My Blog's aim is to promote and encourage others to participate in the wonderful hobby that is Moth-trapping.
So why do we do it? well for some people it is to get an insight into the world of Moths, for others it is to build a list of species much like 'Twitching' in the Bird world.
The reason I do it....you never know what you might find when you open up that trap!
I hope to show what different species inhabit our Country by getting people aware of what is out there.
On this Blog you will find up-to-date records and pictures.
I run a trap regularly in my garden in Hertfordshire and enjoy doing field trips to various localities within Hertfordshire and Essex

Please also check out the links in the sidebar to the right for other people's Blogs and informative Websites.

Thanks for looking & happy Mothing!


NFY = New Species For The Year
NFG = New Species For The Garden
NEW! = New Species For My Records

Any Species highlighted in RED signifies a totally new species for my records.

If you have any questions or enquiries then please feel free to email me
Contact Email : bensale@rocketmail.com

Monday, 2 May 2016

Are thing finally on the move?

Last night I ran my trap after a lovely warm day with highs of 16 degrees and the prediction of a mild and cloudy night
Some moths at last after four blank traps a pleasing 11 moths of 9 species this morning with 4 new for the year. Brimstone Moth, Angle Shades, Dyseriocrania subpurpurella and an Elachista albifrontella 
The weather was cloudy with light rain at some point and lows of 8 degrees. The wind was a bit gusty at times though.
The week ahead looks pretty good for our mothy friends and boy do I have some catching up to do!

Catch Report - 01/05/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Angle Shades [NFY]
1x Brimstone Moth [NFY]
1x Double-striped Pug
2x Brindled Pug
2x Common Quaker
1x Hebrew Character
1x Early Grey
Micro Moths

1x Dyseriocrania subpurpurella [NFY]
1x Elachista albifrontella [NFY]

Angle Shades

Dyseriocrania subpurpurella

Elachista albifrontella

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The state of moths in my garden

Hi all.
I had a good peruse through my records for the last three years up to today's date (24th of April) and collated the data to see which species I have missed or which haven't turned up yet this year

The past two years on similar dates for example on the 24th of April last year I managed 24 moths of 14 species! and on the 14th of April 43 moths of 13 species. I can only hope that
species are just flying late in my neck of the woods here in North Hertfordshire.

So far this year I have managed 18 Macros and 9 micros making 27 species up to 24th April 2016

Below are the species that I haven't seen yet this year from the past two years.

From 2015 - 17 species missing

Angle Shades - 24/04/15
Brimstone Moth - 24/04/15
Dark Chestnut - 14/02/15
Dotted Border - 07/03/15
Engrailed - 03/04/15
Early Thorn - 14/04/15
Flame Shoulder - 24/04/15
Herald - 14/04/15
Nut-tree Tussock - 24/04/15
Powdered Quaker - 14/04/15
Small Brindled Beauty - 11/03/15
Argyrotaenia ljungiana - 17/04/15
Acleris schalleriana - 05/01/15
Acleris hastiana - 10/02/15
Epiphyas postvittana - 14/02/15
Endrosis sarcitrella - 28/03/15
Mompha subbistrigella - 04/01/15

From 2014 - an incredible 39 species missing!

