Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Micro Moth review

This year I have fully recorded all micro moths to the Skinner 125W garden trap, totalling in all 123 species, along with several more from outings to local woods.
Several species were good records for Hertfordshire and one a good record for the UK, so all in all, a pleasing year. I also have photographic records of micros for June 2011 - Nov 2012 and shall go through these to add to the list on the right hand side of this page.
The first and last micro of the year was the common plume, Emmelina monodactyla with Diurnea fagella being taken in March, along with Ypsolopha mucronella. A 20 plume moth was also taken on the last day of March
Ypsolopha mucronella
Into April and still very quiet for micros, Agonopterix alstromeriana, Agonopterix arenella, Syndemis musculana and Notocelia cynosbatella were the only representatives for the whole month.
Syndemis musculana
May started equally quietly, with plenty of nettle tap moths, bee moths, before a Phtheochroa rugsana was taken on the 19th. There then followed a flurry around the 20th with 4 species taken in one night, including Eulia ministrana. By the end of May, my micro total was up to a paltry 22 species, with nothing out of the ordinary
Phtheochroa rugosana
By the end of June this total had jumped to 47 species, with more unusual moths being: Lozotaenia forsterana, Parapoynx stratiotata, Ephestia unicolorella ssp woodiella, Hedya ochroleucana and plenty of the splendid Pseudargyrotoza conwagana.
Pseudargyrotoza conwagana
Into July, taking the running total to 104, with plenty of good moths:
Batia lunaris: 03.07.14
Carcina quercana 04.07.14
Argyresthia goedartella 05.07.14
Catoptria falsella 06.07.14
Oncocera semirubella: 21.07.14 a new moth for the garden and one that was reported in the 2006 Herts records as Herts extinct. A good moth indeed.

Lozotaeniodes formosanus 21.07.14 and another new moth for me.
Pandemis corylana 29.07.14 was the 100th micro of the year.

August began quietly with Yponomeuta plumbella being taken on the 6th, and then the excitement really kicked in with a moth I had not seen before and was confident it was not in any field guides I had. Eventually identified at 1.30 in the morning with Graeme Smith's help as a Diaphania perspectalis, the box moth an invasive pest originally from Japan. Nevertheless, a great moth to get in the trap. An Acleris rhombana on the 18th and by the 25.08.14 I had taken my 3000th moth for the year, a lesser yellow underwing. How unexciting!

Diaphania persectalis

Agriphila geniculea, common moth for August.
This was the period of the grass moths, Agriphila tristella, Catoptria falsella, Crambus pascuella and, whilst trapping in nearby Millennium Wood, 5 Agriphila selasella. these were shown to the county recorder for correct identification as a very good moth for the county. All 5 were identified as selasella
Agriphila selasella
Agriphila straminella
Identifcation of Ag selasella
Same scheme for Ag tristella
Both identification guides compiled by Graeme J Smith of Bishop's Stortford. Many thanks.

Agriphila tristella


Into September and Bryotropha affinis and Cacoecimorpha pronubana were the 115th and 116th micros on the 6th with Hypsopygia glaucinalis on the 17th.  Acleris sparsana on the 23rd and the month concluding with Clepsis consimilana on the 30th, this being the 120th for the year.
Clepsis consimilana
However, the probable real highlight of the year arrived on the 15th October and one of the last micros of the year, a Diasemiopsis ramburialis. A seriously rare inland migrant from North Africa, perhaps, certainly southern Europe.
Diasemiopsis ramburialis

Distribution map of D. ramburialis. Note Herts dot is only previous record: 1963 and very few inland records.
The final micro record of the year, the 123rd was another visitor from foreign shores, but a much more expected species, Udea ferrugalis, the rusty dot pearl. This was taken on the 26th October.
So, a fascinating year recording and, once I have trawled through previous records, I shall have a definitive number of species taken at the garden trap. Roll on July 2015! As Graeme pointed out: probably not too many micro moth-ers have taken both D. perspectalis and D. ramburialis in the same year, very lucky indeed.
Edit: spent the whole day going through over 340 archive photos dating back to 2011 of micro moths. Have added a fair few to my records of ones that I can definitely now identify due to more knowledge and better selection of texts. These have now been added to the records on the right. Just 17 left to identify.

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This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander