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!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Feathered for success

The last couple of trappings have been pretty good for the time of year, but the main story is the trapping of my 250th garden macro! After a cloudy night I was delighted to find a Feathered Gothic in the trap this morning. Other than that, nothing that unusual, but Large Yellow Underwing numbers are now starting to increase steeply.

250 macros after two and a bit years of trapping, in my tiny suburban garden, with a low-powered trap - beyond expectations! I can only begin to wonder what will happen when I set the MV loose on it next year.

28th and 31st August aggregate list:
54 Large Yellow Underwing
7 Flounced Rustic
6 Svensson's Copper Underwing
5 Square-spot Rustic
5 Lesser Yellow Underwing
4 Common Rustic sp.
3 Copper Underwing
2 Shuttle-shaped Dart
1 Marbled Beauty
1 Rosy Footman
1 Maiden's Blush NFY
1 Brimstone
1 Green Carpet
1 Flame Carpet
1 Spectacle
1 Silver Y
1 Vine's Rustic
1 Feathered Gothic NFG
1 Light Emerald

Feathered Gothic

Sunday, 28 August 2011

A Wry smile at Denbies

Its about time someone did a butterfly post on here. I went for a walk with my local RSPB group around Denbies Hillside yesterday afternoon, and we were lucky with the weather, which had been rainy for the last two days. In sunny intervals we saw pretty much everything we hoped for, and more!

On the butterfly front, Silver-spotted Skipper was pretty easy, although they aren't half full of energy! The stunning Adonis Blues also showed well, including an egg-laying female. Brown Argus was also seen, with Common Blue, Small White, Large White, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, and Red Admiral completing the list of butterflies.

The plants were excellent too, with the chalk specialists of Common Calamint, Common Gromwell, Burnet-saxifrage, Autumn Gentian, and best of all, a few Autumn Ladies-tresses.

Moths weren't absent, with a couple of Yellow Shell, and Treble-bar seen.

An incredible bonus, was a WRYNECK, which I spotted at the end of the garden next to the car park. One of the rarest birds I have found myself!

Sorry about the quality of the pics. I think I prefer photographing moths!

Autumn Ladies-tresses

Brown Argus

Silver-spotted Skipper

Adonis Blue (with mite)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Barred quality in the garden

The last couple of trappings have been very good for numbers (for the time of year), but a brand new species last night saved things on the quality side, as nothing else unusual was caught (although a Common Marbled Carpet was only the third of the year!). The highlight was a slightly worn Barred Chestnut - a new species to me, not just the garden. It was very lucky I noticed it as I closed down the trap, as it was sitting on the patio nearby.

Aggregate 20th and 23rd August:


17 Large Yellow Underwing

7 Copper Underwing

5 Svensson's Copper Underwing

5 Willow Beauty

5 Common Rustic sp.

4 Riband Wave

4 Shuttle-shaped Dart

4 Vine's Rustic

3 Lesser Yellow Underwing

2 Dark Arches

2 Square-spot Rustic

2 Brimstone

2 Turnip

1 Garden Carpet

1 Uncertain

1 Double-striped Pug

1 Setaceous Hebrew Character NFY

1 Common Carpet

1 Dunbar

1 Yellow-barred Brindle

1 Yellow Shell

1 Barred Chestnut NFG

1 Iron Prominent

1 Common Marbled Carpet

1 Ear Moth

1 Mouse Moth

Barred Chestnut

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Lesser moths, but more quality

The last few nights trapping have been reasonable, although I would like to see a return of warmer weather. On the 13th, I managed to get my third record of Lychnis, the 15th produced the first Flounced Rustic of the year, but last night was the best, with five new for the years, including my second record of Lesser Treble-bar.

13th, 15th, and 17th August aggregate list:
12 Riband Wave
11 Large Yellow Underwing
8 Shuttle-shaped Dart
7 Copper Underwing
4 Svensson's Copper Underwing
3 Willow Beauty
3 Dunbar
3 Vine's Rustic
3 Marbled Beauty NFY
3 Common Rustic sp.
2 Dark Arches
2 Uncertain
2 Yellow Shell
2 Flounced Rustic NFY
1 Beautiful Hook-tip
1 Brimstone
1 Turnip
1 Double-striped Pug
1 Common Carpet
1 Iron Prominent
1 Small Phoenix
1 Flame Shoulder
1 Small Rivulet
1 Flame Carpet
1 Lychnis NFY
1 Square-spot Rustic NFY
1 Old Lady NFY
1 Mouse Moth NFY
1 Green Carpet NFY
1 Lesser Treble-bar NFY

Marbled Beauty


Flounced Rustic

Square-spot Rustic

Mouse Moth

Old Lady

Lesser Treble-bar

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Home grown Spinach

Dark Spinach is a species I've never caught before, but on the 6th August, 3 decided to make an appearance in the garden. Unfortunatly, it hasn't managed to change my views about the green stuff...

White-point is another species I've never seen before, so it was nice to get this one in the garden trap on the 10th August. Despite its official migratory status, the moth is believed to now be resident in the South.

A second Hoary Footman visited on the 7th August, and I couldn't resist getting another shot of this scarcity...

And the micros...

Phyllocnistis unipunctella...

Ectoedernia decentella- just about the only leaf-miner moth that can actually be easily identified as an adult...

Caryocolum fraternella...

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Pros and Quins of Tilburstow / Stoke's Webb's

On the 6th August, the mothing event was at Tilburstow Hill near Godstone, but it was cold, and it passed largely uneventfully. Best was the pretty micro Mompha propinquella.

