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.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Small Purple Flat-body (Agonopterix purpurea)

Best moth on 11th September was an early Large Wainscot.  Thought it would turn out to be a plain-looking Bulrush Wainscot given the date but (a) they don't seem to ever be this plain, (b) it looks ok for Large and (c) apparently it's not too early for Large, although by far my earliest ever.

Large Wainscot, North Elmham, 11th September

Otherwise it was pretty quiet: 3 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 6 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis, 4 Common Marbled Carpets, 2 Brimstone Moths, Willow Beauty, 2 Light Emeralds, 5 Large Yellow Underwings, 8 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, 3 Square-spot Rustics, 2 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, 2 Frosted Oranges, 3 Vine's Rustics, Burnished Brass and 7 Snouts.

Things picked up dramatically the next evening.  Even before starting on what was inside the trap I'd found 52 moths of 15 species round the outside.  Two moths were new for the garden: the wonderful Pied Smudge Ypsolopha sequella and Winter Groundling Scrobipalpa costella.

Pied Smudge Yposolopha sequella, North Elmham, 12th September

Winter Groundling Scrobipalpa costella, North Elmham, 12th September

Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana and Lunar Underwing were also new for the year.

Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana, North Elmham, 12th September

There are a small number of moths that I used to get at the old house at Bawdeswell in much greater numbers than I do here at North Elmham.  Small Dusty Wave is one with, for example 177 recorded on 59 dates in 2013, compared to just singles recorded on 8 dates at North Elmham in 2015.  I've done fractionally better this year but a count of 5 Small Dusty Waves on 11th was quite unexpected here.  A count of 20 Common Marbled Carpets was equally unexpected, more than doubling my previous best.  Another count that came close to double my previous best was 16 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana.

The remainder consisted of Bird’s-nest Moth Tinea trinotella, Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella, White-shouldered Smudge Ypsolopha parenthesella, Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella, 6 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 7 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 8 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata, Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis, Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Grey Pine Carpet, 3 Green Carpets, 11 Brimstone Moths, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Dusky Thorn, 9 Light Emeralds, Turnip Moth, 15 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 4 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 3 Flounced Rustics, 2 Rosy Rustics, Frosted Orange, Burnished Brass, 2 Straw Dots and 27 Snouts.

Other things in the trap included 2 Hemerobius lutescens (a Brown Lacewing), 2 Birch Shieldbugs, Forest Bug and my first Orange Ladybird here this year.

 Orange Ladybird, North Elmham, 12th September

Two moths were new for the year the following night: Notch-wing Button Acleris emargana and Sallow.

Notch-wing Button Acleris emargana, North Elmham, 13th September

Sallow, North Elmham, 13th September

The rest were Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana, Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella, Clover Case-bearer Coleophora alcyonipennella, 6 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 9 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 13 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Gold Triangle Hypsopygia costalis, Small Blood-vein, 5 Common Marbled Carpets, 2 Green Carpets, 5 Brimstone Moths, Canary-shouldered Thorn, 5 Light Emeralds, 9 Large Yellow Underwings, 5 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Character, 3 Common Wainscots, Copper Underwing, 2 Flounced Rustics, Rosy Rustic, Frosted Orange, Burnished Brass, 3 Straw Dots and 17 Snouts.

Birch Shieldbug, Forest Bug, Hornet and Common Wasp were among the other inhabitants of my trap while a Small Tortoiseshell had flown into my study earlier in the day.

A trip to the local patch on 14th September produced lots of occupied mines of Nut Leaf Blister Moth Phyllonorycter coryli.  Also Southern Hawker, Common Darters, the Brown Lacewing Hemerobius lutescens, 2 Speckled Woods, 30 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and the hoverfly Eristalis tenax.

Eristalis tenax, Bittering, 14th September

Although there weren't many moths that night one of them was a welcome lifer, Small Purple Flat-body Agonopterix purpurea.

Small Purple Flat-body Agonopterix purpurea, North Elmham, 14th September

The others were Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella, 9 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Marsh Grey Eudonia pallida, 24 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Wax Moth Galleria mellonella, Small Blood-vein, 3 Common Marbled Carpets, Green Carpet, Brimstone Moth, 2 Light Emeralds, 8 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Square-spot Rustic, 3 Common Wainscots, 2 Lunar Underwings, 3 Flounced Rustics, 2 Rosy Rustics, Frosted Orange, 3 Straw Dots and 6 Snouts.

A visit to Burnham Overy on 15th was mainly for birds rather than insects, which is lucky as the dank conditions weren't good for the latter.  I did manage 3 Carnation Tortrixes Cacoecimorpha pronubana though.  Also a Pine Hawk-moth caterpillar in Holkham Pines rolling around manically and looking pretty ugly for a hawk-moth.

Pine Hawk-moth caterpillar, Holkham Pines, 15th September

I think this has to be Crab Brittlegill but please correct me if I'm wrong.  (*Edit* Thanks to James for pointing out that while this is probably correct it could be something else, e.g. Bloody Brittlegill - see his comment below.  At least it was a Brittlegill... I must be improving!)

probable Crab Brittlegill, Holkham Pines, 15th September

That night the moth trap contained Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, 3 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, 18 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Single-dotted Wave, Flame Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Brimstone Moth, Dusky Thorn, Willow Beauty, 8 Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Square-spot Rustic, 5 Lunar Underwings, Flounced Rustic, Rosy Rustic, Frosted Orange, Burnished Brass, Silver Y, Straw Dot and 5 Snouts.

Flame Carpet, North Elmham, 15th September

I used to see lots coming to light at my last house but this Hawthorn Shieldbug in the trap was my first in over 2 years at North Elmham.  Also 2 Birch Shieldbugs and 2 Hornets.

Hawthorn Shieldbug, North Elmham, 15th September


  1. Did you smell the Brittlegill? I think you're probably right, but other than strong smelling ones Russulas usually have to be keyed (things like how far the coloured bit peels across the cap and reaction with FeSO4 come into it). Russula sanguinaria (Bloody Brittlegill) is another red capped, red stiped one under Pine for example, but smells mildly fruity.

    1. Ah, thanks James. No, I'm afraid I didn't sniff it! I'll try and remember next time. I'm always a bit wary of touching fungi as I'm never sure which ones are poisonous and I'm likely to be using the same fingers to pick and eat blackberries before I get a chance to wash them!