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

Friday 31 December 2021

Best Moths of 2021 Roundup

Welcome to the best moths I personally recorded in 2021.
Overall 2021 was a quieter year to recent years, but with some outstanding records to boot.
Numbers of common and expected moths were in short supply and sometimes non-existent in some instances.
With another year struggling through covid, starting a new job in January and then moving house at the end of August, it's been a busy year and i've had to put moths on hold at times. Needless to say I have put in as much effort as I could throughout the year, helping with identifications, writing extracts and papers and contributing to several books and online resources.
And of course, the moths! Many that were short-listed were new species for me, or new for the County or even new for Britain! 
With all the doom and gloom, i've had my family close by me and we've pulled through it together.

So here are my best moths of 2021, enjoy and I hope you all have a good year in 2022 and thank you for the continued support.

1. Povolnya leucapennella - Work, Bishop's Stortford - (29/01/21) - During a lunch time break, I walked around the cemetery tapping shrubs to see if I could dislodge a few over-wintering moths. Plenty of Emmelina monodactyla and Epiphyas postvittana were found, but a paler Caloptilia species was spotted and potted up for a closer look. It turned out to be a new species for me, Povolnya leucapennella.

2. Phyllocnistis unipunctella - Work, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire - (24/02/21) - I trapped a tiny white moth at work at the end of February, to my surprise it turned out to be a Phyllocnistis unipunctella which was new for me. This species has been known to over-winter (hence the early flight time). The warm weather probably woke it up. I can only assume that the moth itself came from the row of mature Black Poplar's along Cemetrary Road in Bishop's Stortford.
3. Pammene giganteana - Back Garden - Stevenage, Hertfordshire - (20/03/21) - This wasn't a new species for me, but it was the success of the newly acquired pheremone lure for Grapholita molesta (MOL) that made it worth mentioning. This moth appeared at nearly every location I tried, over a near two-month period, putting many new dots on the map.
4. Caloptilia elongella - Work, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire - (24/03/21) - Of 3 moths in the trap, a Caloptilia stood-out. It was to be my very first Caloptilia elongella, an Alder feeder. The British Caloptilia genus currently stands at 14 species, with honoratella added to the British list in 2019 and fidella in 2021. I have therefore recorded 12 species of Caloptilia now, the other missing species is probably a common moth for some of you out there... azalleella! One day maybe..
5. Tinea bisselliella - Community Hall - Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire - (12/04/21) Don't laugh... this clothes moth was new to me! I found it sitting by an emergency exit light in the Community hall I was doing some work in. It was an absolute mare to photograph though!! It was in and out of the fridge until it had stopped moving, then I 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 was chuffed, would be an understatement. This Tinea is quite uncommon nowadays despite it's vernacular name of 'Common Clothes Moth'.
6. Cydia strobilella - Work, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire - (30/04/21) - This is only my 3rd record, with 2 individuals on the 8th of May 2016 in the far West of the County of Hertfordshire. I found it crawling along the floor amongst some fallen Scots Pine cones, presumably newly hatched, as I watered some Rose Bushes underneath the tree, result!
7. Great Prominent - Back Garden - Stevenage, Hertfordshire - (11/05/21) - Moving on a month and into May, it was a complete shock to see a Great Prominent sitting on the house wall behind my trap. It is a bit of an elusive species for me, having only seen it once before in mature Oak woodland. To get one in a suburban garden was crazy.

8. Muslin Moth - Work, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire - (17/05/21) - Muslin Moth on the list? A bit strange you say. Well it would be if it was just a Male, but no. I was extremely lucky to be sweep netting the long grass in the cemetery when I looked in the bottom of the net, and had a brilliant white Female Muslin Moth staring back at me, amazing! This was my very first encounter of the other sex.
9. Cydia cosmophorana - Work, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire - (10/06/21) - After the Cydia strobilella at the end of April, it was great to get another species from genus. This is another pine feeding species and was a new species for me. The plethora of Pine in the cemetery owes to most of the species recorded. 

10. Euzopherodes vapidella - Work, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire - (10/06/21) - But, on the same night as the new Cydia for my records was (at the time) just a form perhaps of an Ephestia species? Little did I know that two months later the moth would turn out to be a new species for Britain, and a completely new genus. Since the article was published, Colin Plant and myself  have located a few of the possible host trees around Bishop's Stortford, including a tree in the cemetery itself where the moth was found.

11. Lyonetia prunifoliella - Weston Park, Hertfordshire & Chippenham Fen, Cambridgeshire - 01/07/21 & 29/07/21 - This is a moth I first encountered last year on a day-time wander at Canvey Island, the 5th for Essex at the time. I was tapping bushes near one of my traps at Weston Park, when I dislodged a small white moth, it turned out to be Lyonetia prunifoliella, a 2nd record for Herts. At the end of the same month, I found a small white moth sitting on the wall next to the trap I was running at Chippenham Fen, which once again was the same species, and new to Cambridgeshire!
12. Sharp-angled Carpet - Panshanger Park, Hertfordshire - 08/07/21 - With newly acquired access granted to moth trap at Panshanger Park, a near 1000 acre quarrying site, I was in anticipation of what to expect on my first outing. I was lucky to record my very first Sharp-angled Carpet, and several other specimens on subsequent visits.
13. Langmaid's Yellow Underwing - Back Garden - Stevenage, Hertfordshire - 17/07/21 - A rather smart presumed Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing was checked for the rather enigmatic Langmaid's Yellow Underwing. I had tried for a few years checking hindwings with no success, and then it happened! This beautiful specimen was indeed a Langmaid's, and a first for me.
14. Pempelia genistella - Work, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire - 22/07/21 - I went through the trap as I normally do when I get to work (While others either have a cup of tea or smoke!) And potted up a few bits and bobs to photograph at lunch, I went back out to pack the trap up and looked around again in the surrounding grass, and I couldn't believe what was crawling around in it, a Pempelia genistella, with no pot I dashed back into the tea room, fumbled for a pot and rushed back out, luckily it was still there, phew. This was another new species for me, and a 3rd for Herts

15. Monochroa arundinetella - Panshanger Park, Hertfordshire - 11/08/21 - The best moth of the night was a tentative Monochroa arundinetella (last seen in Cheshunt prior to 1901!).The moth was passed to Colin Plant and shown to other Gelechid recorders, and it was indeed the species I thought it may be. 2nd county record for Herts.
16. Sciota adelphella - Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire - 14/08/21- A lovely looking Pyralid was attracted to one of my traps when I was invited to run some traps at Wicken Fen by Stephen Thompson, the night was heaving with moths, and this new species was the pick for me.
17. Blue Underwing - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 27/08/21 - The very first night I ran my trap in my new garden, I really could not believe it, there was a huge moth (well it looked like a large Bat) swooping around the garden, it eventually landed on top of my trap and I quickly ran in and got a sandwich container to pot it up! Wow, my first British Clifden nonpareil. I recorded a further 9 specimens over the following 5 weeks.
18. Cochylidia implicitana - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 02/09/21 - Two new for me species were recorded at the start of September, this being one of them. A tiny little Tortrix moth no bigger than 8mm and probably very easy to miss!
19. Evergestis limbata - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 02/09/21 - The other cracking species was an Evergestis limbata, a recent arrival to Cambridgeshire with 3 previous records over the last two years, again I was rather shocked that my little actinic light attracted yet another new species.
20. Platyedra subcinerea - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 05/09/21 - I trapped two Platyedra subcinerea on one night on the 5th of September. Both specimens were of very different colouration. Another species added to the life list.
21. Agonopterix nervosa - Chippenham Fen, Cambridgeshire - 07/09/21 - Not a common species for Agonopterix for me nervosa, only having taken it twice before in 15 years. For Cambridgeshire it was a very good record, with 2 previous county records and last seen in 1994! Having recently moved to Cambridgeshire, I have to keep checking once regular moths in Hertfordshire, as these aren't always the case here in Cambridgeshire.

22. Oxyptilus distans - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 09/09/21 - The best moth on a warm night was a Plume, and one of the Oxyptilus species which turned out to be distans (Thanks go to Graeme Smith for taking the time to check the texts that I don't have and doing a nifty drawing). I knew it was in the area, as Leslie Gardiner in the same village as me trapped one before. The common name is Breckland Plume. Another new species for my records.
23. Feathered Ranunculus - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 24/09/21 - A great night with a few standout species recorded in the trap, as we approached the end of September. A Feathered Ranunculus found by my son as he was playing, a few hours after going through the trap was unbelievable. He spotted it under the side of the back door mat! I must have missed it doing my regular morning routine!! It is only the second record for the County, and last recorded in 1998.
24. Clancy's Rustic - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 28/09/21 - Clancy's Rustic was a species I added to the Hertfordshire list two years ago, to get another one in my garden in another county was very special indeed. It is a rare visitor to Cambridgeshire with just a handful of records. Which brings me quickly onto the next species...
25. Convolvulus Hawk-moth - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 28/09/21 - On the same night as the Clancy's, and sitting near each other on the house wall, wow! A beauty of a Male Convolvulus Hawk-moth, a species I had encountered before in Slovenia and France. To get both in the same night was probably the best night of the year!
26. Pale-lemon Sallow - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 10/10/21 -Pale-lemon Sallow is a Nationally Scarce A species and feeds from Poplar trees, a species of Noctuid that I pursued for over a decade in Hertfordshire, on various organised and private trips to areas with Black Poplar trees, fruitless trips usually on cool nights that resulted in maximum effort, but minimum results.
To then flick a switch on and attract one in my new garden is unbelievable.
I know they have been recorded in this area before, but I never expected to see one in my first year of trapping here, very chuffed!
27. Black-spotted Chestnut - Fordham, Cambridgeshire - 13/12/21 - A (sort of) expected Black-spotted Chestnut was found in the trap on a Tuesday morning in the middle of December , a species I was hoping to see at some point having missed out in my old Hertfordshire haunt, I know they have been recorded here in my village last year by Leslie Gardiner (And funnily enough his son trapped one on the same night as well). My specimen came in unusually before midnight, way before, at 7:30pm. It was to be my 577th Macro Moth species recorded here in the UK since 2006.




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