Welcome

Hello and welcome to my moth Blog. I now reside in a small village in East Cambridgeshire called Fordham. My Blog's aim is to promote and encourage others to participate in the wonderful hobby that is Moth-trapping.
Moth records are vital for building a picture of our ecosystem around us, as they really are the bottom of the food chain. They are an excellent early indicator of how healthy a habitat is. I openly encourage people to share their findings via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
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 just never know what you might find when you open up that trap! I hope to show what different species inhabit Cambridgeshire and neighbouring counties.
On this Blog you will find up-to-date records and pictures.
I run a trap regularly in my garden and also enjoy doing field trips to various localities over several different counties.
Please also check out the links in the sidebar to the right for other people's Blogs and informative Websites.
Thanks for looking and 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

My Latest Notables and Rarities

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Fairly quiet but another nice surprise

I trapped on Sunday night here in Fordham, East Cambs expecting a good haul as it was so warm with a lot of cloud cover.
The catch wasn't as great as I could have perhaps anticipated, but it was fantastic to trap the second Bordered Straw of the year in the garden.
Also I added the miniscule plume that is Adaina microdactyla to my garden list, which now stands at 657 species in just under 12 months.

Going through the trap as I do at around 5am currently (to beat the local Robins & Blackbirds) I noticed a big fat Caterpillar crawling along the sheet by the patio door, instantly recognisable as a Toadflax Brocade.
I get the moth infrequently here in the garden and I found some tiny caterpillars of them a few months back that literally just vanished one day.
Now I guess they are wandering all over the shop, looking for a suitable place to pupate.

Then the rain came yesterday afternoon and softened the ground for the pupa.
Last night's catch was almost double this catch, with 50 species and a great showing of macro moths once more, including lots of Noctuids. A coincidence? I think not.

Moth garden list for 2022 stands at 597 species

14/08/22 - Back Garden - Fordham - East Cambridgeshire - Actinic Trap
 
Macro Moths
 
Bordered Straw (2nd garden record)

Micro Moths

Adaina microdactyla 1 [NFG]

Adaina microdactyla

Bordered Straw

Toadflax Brocade Caterpillar


Monday, 15 August 2022

Garden Mothing - 12th August 2022

The garden trap continues to be busy with mainly micros, 100's, but very little in the way of macros turning up apart from Common Wainscots.
But, I always hold out for quality and it certainly delivers at times.
Friday night was no different, with two great species added to the garden list, they were the very pretty Clouded Buff and the jet black Pyla fusca, moths that are certainly at both ends of the colour spectrum.

Pyla fusca is a moth i've only seen twice before (in 2010 in my old Essex garden, and 2015 at Hexton Chalk Pit in Herts), so a mega for me! And such a stunning dark specimen.

Clouded Buff is a moth that I added to my UK list as recent as this year. I took several at nearby Cavenham Heath in Suffolk in early summer. What a stunning moth. Most people would not believe that such a beautiful creature flies mainly undetected at night.

Another bunch of Celypha rufana candidates were retained, i'm going to be honest in saying I cannot tell the difference between rufana and rosaceana.
A Phyllocnistis was also retained (Probably saligna), as were 3 Coleophora, probably all different species (Well at least 2 are).
There was also a hint of migration beginning to happen at the end of last week, the trap contained several Plutella xylostella and Nomophila noctuella.

And we've had some rain! Our front water butt was nearly empty this morning, it's now 80 litres fuller! Lets hope it promotes some more moth emergence.

Moth garden list for 2022 stands at 596 species

07/08/22 - Back Garden - Fordham - East Cambridgeshire - Actinic Trap
 
Macro Moths
 
Clouded Buff 1 [NFG]

Micro Moths

Pyla fusca 1 [NFG]
Celypha sp

Clouded Buff

Coleophora sp

Coleophora sp

Homoeosoma nebulella

Lime-speck Pug

Pyla fusca

Treble-bar


 

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Adventurer's Fen - Field Trip - 11/08/22 50/50 split, nearly

I was joined by Leslie Gardiner at Adventurer's Fen last Thursday after a very warm day of 32 degrees, it was still mid-twenties when we arrived at 8:30pm.
Unfortunately we were unable to trap in our favoured spot, as we were beaten to it by another trapper from Kent! A breakdown of communication and an apology from National Trust followed the next day.
 
