As of March 2015, an official website for Surrey Moths has been set-up here. There you'll find information on everything to do with the Surrey Branch of Butterfly Conservation, including the updated events calender for 2015. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

End of year

It has been a good year for me with 48 new species of moths found in my garden. The final year total looks as if it will be around 360 species.

I've posted quite a few photos but the following montage shows some of my favourites from the year. The splendid brocade (now accepted!) was the rarest but unfortunately the photos leaves something to be desired. One or two of the rarer micros were confirmed by dissection but not photographed.

I overlooked a probable small clouded brindle but the vast majority of my IDs were confirmed by Graham Collins, our county recorder.

Wishing everyone a happy, mothy new year,


small clouded brindle (probable)

Some of my 2010 highlights

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Moths are Scarce!

Unsurprisingly, I have not trapped in the garden yet in November, but I have come across a few moths recently. As I do my postal deliveries around the place, I often come across moths sitting near windows and outside lights. In fact, I have encountered at least 4 new species this way. This total was added to this week as I found many Scarce Umber, including the individual below which I found on one of my own windows, and today I found a fantastic Sprawler. I have also seen one or two Mottled Umber, Epirrita sps, and an unfortunately dead December Moth in a spiders web.
Scarce Umber

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Not quite 200

October, for me, has been a pretty rubbish month for moths, and I managed to add just 2 new garden species to my list in God knows how many trapping sessions!

The first being Merveille Du Jour, and the second being caught on 28th, a nice Rusty Dot Pearl, a migrant micro moth from the continent...

As we come ever closer to the end of 2010, I've managed 191 moths on the year list. I've been trying all month for late autumnal species, but I just don't think my garden is the right place, and I can't quite see myself reaching 200... maybe next year?!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Mild nights at last!

At last the conditions for trapping have improved a bit... and I have caught a few late autumn species over the last couple of nights. There was a pristine Merveille du jour (already well photographed by others on this blog) plus a few others:

red-green carpet

figure of eight

deep-brown dart

yellow-line quaker


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

An Umber of Autumn Moths

In what will probably be my last garden trapping this year, wet and cloudy conditions produced a better-than-expected ten moths last night. Amongst these were a new one for the garden and another couple new for the year. The garden tick was a couple of nice Mottled Umber.
26th October:
3 Red-line Quaker
2 Mottled Umber NFG
1 November Moth sp. NFY
1 Yellow-line Quaker
1 Feathered Thorn NFY
1 Blair's Shoulder-knot
1 late Common Marbled Carpet
and the remarkable micro, Acleris cristana
Garden Macro Year List: 215, Garden Macro Life List: 233
Acleris cristana
Blair's Shoulder-knot

November Moth (Epirrita) sp.

Feathered Thorn
Two different forms of Mottled Umber

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Merveille Du Jour

Like Sean, I also caught my first Merveille Du Jour earlier this October on 13th. The beautiful green colours on a fresh adult literally light up any boring, cold October catch, and for a beginner like me, I couldn't believe my eyes when I first peered into the trap and saw it...

A real stunner! I've got the trap out tonight, and am just waiting for a Plumed Prominent to fly in... any minute now! ;-)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Wonder of the Night

Even though it was cloudy for most of the night, it was fairly chilly, so I was not expecting a great deal in trap. Thanks to one or two heavy showers, it was not looking promising as the egg boxes were soaking! Luckily I did get something, and of the 9 moths, one was a brand new species, and a couple were new for the year. I've been waiting for a long time, but the moment finally came when I looked at the outside of the trap to see a Merveille Du Jour sitting there! Yipee! Even more intircately stunning in the flesh.
18th October:
2 Brick NFY
2 Chestnut
2 Red-line Quaker
1 Red-green Carpet NFY
1 Yellow-line Quaker
1 Merveille Du Jour NFG (roughly translates as 'wonder of the day' I think)
Merveille Du Jour

The head view

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Thursley comes up trumps

Myself and David Gardner trapped at Thursley Common last night. One reason was because the last time we tried the site on 16th June, the weather was very cold. In fact, we almost got more moths tonight! The weather was good, with some cloud cover, and the final totals were encouraging. The main reason for the session however was to look for the rare Southern Chestnut, which is a RDB species, and occurs just over the border in Sussex. Unsurprisingly, we did not find that, but we still had a good evening. We managed one lifer for me in the shape of a couple of gorgeous Dotted Chestnut.
9th October, Thursley Common:
13 Chestnut
12 Yellow-line Quaker
3 Sallow
3 Pink-barred Sallow
3 Barred Sallow
2 Red-line Quaker
2 Dotted Chestnut*
1 Satellite
1 Brick
1 Black Rustic
1 Pine Carpet
1 Feathered Thorn
1 Dusky Thorn
1 Lesser Yellow Underwing

Dotted Chestnut

Saturday, 9 October 2010

A Mega Autumn Haul!

