obvious dark fuscous bars on the cilia... maybe when I do I'll be able to spot the differences in the genitalia.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Dune Chafer, dune moths and dune toad

I headed up to Burnham Overy on 1st August, mainly for birding but, with it being towards the end of the day I notched up a few moths too.  As good as any of the moths was this fine beetle, a Dune Chafer, munching a Rosebay Willowherb leaf:

Among the moths was a Saltmarsh Bell Eucosma tripoliana and a Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella.

Saltmarsh Bell Eucosma tripoliana, Burnham Overy, 1st August

Some Bryotropha provided interesting: one was just Cinereous Groundling Bryotropha terrella but two (one from each end of the dunes) proved to be Dull Red Groundlings Bryotropha senectella.  I was more surprised by another which to me looked like a fairly pale terrella, but well within range for that species.  On dissection it proved to be a Desert Groundling Bryotropha desertella.

Desert Groundling Bryotropha desertella (female, gen det), Burnham Overy, 1st August

 Dull Red Groundling Bryotropha senectella (male, gen det), Burnham Overy, 1st August

There were loads of Bud Moths Spilonota ocellana (I counted 12 but I'm sure they were just the tip of the iceburg) around the Sea Buckthorn.  They were all relatively dark - most of the ocellana I see seem to be yet if you look at photos online the paler form seems to be the more usual variant.

Bud Moths Spilonota ocellana, Burnham Overy, 1st August

No surprise to see Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella after finding the Spindle trees stripped by the larvae earlier in the year.

Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella, Burnham Overy, 1st August

Other moths seen were Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, 2 Yellow-spot Tortrices Pseudargyrotoza conwagana, 4 Barred Grass-veneers Agriphila inquinatella, Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella, Small Grey Eudonia mercurella, Dwarf Cream Wave, Shaded Broad-bar and 2 Yellow Shells. Also 20 Cinnabar moth caterpillars.

Barred Grass-veneer Agriphila inquinatella, Burnham Overy, 1st August

Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, Burnham Overy, 1st August

Dusk at Buirnham Overy at this time of year guarantees a chorus of Natterjack toads but it's not so often that I see them.  This one was seen as it was almost dark crossing the path on the north side of the dunes.

Natterjack Toad, Burnham Overy, 1st August

At home that night it was fairly unremarkable.  Two new moths for the year were the terribly named Golden Lance-wing Epermenia chaerophyllella and Straw Underwing.

Golden Lance-wing Epermenia chaerophyllella, North Elmham, 1st August

Straw Underwing, North Elmham, 1st August

Red and Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets are supposed to be quite tough to identify with certainty, with some Red having dark bars and some Dark-barred being quite reddish.  Some features once thought to be diagnostic have been shown not to be (like the notch in the bar) and the scarcer Dark-barred is sometimes said to need gen detting to confirm.  It's also supposed to be quite scarce now and it's often suspected that records relate to misidentified dark-barred Red Twin-spot Carpets.  Well I've found quite a few dark-barred carpets that I've dissected and they've all proved to be Dark-barred, while the few red-barred ones I've dissected have been Red.  I also find Dark-barred to be consistently small-looking, though matched by a minority of presumed Red.  Well this large red-barred individual wouldn't have even come inside for closer inspection had it not kept its wings firmly closed while I was emptying the trap.  When it did eventually open up it just looked like a straightforward Red, albeit quite a worn one so the red wasn't as clear as it might have been when fresh.  Maybe the red colour was a bit darker than normal so with it being on its last legs I decided to dissect it anyway.  To my  surprise this one was not a Red Twin-spot Carpet after all - it was a female Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet!  All the others I've dissected have been males so maybe females are either more variable or larger/redder?

Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (female, gen det), North Elmham, 1st August

Other moths were Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, Cinereous Groundling Bryotropha terrella, 2 Gorse Crests Brachmia blandella, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix Archips podana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, 32 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Little Grey Eudonia lacustrata, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Gold Triangle Hypsopygia costalis, White Plume Pterophorus pentadactyla, Small Emerald, 4 Single-dotted Waves, 2 Riband Waves, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Shaded Broad-bar, Early Thorn, Scalloped Oak, Poplar Hawkmoth, 3 Yellow-tails, 4 Dingy Footmen, 7 Common Footmen, Buff Ermine, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 2 Double Square-spots, Clay, Smoky Wainscot, 2 Dark Arches, Common Rustic, 4 Uncertains, Rustic, Mottled Rustic, Nut-tree Tussock and Snout.

Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, North Elmham, 1st August

Monday, 24 August 2015

Dotted Grey Groundling (Athrips mouffetella)

After the poor showing on the night of 30th July, 31st was back on form.  Among the 178 moths of 61 species was a lifer, Dotted Grey Groundling Athrips mouffetella.

Dotted Grey Groundling Athrips mouffetella, North Elmham, 31st July

There were 3 more new for the year: Small Clover Case-bearer Coleophora alcyonipennella, Large Birch Bell Epinotia brunnichana and Oak Nycteoline.

 Large Birch Bell Epinotia brunnichana, North Elmham, 31st July

Small Clover Case-bearer Coleophora alcyonipennella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 31st July

Oak Nycteoline, North Elmham, 31st July

A variety of other micros recorded: Cinereous Groundling Bryotropha terrella, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, 2 Burdock Conches Aethes rubigana, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis cerasana, 3 Large Fruit-tree Tortrices Archips podana, Red-barred Tortrix Ditula angustiorana, Flax Tortrix Cnephasia asseclana, 2 Cereal Tortrices Cnephasia pumicana, Dover Shade Cnephasia genitalana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Common Cloaked Shoot Gypsonoma dealbana, 6 Marbled Piercers Cydia splendana, 9 Garden Grass-veneers Chrysoteuchia culmella, 36 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 5 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, 2 Little Greys Eudonia lacustrata, 3 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, Dusky Pearl Udea prunalis, 6 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 4 Rosy Tabbies Endotricha flammealis and Beautiful Knot-horn Rhodophaea formosa.

 Beautiful Knot-horn Rhodophaea formisa, North Elmham, 31st July

Burdock Conch Aethes rubigana, North Elmham, 31st July

Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, North Elmham, 31st July

Other macros were 4 Chinese Characters, 4 Small Fan-footed Waves, Single-dotted Wave, 2 Riband Waves, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Large Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, 3 Clouded Borders, 2 Willow Beauties, 2 Coxcomb Prominents, Pale Prominent, 2 Chocolate-tips, Yellow-tail, 10 Dingy Footmen, 4 Scarce Footmen, 13 Common Footmen, Buff Ermine, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Nutmeg, Bright-line Brown-eye, Antler Moth, 3 Clays, Cloaked Minor, 2 Common Rustics, Dusky Sallow, 7 Uncertains, Rustic, 3 Nut-tree Tussocks, Beautiful Hook-tip, Snout and Fan-foot. 

Chocolate-tip, North Elmham, 31st July

Cloaked Minor, North Elmham, 31st July - is it just me that finds individuals like this very hard to separate from Marbled Minor agg.?

Coxcomb Prominent, North Elmham, 31st July