It wasn't a biggie, as we settled on another area which actually required less walking about and was over-looking different aspects along the track.

4 lights were set up in record time as the light faded fast and as soon as it went dark, the supermoon rose from the East, absolutely huge and slightly distorted in shape due to the atmospherics.
 
We were going to be up against it, on location change and the enemy in the sky!

Nearly a 50/50 split with 51 species of Macro and 50 species of Micro recorded, not too bad, but not stellar during a normal second week of August.
The drought is partly responsible for the low numbers, and of course the clear skies and bright sun...sorry moon.

There were quite a few highlights though, including Barred Rivulet (A bit worn sadly), both dark forms of Bulrush & Webb's Wainscot, Elachista bisulcella (Not common in the County and restricted around Wicken & Chippenham Fen), a tentative Emmelina argoteles, paler and dusted with dots (I've taken this once before at Chippenham Fen, gen det to be 100% sure), the darkest Flame Shoulder I have ever seen, and finally only the (3rd?) County record of Ptocheuusa paupella, my 2nd example in 18 years and which on the night, looked like Elachista albidella, i'm glad I potted it!

And finally we recorded at least 4 Six-striped Rustic, a new moth for Leslie, and so it was pork pie time for me! (Any new macro moth that Leslie sees when we are out, I consume a tasty pork pie from various supermarkets), it's like taste-testing for a survey!

Photos weren't my best as I snapped away during searing 30 degree heat, not easy with lively customers.

11/08/22 - Adventurer's Fen - East Cambridgeshire - 4 traps, 125w Mercury Robinson Trap, 160w MBT Trap, 250w Clear Mercury Robinson Trap and 40w Actinic Trap

Macro Moths 

Barred Rivulet
Blood-vein
Bordered Beauty
Bordered Pug
Bright-line Brown-eye
Brown-veined Wainscot
Bulrush Wainscot
Burnished Brass
Canary-shouldered Thorn
Chinese Character
Cloaked Minor
Common Carpet
Common Rustic
Common Wainscot
Coronet
Dark Sword-grass
Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet
Dingy Footman
Drinker
Flame Shoulder
Flounced Rustic
Frosted Orange
Knot Grass
Large Yellow Underwing
Latticed Heath
Lime-speck Pug
Marbled Clover
Mere Wainscot
Nutmeg
Orange Swift
Pale Mottled Willow
Reed Dagger
Rosy Rustic
Ruby Tiger
Sallow Kitten
Setaceous Hebrew Character
Shuttle-shaped Dart
Single-dotted Wave
Six-striped Rustic
Small Rufous
Small Square-spot
Snout
Straw Dot
Swallow Prominent
Turnip Moth
Twin-spotted Wainscot
Vine's Rustic
Webb's Wainscot
White point
Wormwood Pug
Yellow Shell

Micro Moths

Acentria ephemerella
Acleris rhombana
Agapeta hamana
Agonopterix alstromeriana
Agonopterix arenella
Agonopterix heracliana sp
Agonopterix ocellana
Agonopterix purpurea
Agonopterix yeatiana
Agriphila selasella
Agriphila straminella
Agriphila tristella
Ancylis apicella
Bactra furfurana
Bactra sp
Bryotropha senectella
Calamotropha paludella
Carcina quercana
Cataclysta lemnata
Catoptria falsella
Celypha striana
Chrysoteuchia culmella
Clepsis spectrana
Cochylidia implicitana
Cochylis atricapitana
Cochylis dubitana
Cochylis hybridella
Cochylis molliculana
Cochylis nana
Coleophora alcyonipennella/frischella
Dichrorampha simpliciana
Elachista bisulcella
Elophila nymphaeta
Emmelina argoteles [TBC]
Emmelina monodactyla
Endothenia quadrimaculana
Epiphyas postvittana
Evergestis forficalis
Grapholita funebrana
Lobesia abscisana
Nomophila noctuella
Nymphula nitidulata
Parapoynx stratiotata
Phalonidia manniana
Pleuroptya ruralis
Ptocheuusa paupella
Scrobipalpa costella
Scrobipalpa ocellatella
Udea ferrugalis
Udea lutealis 

 

Webb's Wainscot

Supermoon!

