I've been thinking for some time that I must get out with a torch at night and look at our local blackthorn (sloe) bushes to see if I can find an early moth. The early moth is said to be common but it hasn't shown in my trap - until now! I was just turning my trap off at bed-time when a small Geometrid fluttered around my feet. I potted it and immediately wondered if it was an early. But I wasn't 100% sure as sloe carpet (which I've had a few times) is quite similar. On close inspection I was able to be certain it was early. a) the antennae were pectinate and b) there was a clear dark blotch on the centre of the hind-wings. The pattern and shape are also meant to be distinctive but that's not always easy to judge on a worn moth without a sloe carpet for comparison. The early is in fact quite similar in shape to a winter moth.
I also had a few other new for year moths, including an Agonopterix-type which I'm not sure of. I also had a twenty-plume moth indoors. So my year list is slowly building up. I always feel I'm making progress when my moth list passes my bird list for the year - but some way to go yet! A few photos below:
Twin-spotted quaker (compare with Billy's three below)
Lee Mount - 20th February
6 hours ago