Welcome

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!

KEY

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
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Esperia sulphurella but not from the garden

Today at work as I was walking back in to the building with a client and a small metallic moth flew up in to my face, I furiously batted it down to the ground and it landed on a low-growing plant, expecting just another Adela reamurella it was an Esperia sulphurella!, I raced in to get a pot and luckily it was still there when I came back.
Although I haven't been actively looking for this moth, this is only the 3rd occasion I have ever seen it so I was pleased to get a better record shot of one.

Interestingly the habitat seems a little out of place for it, being within a stones throw of Hoddesdon town centre next to a busy main road.

Esperia sulphurella














Monday, 14 April 2014

Pleasant and sunny days/Cold bright moon nights

Back to trapping last night, and after a glorious day of warm sunshine and spending most of the afternoon playing outside with my niece and introducing her to a few bugs around the garden...my eagle eyes spotted a year first Adela reamurella dancing about in the sunshine, the wind soon carrying it out of reach (and a pot) into next door's garden....it never came back.
Also active near the house was a garden first Incurvaria masculella....almost too active as it landed once only to confirm it's ID, so I am afraid the following pics are of previous specimens. 

The night trapping was an ultimate failure though...

Catch Report - 13/04/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Brimstone Moth [NFY]
1x Early Grey

Micro Moths 

1x Incurvaria masculella [NFG]
1x Adela reamurella [NFY]
1x Psyche casta [NFY]
1x Eriocrania subpurpurella
1x Phyllonorycter blancardella

Adela reamurella










Brimstone Moth










Pyche casta









Friday, 11 April 2014

Purple Thorn

A quiet'ish night last night with just a Purple Thorn new for year, which was pleasing.
I only got one last year so I am not expecting many more...
Trap having a breather until Sunday night.
Peace out.

Catch Report - 10/04/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Purple Thorn [NFY]
2x Brindled Pug
3x Double-striped Pug
8x Hebrew Character
6x Common Quaker

2x Clouded Drab
1x Nut-tree Tussock
1x Early Grey
1x Streamer


Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla
2x Eriocrania subpurpurella
1x Caloptilia semifascia

Purple Thorn

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Hexton Chalk Pit Field Trip report - 09/04/14


Last night I was joined by Colin Plant and Roger Prue at Hexton Chalk Pit in probably the most North-westerly part of Hertfordshire as we could get, Bedfordshire was literally just over the road.

We of course were in search of Northern Drab and trying to add another site for this rare moth (Having previously been caught the night before on chalk downland..I was hopeful)
But to cut a long story short we didn't find it.
Conditions were perfect, calm cloudy and mild for about an hour after dusk then it noticeably got a lot cooler and coats were zipped up and hats adorned! The sky still stayed thick with cloud.
At about 11.30pm the sky cleared and it was time to start packing up.

Not a huge amount of moths but a nice variety nevertheless with the bulk of the catch made up of Common Quaker's and Hebrew Character's
10 examples of Red Chestnut were also nice to see, one that I haven't had in the garden yet.

The micro's were where the interest was with 2 Agonopterix pallorella's turning up near the end of the session, an over-wintering Agonopterix and were actually last seen in the County at this very site...13 years ago in 2001.
No doubt there may have been a few more records since? But I will have to enquire.

Another little micro that was new for the year was Scrobipalpa acuminatella, which was narrowed down to the early flight season, it was so fresh and very shiny. 

All in all a lovely site, quite compact and easy to set-up traps once you have traversed the 45 degree climb into the pit!