A very dark Flame Shoulder

Elachista bisulcella

Cochylidia implicitana

Bulrush & Webb's Wainscot

Bordered Pug

Barred Rivulet

Agonopterix yeatiana

Acleris rhombana

Friday, 12 August 2022

Beeting the heat, the moth lull

Moths have really tailed off now this past week, with barely any new moths for the year as the end of summer and early autumn lull kicks in (Roughly 2 weeks early).
I've only added one new species for the year over 3 sessions, a Black Arches last night.

I'm currently averaging around 80-100 moths a night, this may sound quite a lot to some people, but when you factor in that 40-60 of them are Scrobipalpa ocellatella, things get a little monotonous!
 
This moth is a Nationally Scarce B species, confined to coastal areas and feeding from Sea Beet, here in East cambs they are quite clearly feeding on something else, Sugar Beet.
There is a field over the road from me, so they are clearly coming from that. I shall take a walk tomorrow and look for evidence of breeding.
To get 57 of them last night at home, and an estimated 400 at Wicken Fen, it's certainly not threatened here!  

My 2nd Angle Shades of the year was my only other highlight this week.

Last night, just 22 species were noted, this was checking the trap before bed and getting up at dawn, extremely poor for early to mid August.
The reason? Drought and heatwave conditions seem to be the number one culprit.
 
Actually the lull has done me a favour somewhat and allowed me to get over covid (finally, after testing 11 days positive).

We are expecting rain for the first part of next week, how much it will be will be interesting to see.
 
 
Moth garden list for 2022 stands at 594 species

Black Arches 1 [NFG] - 11/08/22

Angle Shades

Black Arches


Monday, 8 August 2022

Back to garden mothing after a few cool nights

Slightly warmer last night (But only just) with lows of 10.5 degrees, still a bit below ideal temperatures for August.
The previous 2 or 3 nights it dipped to 8 degrees and just wasn't worth trapping.

Well i'm glad I decided to get the light back on last night.
Around 80 moths were recorded, half of which were made up with 30 odd Scrobipalpa ocellatella and 20 odd Bryotropha domestica, crazy numbers.
The remaining 35 species were made up of 1's, 2's and 3's. 
But, amongst those moths, were some real crackers.

Lets run through the photos of the species that I took.

Two grass moths are regular here now, both Agriphila geniculea & Agriphila tristella are common enough, with the odd Agriphila straminella amongst them.

Chinese Character, first of the 2nd broods which I rarely see.

A very photogenic mint Cochylis dubitana was good to see, never common and discernible by it's black thorax and white head & frons (In atricapitana, the facial areas are all black).

Moving onto the biggest shock, a confirmed Coleophora clypeiferella, a first for me and pretty rare in Cambs (with just 2 previous county records in 2012) ''The adult moths have an unusual sclerotised plate on the top of the abdomen containing small spines, which it is believed is used to help break out of the pupal cocoon''. These were evident when the moth was spread out.
It is a nationally Scarce A species.

Gypsy Moth turned up the day after hanging it's target lure in the garden. 2 turned up yesterday and one today. The lure has now been packed away.
I get these to the trap at night as well.

Homoeosoma nebulella was the next best micro moth, a second record for the garden after a I took one on the 2nd of July.
Both were retained incase of the similar (but smaller and coastal) nimbella, but i'm pretty confident both of mine are nebulella.
 
Marbled Clover, what a stunning moth. This is the 3rd this year and I actually managed to coax it to open it's wings briefly to show it's black and buff chequered hindwings, always pleasing to see and a Breckland speciality.
 
Nemapogon cloacella, unbelievably this isn't common here, whereas granella is common! From past experience granella has been non-existent and cloacella abundant, well.... not in my garden!

Tawny-barred Angle & Yellow-barred Brindle, both 2nd broods now on the wing in the garden, the latter so smart and my son was suitably impressed by it (Being is favourite colour). 

And lastly, a classic Yponomeuta rorrella amongst the other 3 aggregate Yponomeuta species (evonymella seems to have dried up here now).

After that lot, I need a well deserved cup of tea.

Happy mothing and hopefully the traps will get busier as the night time temperatures tick up, night on night.


