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

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A big surprise!

A much better variety of moths last night with new for year Shuttle-shaped Dart and Phyllonorycter messaniella.
Also another Brimstone and Waved Umber turned up, it really is slim pickings at the moment.
But it was all worth it!
Biggest surprise was a Male Lime Hawk-moth, my earliest by 34 days! A garden first. 

I also observed 2 Adela reamurella in one of the bushes whilst watering the plants this afternoon.

Catch Report - 22/04/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Lime Hawk-moth [NFG]
1x Shuttle-shaped Dart [NFY]
1x Early Grey
1x Hebrew Character
1x Brindled Pug
1x Brimstone Moth

1x Waved Umber

Micro Moths 

1x Phyllonorycter messaniella [NFY]
2x Emmelina monodactyla
1x Mompha subbistrigella 

Waved Umber

Lime Hawk-moth

Shuttle-shaped Dart

Phyllonorycter messaniella

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

That's the way mothing goes...

I will stay brief (well as brief as the catch was last night) with just 3 moths last night to my trap in not exactly unfavorably cloudy conditions, albeit a little wet at times.

I did manage to get the Elachista photographed and identified, it being an Elachista apicipunctella, a new one for the garden.
Thanks to Bill for correct identification.

Macro Moths

1x Common Quaker
1x Hebrew Character

Micro Moths 

1x Epiphyas postvittana

Elachista apicipunctella


Monday, 21 April 2014

Hidden Herald

Whilst gardening again today, I found a lovely Herald moth skulking amongst the brambles in the alleyway, a year tick for the garden.
Also plenty of other insect action with Brimstone, Orange-tip, 2 Mompha subbistrigella and a very pretty Elachista species which has been put in the fridge now because it was going potty and far too active for a photo.


Puss Moth emerges!

One of 3 that made it to the pupa stage (1 didn't make it during the caterpillar stage) hatched on the evening of the 19th of April between 5 and 8pm.
A lovely Male with huge feathery antennae.

Thanks go to Graeme Smith for saving me some eggs.

This year's rearing will be Emperor Moths, kindly donated by Colin Plant, which have yet to hatch.

Puss Moth rearing in pictures.

A new home

2nd Instar

3rd Instar

1st Instar

4th Instar

Saturday, 19 April 2014

A quiet time trapping

Not a huge amount to write home about from Thursday night's catch after a few cold nights break it was to be a reduced catch with just 3 new moths for the year, singles of Oak-tree Pug, Waved Umber and Epiphyas postvittana
The next few nights could be wet... we shall see.

Catch Report - 17/04/14 - Back Garden Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Oak-tree Pug [NFY]
1x Waved Umber [NFY]
1x Early Grey
4x Hebrew Character
3x Common Quaker
1x Nut-tree Tussock
1x Brindled Pug
1x Clouded Drab
1x Double-striped Pug

Micro Moths 

2x Epiphyas postvittana [NFY]
1x Emmelina monodactyla

Epiphyas postvittana

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Two more day-fliers

Another duo of year first Micro's found flying in the garden this evening.
Interestingly I have found that the best way to find them is to water the garden with a watering can, thus disturbing them and quickly potting them up.

The Phyllonorycter is Phyllonorycter coryli, narrowed down by several Hazel leaves I found last year in the garden, some of which had exited mines in them, a first in adult form for the garden.

The other micro was Epermenia chaerophyllella, a moth I caught once last year.

Trapping tonight after a few cold nights off, at the moment we have cloud cover!

Epermenia chaerophyllella

Phyllonorycter coryli

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


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


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.
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