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!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Out of county

I realise its not Surrey, so I hope people don't mind me mentioning it in passing.

Went to Noar Hill, Hants, today, and managed the following:

Common Carpet
Holly Blue
Pyrausta aurata
Early Purple Orchids
Tree Pipit
Lesser Whitethroat


Adela reumurella (there were vast swarms of these!)
Speckled Wood

female Orange Tip

Green Hairstreak

Dingy Skipper

Duke of Burgundy

Sunday, 24 April 2011

not an angel!

I've finally managed to pin down the ID of this seraphim, only my second for the garden.

Just to show how variable clouded drab can be, I put together this montage of ones from my garden. I'm still missing one of the dark grey form I sometimes get.

Anyone want my Brindleds?

Yet another scorching day, so I had to give the trap a go in the garden last night, despite still clear skies. Once I got to the trap, I was just about able to force my way through the floods of Brindled Pugs to find something different! A first for the garden was awaiting, as a Red Chestnut appeared, along with my second record of Oak-tree Pug. A little more variety in terms of species, but Brindleds aside, still not great numbers.

23rd April:
91 Brindled Pug (just an estimate if truth be told!)
4 Oak-tree Pug NFY
4 Hebrew Character
3 Clouded Drab
2 Common Quaker
2 Shuttle-shaped Dart
1 Red Twin-spot Carpet
1 Garden Carpet NFY
1 Frosted Green
1 Red Chestnut NFG

Red Chestnut (I tried to use a torch to improve the light, but its just saturated it)

Oak-tree Pug

Three of my four Oak-tree Pugs

Friday, 22 April 2011

Swimming in Brindleds!

Despite last night being, on the face of it, similar to previous nights in terms of weather conditions, trapping numbers were massively up, although its almost solely thanks to Brindled Pugs! Still not great species numbers but there were three new for the year among the 7.

21st April:
43 Brindled Pug
9 Hebrew Character
7 Common Quaker
6 Clouded Drab
3 Shuttle-shaped Dart NFY
1 Nut-tree Tussock NFY
1 Red Twin-spot Carpet NFY

Scorching Scarcities

Well, the April scorcher continues, and this seems to be encouraging a few goodies to show themselves in the garden. I took a little break from trapping for a few days, but that didn't stop the moths coming...

Whilst watering the borders a few days ago, a Buttoned Snout blasted out of the Ivy and luckily landed on the fence where I could pot it up. A garden first, and one of the rarer species I've caught here, although it does seem to have its Surrey stronghold in the gardens of the North-east of the county...

On the 20th, I caught a single Cydia strobilella flying in the afternoon sun. This is another Surrey notable, recorded from just 5 sites, but is probably under-recorded. There is also a Norway Spruce, its footplant, two doors down, which might explain its presence...

Back out with the 15w Actinic last night, and it was a good haul with 24 species. The highlights being...

Ochreous Pug...

Grey Dagger agg.

 Waved Umber...


Caloptilia syringella...

Caloptilia populetorum...

... as well as a Small Dusty Wave and Swammerdarnia pyrella, both of which were a bit camera shy.

Not exactly a highlight, but we have been getting quite a few Twenty-plume Moths in the house when I haven't been trapping, and up until now I have never bothered to photograph them. Its easy to overlook them from a distance, but when you do look closely, the detail on each feather like plume is quite something...

April show-ers

This warm weather is encouraging more moths to emerge. There were large swarms of long-horn moths on our local oak trees. They were too high to photograph but could well have been Nematapogon swammerdamella. Below is a selection that came to my trap last night:

purple thorn

nut-tree tussock

iron prominent

flame shoulder

common quaker (a worn specimen which at first glance looked rather like a powdered quaker)


And a waved umber from a couple of nights ago...

Monday, 18 April 2011

shuttle service

My catches have been poor lately, despite the warm days, presumably due to clear skies at night and a full moon. But I'll put a couple of recent shots up for the record.

lunar marbled brown

shuttle-shaped dart

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Emperor of the Bowl

A few nights back I trapped in the garden, but as it was fairly cold, numbers were kept down. I did however get a Powdered Quaker and a new species for the garden - a Lunar Marbled Brown.

