Notice Board 2023

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 or Pete Sharpe who will act as determinors.


2023 Records and Notices:

20th December 2023
A couple of general notes to make:-
New Books on Micro-moths, and notes about vernacular names
The second edition of the Field Guide to the Micro-Moths of Great Britain & Ireland (Sterling/Parsons/Lewington) has recently been published. This is a very significant update on the first edition and I would heartily recommend it to anyone with more than a passing interest in micro-moths. This follows on from the publication of A Field Guide to the Pyralid and Crambid Moths of Britain & Ireland (Clancy/Parsons), which goes into more significant detail on these micro-moth families. One issue to note regarding both of these publications is the update of many of the vernacular names. Even those who restrict their activity to macro-moths will be aware that some micros have a long-standing vernacular name (such as Mother of Pearl, etc), and those appear, in the main, to remain unchanged, but it seems that 90% of other micro-moth names have been changed from those published a few years ago by Jim Wheeler. Those who know me well are aware that I am not a huge fan of vernaculars for micro-moths, but I have updated my cross-reference spreadsheets (which I use to double-check names, etc for incoming moth records), so I can handle records appearing with both old and new vernaculars. That said, I always appreciate the scientific binomial being present as a double-check, so do please bear that in mind when submitting records for 2023.
Submission of Records for 2023
I am now accepting records/datasets from 2023, should these be ready to send my way. I hope to get through as many as possible over the Xmas break, but appreciate that some will not arrive until the New Year. Details of how to send records can be found if you follow the link from the front page of this website (SubmissionofMothRecords.htm), but if you have any queries, please don't hesitate to get in touch direct (contact details can be found at the foot of that same page). I hope to publish a Recorder Spreadsheet for 2024 shortly too, so do please watch the website for details in due course.

18th December 2023
A very early record of Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica noted in a garden light trap in Nassington (TL09). Previous to this the earliest record I could find was one seen on 30th December 1989, with the next earliest on 12th January 2018.

10th October 2023
A further Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata was taken in a garden light trap in Denton (SP85). This represents the 3rd VC32 record.

19th October 2023
A single Old World Webworm Hellula undalis was recorded to a garden light trap in Cogenhoe (SP96). This is the 1st VC32 record for this rare migrant species. This follows a period of significant migration, which saw a good number of these species recorded in mainly coastal locations in south-western counties of the UK. I have not seen any other records for this species this far inland/north.

10th October 2023
An excellent record of Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata noted to a garden light trap in Little Irchester (SP96). This is only the 2nd VC32 record, following one caught in Peterbourough in 2017.

10th October 2023
A 3rd VC32 record of Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula was taken in a garden light trap in Nassington (TL09).

9th October 2023
Clancy's Rustic Caradrina kadenii update: So far, aside from the singletons in Oundle and Thrapston, 12 have been recorded at Nassington (TL09) during the past few nights, also one in a garden light trap in Northampton (SP76) on 9th October.

5th October 2023
Another new species to the county list: Musotima nitidalis. A single moth was taken to light at Easton Hornstocks (TF00). This species appears to be expanding its range fairly rapidly, since its first discovery in the UK in Dorset in 2009. An adventive, being originally native to Australia and New Zealand, it is assumed to have arrived in the UK as a result of horticultural imports. The moth is pictured below:

4th October 2023
A further Clancy's Rustic Caradrina kadenii was taken at light in Nassington (TL09), making this the 3rd VC32 record. A second, fresher example was subsequently recorded in the same location on 5th October.

1st October 2023
A single Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites, pictured below, was recorded in a Kingsthorpe, Northampton garden (SP76). This is only the 3rd VC32 record, and comes at a time of fairly significant migration activity across the UK. The previous local record was of a singleton to a garden light trap in Nether Heyford (SP65) in late August 2022.

30th September 2023
A joint first for VC32: Clancy's Rustic Caradrina kadenii was recorded in two separate garden moth traps, in Oundle (TL09) and Thrapston (SP97). The species has been recorded in neighbouring counties in the last couple of weeks, sometimes in significant numbers, and thus seemed only a matter of time that this one was recorded in VC32. Pictured below is a quick record-shot of the Thrapston-caught individual

26th September 2023
Autumn is traditionally a time for seeing migrant species across the UK, but often they seem to reach the Midlands only on occasion or in very few numbers. Recently there have been reports of several Convolvulus Hawk-moths Agrius convolvuli and Vestal Rhodometra sacraria, but also an apparent influx of Delicate Mythimna vitellina. One garden in Nassington (TL09) reported not one, but five to a garden light trap! That's the most that I have heard of on one night in VC32.

