Notice Board 2020

The notice board is one of the principal modes of communication for those interested in VC32 moths. I am keen to keep this resource active throughout the year and will be happy to post interesting sightings or issues. In general, at the time of recording I would like to hear of moths that are UK BAP species, new to the county, very localised or rare, or which have not been recorded since 2000. Additionally any exceptional or interesting captures, i.e. very high numbers, species seen out of season and unusual extremes of variation or melanism etc. will be welcome.

All other records can be submitted at the end of the season for inclusion in the central database.

Site Images: We are keen to complete the species illustrations on the site, additionally some of the earlier photographs now look below par and could be improved. If anyone has photographs of the species that we have not yet pictured, or clear improvements, and does not mind us using them to fill some of our gaps will they please let the County Moth Recorder Mark Hammond know. Any photographs used will of course be acknowledged.

The up to date grid square coverage map is now available by clicking onto:
Request for Information/Records from the County Recorder

IDENTIFICATION AND NOTICE BOARD ENTRIES: Any member of the group is able to handle identification queries on moths at any of their stages and if in doubt will refer the matter on for a second opinion. At the outset the insect should be retained and a realistic photograph provided to confirm the identity. Due to the limitations sometimes imposed by photographic images of moths it is not always possible to identify difficult species from a photograph alone. Basically there is always a preference for a moth in the hand. Accordingly if there are still doubts the actual insect should then be seen by either Mark Hammond, Philip Horsnail, Pete Sharpe or John Ward who will act as determinors.


2020 Records and Notices:

9th November 2020
Amidst reports of an influx of Palpita vitrealis along the south coast of England, one made it as far as VC32, being taken in a garden light trap at Nassington (TL09).

30th October 2020
Report of a single fresh-looking Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae seen at Whiston Quarry (SP86). This is unusually late in appearance, with most adults being seen between June and early August.

26th October 2020
A highly fruitful trip to The Olive Grove near Oundle (TL08), yielded two new species for the county! Both of these are classed as adventive in the UK, given that they are associated with non-native plant species and so far only found on imported plant stock, or in certain retail outlets. The two species concerned are Phyllocnistis citrella, with one mine being found on a lemon tree, and the other Prays oleae, with numerous mines being found on just one small olive tree.

23rd October 2020
To note that Caz Temple has now left Butterfly Conservation, as of this date, and has moved to a full-time role with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The Woodland Wings project that she was employed on still has a short time to run, but there will effectively be no further new activity. I'm sure those who have had contact with Caz and the project will join me in thanking her for her hard work over the past couple of years, and to wish her all the best in her new role. We will certainly miss those BC breakfasts at the organised overnight moth events too!

7th October 2020
Another summary of recent records of Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini as follows (known records so far this year = 23 individuals on 22 occasions):
7th October: A single individual to a garden light trap at Nassington (TL09)
29th September: One found at rest by day at Sywell Country Park (SP86)

5th October 2020
Exactly one month after the first record, and at the same site, a second Depressaria douglasella has been recorded to light at Swaddywell Pits (TF10). This is therefore the 2nd VC32 record and provides strong evidence of it being resident on that site.

23rd September 2020
Another summary of recent records of Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini as follows (known records so far this year = 21 individuals on 20 occasions):
22nd September: A second individual to a garden light trap at Old Stratford (SP74)
22nd September: One to light at Farthinghoe NR (SP54)
22nd September: One found dead in Pipewell Woods by day (SP88)
19th September: A singleton a garden light trap at Kingsthorpe, Northampton (SP76)
19th September: One to moth traps set at Swaddywell Pits (TF10)
14th September: A singleton to the lights at Pitsford Reservoir (SP77)
14th September: One to a garden light trap in Old Stratford (SP74)
13th September: A singleton indoors to house lights in Barnack (TF00)
13th September: Two moths to security lights at Althorp (SP66)
11th September: One to light in Horton Woods (SP85)
8th September: One found by day at Chapel Brampton (SP76)

15th September 2020
Confirmed as new to VC32: a single Agonopterix umbellana was taken in a garden light trap in Far Cotton, Northampton (SP75). The larvae feed on Gorse and Greenweed and thus possibly has a potentially limited distribution in the county

15th September 2020
A single Dewick's Plusia Macdunnoughia confusa was recorded in a garden light trap in Old Stratford (SP74). This is the 5th VC32 record.

13th September 2020
The 3rd VC32 record of Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa has been recorded in a garden light trap in Cogenhoe (SP86).

