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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Saturday, 28 March 2015

Another similar catch

Last night was the third GMS night and I was determined to trap something new for the year.
It wasn't too be but with a healthy 17 moths of 5 species it was business as usual.
Numbers surely must increase soon.

Catch Report -  27/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

3x Small Quaker
4x Hebrew Character
1x Clouded Drab
8x Common Quaker
1x Oak Beauty


Micro Moths

None Recorded!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Some wanderings

As I had a day off today I decided to try and find some Broom shrubs that are now in flower and easy to spot, the reason being behind the fact that Agonopterix assimilella using this as it's foodplant and the larval spinnings should be quite easy to spot.
 

Driving out from Stevenage I noticed lots of bushes in people's gardens, this looked promising and so my first stop would be at Waterford Heath.
NO, a bit at zero bushes found there, but easily distracted by the large amount of Teasels around I decided to pick some to take home to check for Endothenia larvae....more o that later.

Next stop was Panshangar Park, where this rare moth was last recorded on BROOM! So it must be here....somewhere....anywhere? All I found after 90 minutes of walking was Gorse and then I found some! Unfortunately no larval spinnings were observed.

Nevermind, a quick trip across the pond to where a large area of Bullrush were situated and a couple of quick snaps of the easy to find Limnaecia phragmitella (obvious from the huge clumps of frass exploding fro the head).

Now, back to the Teasels
I took 8 heads home, 1 had nothing in it, 5 had Endothenia gentianaeana (no anal comb and reddish head) larva inside, the other 2 had Endothenia marginana (blackish head, anal comb observed) larva inside.

All in all it was nice to get out in the fresh air for a couple of hours.

 
Limnaecia phragmitella Larva










Bullrush emaciated by larva













Endothenia ready for emergence










Endothenia gentianaeana larva










Endothenia marginana larva

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Back to normal for this time of year

With temperatures and conditions similar to the last time I trapped on Friday night, I surely had to get more than 4 moths.
Yes! I managed it, with two new for year's to boot as well.
Now, Satellite is a moth most of us trap in Spring and in Autumn but I had nearly feared that I had missed out on a Spring record for the first time ever!
I usually see them Jan-Feb with occasional first first records for the year in early March but the 23rd of March is particularly late.
I am not alone as a few more people either have only just added it to their year-list or haven't even seen one yet, should we be worried? Probably not as moth habits are notoriously sporadic at the best of times!
17 moths of 8 species was pleasing to record.

Catch Report -  23/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Satellite [NFY]
1x Early Grey [NFY]  
1x Small Quaker
10x Hebrew Character
1x Chestnut
1x Common Quaker
1x Oak Beauty

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla

Early Grey










Last gasp Satellite

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Weekly Round-up

A bit of a disappointing catch both times this week despite warmish temperatures, little wind and plenty of cloud cover.
Nothing new but at least a few moths graced the traps.
I really did expect more last night with a daytime high of 13c, down to 10c at 9pm and then this morning at 6 it was still a respectable 6c.
Just 4 moths of 2 species! .....maybe i've been spoilt a bit recently!

No pictures of moths i'm afraid...
But a very amateur picture of the Solar Eclipse at about 85% maximum (we saw it in Ware for about 15 seconds before the cloud swallowed it again!


Catch Report -  17/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Small Quaker
4x Hebrew Character
1x Oak Beauty

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla


Catch Report -  20/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

2x Small Quaker
2x Common Quaker

Micro Moths

None Recorded!


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Two more confirmed records from the CR

Hello all
Today was the Herts moth group meeting, a very enjoyable afternoon was had by all. 
It was great to catch up with people I hadn't seen since August in some instances and I also got back some specimens from Colin Plant.
Most of them were Agonopterix's, being all heracliana
A really well marked Pug turned out to be a Slender Pug from a trip going back to the 12th July 2013 where we visited Roughdown Common.
More interesting was a new species of Eriocrania for me and dare say David, Roger and Steve as well.
A single example of Eriocrania sparrmannella was trapped on our first trip of the year in 2014 to Hay Wood, it seems to be a scarce moth with very few records although some records in the past may have been discounted by not being properly identified.

The pictures of both species are below.

Eriocrania sparrmannella










Slender Pug



GMS Night number 2

A bit cooler last night but still a pretty pleasing catch awaited me this morning including 5 Oak Beauties scattered around the back wall of the house and in the trap.
The only new for year was a single Clouded Drab, but it was nice to get yet another Acleris hastiana.