6th August, Tilburstow Hill:

Riband Wave

Small Fan-footed Wave



Small Rivulet



Setaceous Hebrew Character

Pale Prominent

Maiden's Blush

Buff Footman

Rosy Footman

Mottled Beauty

Lesser Swallow Prominent

Common Footman

Red Twin-spot Carpet

Early Thorn


Svensson's Copper Underwing

Small Phoenix

Coxcomb Prominent

Common Rustic


Nut-tree Tussock

Pebble Hook-tip

Willow Beauty

Black Arches

Copper Underwing

Shuttle-shaped Dart

Iron Prominent

Least Yellow Underwing

Mompha propinquella

Last night, there was a night-life event at Stoke Meadows in Guildford. Conditions were pretty good, so its a surprise we got so few moths in two traps, but at least we got the nice wetland specialists of a couple of Webb's Wainscot and about six Crescent. Sorry about the awful shots, but I was rushed trying to deal with the public at the same time!

11th August, Stoke Meadows:

Webb's Wainscot

Yellow Shell

Small Dotted Buff

Pale Mottled Willow

Old Lady

Common Rustic

Green Carpet


Copper Underwing

Straw Dot

Flame Shoulder


Svensson's Copper Underwing

Small Seraphim

Common Carpet

Smoky Wainscot

Tawny Speckled Pug


Small Rufous



Old Lady - found roosting in a concrete outflow pipe

Webb's Wainscot


Saturday, 6 August 2011

A litter of Kittens and more at Wisley Heath

Last nights event was at the heath of Wisley. We went there last year, but the weather was freezing and we got 35 species (micros and macros). Luckily, this time we were blessed with much better conditions, and we got more than double that. No lifers, but lots of top quality moths, including several Heath Rustics. In my trap I got five species of Prominent, including my first Swallow in Surrey (I've only ever seen Lesser), and in David's trap were five Kittens, which were split 3 - 2 Poplar to Sallow. The micro highlight came in the extraordinary shape of a very fresh Acleris emergana.

5th August, Wisley:

Yellow Shell

Double-striped Pug

Large Yellow Underwing

Dingy Footman

Ling Pug

Ruby Tiger

True Lover's Knot

Scarce Footman

Birch Mocha

Single-dotted Wave

Heath Rustic

Black Arches


Knot Grass

Flame Shoulder

Rosy Footman


Sallow Kitten

Iron Prominent

Common Carpet

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Shuttle-shaped Dart

Red Twin-spot Carpet

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Small Fan-footed Wave

Pebble Hook-tip

Poplar Lutestring

Smoky Wainscot

Sharp-angled Carpet

Poplar Kitten

Tawny-barred Angle


Narrow-winged Pug

Common Wainscot

Straw Dot



Cloaked Minor


Small Rufous

Coxcomb Prominent

Pale Prominent

Lesser Swallow Prominent

Beautiful Yellow Underwing

Scalloped Oak


Common Wave

Large Emerald

Svensson's Copper Underwing

Swallow Prominent

White Point

Heath Rustic no.1

Heath Rustic no.2

Kittens (When I took this, I thought I had a Sallow on my finger, and a Poplar on the card, but now I'm not too sure!)

Swallow Prominent

Poplar Lutestring

Acleris emergana

Friday, 5 August 2011

Notables from the Garden

A big improvement in night temperatures over the last few days has resulted in some real quality moths turning up in the garden trap.

It took all morning to identify this very worn little moth as the rare immigrant, Oak Processionary.  Males of the species have occasionally made the hop from mainland Europe, and more recently, larvae of the species is appearing in stretches of Oak woodland in the South, much to the disapproval of many wildlife authorities. The larvae, if present in numbers, can seriously damage Oak trees, and also release hairs that are highly irritable to the skin.

Small Ranunculus has been increasing its range in the South-east ever since it was re-discovered in Britain in 1997, so I guess it was only a matter of time before one turned up in the garden, but it was still a great surprise to walk out to check the trap and find one staring back!

Hoary Footman is another scarce species which is slowly spreading up from the coast, where it has until recently been confined to sea cliffs in the South-west. It is now established in various localities in Surrey, and I caught this individual in the garden on 31st July, a day before Jim Porter caught one just up the road in his Chessington garden.

And a comparison with the much commoner Scarce Footman (foreground)...

This well marked Tree-lichen Beauty on the 1st August represented the 3rd individual I've caught in the garden this year, of this recently established immigrant.

Waved Black, caught on 3rd August...

I thought Plain Pug was chiefly coastal, so it was a bit of a surprise when I caught this moth the other night. It turns out that the species is quite common in the suburbs of south London...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Farnham Micros

As promised, here is my first real attempt at entering the world of micro moths! I admit that most were ID'ed for me, but hopefully some will stick in my head now that I took the time to photograph, and look them up. All caught on the 1st at Farnham Heath.

Aristotelia ericinella

Phycitodes binaevella

Spindle Ermine

Crambus perlella

Possible Pseudotelphosa paripunctella

Teleiopsis diffinis

Coleophora sp. (prob lutipennella)

Phyllonorycter sp. (Prob sorbi)

Zeiraphera isertana

Dioryctria simplicella

Variegated Golden Tortrix

Phycita roborella

Batia lunaris

Epagoge grotiana

Rhyacionia pinicolana

Cydia splendana

Synaphe punctalis

Oegoconia sp. (prob quadripuncta)