10th September 2020
Further sightings of Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini as follows:
4th September: A singleton to a garden light trap in Daventry (SP56)
4th September: One to a garden light trap in Adstone (SP55)
29th August: One seen at rest on a tree trunk by day at Everdon Stubbs (SP65)

8th September 2020
Having watched as most of the neighbouring Vice Counties reported this species - at last, we have our very own Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa to declare. A single moth taken to a garden light trap in Helpston (TF10). This is the 2nd VC32 record - the first since one was reported sometime around/before 1907 in the Whittlebury area.

8th September 2020
A sign of migrant activity with a single Palpita vitrealis being recorded at light in a Denton garden (SP85). The moth was first recorded in the county in 2001, but still only one or two per year are noted.

5th September 2020
A single Depressaria douglasella was recorded to light at Swaddywell Pits (TF10), and confirmed (male) by dissection. This constitutes the first VC32 record for this Nationally Notable species.

26th August 2020
Further sightings have been made of Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini as follows:
24th August: One to light in Spinney Hill, Northampton (SP76)
23rd August: One seen at rest by day in Stoke Bruerne churchyard (SP74)
22nd August: One to light at Cogenhoe (SP86)

20th August 2020
Following closely on the heals of one recorded at Sywell CP, the 5th VC32 record of Agonopterix purpurea was taken to a garden light trap at Cogenhoe (SP86).

18th August 2020
Yet another Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini has been recorded at light, in a garden trap in Staverton (SP56).

15th August 2020
Another male Gypsy Moth lymantria dispar has been recorded, this time to a garden light trap in Kingsthorpe, Northampton (SP76). Now the 5th VC32 record. NB: and another taken at the same site on 24th August.

14th August 2020
The 3rd VC32 record of the rather splendid adventive species Duponchelia fovealis was recorded in Far Cotton, Northampton (SP75). Interestingly the only other two records are also from Northampton, both being seen in Kingsthorpe.

14th August 2020
A further singleton of Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini has been recorded at light, this time in Fineshade (SP99).

12th August 2020
Three further Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria were taken at light in Kingsthorpe, Northampton (SP76). This follows from a singleton taken at the same site in July. This is now the 5th known record in VC32.

12th August 2020
Another single male Gypsy Moth lymantria dispar taken at light at Farthinghoe NR (SP54). Now the 4th VC32 record - all records being from 2020, reflecting what appears to be a general expansion of range or dispersive activity throughout the southern parts of the UK, also being recorded in neighbouring counties.

12th August 2020
A 2nd VC32 record of Aroga velocella was taken in a garden light trap in Thrapston (SP97). According to the BSBI database there is no Sheep's Sorrel in the immediate area of the capture and thus presumably this individual has travelled from suitable habitat.

11th August 2020
After the unprecedented influx of Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini in 2019, I am very pleased to report the capture of a singleton in a garden light trap in Kilsby (SP57). As ever, primary migration/dispersal cannot be ruled-out, but there is also hope that this species is indeed becomming locally established and that this individual represents progeny from last years moths.

11th August 2020
A very dark melanic of Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria was recorded to light in Higham Ferrers (SP96). This form is quite uncommon both locally and nationally.

10th August 2020
A single Aristotelia ericinella was taken to a garden light trap in Duston, Northampton (SP76). This is new to VC32. Being a Heather-feeder, it is unlikely that this is a resident/breeding species in the county (although there may be small amounts of Heather in Harlestone Firs and Northampton Golf Course at Chapel Brampton), but possibly the result of a garden planting or from a nearby garden centre.

8th August 2020
The 4th VC32 record of Agonopterix purpurea was taken to light at Sywell Country Park (SP86). This is the second time the species has been recorded at the site, the previous being in 2016.

7th August 2020
Two separate records of Scythris limbella have been noted in the county, thus 5th and 6th VC32 records (in no particular order) at Northampton (SP76) and Farthinghoe NR (SP54).

6th August 2020
A further Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria was recorded in Cogenhoe (SP86). This is the 4th VC32 record for this spreading species.

1st August 2020
Gleaned from social media: a further singleton of Gypsy Moth lymantria dispar (and thus 3rd VC32 record) was recorded in Brackley (photo of male posted on Twitter). Date and exact location of capture TBC.

31st July 2020
Parectopa ononidis recorded to light at Farthinghoe NR (SP54). This is the 6th county record of what is an easily overlooked species.

31st July 2020
A singleton of Scythris limbella was taken in a garden light trap in Oundle (TL09). This represents the 4th VC32 record. Previous sightings of this species were made from the same garden site in 2018.

