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

Tuesday 1 January 2019

Notable Moths Recorded During 2018

Happy New Year to all whom read my posts and I hope you enjoy reading about them this year as much as Ienjoy writing them up.

2018 was an absolutely incredible year for moths, probably better than my debut year in 2006, no other year comes close for sheer numbers, diversity and out of habitat rarities.

The numbers speak for themselves, here are my yearly total of species per annum.

Total Garden List 2018 [529] 2017 - [467] 2016 - [372] 2015 - [401] 2014 - [423] 2013 - [385]

An extra 62 species were recorded this year than the previous best year (Just last year).

And amazingly, 66 new species were added to the garden list this year alone (24 Macros and 32 Micros). Taking my total garden species list to 689, not bad for a suburban garden.

Here below are my favourite picks from the year, a year which will probably be hard to match!

1) Frosted Green - 16/04/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] - Not one but two and garden firsts! Frosted Green is associated with Oaks and luckily I have several along the bridleway that runs along the bottom of my garden.
But why I haven't recorded it in the previous 5 Springs of trapping here is a mystery? My theory is from what other's have been posting, it's having a bumper year and I got lucky in attracting not one but two to my trap.

2) Blossom Underwing - 20/04/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden and New For Me] - Easily the best moth so far this year was found in the bottom of my trap, a stunning Blossom Underwing and quite unexpected and not one that many people can say that is on their garden list. We have 3 or 4 very mature Oak trees along the bridleway at the bottom of our garden, i'm hoping it is a product of those, but it could have equally wandered from somewhere else.  

3) Pancalia leuwenhoekella - 14/05/18 - Hexton Chalk Pit [New For Me] - The highlight of my mothing year so far and such a stunning little micro! Found on a walk through Chalk Grassland, not many records for Herts of this supposedly scarce micro, until I continued to scour the area on various warm days and turned about 15 different individuals up. Clearly under-recorded.

4) Dingy Shell - 25/05/18 - Stevenage, North Herts - [New For Garden] - Great to add this moth that resembles a Butterfly, it seems to be fairly common amongst Woodand in the County, but is a little bit more secretive around hardens it appears.

5) Marsh Pug - 21/05/18 - Hexton Chalk Pit [New For Me] - Another sunshine walk around Hexton Chalk Pit revealed plenty of moths on the wing, I never quite expected to net Pugs... I started netting Grey Pugs, 5 in total and then I netted something different. Much smaller and intricately marked. My first ever Marsh Pug and a Herts rarity.

6) Common Heath - 21/05/18 - Hexton Chalk Pit [New For Me] - On the same day as the Marsh Pug who would have thought I would find another good Macro. I saw a flappy looking dark moth struggling in the breeze and a sprint and a good solid sweep later netted a mint Common Heath, what a blooming cracker it was. I've previously only seen this species in France.

7) Cydia ulicetana - 04/06/18 - Hertford Heath - [New For Me] - Another brief walk out and across Hertford Heath yielded my first ever Cydia ulicetana. Hardly surprising given the amount of Gorse and Broom in the vicinity. One i'd been too lazy to find in previous years!

8) Ancylis diminutana - 25/05/18 - Home Wood, Bedfordshire [New For Me and Bedfordshire] -
An incredible session for the first trip to Home Wood in Bedfordshire. We had never trapped with gusto this early on before, to say it paid off would be an understatement! This moth was a really good one for me, an unusual looking moth.

9) Cydia illutana - 25/05/18 - Home Wood, Bedfordshire [New For Me and Bedfordshire] -
Another new to Beds species, 2 were trapped in seperate traps along the rides along the edge of the woodland, botn were retained and only recently confirmed by Andy Banthorpe.

10) Elachista triatomea - 04/06/18 - Grassland bordering Ermine Street, Central Herts [New For Me] - A couple of hours wander around some verge grassland with mixed trees and shrubs and a plethora of wildflowers including Ox-eye Daisies yielded some great moths for me.
On both days it was very warm and humid, and the sunnier day on the 4th yielded better results but I found the sunshine made the moths incredibly hard to pot up from the net, usually going skywards instantly and beyond my control. I recorded 5 new species of moth for my records
Commophila aeneana, Dichrorampha sequana, Elachista triatomea, Endothenia oblongana, Grapholita tenebrosana.
Elachista triatomea was certainly the pick of the bunch, a County rarity.

11) Dewick's Plusia - 01/06/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] - This moth has a sad tale...I was photographing the moths from the previous night when a wing caught my attention, it was not only any other moth wing, it was distinctive and I instantly recognised it as a Dewick's Plusia forewing, albeit missing the other 3 wings, body, head and antennae...drat.
Mixed emotions ensued, bitter happiness kind of described my feeling at the time.
It of course was a garden first and a good record for the County of this migrant species and certainly the most northerely recorded in the county of Herts.

Over a month later I recorded another one, albeit in one piece this time and from a regular field trip haunt of mine, Ashwell Quarry. 

12) Sloe Pug - 13/06/18 - Ashwell Quarry, North Herts [New For Me] - A warm day of 25 degrees and muggy, the sky inevitably cleared and it got cool quite quicjly, It turned out to be worth though with one new moth for my records. There were at least 5 examplrs of Sloe Pug! Hardly surprising given the fact that the reserve is bordered by umpteen Prunus bushes, but the fact that I had never seen them before at this time of the year was a nice surprise in itself.

13) Gelechia scotinella - 27/06/18 - Home Wood, Bedfordshire [New For Me] - A rare moth just about anywhere, I was lucky to net it flying around the Actinic trap at dusk. A 3rd County record for Beds. This Woodland always surprises and holds a personal record for me. Over the last 7 trips there, every time I have trapped there I have recorded at least 2 new moth species for my records. 

14) Four-spotted Footman - 01/07/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] - On the night of the first of July, not one, not two, but 4 new species for the garden were observed, Four-spotted Footman, Larch Pug, Scarce Silver-lines and Green Arches. I would have been happy with any one of them, and too top it all off I got two Four-spotted Footman!! Another species I had only seen in France previously.

15) Pseudopostega crepusculella - 07/07/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden and New For Me] - This moth was completely new for me. It's a tiny white moth that is believed to favour mint as it's foodplant, some of which is grown in our garden. The moth was dissected just to be certain.

16) Platytes alpinella - 08/07/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] -  It was two a piece between the Macros and the Micros for the incredible 4 new for garden species in one night on the 08th of July.
The most unexpected and pick being Platytes alpinella, a predominantly coastal species which i've taken before on the Essex coast, so it was a bit of a shock to get one in the garden trap, also confirmed as only the 2nd County record.
Southern Wainscot was also a presumed wanderer on such a warm and muggy night.
Two other species that caught my eye and that were instantly potted were the other 2 garden firsts, the stunning Figure of Eighty and the pretty in pink Celypha rosaceana.

17) Coleophora conspicuella - 13/07/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Me and Herts] - Graeme Smith dissected a rather distinct large Coleophora from my garden trap, it turned out to be a County first of Coleophora conspicuella.
Subsequently, I took another similiar looking Coleophora 3 nights later at Ashwell Quarry, which again turned out to be Coleophora conspicuella.
Even better was that they were both a male and a female!

18) Sorhagenia rhamniella - 16/07/18 - Ashwell Quarry, North Herts - [New For Me] - a first moth of this genus for me, quite an unusual Gelechiidae which resembles Blastobasidae. It was to be the 5th County record for Herts and was dissected once again by Graeme Smith Ashwell comes up trumps again!

19) Aristotelia ericinella - 23/07/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden and New For Me] - A garden first, the Heather feeder Aristotelia ericinella. Totally unexpected but being caught at a similiar time to 20+ trapped at Nomansland Common by Graeme Smith, in fact a week later it turned up at Ashwell! nodding to suggestions that with the warm humid air it was dispersing, much like what we experience with wetland wanderer's.
In must have had a good year and a new species for me to boot!