Catch Report - Hexton Chalk Pit - 09/04/14 - 2x 125w MV Robinson Trap, 1x 160w MBT Robinson Trap and 1x 80w Actinic Trap

Lights run from 8.00pm until 12.00am

Macro Moths

28x Common Quaker
2x Double-striped Pug
2x Water Carpet
14x Hebrew Character
2x Purple Thorn
4x Nut-tree Tussock
10x Red Chestnut
1x Early Thorn
1x Waved Umber
5x Clouded Drab
1x Small Quaker
1x Chestnut

Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix pallorella [NEW!]
1x Scrobipalpa acuminatella
1x Agonopterix alstromeriana

1x Mompha subbistrigella














Agonopterix pallorella













Nut-tree Tussock










Scrobipalpa acuminatella


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cool and chilly nights abound

A much reduced catch this morning, but Spruce Carpet and Eriocrania subpurpurella made it on the year list which was a bonus.
Stigmella aurella was also observed at dusk flying around recently exited mines on my 'left to grow' Bramble at the bottom of the garden, as an adult this is new for the garden.
I am hopefully going out tonight to either Therfield Heath or Hexton Chalk Pit to search for Northern Drab....2 were caught last night the first County records since 1985! Our County moth recorder managed to do it so really pleased for him.

Catch Report - 08/04/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Spruce Carpet [NFY]
1x Brindled Pug
1x Double-striped Pug
8x Hebrew Character
9x Common Quaker 

1x Small Quaker
1x Clouded Drab
1x Nut-tree Tussock
4x Early Grey
1x Early Thorn

Micro Moths

1x Stigmella aurella [NFG]
2x Eriocrania subpurpurella [NFY]
1x Agonopterix heracliana

Spruce Carpet











Eriocrania subpurpurella

Sunday, 6 April 2014

March - A brief comparison between 2013/2014

Well not really much to compare really.
After a really chilly and cold Winter, March 2013 was really cool compared to this March which had temperatures above average, thus presenting more trapping opportunities and more moths to show for it.
Last year Common Quaker, Small Quaker and Clouded Drab did not show until late April!

Below is a summary of the species caught in both March 2013/2014

March 2013 














March 2014


Friday, 4 April 2014

Another garden first...what a beauty!


Well I seem to have escaped any of the April fool's shenanigans this year...4 days already into April it really is frightening how quickly the year is going already.
Though they say the months go bye faster the older you get, so in comparison to most moth'ers mine must be just trickling by at the moment! Sorry for my stereo-typical moment there!
It really is hard to get the younger generation interested in things other than I this and E that (ipad and err something else).
Back to moths
Pine Beauty was a lovely new moth for the garden, I have been expecting one of these, as about 200ish metres down the bridlepath we have a small conifer plantation.
New for year were Streamer (which wouldn't stay still for it's photo-shoot so a pot shot is all I can offer) and the micro Caloptilia semifascia.
Apart from that it was business as usual.

Catch Report - 03/04/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Pine Beauty [NFG] 
1x Streamer [NFY]
3x Brindled Pug
3x Double-striped Pug
9x Hebrew Character
14x Common Quaker 

4x Small Quaker
6x Clouded Drab
3x Chestnut
1x Early Grey
1x Early Thorn
1x Twin-spotted Quaker

Micro Moths

1x Caloptilia semifascia [NFY]
1x Emmelina monodactyla


Caloptilia semifascia










Pine Beauty











Streamer

Extra photos from Hay Wood and Gadesprings Field Trip - 02/04/14

Hi all

Just some macro shots of some of the other species we caught on Wednesday night.
The Eriocrania, I think is Eriocrania sangii, but waiting for confirmation.

Moth retained and awaiting dissection as it could be semipurpurella.

Perhaps you can help?

Eriocrania sangii?








 
Oak-tree Pug









Pale Pinion










Shoulder-stripe









Water Carpet


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Hay Wood and Gadesprings Field Trip report - 02/04/14

Hello all.
Last night I was joined by David and Steve for our first trapping session on the Boxmoor Trust's land.
The ensuing conditions were perfect with a good amount of cloud cover present and temperatures holding up at dusk at about 15 degrees.
The only niggle was that damn breeze, which thankfully did drop as the night progressed.

David had already set-up three traps at Gadesprings earlier on, so the plan was to use four traps at Hay Wood and at the Old Barn, then go back to Gadesprings after we had finished.

Setting up 3 different traps throughout the wood and leaving one out on an exposed position near the barn, we were all set and ready for the deluge.

The moths did come, sparingly at first with a spankingly fresh Water Carpet being the first moth in, Brindled Pugs, Diurnea fagella's and Common Quakers followed.
We fared much better this year compared to last year where we had our first trapping session over 3 weeks later than this date, and were catching pretty much the same species, although last year was very odd.
See HERE for last years report.
It was very nice to see so many Water Carpets again, last year we managed about 10, this year we easily trumped that with 20+ individuals.
Also the freshest Waved Umber I have ever seen graced the side of the trap near the Old Barn.

Species of note included 3 Shoulder-stripe, 1 immaculate Purple Thorn and a year first Pale Pinion, which was found sitting in the long grass near the trap at the Old Barn.

So onto the list of moths recorded.

Catch Report - Hay Wood (Westbrook Hay) - 02/04/14 - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap, 1x 160w MBT Robinson Trap and 1x 80w Actinic Trap

Lights run from 7.50pm until 11.30pm

262 moths of 28 species
Macro Moths

20+ Water Carpet
5x Clouded Drab
9x Small Quaker
13x Hebrew Character
15x Engrailed
1x Satellite
97x Common Quaker
8x Early Thorn
8x Chestnut
18x Brindled Pug
14x March Moth
3x Shoulder-stripe
1x Waved Umber
3x Nut-tree Tussock
5x Early Grey
1x Red-green Carpet
2x Oak Nycteoline
1x Spruce Carpet
2x Oak Beauty
1x Double-striped Pug
1x Purple Thorn
1x Pale Pinion
1x Twin-spotted Quaker

Micro Moths

22x Diurnea fagella
5x Eriocrania subpurpurella
1x Eriocrania semipurpurella
2x Agonopterix heracliana
2x Agonopterix arenella

--------------------------------------------------------------

Catch Report - Gadesprings (Watercress Beds) - 02/04/14 - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap, 1x 40w Lucent Briefcase Trap and 1x 40w Actinic/26w Blacklight Trap

Lights run from Dusk until 12.00am

95 moths of 13 species

Macro Moths

5x Clouded Drab
4x Small Quaker
2x Hebrew Character
1x Engrailed
71x Common Quaker
2x Early Thorn
3x Brindled Pug
1x Early Grey
2x Oak Beauty
1x Double-striped Pug
1x Dotted Chestnut
1x Oak-tree Pug

Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix heracliana


Phone pics first as have yet to take other photos!


125w MV Robinson overlooking
ancient woodland at Westbrook Hay









Waved Umber








Dotted Chestnut

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Last night of the month yields something special....

With all the moths from the previous two nights still in pots, I set the trap up again under cloudy and still conditions.
We did get a spattering of rain during the night though and this morning clear and still 7 degrees.
among the usual new for year's were Early Thorn (2), Alucita hexadactyla (2) and Agonopterix alstromeriana (1) but as I turned over the second to last egg tray, wht's that tiny moth...
Agonopterix purpurea, quick pot!
This is why I was excited, it is my first Hertfordshire record and only my second one, I previously caught one way back in 2009 at Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex.
Post HERE
Other than that bit of exciement it was the usual Orthosias, although all my moaning of no Early Grey's diminished last night with another 4 added to the year total!

Catch Report - 31/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

2x Early Thorn [NFY] 
3x Brindled Pug
6x Double-striped Pug
10x Hebrew Character
13x Common Quaker 

6x Small Quaker
2x Clouded Drab
3x Chestnut
1x Oak Beauty
4x Early Grey
1x Satellite

Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix purpurea [NFG]
1x Agonopterix alstromeriana [NFY]
2x Alucita hexadactyla [NFY]
2x Emmelina monodactyla
1x Diurnea fagella

Early Greys










Agonopterix purpurea











Early Thorn











Alucita hexadactyla










Agonopterix alstromeriana

Monday, 31 March 2014

More species, less moths

A great catch last night and a few to bang the head against the wall with!
Firstly a Caloptilia which resembles both betulicola and elongella, photo later, but may need to be dissected.
betulicola due to the huge amounts of Birch in the vicinity.

Secondly a Phyllonorycter that I have no clue on, and looks different to the species I have already recorded in the garden, which looks to me now like blancardella.
Another Early Grey makes it my whole second one for the year! 6 Double-striped Pugs was noteworthy for my garden.

Another Lead-coloured Drab, makes it 3 for the year so far (none last year).
New for the year were Nut-tree Tussock (1), Brindled Pug (2), Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (2),
Tinea pellionella (1) and the above 2 micros to identify.

I look forward to hopefully going out on a field trip on Wednesday night as the weather looks to stay mild at present.

Catch Report - 30/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Nut-tree Tussock [NFY] 
2x Brindled Pug [NFY]
6x Double-striped Pug 
1x Lead-coloured Drab
10x Hebrew Character
14x Common Quaker 

11x Small Quaker
2x Clouded Drab
1x Chestnut

Micro Moths

1x Phyllonorycter blancardella [NFG]
1x Tinea pellionella [NFY]
1x Caloptilia betulicola [NFG]
1x Agonopterix heracliana 
2x Mompha subbistrigella
1x Emmelina monodactyla
5x Diurnea fagella


Brindled Pug









Caloptilia betulicola











Lead-coloured Drab












Nut-tree Tussock











Phyllonorycter blancardella

Sunday, 30 March 2014

DSP'S and an LCD

Abbreviations aside, 3 Double-striped Pugs were new for the year this morning, only one was in good condition with the other two quite tatty.
Also my second Lead-coloured Drab for the garden was noted, a larger example this time.

Minimum temperature last night was around 8 degrees, and the nights could get better later on next week with maybe some much needed cloud cover.
Day time temperature continue to rise and 20 degrees is expected across the South-east today, possibly 22c by Monday.

Catch Report - 29/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

3x Double-striped Pug [NFY]
1x Lead-coloured Drab
9x Hebrew Character
2x Common Quaker
1x Oak Beauty
6x Small Quaker

2x Clouded Drab
3x Chestnut

Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix heracliana 
1x Emmelina monodactyla
2x Diurnea fagella


Lead-coloured Drab












Double-striped Pug

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Garden forage yields Grey Shoulder-knot

Today in the garden, and whilst tidying the limited borders I have in my postage stamp sized garden...a Grey Shoulder-knot resting on the fence post behind one of our bushes.
Also a suspected Eriocrania sp flying in the sunshine, but alas no net!

18 degrees out there now....Trap on tonight I think.

Grey Shoulder-knot 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A few updates

Two more catches to update my blog with.
One was from Wednesday last week, where a good variety of moths were trapped alas no new species for the year, still oly the one Early Grey so far this year!

Last night I tried again, after the previous morning's ice-scraping shenanigans it was back to a milder night (5c min) but with it came the rain.
Less variety though but with a similiar amount of individuals.


Catch Report - 19/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

14x Hebrew Character
20x Common Quaker
1x Oak Beauty
6x Small Quaker
3x Clouded Drab

1x Chestnut

Micro Moths

3x Agonopterix heracliana 
1x Emmelina monodactyla
3x Diurnea fagella

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Catch Report - 24/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

20x Hebrew Character
13x Common Quaker 

4x Small Quaker
1x Clouded Drab

Micro Moths

1x Diurnea fagella

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

That's not a Common Quaker!

Another splendid catch of 46 moths, the highest so far in one night for the garden. 
Both Hebrew Character (16) and Common Quaker (21) dominated the catch this morning, with a smattering of the other usual spring-time species
Highlight of the mornings foraging was a garden first Lead-coloured Drab which immediately stood out again from the last time I was catching them, over 2 years ago on the farm!


All moths will be released from last night and the previous night and I shall have a break tonight.


 Catch Report - 17/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Lead-coloured Drab [NFG]
16x Hebrew Character
21x Common Quaker
1x March Moth
3x Small Quaker
2x Clouded Drab

Micro Moths

2x Agonopterix heracliana 

Lead-coloured Drab


Monday, 17 March 2014

Hebrews boost in numbers

A good catch but pretty samey, with an increase of Hebrew Character which seem to be having a good year in my garden.
Only new moth for the year was a pretty Engrailed.
I still have one Agonopterix heracliana to check, as I managed to pot one of them up before they both flew off!


 Catch Report - 16/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Engrailed [NFY]
16x Hebrew Character
4x Chestnut
5x Common Quaker
1x March Moth
1x Small Quaker
1x Oak Beauty

Micro Moths

1x Diurnea fagella 
2x Agonopterix heracliana 


Engrailed

Friday, 14 March 2014

New homemade trap

Just thought I would show all of you my (or should I say our) new trap.
It is another 125w MV trap which is rather on the light side and will no doubt become invaluable on our trips out this year.

It comprises of David's electrics (Thanks David) a large plastic storage container with a circular hole cut in the top, then fitted with an upturned lamp shade, then the brass bulb holder screwing into that.
The rain guard was a spare part from Angleps and cost £9, although the long screws and wingnuts had to be purchased seperately from Homebase.
It was also pretty easy to wire up for an amateur like me.



Foggy but productive

I set the trap up last night on another clear sky, this seems to be the norm at the moment and with that bright moon over half way through the night it can't be helping.
Also every morning we have had patchy fog with temperatures close to frezing, this morning was no different.
But alas two new species for the year were recorded, Twin-spotted Quaker and Diurnea fagella with 21 moths of 7 species in total.

Catch Report - 13/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Twin-spotted Quaker [NFY]
7x Hebrew Character
4x Chestnut
2x Clouded Drab
3x Common Quaker
2x Satellite
2x March Moth

Micro Moths

1x Diurnea fagella [NFY]


Twin-spotted Quaker











Hebrew Character










Diurnea fagella

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Early rise for an Early Grey

Yes that's right, I was up at 6am again this morning, ready to count a few moths....few being the right word indeed as it was quite chilly last night and 5 degrees this morning with a blustery wind.
With the moths still in pots from the previous night, I managed 14 moths in total with 8 of them being Hebrew Character's
That is 16 Hebrew Character's in two nights and the most I have ever recorded in two consecutive nights.

The trap will have a rest tonight.

Catch Report - 10/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Early Grey [NFY]
8x Hebrew Character
1x Chestnut
2x Clouded Drab
2x Common Quaker

Micro Moths

None Recorded!


Early Grey













Hebrew Character



Monday, 10 March 2014

O what a beautiful day! the night wasn't bad either....

A lovely sunny and warm day, and perfect to go to Church and see my niece get christened. We had a heady 19 degrees on the car coming home which may have been about right as they had predicted at least 17 degrees for the day.
The trap was once again put on at a slightly later time of 6.20pm (yes those days are slowly drawing out!)
This morning i was still 7 degrees with a slight nip in the air as the skies were clear all night.

In and around the trap were plenty of moths, all 37 of them, including year firsts of Clouded Drab (2) and Small Quaker (7), this now pushes me up to 20 species of moth for the year.

I also caught 4 Agonopterix heracliana, which will be once again checked for the 'other one'.

Edit: Yes all heracliana, with just the one prominent band on the cilia of the hindwing.


Catch Report - 09/03/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

2x Clouded Drab [NFY]
7x Small Quaker [NFY]
8x Hebrew Character

3x March Moth
2x Chestnut

4x Oak Beauty
7x Common Quaker

Micro Moths

4x Agonopterix heracliana

Clouded Drab













Small Quaker