Catch Report -  13/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Clouded Drab [NFY]
2x Small Quaker
5x Hebrew Character
4x Common Quaker
1x Chestnut

Micro Moths

1x Acleris hastiana
2x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

Oak Beauties












Acleris hastiana

New moth for the garden gets seized by a Spider AGAIN!

Hello all, excitement and disappointment (well for the moth at least) on Wednesday night, it's happened twice previously with a Large Thorn then an Eyed Hawk-moth....the damn Spiders are poised and ready again.
This year's culprit, a garden first Small Brindled Beauty.
Small Brindled Beauty is a moth of mature woodland typically and only rarely ventures into gardens and is absent of many people's garden lists.
This was backed up by three new for year Small Quaker's, infact it was a pretty pleasing catch of 20 moths of 7 species.
Lows of 5.8c this morning but it looks like it's getting cooler again...

Catch Report -  11/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Small Brindled Beauty [NFG]
3x Small Quaker [NFY]
4x Hebrew Character
4x Common Quaker
3x March Moth

Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix heracliana (Checked)
4x Emmelina monodactyla

Common Quaker











Common Quaker










Small Quaker













Agonopterix heracliana











Small Brindled Beauty

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

More Noctuid presence

Trapping again on Sunday night I managed a few more moths under cloudy and milder temperatures, the only problem was the damn cool breeze.
Nevertheless 8 moths were observed by the morning.
Some of the Hebrew Character's could have been the same specimens from Saturday night? But the Dotted Border was different.

Catch Report -  09/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Common Quaker [NFY]
1x Dotted Border
4x Hebrew Character
1x Chestnut

Micro Moths

1x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla

Common Quaker

Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Beautiful March Pale

Well after a disaster with the trap yesterday night, I managed to fix it and run it last night instead.
I am pretty damn glad I did as it yielded another 3 new species for the year including my second Pale Pinion for the garden.
I was rather lacking on the Noctuid department until now, where I found four Hebrew Characters inside the trap.
The temperature tonight could be quite cool so I will return to trapping on Monday night all being well and with no more mishaps!

Catch Report -  07/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Pale Pinion [NFY]
1x Oak Beauty [NFY]
1x Dotted Border [NFY]
4x Hebrew Character
2x March Moth

Micro Moths

2x Emmelina monodactyla

Dotted Border













Hebrew Character's











Oak Beauty













Pale Pinion





Friday, 6 March 2015

Movement in March

Yes! thinks are slowly looking up and a few moths around and in the trap last night, a high of around 10 degrees during the day and plenty of cloud cover ensued into the darkness and with a predicted minimum temperature of 6 degrees I thought I might at least get one moth.

This now brings the yearly total to a very pleasing 30 moths of 17 species.

It is GMS tonight, so for the first year I will be participating in this event.
Good luck everyone. 

Catch Report -  05/03/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Hebrew Character [NFY]
1x March Moth


Micro Moths

1x Agonopterix alstromeriana [NFY]
2x Tortricodes alternella [NFY]

Tortricodes alternella










Agonopterix alstromeriana

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Getting ready for the new season

Hello all.

With traps primed with new bulbs, white sheets washed and pots cleaned, I am nearly ready for the season to start and to get out about again trapping in a variety of habitats.

Also I just had to get the new Chris Manley book, and although at the end of the day it is just 'pretty pictures' this 2nd volume goes to a great length of featuring more micro moth pictures, in fact over 800 new species have been added to this edition.
And being hardback it will accompany me on field trips out for when I have a brain lapse about that difficult micro moth name.

The 50 egg trays (which I bought for £15.96 all in which I didn't think was too bad) are a must as a lot of my old ones are falling apart from being dried out far too much over the past few seasons!

Trap on tonight but it is wet again and the wind is getting up....




Friday, 27 February 2015

A nice haul


A pleasing first decent catch of the year yesterday night with 10 moths of 6 species gracing the trap and walls of the house.
Nothing totally unexpected and a bit lacking in the Noctuid department so far this year.

Catch Report -  25/02/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

2x March Moth
4x Pale Brindled Beauty

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla [NFY]
1x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla [NFY]
1x Agonopterix heracliana [NFY]
1x Acleris notana/ferrugana

Emmelina monodactyla

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A mini Micro saves the night

Last night I braved the trap once more and although we did get a good soaking, the temperature remained ok and at around 6 degrees this morning I was hopeful of a few.....
Well one anyway, after searching the walls of the house and the fence, the side of the trap and all of the egg cartons, a tiny moth was observed right at the bottom of the trap.

It turned out to be a new for year Acleris notana/ferrugana, a moth that hibernates and can be caught most months of the year (although typically February to April and then again during August to October).

I will get this moth checked by the top man, because I already have a confirmed Acleris ferrugana from last year, I am hoping this is Acleris notana (the Birch feeder).
We will have to see!
On that slightly positive note and with temperatures today soaring to 10 degrees the trap is out again....but once more but it is raining, Booo!

Acleris notana/ferrugana - You decide




Sunday, 15 February 2015

Mothing in the garden : Update

Hello all.

I have been a bit lazy updating my blog as of late, partly due to not being able to photograph the moths that I have been catching as it is too dark in the morning and too dark when I return from work in the evening thus a weekly report is all I can muster at the moment!

I ran the trap on Tuesday night and last night.

On Tuesday I managed 3 moths of 3 species, and last night I did a little better with 5 moths of 4 species.
The highlight being only my second garden record of Acleris hastiana on Tuesday and last night my first Spring record of Dark Chestnut.

The Spring Usher was sporting a very similar pattern and colour to an Oak Beauty.

I am currently experimenting between using an Actinic and a Mercury Vapor trap, though last night although milder, did see the MV attracting slightly more.

I hope to run the trap a few night next week, but although the forecast is quite mild at around 8 degrees daytime, the temperatures will be suffering a bit at night so I will see how it goes.


Catch Report -  10/02/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 2x 40w Actinic Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x March Moth [NFY]
1x Pale Brindled Beauty [NFY]

Micro Moths

1x Acleris hastiana [NFY]


Catch Report -  14/02/15 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 2x 40w Actinic Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Dark Chestnut [NFY]
1x Spring Usher
2x Pale Brindled Beauty

Micro Moths

1x Epiphyas postvittana [NFY]

Acleris hastiana










Dark Chestnut











Pale Brindled Beauty












Spring Usher



Saturday, 31 January 2015

A frosty Spring Usher

Was found today on the fence post braving the bitter conditions.
No light run for awhile now....

Spring Usher

Monday, 26 January 2015

5th Species of the year

 Last night as soon as I got home from Nottingham I switched he trap on as it was just warm enough to warrant trying.
After nearly 2 hours, the first moth of the night alighted on he fence next to the trap, a year first Spring Usher.
Feeling confident I left it running until 7am this morning, but that was it unfortunately.

6th moths of 5 species so far.

Spring Usher
 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

First moths of the year

Hello all.
I recorded my first moth of the year on Saturday in my kitchen, a hibernating Mompha subbistrigella fell out of our blind as I unrolled it fully to measure how long it was in preparation for buying a new one.
Yesterday night I ran the trap for the first time this year, and after about 2 hours the first Winter Moth was recorded for the year.
Leaving it running all night I was rewarded by another Winter Moth and singles of Acleris schalleriana and Chestnut.

Nice to get the ball rolling.

Good luck everyone on catching those sparse winter moths!



Sunday, 21 December 2014

Last gasp new Macro for the garden

Hello all.
It has been very quiet on the mothing front these last few weeks in the garden, so much so that I haven't bothered trapping as regularly as last month.
I put the trap out on Thursday and was rewarded with a garden first Winter Moth, one I missed out on in 2012 (because of the horrific winter) and 2013 (because of wet weather).
Left all night I got just one extra moth, an Emmelina monodactyla.

I am frantically updating all of my moth records through excel presently so that is keeping me busy.

I would like to wish all of my followers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Winter Moth

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Macro no.264 for the Garden

Well last week wasn't very fruitful on the moths front again.
On Sunday night I ran the trap for just a single December Moth albeit a male this time and boy was it tiny!
On Thursday night I decided to try again, and within about an hour of the light being on I had a new macro moth for the garden, a fresh Pale Pinion was sitting on the fence adjacent to the trap.

Excited by the find I decided to keep running the trap all night in hope for something else, and luckily other things turned up, a stunning Red-green Carpet, two Epiphyas postvittana's and a Plutella xylostella were all I could manage. But for one moth that makes it up to 264 species of macro for the garden since August 2012 it was all worth it.

Here is a brief summary of the species recorded in my garden since moving in on August 2012.


Macro Moths


2012 = 80 Macros      Total Garden list = 264
2013 = 225 Macros
2014 = 231 Macros (30 new this year)

Micro Moths


2012 =  54 Micros Total Garden list = 225
2013 =  159 Micros
2014 =  191 Micros (60 new this year)


Pale Pinion










December Moth - Male

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A very short post

Hello all.
A quick update from the week just gone.

I ran the trap on Wednesday night (well I swapped my 125w MV bulb for a 40w Actinic because a) to try another light source and b) to save a bit of leccy in the process)
The return was just a single Sprawler, oddly exactly the same as a friend of mine in Rayleigh.