20) Yarrow Pug - 24/07/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden and New For Me] - July was just fantastic in my garden. Most nights that I was running my trap I was recording new for garden species. On the 24th this was no different with a brand new Pug species for me, the rather large Yarrow Pug.

21) Gold Spot - 26/07/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] - Not a great deal of species back on the 26th of July, but a new moth for my garden was indeed the icing on the cake!
The moth was the beautiful, Gold Spot. A moth I had only seen once before on a field trip to Rye Meads NR, a wetland habitat that seems to suit this moth well in the County.
I never got a photo of it as someone else took it for a photo, so it was great to get the opportunity to see the species up close.

22) Chrysoclista linneella - 27/07/18 - Ashwell Quarry, North Herts - [New For Me] - Just when Ashwell couldn't get any better, it did! With 4! New Micro moths for my records, they were. Ancylosis oblitella (presumed migrant/wanderer and rare for the County) Chrysoclista linneella, (5th County record and trapped on the edge of the arable field) at least 4 Rhopobota stagnana and Bactra furfurana (2nd County record). I picked Chrysoclista linneella out for it's prettyness.

23) Bulrush Wainscot - 03/08/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] - A lovely mild spell at the beginning of August really helped boost numbers, and on the 3rd of August this was no exception. I was lucky to add Bulrush Wainscot to the garden list, a predominantly wetland species but on quite a few people's garden lists, it was finally my time for it! 

24) Agriphila selasella - 03/08/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] - On the same night as the Bulrush Wainscot was a grden first grass moth, Agriphila selasella is a pretty good garden record in the County, more frequently encountered out on chalk grassland.

25) Ocnerostoma piniariella/friesei - 28/07/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden and New For Me] - Still awaiting dissection, a first for me and my records, quite a small white moth but nevertheless very different to anything else.

26) Caloptilia falconipennella - 03/08/18 - Radwell Meadows, North Herts [New For Me] - A new species of Caloptilia, a genus that are quite quirky in their own way, sitting an acute angle in a bottom down posture. This was one of two seen this year, both in Herts.

27) Pyrausta despicata - 18/08/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] - A Pyralid I rarely see, most of my records over the years are from Coastal locations, i've had a few inland on rough ground but it was extra special to get one in the garden trap.

28) Scrobipalpa obsoletella - 02/09/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden and New For Me] - Dissected by Graeme Smith and initial thoughts were that it was Tuta absoluta, an extremely scarce moth in these parts... it turned out not to be this species, but an equally amazing record and a 2nd record for the County! A saltmarsh species turning up 60 miles from the nearest coastline!

29) Duponchelia fovealis - 03/09/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden and New For Me] - A day later and after the great Scrobipalpa record from the previous night, I really didn't expect another new moth for me and my garden again. This is an adventive species which seems to have colonised certain parts of the UK, originally from the Med and North Africa extending to the Middle-East and even the USA.

30) Clancy's Rustic - 11/09/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden and New For Me][New to Herts and New For Me] - A lovely surprise was waiting for me on the morning of the 12th of September, a new moth for me and new to the County of Hertfordshire to boot! There had been quite a few reports of them turning up along the south coast and it was great to 'get lucky' and easily my best Macro moth of the year. Another was caught (and duly dissected by Graeme Smith) by Ian Bennell a few days after. 

31) Aproaerema anthyllidella - 12/09/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] - A new moth for my garden, a welcome Gelechiidae which I encounter fairly frequently out on field trips, in woodland and grassy verges typically.

32) Large Wainscot - 04/10/18 - Stevenage, North Herts [New For Garden] [New For Garden and New For Me] - A garden first of this predominantly wetland moth, well chuffed and after last months Bulrush Wainscot and a Southern Wainscot in July, i've caught up on a few of this group now which is very pleasing indeed.

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