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Monday, 7 December 2015

On a whim.....winter mothing.

Feeling a strong - and rather warm - southerly wind in my face late yesterday afternoon and after checking the forecast (which confirmed overnight southerlies and only light rain for a short spell), I decided to put out the home actinic, the first time for exactly a month. It was quite profitable and interesting, with nine species recorded, some of which were seasonal moths but with a couple of very late dates and one very early date indeed. There were no noteworthy migrants but a silver y and a rusty-dot pearl were in the catch.
The moths caught were: December moth x2; mottled umber x2; dark chestnut x1; brick x1; common quaker x1; silver y x1; rusty-dot pearl x1; Northern winter moth x2 (?) and Acleris hastiana x1.
NB. if marked with (?) in this list it is an unsure det.

                                                           Above: December moth.
                                                              Above: mottled umber.
                                                              Above: dark chestnut.
Above: with the southerlies, I first thought that this might have been something migratory, but I now consider that it`s just a pale brick.
Above: I believe that this is (very) unseasonal common quaker. The literature says that it can rarely occur in mild winters.
Above: I`m really unsure with this one. With the protruding hindwing, is it northern winter moth?
Please advise/correct, so that I can amend the caption - thanks. Postscript: I`m more inclining to it being just a winter moth - look at the the hindwing on the right-hand side which actually does n`t protrude that much.
                                               Above:  Acleris hastiana.

On another matter, please send your 2015 records to the County Moth Recorder (Sam Bosanquet) as soon as convenient.


  1. Good catch Ian. Agree with Brick and Common Quaker - the latter being increasingly reported during early winter. The Acleris is I think one of the myriad forms of A. hastiana - note the rough scaled leading edge which is a good pointed for this one.

    No idea about the winter moth - I find these hard enough with specimens let alone photos!

  2. Thanks George. I`ll retain the winter moth as a specimen -I`m increasingly unsure that it`s northern winter moth, thinking it`s `just the way` the hindwing is sticking out....and it`s not particularly pale on the forewings. Thanks re the Acleris correction - I`ll change the text.