Angle Shades - 23/04/14
Brimstone Moth - 13/04/14
Clay Triple-lines - 23/04/14
Dotted Border - 17/02/14
Engrailed - 16/03/14
Early Thorn - 31/03/14
Early Moth - 04/02/14
Flame Shoulder - 23/04/14
Grey Shoulder-knot - 29/03/14
Herald - 21/04/14
Lead-coloured Drab - 17/03/14
Lime Hawk-moth - 22/04/14
Nut-tree Tussock - 30/03/14
Oak-tree Pug - 17/04/14
Purple Thorn - 10/04/14
Pine Beauty - 09/04/15
Shuttle-shaped Dart - 22/04/14
Spruce Carpet - 08/04/14
Twin-spotted Quaker - 13/03/14
Waved Umber - 17/04/14
Acleris schalleriana - 17/02/14
Alucita hexadactyla - 31/03/14
Adela reamurella - 13/04/14
Agonopterix purpurea - 31/03/14
Acleris hastiana - 14/07/14
Caloptilia semifascia - 03/04/14
Caloptilia betulicola - 30/03/14
Depressaria chaerophylli - 24/02/14
Epiphyas postvittana - 17/04/14
Endrosis sarcitrella - 26/04/14
Eriocrania subpurpurella - 08/04/14
Epermenia chaerophyllella - 17/04/14
Elachista apicipunctella - 21/04/14
Mompha subbistrigella - 08/03/14
Psyche casta - 13/04/14
Phyllonorycter messaniella - 22/04/14
Phyllonorycter blancardella - 30/03/14
Phyllonorycter coryli - 17/04/14
Ypsolopha ustella - 19/02/14

There are of course many theories for the lack of moths in my area (yes I am not an isolated case unfortunately)

Theory 1 : Weather : We have had quite windy, wet and cold nights so far this year. If we have had a bright and sunny warm day then the night has been cold and clear and not ideal for moths. The wind also has been predominantly from the north.
Compared to the last two years temperatures have been well down, we had temperatures of up to 28 degrees in 2014 over the Easter period with lows of 15 at night! In 2015 we had temperatures up to 22 degrees and lows of around 12 degrees.
Recently we have had 10 degrees daytime and 2 degrees at night. 

Theory 2 : Predation : Predation in many different forms, obviously birds are the main culprits at the moment as they feed their young ones.
Also parasites, as we have had such a mild winter could they have had a population explosion and feasted on our caterpillars?

Theory 3 : Emergence : Late emergence could be the reason for such low numbers of some species, but this doesn't run true with missed species that have now finished (Small Brindled Beauty and Early Moth as examples)

So as you can see, i've had it hard lately and that's my little rant over. I guess i've had my fair share of luck over the years and it is time for others to shine.

On the plus side, some of the species in my list I never thought I would trap in my Garden.

Depressaria chaerophylli - A rare moth in the County - 24/02/14

Clay Triple-lines - Another scarce woodland species - 23/04/14

 Good luck all for the rest of this year and keep on mothing :)

El Crappo Catches

A quick post of my recent catches, awful awful weather we have had this past week with temperatures barely reaching 14 or 15 degrees and then dropping like a stone to near freezing with a bright full moon. I have tried 4 times recently and on two of these occasions I have blanked...completely unheard of for me at the end of April.
More on that in  my next comparison post!

Here are my meager recent catches. 

Catch Report - 18/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

2x Hebrew Character

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla
Catch Report - 20/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

3x Hebrew Character
1x Early Grey
1x Common Quaker

Micro Moths

None recorded!

Sad Quaker (Miserabulus fedupus)

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Field Trip - Hexton Chalk Pit - 14/04/16

On Thursday night I was joined by Trevor at Hexton Chalk Pit to try and see what might turn up, possibly Northern Drab...although it is getting a little late for this species now. Red Chestnut was high on my list to see this year, a moth I don't get in my garden.
The day was warm and with highs of 17 degrees it was cloudy, muggy and with no wind at all, and then about an hour before I was due to go out the heavens opened for what seemed forever, the roads were completely flooded as I drove to Hexton through Stevenage and then I got to Hitchin Road and the roads were dry as a bone!
Arriving at the reserve it looked really promising with the threat of rain subsiding we were confident of a good catch.
Sadly it wasn't to be...the moths were really hard to come by and we struggled for just over two hours where we had had enough as it got colder and colder. 
27 moths of 8 species was pretty poor from past experiences here at this time of year.

It was nice to see two of our target species, both Red Chestnut and Powdered Quaker.

