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!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Hook-tips and Highflyers

Just a quick selection of highlights from the garden trap in the past week. No doubt more to come...

Oak Hook-tip

Oak-tree Pug; note the rounded discal spot, and the more compact wing shape. Unusually, Oak-tree is one of the most common moths in my trap at this time of year, vastly outnumbering all other Pugs...

Light Brocades are also regulars in late spring, but I've never seen one with a wing deformity like this...

May Highflyer...

Lime Hawk-moth, always a favourite with the family!

Toadflax Brocades at Berrylands

Toadflax Brocade, Berrylands Station, May 29th 2012
On May 29th 2009 I found a pristine Toadflax Brocade at Berrylands Station; it was a searingly hot windless day and I presumed that the moth had flown north from the coastal shingle of Romney Marsh and logged it in my notebook as a "probable migrant", then on a rather unsettled day in early August I found another one and  had to think again about the status of this moth at Berrylands. The following year I found two moths in May and three on July 25th. In 2011 I found one on May 17th and on Tuesday (May 29th) I found the moth in the photograph. A total of nine moths in four years suggests to me that this moth is now resident in suburban Surrey, albeit in small numbers; I have searched the area around the station for Toadflax but so far I haven't found any, but this moth will feed on cultivated forms of the plant so the station specimens could have their provenance in a local garden. Toadflax Brocade flies in two overlapping generations in late May/June and July/August and all the sightings at the station fit neatly into this pattern. So far it's been quite a disappointing year at the station, things got off to a good start with an exceptionally early Small Dusty Wave on March 21st but up to and including the TB the station macro list for 2012 stands at just 21 species; hopefully the floodgates will open now and I'll have a sew more moths to talk about.   

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Catching Up

Following the almost completely dead April, and the poor start to May, the moth trap has been bombarded with insects in the last two weeks, to the point where I have almost given up recording each individual species, and am only focusing on new ones for the garden... of which there have been plenty!

More on that to follow, but in the meantime, welcome to our newest member, Nick Tanner!

Nick records moths at Berrylands Station on his daily commute to work, and has turned up some surprisingly good records. See his blog here- http://berrylandsmoths.blogspot.co.uk/

Lime, but not Prime.

First of all, I just need to direct you back to my post of the 24th May, which I have finally been able to add photos to, including the fabulous Puss Moth.

Yesterday evening, we tried to trap at a wetland site, Stoke Meadows.  The weather seemed to be half decent, but the forecast cloud never really materialised, and as a result, it was quite a slow night (e.g. only four micro species!).  The only species of any quality was a fresh Lime Hawk-moth, and only my second ever Seraphim.  Interesting to get more Swallow Prominent than Lesser.

29th May, Stoke Meadows:
1 Dark Spectacle
1 Brimstone
12 Green Carpet
1 Lime Hawk-moth
1 Sharp-angled Peacock
5 Light Emerald
4 Common Carpet
1 Scalloped Hook-tip
4 Pale Prominent
5 Flame Shoulder
1 Yellow-barred Brindle
1 Seraphim
4 Small Seraphim
2 White Ermine
3 Common Marbled Carpet
1 Maiden's Blush
1 Buff-tip
1 Common Pug
1 Broken-barred Carpet
1 Angle Shades
3 Swallow Prominent
1 Silver Y
1 Lesser Swallow Prominent

Lime Hawk-moth


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A Fine Figure of Beauty

Still an absence of cloud in the sky at the moment (looks like that will be rectified in the next few days), but the warm temps continue to bring my fantastic new trap into its own.  Last night, I got the most species in the trap this year (30), which included another new moth to me, and yet another garden tick in addition.  Poplar feeders are quite a scarcity in my garden, so it was nice to get my first ever Figure of 80, alongside my first Pine Beauty for the garden, just a few days after seeing my first adult at Hagthorne. 

28th May:
6 Shuttle-shaped Dart
5 Common Marbled Carpet
5 Brimstone
3 Buff-tip
2 Scalloped Hazel
2 Orange Footman
2 Poplar Grey
2 Common Carpet NFY
1 Lobster Moth NFY
1 Treble Lines NFY
1 Pine Beauty NFG
1 Peppered Moth
1 Pale Prominent NFY
1 Grey Pine Carpet
1 Silver-ground Carpet
1 White Point NFY
1 Red Twin-spot Carpet
1 Pebble Hook-tip
1 Marbled White-spot NFY
1 Flame Shoulder
1 Small Seraphim
1 Vine's Rustic NFY
1 Common Pug
1 Figure of 80 NFM
1 Pebble Prominent
1 Red-green Carpet
1 White-pinion Spotted
1 Green Carpet
1 Angle Shades
1 Silver Y

Common Carpet

 Pebble Hook-tip

Figure of 80 (the mark which gives the moth its name is upside down)

Silver Y

Vine's Rustic

White Point

Pale Prominent

Treble Lines

Lobster Moth

Pine Beauty

Marbled White-spot

I'm sure some of you guys are trapping (Billy, Angela, and Ken!), lets hear how you're doing!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Saints and Cinnabars

Yet another warm day yesterday (getting bored of them yet?), so thought it was worth a punt with the trap.  It was, as this new trap seems to be able to glean new moths for my tiny garden left, right, and centre.  Another two today bringing my garden macro list to 265 in (nearly) three years.  These were a White-pinion Spotted and a surprise Cinnabar (usually a day-flyer, but does still come to light traps occasionally), but still not great numbers in the trap though.