29th August 2023
A couple of mines of Caloptilia cuculipennella were noted on Ash saplings at Farthinghoe NR (SP54). These represent the 4th VC32 record of this nationally scarce moth, only the second modern record for this species and the first ever record of the leaf mine in the county. Interestingly, further mines were noted at the same site a few days later.

19th August 2023
The 3rd VC32 record of Oblique Striped Phibalapteryx virgata was taken to light in a garden in Oundle (TL08). The last time this rare migrant was seen locally was on 6th August1992, in Helpston. I believe that it was also seen in Warwickshire for the first time this weekend, and social media indicates that other inland sightings have been made recently.

21st July 2023
A number of Stigmella nylandriella mines (vacated) were noted on Rowan at Farthinghoe NR (SP54). This is the 3rd VC32 record. A fairly common species across the UK, but low records in the county perhaps reflects the relative infrequency of the foodplant locally.

18th July 2023
L-Album Wainscot Mythimna l-album was recorded to a garden light trap in Oundle (TL08). This is the 7th VC32 record, and away from all of the previous county records. The moth has been recorded most often at Pitsford Reservoir (three times, SP77), twice in Northampton (SP76) and once in Wellingborough (SP86).

Dusky Clearwing
Until 2021 this species had not been recorded in the UK for about a century (1924, Oxon being the last confirmed record). A female moth was discovered at an undisclosed location in Warwickshire on 7th July 2021, although this sighting was witheld (including from the County Moth Recorder...) for some considerable time. Over the past week or two, the species has been recorded in Cambridgeshire (probably five different sites!), West Suffolk, Bedfordshire and at further sites in Warwickshire. I am aware that a number of recorders in VC32 are using the TAB lure in suitable habitat (cotaining Aspen and/or Black Poplar) but as yet it has not been seen in VC32. The stated flight period for the species indicates that they may be on the wing until mid July so there may still be time to record this moth in the county. The best time of day to record the moth is between about 3:30pm and 8pm, and preferably in sunny conditions.

28th June 2023
A single True Lover's Knot Lycophotia porphyrea was recorded in a garden light trap in Helpston (TF10). This is only the second post-2000 record of this species in the vice county, reflecting the lack of heathland locally! The moth is likely a vagrant from a garden planting or possibly the result of a dispersal from suitable habitat further afield. The moth used to be recorded at Castor Hanglands up until the late 1930's, at which time the heathland was lost when it was ploughed up for use as a bombing range for the RAF.

25th June 2023
A specimen of L-album Wainscot Mythimna l-album was confirmed from a garden light trap in Nassington (TL09). Principally a moth of the southern counties, it has been recorded in VC32 six time before this, but quite sporadically. That said, there have been three records from the Pitsford Reservoir traps (SP77 - 2003, 2013, 2021), and twice from gardens in Northampton (SP76 - 2014, 2017), which may start to suggest that there is an as yet undiscovered colony within that general area. The Nassington record is clearly some way distant from those mentioned above.

Rannoch Looper news:
In line with what is now quite clearly a huge dispersal event for this species, further sightings of this moth have been made thus:
16th June 2023: Two individuals taken to light at Collyweston Great Wood (TF00)
17th June 2023: Two individuals taken in two different garden light traps in Helpston (TF10)
18th June 2023: One further moth recorded in a garden light trap in Harpole (SP66)
19th June 2023: Two more individuals to light at Easton Hornstocks (TF00)

16th June 2023
A retrospective record from 23rd May following dissection: 5th VC32 record of Bryotropha basaltinella was taken in a light trap in Weedon (SP65).

15th June 2023
Not one, but two! 3rd and 4th VC32 records of Rannoch Looper Macaria brunneata have been noted to light traps in Northampton (SP76) and Ring Haw (TL09). I am assuming that these are part of an apparent mass dispersal event from The Continent as this species has been recorded seemingly all over the eastern part of the UK in the past few days.

10th June 2023
Although numbers of individual moths was still fairly poor, the group field trip to Swaddywell Pits (TF10) yielded a spread of 75 species (and counting - some micros still to examine/identify). A good range of early summer species was seen, along with a number of the common Hawk-moths to entertain the visitors. Of note were 37 Concolorous Photedes extrema, which is an exceptional total given the low numbers of all species seen so far this year. It was interesting to note though that almost all of these appeared to be of under-sized adults, maybe reflecting tough times during the larval stage. Also seen was a single Four-spotted Tyla luctuosa. Lastly a single Platyes cerrussella was recorded (identified in the morning) - this represents only the 2nd VC32 record of this lover of sandy soils, the only other record being of a moth taken in Bretton, Peterborough, exactly 30 years ago on 10th June 1993.