Moth garden list for 2022 stands at 592 species

07/08/22 - Back Garden - Fordham - East Cambridgeshire - Actinic Trap
 
Macro Moths
 
Gypsy Moth 2 [NFY]
Chinese Character 1
Marbled Clover 1
Tawny-barred Angle 1
Yellow-barred Brindle 1

Micro Moths

Coleophora clypeiferella 1 [NEW!]
Agriphila geniculea 3
Agriphila tristella 6
Cochylis dubitana 1
Homoeosoma nebulella 1
Nemapogon cloacella 1
Pyrausta despicata 1
Yponomeuta rorrella 1
 
Agriphila geniculea

Agriphila tristella

Cochylis dubitana showing head detail

Cochylis dubitana

Coleophora clypeiferella showing the sclerotised plate

Coleophora clypeiferella

Gypsy Moth

Homoeosoma nebulella

Marbled Clover

Pyrausta despicata

Tawny-barred Angle

Yellow-barred Brindle

Yponomeuta rorrella

 

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Last night from the moth trap (03/08/22)

Things continue to slow now in my garden, with less numbers and new species for the year, but returning species in 2nd brood form are certainly the order of the day.
Species such as Maiden's Blush, Brimstone Moth, Broad-barred White, all 3 Poplar species (Kitten, Hawk-moth & Grey) and Small Ranunculus to name but a few.
It's been impossible to count and my hearts not really in it at the moment, but it's still nice to see fresh clean specimens of seemingly common moths.
A mint White-line Dart was superb last night, as was a rather smart Square-spot Rustic (The first of many this year I reckon).
I also had to work out how to plug the gaps that my 'warped' perspex was creating on the smaller of the two Robinson style traps.
Luckily my wife had some spare clamps from her photography set, so they worked perfectly in closing the gaps and stopping the micros escaping.
 
This was noticeable this morning, with over 20 Bryotropha domestica inside the trap!
 
Two species that I haven't see yet, and maybe expected this year are Blood-vein and Engrailed, there is still time though as I recorded both in my garden last year during the 2nd week of September.

I get lots of the Mint Moth, Pyrausta aurata and they are plentiful during the day, at dusk and readily coming to my light. This one I got last night, had a reduced yellow dot on the post-median cross-line.

A few cooler nights coming up, so some much needed rest.


Moth garden list for 2022 stands at 590 species

03/08/22 - Back Garden - Fordham - East Cambridgeshire - Actinic Trap
 
Macro Moths
 
Orange Swift 1 [NFY]
Square-spot Rustic 1 [NFY]

Micro Moths

Acleris comariana/laterana 1 [NFG]
Cydia splendana 1 [NFY]
Epinotia tenerana 1 [NFY]
Pandemis corylana 1 [NFG]

125w MV Blacklight Robinson Trap

Acleris comariana laterana

Broad-barred White

Epinotia tenerana

Orange Swift

Pandemis corylana

Pyrausta aurata

Square-spot Rustic

White-line Dart



 

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

The end of July and the start of August...

 ..continues to be very warm here in the east, with highs of around 28 degrees for the past 3 days and exceptionally muggy nights, moth activity has been high, but for just 3 or 4 specific species (namely Least Carpet, Blastobasis adustella & Cloaked Minor) that trio alone accounted for over 100 moths.

I'm probably missing a few lately as I feel extremely weak and lethargic, i've postponed 2 trips recently also.
 
Highlights were 3 new for garden moths.

Below are two nights with just the new for year species noted.

Moth garden list for 2022 stands at 581 species

30/07/22 - Back Garden - Fordham - East Cambridgeshire - Actinic Trap
 
Macro Moths
 
Oak Processionary 1 [NFG]
Straw Underwing 1 [NFY]
 

01/08/22 - Back Garden - Fordham - East Cambridgeshire - Actinic Trap
 
Macro Moths
 
Tawny-barred angle 1 [NFY]
Twin-spotted Wainscot 1 [NFG]

Micro Moths
 
Ypsolopha sequella 1 [NFG] 
 
Agonopterix arenella

Oak Processionary

Straw Underwing

Cabbage Moth

Oegoconia sp

Riband Wave

Tawny-barred angle

Twin-spotted Wainscot