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!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

late post

I'm afraid I haven't been doing much mothing recently, partly due to strange work schedules but also feeling the effects of last year's health crisis. (It's ironic that I did far more mothing when I was on sick leave than since I went back to work full-time!) But I thought I'd stick a couple of photos on here for the record.

These photos have been taken over recent months... they are all common except for Argyresthia cupressella, which is the only photo ever taken of this species in Surrey (and I apologise that it's not that great - my camera is reaching the top end of its resolution on a moth that is only 6mm long). How do I know that it's the only photo? Because the moth has only been recorded four times in Surrey, and all the records were in my garden! Incidentally, look out for Smaller moths of Surrey - the ultimate guide to Surrey's micros, which should be out in 2012. I've seen some of the photo plates and they look good!

Speckled wood

common blue

six-striped rustic

oak lutestring

feathered gothic

Argyresthia cupressella

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Still waiting...

Still waiting for my autumn fix of migrants, but there have been a healthy amount of interesting garden moths to make trapping in recent nights worthwhile. I also passed my 400th species of moth for the garden at the end of September, with an Acleris schalleriana to the porch light.

Hoary Footman seems to be doing very well in the local area, and this is the 4th individual I've caught this year, after no records at all last year. Its worn state can be explained by its very late appearance in the trap, on the 3rd October...

The distinctive pale hindwing...

Deep-brown Dart...

Barred Sallow, a classic autumnal species...

 Black Rustic...

Blair's Shoulder-knot...

Acleris schalleriana...

Spot On + Crescent and Correct


Despite the brilliant-looking conditions in recent days, trapping in the garden has been largely disappointing, particularly for numbers. There has been a little bit of quality here and there however. Not least a brand new species to me on the 2nd, a Brown-spot Pinion.

Aggregate list for 30th September, 2nd and 3rd October:

8 Common Marbled Carpet

6 Large Yellow Underwing

4 Sallow NFY

3 Spruce Carpet

3 Yellow-line Quaker NFY

2 Grey Pine Carpet

2 Lesser Yellow Underwing

2 Large Ranunculus

2 Lunar Underwing

1 Snout

1 Svensson's Copper Underwing

1 Copper Underwing

1 Barred Sallow

1 Garden Carpet

1 Red-line Quaker NFY

1 Brown-spot Pinion NFG

1 Chestnut

Yellow-line Quaker


Grey Pine Carpet

Brown-spot Pinion


Last night was Paul Wheeler's last Pewley Down session of the year, and with the forecast for complete cloud, we were hopeful. As it turned out, the cloud cover was quite thin, and often broken, so as a result numbers were a little disappointing. But, some top quality was caught, including a lifer for me, a stunning Green-brindled Crescent. Also lots of variable Beaded Chestnut (only my second sighting).

4th October, Pewley Down:

Large Ranunculus

Beaded Chestnut

Autumnal Rustic

Red-green Carpet

Barred Sallow

Lunar Underwing

Willow Beauty

Yellow Shell

Brown-spot Pinion

Silver Y

Common Marbled Carpet

Green-brindled Crescent*


Setaceous Hebrew Character

Dark Sword-grass

Burnished Brass

Beaded Chestnut (pale example)

Brown-spot Pinion

Green-brindled Crescent

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Autumnal Fant-Rustic!

I have hardly trapped at all this autumn. We had a couple of warm nights a fortnight ago, but due to various reasons, I could not trap, which was rather frustrating. I managed to trap once last week, but the result was fairly poor, with just one true autumn species, a Lunar Underwing. However, with the weather taking a turn for the warm, I trapped last night and it was a brilliant haul. I got almost all the autumnal species I expect to get during the period in one go! Best was a brand new species to me, of a gorgeous Autumnal Rustic, which was much smaller than I expected.

September 26th:

12 Large Yellow Underwing

5 Lunar Underwing

3 Snout

3 Common Marbled Carpet

3 Svennson's Copper Underwing

3 Copper Underwing

2 Large Ranunculus NFY

1 Brimstone

1 Square-spot Rustic

1 Grey Pine Carpet

1 Spruce Carpet

1 Oak Nycteoline

1 Setaceous Hebrew Character

1 Pink-barred Sallow NFY

1 Black Rustic NFY

1 Barred Sallow NFY

1 Brindled Green NFY

1 Autumnal Rustic NFG

Pink-barred Sallow

Lunar Underwings (variation)

Large Ranunculus

Brindled Green

Black Rustic

Barred Sallow

Autumnal Rustic

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Jersey Mocha- first for Surrey

After a tantalising wait for the results, my mystery Mocha from the garden was finally confirmed this afternoon by the CR, Graham Collins, as the first record for Surrey of Jersey Mocha!

Classed as a rare immigrant at the moment, its certainly one to look out for in the coming years, as it starts to establish itself in Cornwall and the south coast.

I assume word has already been leaked to the media, so expect a full front page article about the sighting in tomorrow's national newspapers ;-)

Friday, 2 September 2011

August catch-up

For the last couple days, all garden moths have been over-shadowed by the appearance of a very interesting looking Mocha in the garden trap back on the 29th August. It shows all the features of the rare immigrant Jersey Mocha, and would be a first record for Surrey. I'm just waiting to send the moth off to Graham Collins, and hopefully it's true identity will be determined very soon so watch this space!

In the meantime, here are a few moths from the second half of August...

Oak Processionary, in better condition than the first a few weeks ago. Caught on 23rd...

Angle-shades, only my second ever...

This stunning Ypsolopha sequella was caught on the 18th...

A tiny micro moth, Stenolechia gemmella, caught on the 21st...

Pewley - the Centre of activity

The last session at Pewley Downs this year happened last night, and conditions were pretty good. Individual numbers were pretty impressive in three traps, with Square-spot Rustic making up the bulk of the moths. Feathered Gothic was also numerous with 20 in my trap alone. Nothing that unusual, but it was nice to get an Orange Swift, and a Centre-barred Sallow. And, it wouldn't be a trip to Pewley without a Lace Border (a small individual of the second generation).

1st September, Pewley Downs:
Large Yellow Underwing
Vine's Rustic
Treble Bar
Purple Bar
Straw Underwing
Feathered Gothic
Square-spot Rustic
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Setaceous Hebrew Character
Green Carpet
Angle Shades
Centre-barred Sallow
White Point
Lime-speck Pug
Willow Beauty
Shuttle-shaped Dart
Common Marbled Carpet
Riband Wave
Dark Arches
Common Wainscot
Barred Rivulet
Six-striped Rustic
Copper Underwing
Common Carpet
Flame Shoulder
Orange Swift
Lace Border

Centre-barred Sallow

Orange Swift

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...