26th May:
4 Brimstone
3 Peppered Moth
3 Scalloped Hazel NFY
2 Green Carpet
1 Angle Shades NFY
1 Red Twin-spot Carpet
1 Pale Tussock NFY
1 White-pinion Spotted NFG
1 Minor sp.
1 Poplar Grey
1 Shuttle-shaped Dart
1 Mottled Pug
1 Garden Carpet
1 Heart and Dart NFY
1 Cinnabar NFG
1 Muslin Moth NFY
1 Orange Footman NFY
1 Common Pug
1 Silver Y NFY
1 Dagger sp. NFY
1 Common Marbled Carpet NFY
1 Dwarf Pug
1 Silver-ground Carpet

White-pinion Spotted


Muslin Moth

Silver-ground Carpet

Scalloped Hazel

Orange Footman

Dagger sp. (prob Grey)

Angle Shades

Dwarf Pug (I think - quite worn)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Chocolate surprise

Last night I went on the first field trapping session of the year, which was at Hagthorne on the edge of the Ash Ranges. The temperature was ideal (so the mossies were out in force!), so we knew we were in for a busy night, and at close of play at around 1, we had had 49 macro species in four traps - not bad considering we are still in May. No lifers amongst these, but I did see the adults of Fox Moth and Pine Beauty for the first time, having only seen thier caterpillars before. We also got some notable scarcities, including a Small Chocolate-tip. Bizzarely, I have now seen two of these, but not yet encountered normal Chocolate-tip (except in a pot on a table at Dungeness visitor centre, which doesn't really count)!

24th May - Hagthorne, Ash Ranges:
21 Green Carpet
5 Sharp-angled Carpet
6 Brown Silver-line
2 Common White Wave
2 Poplar Lutestring
2 Oak Hook-tip
2 Sharp-angled Peacock
2 Mottled Pug
4 Brimstone
1 Narrow-winged Pug
9 Small Seraphim
3 Flame Shoulder
5 Fox Moth
2 Iron Prominent
2 Grey Pine Carpet
1 Ruby Tiger
3 Grey Birch (my 2nd, having seen my first just a few hours earlier, in my garden trap)
5 Pale Tussock
1 Small Chocolate-tip
1 Silver-ground Carpet
1 Least Black Arches
1 Common Swift
1 Spectacle sp. (see photos)
3 Pebble Hook-tip
1 Pine Hawk-moth
2 May Highflyer
3 Scalloped Hook-tip
2 Small Yellow Wave
1 Peacock
1 Tawny-barred Angle
1 Treble Lines
1 Pale Prominent
1 Lesser Swallow Prominent
1 Red-green Carpet
1 Common Carpet
1 Silver Y
2 Dingy Shell
1 Poplar Grey
1 Pine Beauty
1 Marbled Brown
1 White Ermine
2 Horse Chestnut
2 Peppered Moth
1 Common Lutestring
2 Great Prominent
3 Cinnabar
1 Pebble Prominent
1 Orange Footman
1 True Lover's Knot

Poplar Lutestring

Fox Moth

Small Chocolate-tip

Grey Birch

Pale Tussock

Least Black Arches

We debated whether this was a Dark Spectacle for ages, but we are still undecided.  Any opinions? (sorry for the unhelpful shot - the ground colour was sandy brown)

Sharp-angled Peacock

Small Yellow Wave

Dingy Shell

Pine Beauty

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Here pussy, pussy, pussy.....

I knew as soon as I put the light on yesterday evening, that I was in for a great catch.  It was a very hot day, and cloud was just forming overhead.  The cloud may not have stayed around all night, but it was still warm enough for just a T-shirt when I closed down the trap just before first light. 

When I close down the trap, I stuff the entrance with kitchen towel, so I can put the trap in the shed, and open it up later in the day after work.  This has always worked fine, but those little devils that are Cockchafers were able to push out the paper this morning!  As a result, a few moths got away, and got lost in the piles of garbage in the shed.  Who knows what was there, but I should definitely not complain! 

The reason being that despite not quite as many moths as I expected (26 sp), I did manage to get two brand new species, and a further new one for the garden, an amazing result!  Amongst these was a long sought-after species as far as I'm concerned - a Puss moth.  Result!  The other brand new one was a single Grey Birch, and the garden tick was another Birch feeder - a Birch Mocha.  I also got a striking micro, Acleris literana.

23rd May:
9 Mottled Pug
3 Shuttle-shaped Dart
3 Brimstone
2 Common Wave NFY
2 Small Seraphim NFY
2 Light Brocade NFY
2 Common Pug NFY
1 Puss Moth NFM
1 Birch Mocha NFG
1 Narrow-winged Pug
1 Shears
1 Yellow-barred Brindle
1 Silver-ground Carpet NFY
1 Red Twin-spot Carpet
1 Tawny-barred Angle NFY
1 Poplar Grey NFY
1 Pebble Hook-tip NFY
1 Red-green Carpet NFY
1 Grey Birch NFM
1 Garden Carpet
1 Minor sp. (prob Marbled) NFY
1 Spruce Carpet NFY
1 Brindled Pug
1 Pebble Prominent
1 Iron Prominent NFY
1 Flame Shoulder

Plus loads of unidentifiable Pugs (prob mostly Mottled)!

Puss Moth

Spruce Carpet

Common Pug

Minor sp (prob Marbled)

Light Brocade

Small Seraphim

Red-green Carpet

Poplar Grey

Pebble Hook-tip

Grey Birch

Tawny-barred Angle

Common Wave

Silver-ground Carpet

Birch Mocha


Acleris literana