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!


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

Monday 30 December 2013

2013 Round-up

It has been very difficult to pick 10 of the best moths that I have recorded this year, as I have had many opportunities to survey different habitats and to join up with different amateurs like myself in the search for those elusive species.

2013 was in my opinion a cracking year for new records, and there were a huge amount of reports of species being re-discovered after a lengthy period of time. This was exciting to see as the year got off to a very slow start and as we rolled into week upon week of favourable weather, the moths did not disappoint.

So here are my top 20 species that are in no particular order. I had too much decisions witling it down to just 10, so I have included another 10 that deserve to be on the list.

1) Semioscopis steinkellneriana - 24-04-13 (Hay Wood - Hemel Hempstead - Hertfordshire) - We start at nearly the end of April. This species was trapped in my 160w MBT Robinson trap. It was a moth that I hadn’t ever seen before, possibly due to not being out in favourable habitat at this time of the year.

2) Toadflax Pug - 26-06-13 (Roughdown Common - Hemel Hempstead - Hertfordshire) - One that I have struggled to see, I possibly may have overlooked some Foxglove Pugs in my early years but this was a very distinct specimen and a nice fresh example. To top it all off I had one in the garden a few days later!

3) Eupoecilia angustana - 26-06-13 (Roughdown Common - Hemel Hempstead - Hertfordshire) - On the same trip this striking Tortrix was potted up and taken home to look the next morning in better light. I was pleased to identify as this uncommon species, again a new one for me and the guys that joined me on the night.

4) Pandemis cinnamomeana - 03-07-13 (Thorndon Country Park - Brentwood - Essex) - Initially I thought this was Pandemis heparana, of which we had 4 of on the night. But once potted up and carefully looked at it with the lid of the pot off, it was evident that this wasn’t the case as it had a white head. A new moth for Graham Bailey and myself.

5) Red-necked Footman - 06/07/13 and 07/07/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) - It was a good year for migrants across the County of Hertfordshire and it all started early July with an influx of Red-necked Footman’s, firstly for me seen in Essex on the 03rd of July then I had one in the garden which was a huge surprise! On the same night, Lobster Moth and the Miller turned up, but having seen these before, they missed out on the top 10! On the next night, I ran the trap again and I caught another! As I still had the other specimen in the fridge.

6) Barred Red – 09/07/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage - Hertfordshire) - Another shock species for the garden, this pine feeder. I had not seen one in this County before so to see one sitting on the side of my trap at blurry-vision o’clock was amazing. We do have a small Pine tree plantation down the bridlepath about ¼ of a mile away; I presume it came from there. My 3rd ever record at the time.

7) Capperia britanniodactyla - 12/07/13 - (Broxbourne Woods - Hertfordshire) - This was one of the better moths on a cracking night with an astounding 208 species of moth recorded, I shall be going back there next year that is for sure! This Plume is rare in the County, in fact it had only been recorded twice before, one record was from here, so it is nice to see that it is hanging on. Other moths on the night worth mentioning were Satin Beauty, Great Oak Beauty, more Red-necked Footman (6!) and two stunning Map-winged Swift. 

8) Trachycera marmorea - 15/07/13 - (Canvey Island - Essex) - My first of this pretty Pyralid, on the same night that we had over 250 species of moths at this very special site. It really was raining moths at one point and I picked up a fair few new moths that night (19 in total!)

9) Thiodia citrana - 15/07/13 - (Canvey Island - Essex) - An unusual looking Tortrix that I had never seen before, apparently it favours waste-ground, and so the habitat at Canvey Wick is perfect for this moth. It also wouldn’t sit still, and the best shot I could get of it was in a pot.

10) Marbled Green - 15/07/13 - (Canvey Island - Essex) - I really like these moths, after seeing my first one last year, and missing the opportunity to photograph one, we were lucky to get one at exactly the same spot a year on. Not a common moth, the records for Essex indicate just a few singletons recorded over the years.

11) Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla - 15/07/13 - (Canvey Island - Essex) - Another plume makes it on the list, and a very pretty one at that. Yes I know Canvey again! If anyone wants to see any new moths then I would highly recommend a trip down here. I missed out on this plume last year as my friend Graham Bailey had one there in 2012.

12) Dark Spinach - 15/07/13 - (Canvey Island - Essex) - Another first for me and on the best night ever for moths from my limited experience in the last 7 years of trapping. 

13) Agonopterix  kaekeritziana - 18/07/13 - (Bovingdon Brick-pits - Hemel Hempstead - Hertfordshire) - Back to Hertfordshire and this Depressid was a nice surprise on a warm and cloudy night in July. That same night we managed 2 Purple Clays and 3 Garden Tigers, the latter being our target species.

14) Small Ranunculus - 30/07/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage - Hertfordshire) - I had heard lots of people catching these over the past couple of years, mainly towards London and to the West of the County towards Bedfordshire. I had had a few, Feathered Ranunculus when I lived in Essex but never this species. Unfortunately the specimen I got was very tatty and on initial inspection I thought it was a Broad-barred White (So often the case when you aren’t expecting an unusual species…plump for a common one!) Nevertheless a first for me and for the garden as well. 

15) Bucculatrix thoracella - 01/08/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage - Hertfordshire) - Such a small moth, I honestly thought it may have been a midge as it blended into the egg box background of my trap, but no…it was my first ever Bucculatrix recorded at light. 

16) Toadflax Brocade - 04/08/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage - Hertfordshire) - More surprises were in store with a stunning Toadflax Brocade turning up in the trap, a County 3rd record at the time.

17) Gem - 14/08/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage - Hertfordshire) - Things were slowing down in the garden now as we come to the end of the Summer high and those species tail off whilst we have to wait for the Autumn species, always a difficult time of year for me, but after sorting through the trap in the pouring rain and avoiding all 29 wasps that were in the trap and quickly potted up, I found a Gem of a moth at the bottom. 

18) Gelechia nigra - 21/08/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) - This was a really great record and easily my best moth of the year. The last unconfirmed record was from the Sandridge area way back in 1890. We have some Aspen and White Poplar down the bridle path upon which it feeds. 

19) Vestal 22/09/13 and 24/10/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) - Not one but two of this beautiful migrant turned up in my tiny back garden about a month apart. I often wonder how such a small creature gets this far and past all of the other surrounding industrial lights to end up in my trap, I was very lucky indeed. They were also very different in colouration. Apparently the darker orange examples come from warmer climates, how true this is I don’t know.

20) Large Wainscot - 30/10/13 - (Back Garden - Stevenage) - I end the years noteworthy moths with a stunning Large Wainscot, probably a wanderer or migrant as the habitat around where I live is not really suitable for this predominantly wetland species.

That was 2013! I wonder what next year will bring.
Happy New Year to all of the people who follow this blog! 

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