Catch Report - 14/04/16 - Hexton Chalk Pit - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap, 1x 160w MBT Robinson Trap and 1x 80w Actinic Trap

Macro Moths

2x Red Chestnut
1x Powdered Quaker
9x Common Quaker
4x Clouded Drab
7x Hebrew Character
1x Twin-spotted Quaker

Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix alstromeriana
1x Agonopterix arenella

Powdered Quaker

Red Chestnut

Agonopterix arenella

From the garden trap

I trapped last in the garden on Wednesday night, and haven't tried since because i've either been out on trips or the weather has been absolutely ridiculous for this time of year.
Today for instance was 3 degrees at 11am with flurries of sleet infact parts of Lincolnshire this morning woke up to an inch of snow!
I did manage a healthy 18 moths of 7 species including a year-first Grey-pine Carpet which took a lot of coaxing to flatten out for a photo!
Hopefully will try trapping again on Sunday night.

Catch Report - 13/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Grey-pine Carpet [NFY]
4x Common Quaker
5x Hebrew Character
2x Clouded Drab
3x Early Grey
1x Double-striped Pug

Micro Moths

2x Emmelina monodactyla
Grey-pine Carpet

Tawny Pinion

A better photo of the Tawny Pinion from Roughdown Common - Hemel Hempstead - 12/04/16

Tawny Pinion

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Field Trip - Boxmoor Trust Land - Hemel Hempstead - 12/04/16

Last night I was joined by Roger at Gadesprings for our first field trapping session of the year.
The weather had been a mixed bag all day really but with highs of 15 degrees and little or no wind, it felt rather pleasant even if the sun was skulking behind the clouds for most of the day.

About two hours before I was due to leave we had a torrential downpour for nearly half an hour, the temperature dropped and I was dubious about going out all of a sudden!

We arrived at 7.15pm ready to set up. The plan was to do 3 different sites all in one night something that we hadn't done before.
The Robinson Mercury Vapor trap was set up at Gadesprings along with my mini actinic trap, switched on and left to its own devices until we returned later.
It was off to the old barn next at Westbrook Hay where we set up another MV, switched it on and then drove to our third and final site at Roughdown Common and started to go about setting up three traps.

Disaster! The generator just wouldn't keep going (I think it needs an oil change) but eventually by tinkering with the choke it was stable. The another mishap and quite a big one at that, my MV Robinson which I use at home....completely dead. We assumed it was the fuse, so Roger kindly nipped back home and returned with a bag of fuses but unfortunately it seemed more terminal (or perhaps just a bulb)..........ironically this morning I expect the worst but plug it in just on the off chance that it may work and Bingo! it worked just like that. Very strange.

With the lack of the highest output bulb we thought it would hamper us, but with a Mercury Blended 160w bulb and a twin 40w Actinic setup I couldn't have been further from the truth.

Apart from netting a few Agoonopterix heracliana's at dusk, the first moth in was a Dotted Chestnut! When Roger got back with the fuses I joked that we could pack up now as that would be the best moth of the night.
I was wrong. About 11pm a moth landed by the trap as we were kneeling down, a quick net and potting acrobats and on inspection it was one of the Pinions, Tawny Pinion! a moth I haven't seen since 2008 and Roger since 2006, a real uncommon moth in the County, super chuffed to say the least!

Roger was also pleased to see a Shoulder-stripe, a moth that has evaded his garden for ten years! The one we caught was at Gadesprings, less than 1/4 of a mile away.

Other moths of note were single of Twin-spotted Quaker, Frosted Green and a really nicely marked Common Quaker.

All in all we managed a grand total of 84 moths of 16 species over the 3 sites.
Not bad going considering that by midnight it was down to about 5 degrees and a clear sky.

Catch Report - 12/04/16 - Gadesprings - Hemel Hempstead - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap and 1x 40w Actinic Trap

Macro Moths

1x Shoulder-stripe
3x Common Quaker
2x Clouded Drab
2x Hebrew Character

Micro Moths

None recorded!

Catch Report - 12/04/16 - Roughdown Common - Hemel Hempstead - 1x 160w MBT Robinson Trap and 1x 80w Actinic Suitcase Trap

Macro Moths

1x Tawny Pinion
1x Dotted Chestnut
1x Satellite
14x Common Quaker
11x Clouded Drab
6x Hebrew Character
1x March Moth
1x Early Grey
1x Early Thorn
3x Small Quaker
1x Double-striped Pug

Micro Moths

1x Diurnea fagella
2x Agonopterix heracliana

Catch Report - 12/04/16 - Westbrook Hay - Hemel Hempstead - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

11x Common Quaker
10x Clouded Drab
6x Hebrew Character
2xTwin-spotted Quaker
1x Frosted Green
1x Small Quaker

Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix arenella

Tawny and Pale Pinion

Frosted Green

Twin-spotted Quaker

Dotted Chestnut

Monday night in the garden

I trapped on Monday night in the garden as the weather looked reasonably ok, mild, calm and overcast.
The return was quite disappointing come the morning where I only found 6 moths.
Best moth was another Pale Pinion, the 3rd i've caught this year alone. 

Catch Report - 11/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Pale Pinion
1x Chestnut
1x Hebrew Character
1x Small Quaker 
Micro Moths

2x Emmelina monodactyla

Pale Pinion

Monday, 11 April 2016

Quality moths but small numbers

Quality over quantity last night with a year first Streamer, one of the prettiest Geometridae species in this Country a moth I missed out on last year.
Also added to the year-list was an Acleris cristana, yet another species that missed out on an appearance in 2015.

Catch Report - 10/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Streamer [NFY]
2x Common Quaker
1x Hebrew Character
1x Early Grey

Micro Moths

1x Acleris cristana [NFY]
2x Emmelina monodactyla

Acleris cristana


Sunday, 10 April 2016

Similar catches and then a beauty bumps ino me in the kitchen!

And I mean a moth and not my wife!
The catches are been a little measly the last two nights I ran the trap (Thursday 7 moths and Friday 8 moths) but has kept me going and at least it hasn't ground to a total halt.

Early Greys seem to be at their peak here with 7 seen over two days. 

Last night the Herts Moth group went out in search of the Northern Drab at it's only known Hertfordshire site near Royston at Therfield Heath, the target species was caught as an individual but nevertheless is enough to prove that it still resides there, great job guys and girls who managed to brave the cold night we had last night...a frost this morning it was that nippy!

Planning other trips this week to see if we can find it at other chalky sites in the County.

Back to the beauty and I thought a fly had bumped into me as I made my way into the kitchen to make my breakfast, the presumed fly headed straight for the window and it looked rather moth-like.

Potted up it was a year-first Esperia sulphurella, I intially thought it was a garden first, but I did catch one last year according to my records. Nevertheless it was a pretty cracking looking specimen.

It must have flown in yesterday when we had the french door open.

Here are my reports...

Catch Report - 07/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

2x Common Quaker
2x Hebrew Character
3x Early Grey

Micro Moths

None recorded!

Catch Report - 08/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Clouded Drab
3x Hebrew Character
2x Early Grey

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla
1x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

+ 2x Early Greys to works security light at Popis Garden - Ware.
1x Espheria sulphurella added to the kitchen list* 

Esperia sulphurella

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Check those hidey holes!

Another night trapping in the garden and another early rise to see what I would be greeted by, plenty was the answer and a good variety of the typical expected Spring-time species.
Best moth of the night was another Pale Pinion, the second this year so far and a completely different moth from the last going on the subtle differences in markings.
I had tallied up 15 moths of 7 species initially this morning but, as you do I checked underneath the tub that shields the electrics for the trap and I finally found where the rest of my Clouded Drabs had ended up! With four just sitting there backed up by a fresh Chestnut...One unfortunately was deceased.

20 moths of 9 species was very pleasing for my tiny garden.

The weather towards the end of the week looks set to be a very mixed bag with some lovely sunny spells and torrential rain as possible with the temperature getting cooler for the night which isn't ideal for mothing.

Catch Report - 05/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Brindled Pug
1x Pale Pinion
5x Common Quaker
3x Hebrew Character
3x Small Quaker
1x Chestnut
4x Clouded Drab
3x March Moth

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla

Clouded Drabs & Chestnut

Pale Pinion

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

New travel net

Just received my new travel net for the new season which is fast approaching!
I bought it from ebay dubiously at the ridiculously small price of £6.59 with free postage.
To say I am impressed is an under-statement! The build quality is superb as is the net which seems thick enough to withstand those pesky bramble bushes.
The net isn't huge and is probably 1/3 of the size of my bigger net, but it is lovely and long and the handle is of a suitable length.
If anyone is interested I will send you the link.
It also took just two weeks to get here.

All set now with another 50 egg trays to replace the battered ones and a new Fenix 120 lumen led torch.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Recent catches in the garden

Hello all, finally got round to updating my catch reports from the last few weeks, with the best catch from last night and finally a little bit more variety which was nice.
The last time I trapped was on Thursday night just before I went to visit some friends in Cardiff, and no I didn't take the trap! But in the Summer I may take it to their new home (well the 40w Actinic anyway) 
We aren't quite into the stable weather yet but it feels like its getting close, and it is also nearly field tripping time, exciting times ahead I hope, particularly as the Herts Moth Group will be running a field trip programme this year.

Right..here is what I have been catching lately, as you can see it has been very mixed results.

Catch Report - 25/03/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

4x Common Quaker
1x Hebrew Character
4x Small Quaker
3x Clouded Drab

Micro Moths

1x Amblyptilia acanthdactyla
1x Agonopteris heracliana 

Catch Report - 28/03/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Hebrew Character
1x Small Quaker

Micro Moths

None recorded!

Catch Report - 30/03/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

2x Common Quaker
1x Hebrew Character

Micro Moths

1x Agonopteris heracliana 

Catch Report - 03/04/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Double-striped Pug [NFY] 
1x Shoulder-stripe [NFY]
2x Brindled Pug
1x Common Quaker
2x Clouded Drab
1x Small Quaker
6x Hebrew Character

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla

Double-striped Pug


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A similar Catch

Last night I ran the Mercury Vapor Robinson trap again as it had been a very pleasant 12 degrees during the day with long intervals of sunshine and little wind, it almost felt warm.

By the evening it was still cloudy and mild, but by 9pm the sky had cleared with a bright moon and all I had for my efforts were two Common Quaker.
By the morning though it was thick cloud again and we had had some rain at some point during the night and at 5c there were more moths than I thought.
Both Early Grey and Brindled Pug were new for year and I finally got a Spring Usher...my latest ever first for the year!

Catch Report - 22/03/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Brindled Pug [NFY]
1x Early Grey [NFY]
1x Spring Usher [NFY]
3x Common Quaker
2x Hebrew Character
1x Small Quaker
3x March Moth

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla
1x Agonopteris heracliana 

Brindled Pug

Early Grey

Monday, 21 March 2016

Pale Pinion heads a healthy haul

Well, this was more like an expected Spring catch this morning..and a bit more!
17 moths of 7 species were counted in and around the trap with 5 new for years.
The night was completely overcast and relatively mild at 10pm it was still 7 degrees, only probably dipping early morning to 4 degrees.
The main reason I think I did better was that the wind was not a problem, in fact there was barely a breath of it last night up until when I went to bed.

Best moth of the night was an annual visitor to my garden but never common, a Pale Pinion.

Catch Report - 20/03/16 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Pale Pinion [NFY]
1x Clouded Drab [NFY]
4x Common Quaker
3x Hebrew Character
3x Small Quaker

Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix alstromeriana [NFY]
2x Agonopteris heracliana [NFY]
1x Diurnea fagella [NFY]
1x Acleris notana/ferrugana

The Macro Catch

Pale Pinion

Agonopteris heracliana

Agonopterix alstromeriana

Diurnea fagella