Better was 3 Emmelina monodactyla's and an Angle Shades at works 30w Security light....how odd that this attracted more in a town centre than my Actinic and MV efforts recently!

I got a report of a White Ermine just a few days ago from David Kirk in Hemel Hempstead, and a few more reports of Pale Brindled Beauties....nature definitely is totally and utterly confused this year!

I won't bore you with comparisons of epic proportions, but last year did fare better in my garden during November as this post proves 
http://bensale-essexmoths.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/moths-stay-quiet-during-chilly-nights.html



And here are some pictures to remind us of how good a year we had in Herts...


All that sorting out...Wife was very pleased









Mothing on the farm in Braughing













Part of the haul (245+ species night)

Monday, 17 November 2014

Grinding to a halt

Hello all, not much happening my end unfortunately for me with not really a sniff of much migration apart from a single Plutella xylostella.
For me it hasn't been a great year for migration with no Gem, Vestal or Dark Sword-grass and only a single Rusty Dot Pearl.
I have missed out on Dark Chestnut and Merveille du Jour now for sure, the latter I didn't trap last year either which is a terrible shame.
Only new moth for the year was a lovely Female December Moth, other than that it is very slim pickings.
More updates probably next week!

Catch Report -  06/11/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths
  
1x Feathered Thorn

Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla

Catch Report - 10/11/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Sprawler
1x Mottled Umber


Micro Moths

1x Emmelina monodactyla


Catch Report - 14/11/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x December Moth [NFY]
1x Mottled Umber

1x November Moth

Micro Moths

2x Emmelina monodactyla

1x Plutella xylostella

December Moth
 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Weekly Moth Round-up

Well November is here and my Birthday is just around the corner.
I will continue to run the moth trap on the more favourable of nights, this being roughly twice a week at present.
Last week was warm and mild on several occasions.
Nothing ground-breaking considering what other people have been catching in the way or migrants but I don't expect anything good for the rest of the year now as my luck has well and truly been expended!
Scarce Umber was the only new moth for the year.


Catch Report -  27/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths
  
2x November Moth
1x Red-line Quaker

1x Brick
1x Green-brindled Crescent

1x Yellow-line Quaker
3x Red-green Carpet
1x Feathered Thorn
1x Angle Shades

Micro Moths

2x Emmelina monodactyla
1x Amblyptila acanthadactyla
2x Epiphyas postvittana

Catch Report - 30/10/14 - Back Garden - Stevenage - 1x 125w MV Robinson Trap

Macro Moths

1x Scarce Umber [NFY]
6x November Moth

4x Sprawler
2x Yellow-line Quaker
1x Mottled Umber

1x Red-line Quaker
1x Green-brindled Crescent
2x Satellite

Micro Moths

5x Epiphyas postvittana
1x Hypsopygia glaucinalis
4x Acleris sparsana
2x Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
2x Emmelina monodactyla


Scarce Umber

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Acleris Schalleriana study

Acleris schaleriana, a smallish sized Micro Moth of the Tortrix family, often confused with Acleris variegana and Acleris sparsana.
The status of this moth in Hertfordshire is rather sporadic with scattered records across the County, no doubt far more common than the map (2006) suggests.
It feeds on Way-faring Tree and less so on Guelder Rose.
At the front of our property we have a bush that does not seem to resemble either species, having looked through various books and online sources I have yet to find out what else Acleris schalleriana is prone to feeding on.

Records

Acleris schalleriana is a regular moth to the trap all year round though more regular in the Autumn months. My earliest record has been on the 03/01/12 and the latest (so far) on the 10/11/2013

Records in total for the 3 years at my property are

2012: 6
2013: 23
2014: 11 (so far)

Foodplant

Since finding 7 Acleris schalleriana's on the 17/10/13 over the front wall of the house, I made further investigations in the surrounding area, and found that a shrub underneath the windowsill, could have been responsible for the emergence of so manyn adults, the bush was inspected, but no caterpillars or pupa were found but extensive leaf damage was present, crumpled brown dry leaves.
I vowed to check next year at a similiar date, (he we are) and upon inspection of the bush this evening I disturbed three adults and uncurled various damaged leaves which had been spun together by a silken web.
I found 5 exited pupa and one tenanted pupa.

I have posted pictures of the bush and leaves from it to hopefully aid some identification, could this just be Way-faring Bush (Tree)? the leaves are quite smooth to the touch both sides with a distinct hairy edge with no toothing present.


Leaves from the bush












Leaf 1










Leaf 2










The bush in question












 
Exited Pupa of Acleris Schalleriana









Larval damage










Tenanted Pupa










Distribution Map (-2006 Copyright HMG)