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

Sunday 31 December 2023

Best Moths of 2023 Roundup

Welcome to the best moths I personally recorded in 2023.

2023 was an odd year weather-wise, summer took ages to come, and when it did it was fairly brief. We also recorded the least 30c+ temperature days in the last decade, despite last year being one of the hottest! 
It was a hot start to September, recording our hottest day of the year on the 10th of the month.
It was also a very wet year after a dry spring and the grass did not stop growing. Usually around early August the grass is like straw, not this year! it continued to grow and I was still cutting my lawn at the start of November!
Subsequently it was very hit and miss for moth recording, the weather rarely played ball.
This wasn't a problem at home, with a fairly sheltered and rain-guarded trap up against the back wall of the house, it was almost too easy to be lazy and just trap from home every night.
But the rewards were there out in the field once more and every single small window of opportunity, I was out.

So here are my best moths of 2023, enjoy and I hope you all have a good year in 2024 and thank you for the continued support. 
1. Antispila metallella 27/05/23 - Fordham Meadow, East Cambs (New species) A very pretty little micro moth that has avoided me over the years, it feeds from Dogwood which is now a fairly common urban development shrub. I expect these to increase in years to come.

2. Lampronia morosa 27/05/23 - Fordham Meadow, East Cambs (New species) Another new moth for me was netted along the edge of a nearby meadow, some 400 metres from my garden. I netted not just one, but 4 of them. There is plenty of Dog-rose interspersed between Hawthorn and Privet.

3. Commophila aeneana 28/05/23 - Lawshall, West Suffolk (Not seen for many years) One of, if not the prettiest micro moth. 2 were netted at a nearby nature reserve to where my parents live, not easy to pot up once netted I must add! I also managed a pair of scarce Pammene trauniana on the same short walk around.

Thisanotia chrysonuchella 06/06/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (New species) New to Cambridgeshire and my first British record of this species (Having seen them previously in SW France). There are a rash of records in the NW corner of Suffolk on the edge of the brecks, and a mere 10 miles away from our village, so it's likely to be a wanderer.

5. Epinotia granitana 10/06/23 - Chippenham Fen, East Cambs (New for Cambs) I was incredibly lucky to record two of these tiny non-descript tortrix moths at my local nature reserve on a clear night. I was surprised I spotted them amongst the c.1000 Tortrix viridana!
6. Rannoch Looper 11/06/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (New Species) Another good migration of Rannoch Looper occurred this year during June. Apart from a record of a caterpillar at Wicken Fen (Which is dubious) this is the first adult record for Cambs. It's one I've never come across before, mainly because I rarely travel in this country. 4 days later I took a pair of them at nearby Chippenham Fen, another super addition to the ever-growing site list that will rival Wicken Fen eventually.

Dusky Clearwing 17/06/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (New for Cambs) This moth came completely out of the blue and rocked the mothing world for a good few weeks after this first intial specimen was found.
I had purchased the TAB lure from Jon Clifton in early spring, and having a bit of knowledge of it being a bi-yearly emerging species (Much like Sallow Clearwing), 2023 seemed worth a punt. The punt turned into reality when upon checking the lure trap at around 4pm on a warm Saturday there was a rather large Clearwing inside, and the rest was history! Subsequently I recorded 12 over nearly 3 months, never more than one at a time mind. The moth turned up in no less than 6 new counties in 2023.

. Cloaked Pug 21/06/23 Fordham, East Cambs (New species) A new pug moth is always rather special, there aren't many more to see for me, so what a pleasant surprise to trap a Cloaked Pug, what a right brute of a Pug. My appetite for this species was already heavily whetted with local moth'er Leslie Gardiner bringing round a mint example for me to photograph and look at, just a week prior. Mine, was very tatty! But you can't have it all.

9. Eucosma metzneriana 23/06/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (New species) Following on from the Cloaked Pug, another species that I was hoping to see that Leslie has already recorded just round the corner, was the striking Eucosma metzneriana with its monochrome shades. My specimen was a little darker than the one Leslie trapped on the 12th of June. Yet another tick for the list!

Monochroa tenebrella 24/06/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (New to Cambs) I've swept this moth in the daytime before in other counties, and had a few to light traps. I so nearly disregarded this as just a new species for the garden, when in fact it seems that it is new to Cambridgeshire? We shall see when the record is submitted. A fairly distinct metallic Monochroa species with sharp wing-tips and a purple glossy head and large upturned palps.

11. Shaded Fan-foot 24/06/23 - Ditton Park Wood, East Cambs (2nd Cambs Record) A first for me in this country, I've taken this species numerous times before abroad but never here. A very unexpected record in a newly recorded woodland right on the Cambs/Suffolk border. I managed a second one nearly 4 weeks later, suggesting a possible breeding population.

12. Neosphaleroptera nubilana 24/06/23 - Ditton Park Wood, East Cambs (New Species) A species that has been long overdue, though never a common moth in any county, I was lucky to spot this species on top of the rain guard of the mercury vapor trap. I just could not pin it down initially and Tim Green was spot on with suggesting a well-marked Neosphaleroptera nubilana, only the 6th county record.

13. Acrobasis tumidana 07/07/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (3rd Cambs Record) I remember seeing the first Hertfordshire record of this species, a tentative tumidana was brought round to my old Stevenage home by Keith Cherry, I was blown away in seeing it, and Keith was suitably very chuffed to record the first for Hertfordshire in 2018. It's a Pyralid that I've seen sparingly in Europe, to get one in the garden is fantastic. It's worth checking and advenella throughout the year and particularly during strong migration periods.