27th May 2023
The group field trip to Badby Woods (SP55) (a welcome return following the last visit in July 2004!) resulted in approximately 76 species being recorded - no mean feat give the apparently slow nature of the current season, with low numbers of moths and a dearth of species being widely reported across the UK. The pick of the crop was a single Capua vulgana, which is only the 4th VC32 record - the only others being in 1906, 1997 and 2018.

24th May 2023
There have only been three records of Phylloporia bistrigella in VC32, all between 2006 and 2019 in and around Yardley Chase (SP84/85). A single specimen was recorded to light at Fineshade (SP99).

21st May 2023
A further specimen of Platyedra subcinerea has ben recorded in a garden light trap in Higham Ferrers (SP96).

Day Flying Moths
Sussanah O'Riordan (Butterfly Conservation) has arranged two daytime walks to see day-flying moths. Details are as follows (link includes booking information):
2nd June, 11:00am-2:00pm: Day-flying Moths at Ring Haw
8th June, 11:15am-2:30pm: Day-flying Moths at Priors Hall
"As well as some of the common species, we will also be learning about the rare Liquorice Piercer Moth Grapholita pallifrontana a small, but beautiful day-flying moth that is best looked for on sunny afternoons flying around its foodplant, Wild Liquorice."

29th April 2023
A single Platyedra subcinerea was recorded to a garden light trap in Higham Ferrers (SP96). This is the 7th VC32 record, but only the 3rd modern/post-2000 record. The moth appeasr to be restricted to the south and east of England and thus we sit at the edge of its known UK distribution.

18th March 2023
A new method of recording moths has been established - the Doorbell Cam! This image of a Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum was taken on a doorbell cam in Duston, Northampton (SP76).

14th March 2023
A further two mines of the Nationally Scarce Phyllonorycter ulicicolella were located on Gorse in Weekley Hall Wood (SP88), approximately the same location as those recorded in 2022. 2nd VC32 record.

12th & 13th March 2023
The sunshine resulted in Scarlet Tiger Callimorpha dominula larvae being seen basking in numbers during the day on e.g. Green Alkanet at Pitsford (SP77) and Barton Seagrave (SP87).

12th March 2023
A single Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum was seen nectaring on a Crocus in a Sywell garden (SP86) during the day. Whether this individual has just emerged from local hibernation, or came over The Channel with the strong southerly winds remains a matter of conjecture, but the species has been recorded in other counties in the past couple of months when conditions were not supportive of migration, suggesting that they are now succesfully over-wintering in the UK.

11th March 2023
Please find a link here to the annual VC32 Moth Summary for 2022. I hope it is an interesting read, and sufficiently covers the usual updates for our less-well recorded species, a summary of species that were added during the year and a few more items of interest too. I apologise if anything appears to have been missed! I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supplied their moth records, be this directly to me or via iRecord, etc. These records will be sent over to the National Moth Recording Scheme at some stage soon, as will the species wrtie-ups and distribution maps. This remains a very time-consuming activity so may take a little while to achieve - please bear with!

Catch-up news from 2022
Resultant from various dissection sessions late in 2022, and following on from the record-submission period, there are three species which I am now able to report were new to VC32 during 2022, as follows (in ABH order):
Caloptilia honoratella - a single female was confirmed by dissection, having been recorded to a garden light trap in Northampton (SP76) on 18.vii.2022.
Phyllonorycter viminetorum - a solitary mine was discovered on Osier at Ferry Meadows, Peterborough (TL19) on 02.x.2022.
Prays citri - one taken to a garden light trap in Thrapston (TL07) on 16.vii.2022. Fortunately this iRecord sighting was accompanied by a clear photograph which enabled the record to be confirmed.

28th January 2023
I have slightly updated the moth recording spreadsheet, based on recent data submissions and a couple of new species to the list (more on that later...). NB: I have added a third worksheet which just lists the macro-moth species, and these are placed in alphabetical order, for anyone that just wishes to reccord these. The latest version is now on-line and accessed via the same link as below.

2nd January 2023
It's that time of year when (I copy and paste the message from last year) and wish you all a Happy New Year, and to make a request for any outstanding moth records for 2022 (or indeed any others you may have lurking from previous years) to be sent to Mark Hammond as soon as possible please, so that I can assimilate records, run the necessary checks, update species information on the website and write the report for the year.

Please note that I have uploaded the VC32 Moth Recording Excel Sheet for 2023. I have included all the species that I know were new to the vice county in 2022, but given that there are still lots of datasets to be submitted from recorders, there may be one or two alterations to this file in a month or so. That said, this file will be perfectly useable for the rest of the year so if you are already running your moth traps (well done!), please start using this version.