Yesterday eclipsed that by quite a way, and I didn't even trap. I went for a daylight walk at the Devil's Punch Bowl, in fairly overcast conditions hoping to see a ornithological year tick or two (which I did - a Tree Pipit). But, I was walking along in the Bowl itself when something shot passed me. I was sure it was a butterfly, but it quickly dropped down into the Heather nearby. I managed to get it in my binoculars, and I was astonished to see a male
Emperor Moth! My first! I wonder how many I had actually seen before without realising it (I visit heathland often). It was a stunner, and i managed to get some shots on my video camera (all I had to hand), before it settled down to rest in the Heather as the s
un went in. I wondered whether it had smelt a newly emerged female, which is why it dropped into the heather. I had a good look around, but couldn't see one.


Powdered Quaker

Lunar Marbled Brown
Emperor Moth

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Summer in Spring

The weather has been glorious this last week (perhaps too glorious, as I found out for not wearing suncream!), and not just during the day. Cloud cover has been minimal, but the mild, almost summer like night temperatures have been keeping the moths coming. So far this April, highlights from the garden trap have included...

Lunar Marbled Brown- A fairly common mid-spring species in Surrey, caught on 8th...

The Streamer- A real stunner, and my first ever, taken on 7th. Possibly one of my new favourite moths!

Nut-tree Tussock- A more expected addition to the year list on 7th, although I have only ever had a fleeting glance at one, this time last year when one landed briefly on the trap just in time for me to identify it, before disappeared off into the night...

Esperia sulphurella- This one had me scratching my head when I first caught it on 8th, but thanks to the 500 odd micro photos covered on my newly acquired Chris Manley's Moths and Butterflies photographic guide, I managed to pin it down. A common and widespread species across the whole of Surrey...

Pale Mottled Willow- It was great to finally catch the first PMW of the year on 1st, but the novelty will soon wear off, and this can be one of the commonest species in the trap in throughout the spring, summer and autumn.

Early Grey- Caught on 1st, a first for me. The name doesn't really do the moth justice though, I think it looks quite smart.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

No Sloe but quite a show

I went on my first field trapping session of the year last night, as it had been a hot day. I visited Bookham Common with Paul Wheeler in the hope of Sloe Carpet. There's wonderful habitat there, with massive Blackthorn thickets everywhere, too early for the Nightingales too! Despite this, we had a great night, and in just two hours (it got cold under the clear sky very quickly) we managed 19 macro moths, and a load of micros too. These included species that I had not expected to be out yet, and three new species for me. A Small Brindled Beauty was quite late, we had an Early Tooth-striped, and two Red Chestnuts. We also discovered some Brown Hairstreak eggs that had been marked by someone with some string. Quite a night!

6th April, Bookham Common:
9 Water Carpet
7 Common Quaker
6 Scorched Carpet
3 Clouded Drab
3 Frosted Green
2 Small Quaker
2 Red Chestnut*
2 Shoulder Stripe
2 Brindled Pug
2 Hebrew Character
1 Early Thorn
1 Streamer
1 Satellite
1 Engrailed
1 Small Brindled Beauty*
1 Oak Beauty
1 Early Tooth-striped*
1 Nut-tree Tussock
1 Oak-tree Pug

Water Carpet
Small Brindled Beauty
Shoulder Stripe
Scorched Carpet
Red Chestnut
Oak-tree Pug
Oak Beauty
Early Tooth-striped

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Its Green for moths as Frost departs

Conditions really looked good last night, with lots of cloud, although it was a little breezy. I ended up getting very similar numbers to my last couple of trappings in clear conditions, but that was still excellent. 30 moths of 7 species included a new species for the garden in the shape of a Frosted Green. It was a lot 'greener' in the flesh.

5th April:
14 Common Quaker
5 Small Quaker
3 Brindled Pug NFY
3 Clouded Drab
3 Hebrew Character
1 Twin-spotted Quaker
1 Frosted Green NFG
+ 2 Black Burrying Beetles

Brindled Pug
Frosted Green

Sunday, 3 April 2011

It was a clear night, but in view of the excellent catches going on up and down the country at the moment, I thought I would give it a go. I only got the five species, but I got a surprisingly high 32 moths. I am determined to get a Dark Chestnut one of these days, and I have had many promising looking candidates before, that turn out to be Chestnut. What about this one (it looked much darker in real life)?

2nd April:
16 Common Quaker
9 Small Quaker
4 Chestnut
2 Hebrew Character
1 Clouded Drab

Dark Chestnut?