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

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

 

Friday, 2 April 2021

Moths at work - 31/03/21

I left two traps on at work on Wednesday night afer a fairly muggy afternoon strimming.
 
Upon leaving work it felt very humid, and I was sure that I would get a few moths.
The temperature did drop overnight and it felt rather chilly upon arrival to sort through the first trap with my collegue.
A good selection of moths were noted and writen down, and then photographed on my tea break.
 
Highlights were a lovely fresh Early Thorn and yet another Acleris literana.
 
31/03/21 - Work - Bishop's Stortford - East Herts - 40w Actinic + 15w Twin Synergetic/Actinic Trap and 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

Clouded Drab 2
Common Quaker 10
Double-striped Pug 6
Early Grey 6
Early Thorn 1 
Hebrew Character 7
Oak Beauty 1
Pine beauty 4
Red-green Carpet 2
Small Quaker 12

Micro Moths
 
Acleris literana 1
Acleris notana/ferrugana 1
Alucita hexadactyla 1
Emmelina monodactyla 8
Endrosis sarcitrella 1
Epiphyas postvittana 1
 
Acleris literana

Acleris notana/ferrugana

Alucita hexadactyla

Early Grey

Early Thorn

Epiphyas postvittana

 

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Caloptilia sp

Big excitement in (or should I say, bouncing about on the rain guard) last night to my garden trap, potentially my 2nd record of Caloptilia honoratella? Moth retained. The 5th UK record and my 1st for Herts was last year (21/05/20) Keep yours eyes peeled for this. Stevenage, North Herts.

 




Bramfield Woods - Field Trip - 30/03/21

We had our first session of the year at Bramfield Woods on Tuesday night.

The day had been mild at around 24 degrees, but with no cloud cover for the evening.

The temperature did remain fairly respectable even after a few hours of darkness. At around 11pm the big bright Moon started to rise and by midnight it felt a little cooler, 11 degrees when I headed home, but in my short 15 minute journey home it had dropped 3 degrees.

The session started catastrophically with one of the generators smoking plumes of white smoke, oil I suspect getting into the fuel.. I decided to turn that off after a few curse words.

I had already set up 3 traps a bit further round in the woodland, so I packed up the two traps that I couldn't run, and drove round to the other 3 lights... it was dark, 'What the hell' ran through my mind. upon inspection, the other generator has a fuel leak (Both of these problems did not show up after servicing them last month and leaving them running for an hour each, so frustrating).

I managed to limp the fuel leak generator on until midnight, by simply restarting it once it had cut out from fuel starvation, bearing in mind that this was happening every 10 minutes! I was exhausted to say the least!

The long and the short of it is that my father in law will take a look at both of them soon, and i've had to buy a brand new generator.

Moths... yes where were we, around 300 turned up to the 3 lights I ran, of 24 species from what I wrote down.

Best moths were a single Agonopterix ocellana (to Trevor's trap), lots of fresh Frosted Greens and a rather faded Dotted Chestnut.

After the stress and petrol fumes giving me a headache on the way home, it was well worth seeing some early season moths that I don't often see in my garden.

Below is the list that we managed on the trip.


Catch Report - Bramfield Woods - Central Herts - 30/03/21 - 3 traps - 1x 125w Clear MV Trap,1x 160w MBT Trap, Quad 20w Wemlite + 15w Actinic tube Trap

Macro Moths
 
Brindled Pug 10
Chestnut 25
Clouded Drab 2
Common Quaker 100+
Dotted Chestnut 1 
Engrailed 2
Frosted Green 10 
Hebrew Character 5
Oak Beauty 3
Pine Beauty 4
Red-green Carpet 1 
Satellite 6
Small Quaker 180+
Twin-spotted Quaker 5
Yellow Horned 6
 
Micro Moths
 
Acleris notana/ferrugana 4
Agonopterix ocellana 1
Alucita hexadactyla 1 
Diurnea fagella 50+
Dyseriocrania subpurpurella 30+
Mompha jurassicella 1
Pammene giganteana 6
Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella 1 
Tortricodes alternella 2 

125w MV Robinson Trap under flowering Sallow

160w MBT Trap

Alucita hexadactyla

Frosted Green

Pammene giganteana

Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella

Pine Beauty

Quad 20w Wemlite Trap with 15w Actininc Tube

Red Chestnut


Yellow Horned


Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Latest from the garden trap

3 year-listers on Monday night here in my garden in Stevenage, with two species of the common Spring Pugs and the every increasingly common Mompha jurassicella, which seems to have over-taken subbistrigella as the most prevelant Mompha in my garden. 