14. Elachista subocellea 07/07/23 - Ditton Park Wood, East Cambs (New Species 2nd & 3rd for Cambs)
Another new moth at the new woodland, 3 in two trips is mind-blowing. It just shows you that there must be so many surprises hidden across the country in remote wooded areas. This dinky little micro moth is very distinct for the genus Elachista, with It's orange transversal bands and over-sized cilia. 

15. Eudemis porphyrana 23/07/23 - Ditton Park Wood, East Cambs (New Species & New to Cambs) Nearly a month had passed since I last trapped at this woodland. Summer of 2023 proved tricky indeed, and windows or opportunity were scarce in peak moth season. Nevertheless the rewards were still there, with another 2 new species for me, the best was this colourful tortrix. We counted no less than 6 of them! It is also new to Cambridgeshire.

16. Phyllonorycter kuhlweiniella 23/07/23 - Ditton Park Wood, East Cambs (New Species & 2nd for Cambs) 
Phyllonorycter species can be notoriously difficult to separate in adult form due to the similarities in forewing markings, most have to be dissected or bred through from their mines. This species however is a rather unusual long-winged species very similar to aceris & comparella...almost a cross-breed in appearance, but the bands are at a slightly different angle. An incredible new species for my records to boot.

17. Ypsolopha sylvella 01/08/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (2nd Cambs Record) A new Ypsolopha for the garden records, this species I took nearly annually in Hertfordshire, but with a lot more mature woodland habitat on my doorstep in my previous haunt, this was to be expected. Here in Cambs it is a rare species, this being only the 2nd at the time. 

18. Triple-spotted Pug 14/08/23 - Chippenham Fen, East Cambs (Not seen for many years) I was delighted to record two Triple-spotted Pugs in mid-August at my local nature reserve. It's a pug that goes under the radar a bit and it never seems very common anywhere. This cracking example was the best marked of the two.

19. Oblique Striped 15/08/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (New for garden) This fairly regular moth out on the fen, graced my trap on a warm and humid night in mid-August. Suddenly August was making up for the poor weather in July. Not only 1, but 3 examples were in and around the trap. A great night which included 2 new for garden species and a further 7 new for the year taking the year list to 567.

20. Ypsolopha alpella 20/08/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (2nd Cambs Record) Another second county record Ypsolopha was attracted to the garden actinic trap, this time it was alpella. A familiar moth for me in woody Hertfordshire, but here with less mature habitat, it is a very rare moth.

21. Bedstraw Hawk-moth 21/08/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (New Species) Cooler nights had now started here in the east by this point, and temperatures went as low as 8.9c during this week.
The humidity had abated, which was a welcome change for working outdoors as I do, but not so good for mothing, you can't have it both ways!
So you can imagine my surprise on a cool Tuesday morning, when I opened the trap at 5am and saw a large Hawk-moth clinging to the top egg tray, I was like wow, Striped Hawk... then later on after posting a picture it was pointed out to me that it was a Bedstraw, oops a bit of a brain fart moment! A great moth and probably the best macro moth all year.

22. Psoricoptera gibbosella 21/08/23 - Ditton Park Wood, East Cambs (New to Cambs) Another good night in this woodland, although conditions felt perfect with no wind, cloudy and humid. Yet there was very little moth activity over the various lights. I guess because of the slightly later time of the year and it being past it's mothing best. Best moth of the night was a new species for Cambridgeshire, the unusual looking pine feeder Psoricoptera gibbosella. It is a moth I've seen before in pine woodland in other counties.

23. Falseuncaria ruficiliana 23/08/23 - Chippenham Fen, East Cambs (New Species & 2nd Cambs Record) Late August I recorded 136 species at nearby Chippenham Fen, there were some real cracking moths recorded over the 4hr session. The best moth of the night was this tortix moth, not seen in the county for 115 years!! Sadly, it was wriggling around in a nearby spider web. I managed to rescue it but it was rather tatty. Dissection proved to be Falseuncaria ruficiliana as suspected.

24. Archer's Dart 06/09/23 - Cavenham Heath,West Suffolk (New Species) Dipping my toes into Suffolk at a fantastic breckland site towards the end of the year was very much worth the effort, recording 2 new species for my records, Heath Rustic and this belter of an Archer's Dart. Archer's Dart is a species I always hoped to see over a decade ago, when I use to trap on the Essex coast with Graham Bailey & the late Don Down.

25. Euspilapteryx auroguttella 08/09/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (New for Garden) Another small beauty that I've caught elsewhere but always yearned for a garden specimen. This absolutely mint example didn't disappoint, and was very photogenic.

26. Palipta vitrealis  30/09/23 - Chippenham Fen, East Cambs (New Species) I set up 3 traps in anticipation for a good night at the end of September, but moths were rather slow to the lights and it took a few hours to start seeing the numbers I would have expected given the perfect conditions. In fact, I found 1/3rd of my species list nectaring on a nearby large ivy bush. 
By 11pm the wind had really picked up and scuppered the catch a bit, but then... what was that bright white Box-moth, surely not..YES! my first British record of Palpita vitrealis, what a stunningly delicate little moth. Slightly smaller than the similar Cydalima but so much more beautiful, result!

27. Vestal 19/10/23 - Fordham, East Cambs (2 Vestals in one night) Not new, but I just couldn't leave this beauty out. I've been lucky to record several Vestals in my garden as well as the neighbouring hedgerows over the past few years. This specimen though was the best looking one I've ever seen, with its hot pink striations. 

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