31st July 2020
A male Gypsy Moth lymantria dispar was taken at light in Higham Ferrers (SP96). Weather conditions on the night were very warm and humid, with air masses being drawn up from the Continent. The moth may have been a primary migrant from Europe, from colonies established in nearby counties, or indeed from an undiscovered colony in VC32. This is the 2nd VC32 record following the discovery of six larvae in Thrapston (SP97), which were reared in captivity and not subsequently released (due to current DEFRA regulations). The catch in Higham Ferrers was associated with a single Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea.

28th July 2020
The 3rd VC32 record of Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria was noted in Northampton, Kingsthorpe (SP76). The moth was of the yellow variety, form lutescens.

21st July 2020
A single Caloptilia cuculipennella was taken at light in Far Cotton, Northampton (SP75). The species is present in adjacent counties but this is the first record here since 1956.

12th July 2020
Using the recently available SAL pheromone lure, two Sallow Clearwing Synanthedon flaviventris were recorded near Brington (SP66) at approx. 4:30pm - new to VC32. A further individual was seen at the same site in the early afternoon of 13th July. Further records of the moth were subsequently made using the lure as follows:
17th July: eight recorded at Brackley, around St James Lake (SP53)
19th July: four seen at Whistley Woods (SP64)
21st July: three seen at Kingsthorpe Mill (SP76)
25th July: two recorded at Pitsford Reservoir (SP77)
29th July: one recorded alongside the fishing lakes at Thrapston (SP97)

4th July 2020
A couple of retrospective records:
13th June: A single Coleophora follicularis recorded at light in a Thrapston garden (SP97), constituting the 4th VC32 record (confirmed by dissection)
26th May: A 3rd VC32 record of Cydia cosmophorana was taken in a garden light trap in Thrapston (SP97), subsequently confirmed by dissection as the specimen was quite worn.

4th July 2020
I saw this posted on social media. I have the hard copy of the first edition, and it really is quite a useful resource, showing many of the more commonly-encountered micro moths, and is quite valid for moths seen in VC32. The Berkshire moth folk have now made the 2nd edition available as a download:

2nd July 2020
Double Line Mythimna turca has been recorded in the county on only three previous occasions, the last being in June 1951. It has likely always been either a very scarce resident, or simply seen when passing through. However one was recorded to light in Fineshade (SP99).

1st July 2020
Several mines of Chrysoesthia sexguttella were noted on Fat Hen (Chenopodium) at Farthinghoe NR (SP54). This is only the 6th time it has been seen in VC32 since 2000, and worth looking for at the moment.

21st June 2020
A succesful targeted search of Norway Maple at the Farthinghoe Reserve (SP54) has resulted in a 3rd VC32 record or Ectoedemia sericopeza.

20th June 2020
A good number of mature mines of Mompha langiella were seen on Great Willowherb at Fermyn Woods (SP98). Exact numbers were not noted but several dozen were seen along a short stretch of track. This is the 5th VC32 record and follows-up from an adult netted in the vicinity by day in 2019.

17th June 2020
A single Mullein Wave Scopula marginepunctata was taken in a Brigstock garden light trap (SP98). Almost all recent (post 2000) records for this species have been centred around Northampton. The only other "outlier" was of a singletion taken in Wollaston in 2018.

17th June 2020
Per Twitter - was made aware of this Cinnabar seen on someone's strawberry patch in Thrapston (SP97/TL07). I have never seen this colour variation and unaware that it has a specific name.

16th June 2020
A mine of Mompha langiella has been recorded on Great Willowherb at Farthinghoe Reserve (SP54). This is the 4th VC32 record and only the 2nd since 2000.

16th June 2020
A 2nd VC32 record or Ectoedemia sericopeza was found in the seed key of Norway Maple at Guilsborough (SP67). It is also a good time to search Field Maple for feeding signs of the related E. louisella.

14th June 2020
It is good to report a single Buttoned Snout Hypena rostralis, recorded to light in a Nassington garden (TL..). Rarely seen in VC32, with only five previous post-2000 records.

13th June 2020
A 4th VC32 record of Grapholita tenebrosana was taken in a pheromone lure trap left overnight in Fermyn Woods (SP98), using the FUN lure. The trap also recorded a single Grapholita funebrana and also a very fresh and bright Green Oak Tortrix Tortrix viridana. A nearby SKI lure trap did indeed record a single Grapholita lobarzewski alongside a single Marbled Orchard Tortrix Hedya nubiferana.

