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 here in Hertfordshire and enjoy doing field trips to various localities within Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

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

Herts Recent Notables and Rarities Reported

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Bramfield Woods - Field Trip - 09/05/21

I joined Trevor at Bramfield Woods on Sunday night, after a warmish day of around 18 degrees.
 
The night was threatening rain from the South-west, but with a gentle breeze and no rain whilst setting up, it was either not going to reach us in time, or we would get wet for a long time sat under calm conditions.
The rain, or drizzle in fact, started at around 10.30pm, nearly 2 hours after lights on and made things a bit soggy, by half eleven we started to slowly pack up and finished bang on midnight, just when the deluge came, we couldn't have timed it better!
I still had generator issues, with one playing up again... it might need fully stripping down at some point.
All in all, a really good session and a great variety of moths were recorded albeit in relatively small numbers.
Highlight of the night of course had to go to, at least 15 Gravitarmarta margoratana, which were in all 3 of my traps and one of Trevor's. This is still the only site for this rare moth in Herts, and I believe is in 4 Counties now (Suffolk, Kent, Hertfordshire and now Essex as of the other day). 

When the weather picks up again, we shall be back.


Catch Report - Bramfield Woods - Central Herts - 09/05/21 - 6 traps - 2x 250w Clear Tubular MV Robinson Trap, 2x 125w Clear MV Trap, 1x MV Trap, 1x 160w MBT Trap

30 Macro Moth species & 27 Micro Moth species - 57 species in total

Macro Moths
 
Angle Shades 1
Barred Hook-tip 2
Brindled Pug 10
Chestnut 2
Common Quaker 4
Coxcomb Prominent 1
Dwarf Pug 5
Engrailed 1
Frosted Green 2
Hebrew Character 2
Pebble Prominent 1
Least Black Arches 5
Lesser Swallow Prominent 1
Lunar Marbled Brown 5
Maiden's Blush 2
Nut-tree Tussock 5
Oak-tree Pug 2
Oak Nycteoline 1
Orange Footman 1
Pale Tussock 6
Pebble Hook-tip 3
Pine Beauty 2
Pine Hawk-moth 1
Purple Thorn 2
Scalloped Hook-tip 2
Scorched Carpet 1
Seraphim 1
Spruce Carpet 1
Twin-spotted Quaker 1
Waved Umber 1
Micro Moths Acleris notana/ferrugana 1
Adela reamurella 3
Alucita hexadactyla 2
Carpatolechia proximella 1
Cochylis atricapitana 1
Dyseriocrania subpurpurella 12
Elachista argentella 1
Elachista rufocinerea 8
Epinotia immundana 6
Esperia sulphurella 1
Gravitarmarta margoratana 15
Hysterophora maculosana 1
Incurvaria masculella 1
Nematopogon swammerdamella 3
Pammene argyrana 3
Parornix sp 2
Phyllonorycter harrisella 2
Phyllonorycter messaniella 1
Phyllonorycter tenerella 1
Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella 1
Phylloporia bistrigella 1
Plutella xylostella 8
Pseudoswammerdamia combinella 1
Semioscopsis steinkelleriana 3
Stigmella betulicola 1
Syndemis musculana 5
Tinea trinotella 1
 
250w Clar MV Robinson Trap

160w MBT Trap

Carpatolechia proximella

Cochylis atricapitana

Dwarf Pug

Gravitarmata margarotana

Pammene argyrana

Phyllonorycter harrisella

Phylloporia bistrigella

Scalloped Hook-tip

 

Monday, 10 May 2021

Latest from the garden trap

Meagre catches are still being had in my garden here in Stevenage, North Herts, averaging just 4 species per trap outing. At least one new for year has appeared each time. 

I did however observe a male Incurvaria masculella flying in the sunshine at the bottom of the garden on Sunday, along with a Pyrausta aurata, that found itself inside my FUNEBRANA Lure trap, maybe accidental, who knows! Both were new for the year.

Highlight on Saturday night was not one, but 6 Elachista apicipunctella, an explosion for not a very common moth here in Herts.
I have 3 garden records, and not seen since 2016.
I tried to make some of them into albifrontella (without the third apical white blotch/dot) but failed.

Last night yielded a Toadflax Brocade which was nice.
 
Last but not least, yesterday my 3 year old found a hunking great caterpillar in the garden, a surpise Oak Eggar. This was a new moth for my garden only last year, it was a female. Maybe she laid eggs in the garden? who knows.

Moth species for 2021 in the garden now stands at 43.

08/05/21 - Back Garden - Stevenage - North Herts - 125w Clear MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

Common Quaker 1
Double-striped Pug 1
Hebrew Character 1
 
Micro Moths
 
Elachista apicipunctella 6 [NFY]
Plutella xylostella 3 [NFY]

08/05/21 - Back Garden - Stevenage - North Herts -Daytime Finds

Incurvaria masculella 1 [NFY]
Pyrausta aurata (to FUN lure) 1 [NFY]
 
08/05/21 - Back Garden - Stevenage - North Herts - 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

Toadflax Brocade 1 [NFY]
Brindled Pug 5
 
Micro Moths
 
Emmelina monodactyla 1
Epiphyas postvittana 3
 
 
 
Toadflax Brocade

Pyrausta aurata to FUN lure

Oak Eggar

Elachista apicipunctella

Elachista apicipunctella's


Friday, 7 May 2021

Warming up!

But getting wetter, tomorrow that is.
 
Today on my lunch break, I had a half hour wandering around the wildflower areas where I work, I am very fortunate to work where I do, and to enjoy my hobby inbetween jobs.

7 species was very pleasing, the usual early season day-flying set, if a few weeks behind during a delayed Spring that we seem to be experiencing this year.
 
Some of them were very lively, so photographing them was hit & miss!
 
Bishop's Stortford, East Herts - 07/05/21

Elachista rufocinerea
Epiblema sticticana
Incurvaria masculella
Mother Shipton
Nematopogon swammerdamella
Phyllonorycter quercifoliella
Tischeria ekebladella

Tischeria ekebladella

Elachista rufocinerea

Epiblema sticticana

Incurvaria masculella

Mother Shipton

Nematopogon swammerdamella

Phyllonorycter quercifoliella


Monday, 3 May 2021

Narrowing windows for opportunity, 'May' it be better soon?

Well the weather has still, been far from anywhere near perfect for moths. As I type, the rain is coming down hard, and the wind is whipping up, so no light on tonight.
The rain we most definitely need, just not all at once otherwise it will just run off the dry and baked soil.

Last night it was a minimum of 6 degrees, so I tried again in desperation.

There were 6 moths of 5 species in and around the trap with two new ones added to the year list, Frosted Green and Shuttle-shaped Dart.
Things are so far behind, that there were two fresh Early Grey's, these are usually finished here now!

Moth species for 2021 in the garden now stands at 38.

02/05/21 - Back Garden - Stevenage - North Herts - 125w Clear MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

Frosted Green 1 [NFY]
Shuttle-shaped Dart 1 [NFY]
Double-striped Pug 1
Early Grey 2
 
Micro Moths
 
Amblyptilia acanthadactyla 1
 
Frosted Green

Shuttle-shaped Dart

 

Friday, 30 April 2021

A car full of cones..

 ..has yielded no emergences so far from any Pine feeding Tortrix moths.
The large box full of Scots Pine, Norway Spruce, Cedar of Lebanon and Larch cones, have been in my car for 3 weeks now, to see what may or may not emerge from them.
So far, nothing, but it is early days yet, and possible species such as Cydia conicolana, Cydia illutana and Cydia strobilella are only just coming on the wing.
I've also had some pheremone lures out for illutana & pactolana, with no luck yet.
 
So you can imagine my shock when, as I was watering some Rose bushes at work (Because things are starting to wilt after a drought-like April) I noticed something crawling on the ground next to a Norway Spruce cone, directly under a rather large Norway Spruce tree where the Rose bushes were.
 
I first thought it was a beetle, as it glinted in the hazy sunshine. A scrabble for a pot in my pocket and as soon as I got closer I could see it was one of the species I was hoping to see, Cydia strobilella.
 
This is only my 3rd record, with 2 individuals on the 8th of May 2016 in the far West of the County of Hertfordshire, this time i'm in the far East of the County.
 
A tricky little moth to photograph being quite small and pale, with extremely delicate markings.
 
Bishop's Stortford, East Hertfordshire 
 
Cydia strobilella

 

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

We keep on trying, during very trying times!

The garden MV trap was out again last night here in Stevenage, and I also popped the Actinic out at work on a timer.
At home, I recorded 7 moths of 7 species, again testament at how poor the return is recently with singles of each species turning up.
This date last year I recorded 30 moths of 19 species! Double the species i've had during the whole of April on just a single night, quite remarkable.
 
Still, it wasn't all bad, with two species added to the year list.

At work, I got a big fat 'why did I bother' .. truly shocking.

The conditions weren't that bad really, slightly milder and breezy and not dipping below 6c.

I'll be back to daytime finds for awhile I think! Roll on Spring... or Summer

Moth species for 2021 in the garden now stands at 36.

27/04/21 - Back Garden - Stevenage - North Herts - 125w Clear MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

Streamer 1 [NFY]
Common Quaker 1 
Double-striped Pug 1
Hebrew Character 1
Nut-tree Tussock 1
 
Micro Moths
  
Dyseriocrania subpurpurella 1 
Amblyptilia acanthadactyla 1

Dyseriocrania subpurpurella

Streamer


Saturday, 24 April 2021

The current state affairs with moths in my garden

Lets reflect back to the last two years, I quote a post from my blog on the 25/04/20 
 
''On this date last year, I was only on 55 species! So I am now 25 species ahead in 2020!
Garden species count for 2020 now upto 80.''
 
Currently this year, after adding 3 species today (2 last night) i'm on 34 for the year so a marked difference indeed.
My current theory is that the ground is rock hard, not allowing a lot of the Noctuid moths in particular, to emerge from their underground pupa.
This fits well with an Angle Shades that turned up last night, with just one wing, the other crumpled beyond repair. Could it have struggled to get out of the baked clay that makes up 90% of our surface soil around here?
The other moth was a smart Brimdled Beauty, already showing signs of flight wear though.
 
2 moths of 2 species under clear skies and 3c to my 15w Synergetic/15w Actinic trap.

The 3rd species was a bonus moth, found flying through our kitchen door this evening! an Epermenia chaerophyllella, a common moth here throughtout the year having two broods.
 
It's got to get better soon people, hasn't it?

Moth species for 2021 in the garden now stands at 34. 

Stevenage, North Herts
 
Angle Shades

Brindled Beauty

Epermenia chaerophyllella

 
 
 

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Moths at work - 19/04/21

As it was a fairly mild day on Monday, I decided to pop the work Actinic trap out and go through it in the morning upon my arrival.
The night dropped to around 6c, so not too cold but cold enough.
It wasn't a great catch, but far better than bothering with the home trap under the same conditions (As there is far more habitat where I work).
12 moths of 8 species were noted, with a fresh Muslin Moth the best.
 
The rest of this week and into the weekend just does not look warm enough for mothing sadly, with regular lows of 1c.
 
19/04/21 - Work - Bishop's Stortford - East Herts - 40w Actinic + 15w Twin Synergetic/Actinic Trap

Macro Moths

Double-striped Pug 1
Early Grey 1
Hebrew Character 2
Muslin Moth 1
Nut-tree Tussock 1
Red Chestnut 1

Micro Moths

Amblyptilia acanthdactyla 1
Emmelina monodactyla 4
 
Muslin Moth

Red Chestnut

 
 

The onslaught is only just beginning...

Not the moths in general, o no... it's far too cold for them.
 
I'm talking about the rather attractive little micro-moth Cameraria ohridella, a moth that was new to the UK as recent as 2002, and has since spread and affected hundreds of thousands of Horse-chestnut trees up and down the Country.
The affected tree where I work has only just come into leaf, ready for the caterpillars to impregnate them.
 
In a few weeks time, the sky will be filled with these tiny destructive little moths as they dance around in the sunshine
Later, the larvae will turn the leaves a ghastly crumpled up mess, but as far as we know so far, this doesn't affect the health of the tree. A few studies would suggest.
 
Bishop's Stortford - East Herts 
 
Cameraria ohridella

Horse-chestnut Tree

 


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Bramfield Woods - Field Trip - 20/04/21

With not much cooking in the garden, it was time to head to the woods again.
 
With a warm day hovering at around 18c and dominant cloud cover by the afternoon, it felt quite humid, and I was sure it would be a bumper session as cloud was predicted overnight for the most part of it.
Well they got it wrong...again!
 
The cloud was gone by the time I had pulled the cord on the generator and I was left with a bright 'Waxing Gibbous' of a moon overhead.
The temperature did hold up until around 11pm, when it got deathly cold and by the time I had packed up at midnight it was just 5 degrees.
The moths were extremely slow to come to any of the lights, I found myself pacing around just waiting for them to arrive. On this date two years ago, we recorded over 200 moths of 53 species, alas it wasn't to be that good, but a pleasing 25 species were recorded over 3 and a half hours of lights on.

I think I was also a little early for any of the specialist pine feeders.

Highlights included a some really fresh moths, Powdered Quaker, and a Brown Silver-line that almost looked like it was fresh out of the mold, the foodplant Bracken is abundant here.

It was also great to see a dark form of the Least Black Arches, not a common moth for me.

On the micro front, a Eriocrania species will need to be dissected (probably sangii) and one of my faves, just for it's mouthful of a name, Semioscopsis steinkelleriana.

The weather this Spring really has been against us here in the East, it hasn't ever felt like it's got going yet.

There were no generator woes this time thankfully!

Below is the list.

Catch Report - Bramfield Woods - Central Herts - 20/04/21 - 4 traps - 1x 250w Clear Tubular MV Robinson Trap, 1x 125w Clear MV Trap,1x 160w MBT Trap, 1x Twin 15w Actinic/Synergetic tube Trap

Macro Moths
 
Brindled Pug 12
Brown Silver Line 1
Chestnut 1
Clouded Drab 2
Common Quaker 5
Early Grey 2
Engrailed 1
Frosted Green 14
Hebrew Character 3
Least Black Arches 2
Lunar Marbled Brown 8
Nut-tree Tussock 1
Pine Beauty 1
Powdered Quaker 1
Purple Thorn 2
Red Chestnut 2
Small Quaker 4
Twin-spotted Quaker 2 

Micro Moths

Acleris literana 1
Diurnea fagella 1
Dyseriocrania subpurpurella 11
Emmelima monodactyla 1
Eriocrania sangii sp 1
Phyllonorycter messaniella 2
Semioscopsis steinkelleriana 2
 
125w Clear MV Robinson Trap and the 160w MBT Trap in the background

Acleris literana

Actinic Trap

Brown Silver-line

Dyseriocrania subpurpurella f.fastuosella

Eriocrania pos sangii TBC

Least Black Arches

Powdered Quaker

Semioscopsis steinkelleriana

 

Monday, 19 April 2021

Moth species no.31 for the year (indoors)

Moth trapping in my North Hertfordshire garden has been really poor this last week, with me lighting up just 3 times in 9 days, Two of the occasions I only managed one moth at a time! the other session was hardly any better (Just 4 moths of 3 species).
Not one has been new for the year either... i'll keep trying now and then, but it's a bit futile at the moment, with warm days and stone cold nights.
 
As I was just getting ready for bed, I spied something on the ceiling.. usually these are spiders or flies, and very rarely moths, but this time it was indeed a moth, and o dear, a Brown House Moth!
 
Still, who was I to be sniffing at a new for year species! 
 
I have also had conirmation back of my suspected Caloptilia honoratella's from my garden, courtesy of Colin Plant and Graeme Smith. 3 were dissected and came back as honoratella (3 last year and 1 last year) all from my garden!

Moth species for 2021 in the garden now stands at 31. 
 
Stevenage, North Herts
 

 


Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Troublesome Twitchy Tinea's

Tinea moths, my goodness... are rock hard to photograph.
I found this suspected Tinea bisselliella at one of our community centres in Bishop's Stortford yesterday (12/04/21), it was sitting by the lit emergency light above the front door, and if correct (which I think it is) will be my 1698th (or there abouts) species for the UK across 4 Counties (Beds, Herts, Essex and Cambs).
 
I fridged the specimen for a few hours, tried to photograph it... no luck. So it was fridged for the night and today another attempt at getting it to pose and sit still, another fail despite tapping it gently, it just kept running around.
 
Of course, I wasn't going to give up, in the fridge again and out again, tapped it onto my background and cupped my hands around the vial to obscure the brightness and gently peeked in, and yes it had settled! pot lifted off ever so gently and it ran off again!! Gaaah.

It took me 4 times of the above method to get it to sit still for, I reckon 20 seconds at best, enough time to fire off a few shots.

To say i'm chuffed, would be an understatement.

This Tinea is quite uncommon nowadays despite it's vernacular name of 'Common Clothes Moth'.



 

 


Saturday, 10 April 2021

Coldest Spring for 20 years possible?

Well, night time temperatures for sure! Only a few nights here has it been above 8 degrees, mean night-time temperature for the first part of April has been between -4c and 5c, utterly rubbish for moths in my garden.
I now sit 16 species down on last years balmy lockdown Spring, things should pick up soon hopefully.

I am however lucky to work at a cemetery with lots of open green space and on my lunch break on Friday, I took a litter-picker and a few pots and picked up some rubbish around the place, tapping a few Yew and Holly hedges as I went along
I was rewarded with a site first Gracillaria syringella that was disturbed from a mature Holly hedge.

Gracillaria syringella


Saturday, 3 April 2021

Latest from the garden trap

Far too cold at present, with frosts due over the start of the coming week, I did however run my trap on Wednesday night and did get a smattering a moths.
Best of all was an interesting Caloptilia sp, which is probably honoratella, with a couple more from last year to dissect.
It was also pleasing to find not one, but two Nut-tree Tussocks, and of both forms as well. The melanic form isn't common in my garden.

Moth species for 2021 in the garden now stands at 30.

31/03/21 - Back Garden - Stevenage - North Herts - 125w Clear MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

Nut-tree Tussock 2 - [NFY]
Clouded Drab 1
Early Grey 4
Hebrew Character 3
Small Quaker 5
 
Micro Moths
  
Caloptilia prob honoratella 1 [NFY]
 
Caloptilia prob honoratella

Nut-tree Tussocks

Nut-tree Tussock

Nut-tree Tussock