I hope my esteemed colleauges are taking advantage of the current weather, cause I don't think it could be better for mothing in October! I will have to take back what I said yesterday about it not getting any better, because it has! Depsite the night starting off clear, the cloud rolled in, and I got an incredibly large haul of 33 moths of 20 species! These included a brand new species, as well as a couple of other year ticks, and several species that are very late(maybe something to do with the poor September weather?).
8th October:
5 Common Marbled Carpet (including one very fresh individual)
4 Black Rustic
3 Large Yellow Underwing
2 Yellow-line Quaker
2 Brindled Green NFY
2 Chestnut
1 Green Carpet
1 Grey Pine Carpet
1 Silver Y
1 Red-line Quaker
1 Barred Sallow
1 Sallow NFY
1 Lesser Yellow Underwing
1 Light Emerald
1 Grey Shoulder-knot
1 Willow Beauty
1 Large Ranunculus
1 Spruce Carpet
1 Blair's Shoulder-knot NFG

Brindled Green (grey form)

Blair's Shoulder-knot
A dark Chestnut
The same with a normal Chestnut

Friday, 8 October 2010

Autumn moths at thier height

The weather seemed pretty perfect last night, and I managed a good catch, in fact probably the best I can possibly get at this time of year with my equipment. Amongst a haul of 18 moths of 11 species were a few new for the year.
7th October:
5 Large Yellow Underwing
2 Large Ranunculus NFY
2 Black Rustic NFY
2 Red-line Quaker NFY
1 Yellow-line Quaker NFY
1 Pine Carpet
1 Dark Sword-grass NFY
1 Barred Sallow
1 Common Marbled Carpet
1 Turnip
1 Setaceous Hebrew Character
Large Ranunculus

Dark Sword-grass
Black RusticYellow-line and Red-line Quakers

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Large Ranunculus- NE Surrey

I've been having a poor few weeks trapping wise... with only one moth caught, a Willow Beauty. Last night thought, an extremely late Least Carpet flew into the kitchen. It was a pretty weird occurance, as this is a moth I'd expect in mid-summer, so I didn't quite know what to think of it at first! I've sent the record to the CR, you never know... could be the latest record of the species for Surrey.

This morning, whilst relaxing at home (the beauty of free periods at college!!), I also found my second Large Rancunculus for the garden, and for the year, resting on a wall. It flew off when I got too close and I thought I wasn't going to get photo (the last one I caught also flew off before I could get a shot), but luckily it landed perfectly on a plant.

Large Ranunculus...

I always enjoy finding butterflies in autumn, reminds me of summer! This Small White was sunning itself in the garden yesterday, during a rare occurance of sunshine...

Happy Mothing,


Saturday, 2 October 2010

What's eating my strawbs?

The debate about the "splendid brocade" rages on! Someone suggested suspected, but I don't think so. Watch this space!

Meanwhile, I found a rather smart pale tussock larva on our strawberries today.

Pale tussock larva

Knot quite the end of the year

Due to various problems (mainly weather), I have not trapped in the garden since 21st August! Its a shame I have not been able to get the range of autumn species I did last year, but I did get a taster of the season last night, which brought my garden macro year list to the 200 mark. Best was my first ever Grey Shoulder-knot.
1st October:
3 Barred Sallow NFY
1 Pink-barred Sallow NFY
1 Grey Shoulder-knot NFG
1 Lunar Underwing NFY
1 Large Yellow Underwing
1 Garden Carpet
1 Chestnut
Pink-barred Sallow

Barred Sallows

Grey Shoulder-knot

Friday, 1 October 2010

a splendid puzzle

I've not done much trapping of late... work and weather have been against me. But I had a 'splendid' experience. I trapped a rosy rustic on 27th September. Then I remembered that I'd recorded one on 27th July. An alarm bell rang in my head - a rosy rustic in July? I looked back at my photo records and, sure enough, the 'rosy rustic' was something different. But what? I've consulted various experts and the consensus is that it is a splendid brocade - a species so new to the UK that it doesn't appear in my field guide. If it is finally confirmed as that species it will be a 'second' for Surrey. The first for Surrey was found about 10 miles from my home at Reigate, just six days earlier. Trawling through the web, I have discovered that there was an influx of splendid brocades into coastal Kent around 20th July, with about 20 being reported. So nothing is proven as yet, but it's fun to be involved in such a puzzle.
As I had dismissed it as a 'common' rosy rustic I didn't bother getting a really good pic - which is a shame. I'll also post a couple of other recent catches.

?Splendiferous brocade

garden carpet

rosy rustic

barred sallow

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A Few Recent Micros

Trapped for the first time in a long time last night, and got an amazing 3 moths of 3 species. Those being Square-spot Rustic, Flounced Rustic and Vine's Rustic.

There haven't been many pictures of micros on the blog yet, so here are two which I caught back at the start of the month in the garden.

Cydia splendana...

Apotomis betuletana...

And a Cypress Pug, caught on 4th. Relatively common at this time of year in the garden...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

"Foreign" leps

I've not had much time/energy for mothing the last couple of weeks, with little worth reporting. I just had a look down the garden (checking out buddleia and sedums and house-lights). Grand total of 5 square-spot rustics and 5 Emmelina monodactyla.

Before that I had a week in the Lake District. I know this site is about Surrey moths and butterflies but I thought I'd put up a couple of photos from there (below). The Devon carpet turned out to be a first record for VC70 (North Cumbria).


Devon carpet

dark green fritillary (rather worn!)


barred chestnut

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A Mouse in Shades

On the 5th of September, conditions were a little iffy. As a result nothing of note was caught. However, the next evening was quite successful with decent variety for the date, which included two new for the year.
Aggregate for 5th and 6th Sept:
32 Large Yellow Underwing
9 Lesser Yellow Underwing
8 Square-spot Rustic
7 Copper Underwing
4 Vine's Rustic
3 Shuttle-shaped Dart
2 Svensson's Copper Underwing
2 Setaceous Hebrew Character
2 Mouse Moth NFY
2 Angle Shades NFY
2 Green Carpet
1 Snout
1 Double-striped Pug
1 Flounced Rustic
1 Marbled Beauty
1 Light Emerald
1 Garden Carpet
Angle Shades

Mouse Moth