The weather is warm during the day, but still cool at night with a low of 7c.

Moth species for 2021 in the garden now stands at 28. 

29/03/21 - Back Garden - Stevenage - North Herts - 125w Clear MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

Brindled Pug 1 [NFY]
Double-striped Pug 3 -NFY] 
Chestnut 1
Common Quaker 5
Hebrew Character 1
Small Quaker 1
Twin-spotted Quaker 2
 
Micro Moths
 
Mompha jurassicella 1 [NFY]
Amblyptilia acanthadactyla 1
Diurnea fagella 2
Emmelina monodactyla 3

Brindled Pug

Diurnea fagella

Double-striped Pug

Mompha jurassicella


Sunday, 28 March 2021

Late moths and pale moths

I ran the trap again last night as it was predicted to be around 7 degrees, still a little on the cool side to get excited about, but worth a shot.

The wind was the problem, and that big bright orb in the sky, that was bright enough to pierce the high level cloud.

5 moths turned up, not great. But only my second Twin-spotted Quaker of the year, a really pale example, and 2 year first Diurnea fagella which are running two weeks behind compared to an average year here.

That's all folks! Tomorrow for a few days sees weather set to warm up, with temperatures in the low 20's possible, but still a little cool at night under clear skies.

Moth species for 2021 in the garden now stands at 25.  

Diurnea fagella

Hebrew Character

Twin-spotted Quaker


Thursday, 25 March 2021

Caloptilia elongella new for me

I ran the trap last night again at where I work, there were just 3 moths to be found in and around the trapping area, hardly ground-breaking for the end of March, a light frost, bright moon and just 1c was probably responsible for this.

But, one moth caught my eye as I packed away. A rufous-coloured Caloptilia that needed a second look.

I've recorded both betulicola and rufipennella in numbers over the years, but have never seen the Alder feeder, elongella. This is hardly surprising, as Alder isn't a very prolific species of tree in Herts. Alder is mostly found in the damper valleys and therefore wetland species tend to usually be confined to these areas (Although on warm muggy summer nights they have a tendency to disperse, for example Silky Wainscot and Bulrush Wainscot have been recorded in my garden before, which is nowhere near any suitable habitat). 

Speaking with Graeme Smith, and a look at the differences between the three, the moth does indeed appear to be my first elongella.

rufipennella was instantly ruled about because of the legs. The next bit to look at is the triangular section underneath the legs called the 'trochanter' this is white or off-white in betulicola. In elongella it is the same colour as the ground colouration of the moth itself, mine is very much the latter.

The British Caloptilia genus currently stands at 13 species, with honoratella added to the British list in 2019. I was lucky enough to record this new to Hertfordshire last year.

I have therefore recorded 12 species of Caloptilia here now, the missing species is probably a common moth for some of you out there... azalleella! One day maybe..

Caloptilia elongella

Caloptilia elongella


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

More lure action at work this time

In the Cemetery where I work in Bishop's Stortford, and not far from my trapping area, we have two medium sized Oak trees which are in line of sight to where I park my car, the Pammene giganteana's caterpillars feed from the Oak tree, and I have a Grapholita molesta lure that seems to attract Pammene giganteana, you can see where i'm going here can't you...

So with the (MOL) lure deployed on my bonnet at 7:30am I would check it intermittently throughout the day.

At 9, I had a quick peek and was very surprised to see one sitting on top of the trap, not only for it's early flight time in the day, but also for the fact that the temperature was barely 7 degrees, cloudy and with a cool breeze making things feel much colder.

I checked again at lunchtime (1pm), and there were a further 4!

From 1pm until hometime at 3:30pm, there were no more.

Trapping at night has been quite poor the last few nights with hardly any variety and with only Small Quaker doing well.

 A nice 'lead-coloured' Clouded Drab was the best of the bunch last night.

 

'Leady' Clouded Drab

4 of the 5 Pammene giganteana

The first one to arrive between 7:30am to 9:00am

Lure deployment area

Pammene giganteana