12th June 2020
I am happy to report an absolutely amazing record from a garden light trap in Oundle: a single Porter's Rustic Athetis hospes. This is a new species to the vice county. As far as I know this remains primarily a rare migrant to the UK mainland, although reports have been increasing in the last few years, and reports of a suspected resident colony at a single coastal site in Kent. Other records that I know of are mainly coastal in nature, often corresponding with the capture of other migrant species from The Continent.

12th June 2020
A retrospective record from 25th May 2020: two male Pammene albuginana were taken to a synthetic pheromone lure in a Duston Garden, Northampton. Whilst this is the 6th VC32 record, these two individuals are only the 4th post-2000 records. This again demonstrates the possibilities of catching "non-target" species to pheromone lures often deployed in the hope of Clearwings, etc.

9th June 2020
A single Large Red-belted Clearwing Synanthedon culiciformis was seen at rest on a grass stem at Summer Leys (SP89). This is only the 3rd VC32 record, which has not been seen in the county since, when a single male attended a synthetic lure.

31st May 2020
A singleton of the Nationally Scarce Dowdy White Plume Merrifielda baliodactylus has been recorded to light at Swaddywell Pits (TF10). This species is new to VC32. Further records may be obtained either by day (adults are easily disturbed from vegetation) or by light trapping areas of calcareous soil.

29th May 2020
A single Stephensia brunnichella was netted from low-growing, herb-rich sward at Old Sulehay Quarry (TL09). This is 3rd VC32 record, and follows-up from a singleton being recorded within 10m of this catch in 2019. This indicates a probable resident population on the site. Also a single Nemapogon ruricolella was recorded alongside a couple of other Tineids from the synthetic VES lure left out overnight in the wooded part of the site. Again this is a repeat record following it's discovery there as new to the county in 2019. I note from social media sources that this lure is attracting Nemapogon wollfiella in other parts of the county, one of the moths also being amongst the lure catch reported above.

22nd May 2020
A garden light trap in Old Stratford (SP74) has produced a 2nd VC32 record of Phtheochroa schreibersiana. This species, once locally distributed throughout parts of the UK, apparently became extinct, only to be rediscovered in neighbouring Bucks in 2010. The only other county record is about as far away as it is possible to be, taken in Peterborough (TF20) in 2019.

21st May 2020
I am delighted to report that a single Goat Moth Cossus cossus was recorded in a garden actinic light trap in Peterborough (TF20). This BAP species has not been seen in the Vice County since 1988, and before that only another two records since 1970.

15th May 2020
A third VC32 record for Cydia cosmophorana was noted when a single moth was seemingly attracted to a synthetic Goat Moth lure in Dallington, Northampton (SP76). The two other county records also hail from Northampton, where it was first recorded in 2016.

7th & 8th May 2020
A few "lockdown" records of interest:
A single Pinion-spotted Pug Eupithecia insigniata was recorded in a Northampton garden light trap (SP75) on 7th May, and a further two at a known garden site in Old Stratford (SP74) on the night of 8th May.
An adult Buttoned Snout Hypena rostralis was taken in a garden light trap in Denton (SP85) on 8th May. There are only 15 previous records in the county for the scarce an elusive moth.

6th May 2020
The good folk in the Moths Count office at Butterfly Conservation HQ have issued the latest E-Moth newsletter. Many of you probably receive this direct, but if not, please read/download here. The newsletter contains some information regarding the use of, and training in, iRecord. Personally I have found the verification process to be somewhat laboured and long-winded, so I do not verify records on that system. I do however, download all VC32 records at the end of each year and incorporate as many as I can into the county records database. I do have a plea, especially for occasional users: please could you use the taxon-specific data entry forms for moth recording please (which can be found under "Record", then "Project-based Forms" from the main menu bar), and make sure you include your real name. I receive many records attached simply to a "web name", making it very difficult to assign records to a specific person. I have no idea who Wibble-95 is...

15th April 2020
A further garden record of Chamomile Shark Cucullia chamomillae, this time in Cogenhoe (SP86).
Also recently there have been a couple of garden records of Blossom Underwing Orthosia miniosa in recent days, and another of Pinion-spotted Pug Eupithecia insigniata from a known garden site in Old Stratford (SP74).

5th April 2020
A couple of garden records of Chamomile Shark Cucullia chamomillae have been noted in garden light traps recently: namely East Haddon (SP66) and Oundle (TL09).

25th March 2020
COVID-19 update 2 - from Butterfly Conservation: Updated guidance for butterfly and moth recorders relating to Coronavirus COVID-19:
The UK Government delivered a very strong and clear message on 23rd March 2020 with their updated guidance: The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Bearing this in mind, Butterfly Conservation strongly advises that you adhere to the message from the government, and therefore only record butterflies and moths in your gardens. Please do not make any journeys away from your home in order to undertake recording activities, these would be considered as non-essential at the present time. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and will produce revised guidance when the time is right. Please check for any updates at We recommend that you continue to follow the UK Government’s response to the situation at If you have any doubts or queries regarding this advice, please feel free to contact the recording team at Butterfly Conservation

24th March 2020
Reports of Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula larvae from a garden in East Haddon (SP66) - seen during a garden spring-clean!

19th March 2020
COVID-19 update: as I'm sure you are all aware, the situation is quite fluid at present, but it is clear that all wildlife bodies are henceforth cancelling group-gatherings. As such the planned Butterfly Conservation moth breakfast in May (Fermyn/Brigstock Country Park) has been cancelled. However, I await news regarding activities on e.g. Forestry Commission/Wildlife Trust sites for other moth survey work. At the time of writing, I hope to run the few moth trapping events as advertised on the Trips page, but it would be wise to keep eyes on this page and email for news and further updates in due course. Any government-imposed blanket movement restriction on non-essential travel would clearly prevent us going ahead.

18th March 2020
I have received a few reports of Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris in garden light traps, namely Nassington (TL09) and Oundle (TL08) over the past few days, which includes a multiple catch at the Oundle site.

17th February 2020
I have once again written a short review article coving the 2019 season. Please click here to have a read. It summarises those species added to the VC32 list during the previous season, highlights significant and interesting records and summarises some of the ongoing survey work pertaining to some of the UK's rarer/BAP species. I hope I have included everything pertinent, and thus apologies if something appears amiss or you spot an ommission. Feel free to send it to others if you think it will be of interest.

10th February 2020
Updates are now appearing on this website following completion (more or less) of the 2019 record submission period. The species listing has been updated to include species newly recorded in the county during 2019, and the nationally-accepted identification criteria for the micro moths has been adopted (Butterfly Conservation, 2017) - along with local adaptations made to the macro moths to follow a similar vein. Critically this highlights those species which must be dissected for the records to be accepted into the National Moth Recording Schemes (denoted as "4" for the adult moth). These criteria also include some guidance for the early stages of the moths for those wishing to record leaf mines, larval cases, etc. The key to this system is found at the foot of the Species List page. Note too, for those that use it, the recording spreadsheet has also been updated to match. This spreadsheet also notes any species for which there are no post-2000 records (i.e. no modern records). It would be especially useful to hear if any of these are recorded at the time of the sighting in case further verification is required.

7th February 2020
Following reports of this species appearing inside packs of seasonal citrus fruits in many parts of the country (especially the "posh stuff" which has the fruit on stems, and thus includes some leaves), it was pleasing to receive a report of a single mine of Phyllocnistis citrella seen in a pack of Spanish Clementines in a supermarket in Peterborough. Technically this is a new VC32 record, but is currently firmly listed as an Adventive for the UK as a whole and clearly didn't get here under it's own steam. Well worth looking out for while stocks last! Also worth looking at any citrus trees growing locally, just in case.

22nd January 2020
Another earlier than "usual" sighting: a single Engrailed Ectropis crepuscularia was noted amongst a healthy catch of early spring species at Grafton Park Wood (SP98). The earliest VC32 record I can find for the species is for 11th February (2004), making this three-weeks early. This may reflect recorder effort and that not many traps are operated in prime habitat at this time of year, but the dataset does include that for the two traps at Pitsford Reservoir (operated every night).

16th January 2020
A report of a very early sighting of Oak Beauty Biston strataria, taken at light in one of the long-running Pitsford Reservoir traps (SP77). The earliest VC32 record that I can find for this species is 10th February (2008). The recently published Atlas of Britain & Ireland's Larger Moths seems to indicate that this species, like many others, is flying slightly earlier in the year in recent years than before, and the flight graph indicates that early February is now not unusual for the start of the flight period (locally, peaking between weeks 11 and 13).

5th January 2020
Just to wish all of you a very Happy New Year and to request your moth records for 2019 to be sent to Mark Hammond as soon as possible please. Several folk have already submitted their sightings and so far we have just under 24,000 records for the year in the county database.

Also to let you know of a photography competition run by Caz Temple (Butterfly Conservation). A flyer is posted below for details: