Thursday, 30 October 2008

Horse Chestnut Leaf - Miner

Derek Parkinson recorded 366a Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella at Norwood Green over the weekend,this is the first record of this species in Calderdale.Many thanks to Derek for this information.This pasage below and Photo are taken from the excellent UKmoths site ......-

This species was discovered near Macedonia in 1985, and since then has spread rapidly to other countries in Europe. It was first discovered in Britain at Wimbledon in south-west London in 2002, but possibly had arrived the previous year, as it was quite plentiful. It is thought that the species may be expanding partially due to accidental transportation by man, either by road or rail. It has now been found quite extensively in the south-east of England.
The larva mines the leaves of horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) causing noticeable brown blotches, often many to one leaf. There is however, a similar-looking fungus which can cause confusion.
The adult moths resemble other Gracillariidae, although are quite distinctively dark reddish-brown with a noticeable white frons. It is thought that three generations exist.
Many thanks to UKmoths and Derek for this info.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Sugaring at Gorpley Clough(sunday eve)

Rain,high winds and clearing skies didn't make us feel very optimistic as we sugared the trees at Gorpley Clough ,but as the light faded we were soon recording moths..
15 Chestnut
11 Brick
4 Satellite
2 Winter Moths
2 Yellow Line Quaker
1 Angle Shades
1 Red Sword Grass
A real cracking evening and well worth the effort,good to see Brian and photo's to follow from Charlie

Baffled Butterflies

'click on text above to read'
Another interesting article from the latest BCYB by H.Frost, Argus no 55 showing another reason for population crashes in Butterfly populations.It was a poor year for most species in Calderdale except the Browns with the best ever year for Ringlet and good numbers of Meadow Brown,Speckled wood and the ever increasing Gatekeeper.This was mirrored in the rest of Yorkshire.I think I only saw 4 Painted Ladys in the whole year.?Many thanks for all the new photos in the gallery its looking quite a good reference source now.

Friday, 24 October 2008


Following on from Charlie's superb series of photos of the parasites on the LBAM larva I thought I would make a plea for others to post any images they record and keep both the remains of the larva and an adult of whatever parasite emerges. I have the contact address of Dr Mark Shaw at Edinburgh University who is one of the foremost experts on parasitica in the UK. Mark is always grateful for any specimens with data that you can collect for him. He will often be able to name the parasite and let you know details about it. He also uses the specimens sent as voucher material in the university collection, so you will be contributing to our long term knowledge of the parasitica collected. I obviously do not want to post Marks details on the web, but you can contact me via the blog or email for the details

As an example of how useful specimens from Calderdale can be; I used to pot up any adult parasitica I found in my moth trap and pop em in the freezer to store them. Once a month I would put all the parasitica collected into a specimen pot of a alcohol and send them off to Mark. He used all the specimens he could ID as voucher specimens in the uni collection for others to study. The specimens from Calderdale were even more useful in the fact that they came from a more northerly aspect of the UK than most specimens in the collection which in the main came from the SE of England. Several differences where noted between the Calderdale and the other specimens in terms of size and other minor details that had not been noted before in descriptions. In fact one species (whose name escapes me at the moment) was in fact THREE time larger than any other specimen of this species that Mark had seen and he had no idea thay could grow to this size. Several of the specimens I sent had not been recorded from Yorkshire before, so they also contributed to the known distribution. For those who might interested in knowing more about the parasitica Mark has written a small inexpensive book for the AES about them.

When rearing larvae I find that quite a high proportion of then have been got at by some parasite or other and in many cases you have no idea until the parasites emerge from the larva or pupa. I had an ichneumon emerge from an Elephant Hawkmoth pupa once spring which frightened the hell out of me when I opened the pot expecting to see an adult Elephant Hawk only to be confronted by a bloody enormous black and white and very angry inchneumon from which I fled at a rapid rate ! I also used to get lots of a particularly nasty Tachinid fly from Northern Egger larva. The egger larvae used to feed up as normal but them just as they were moving around the tubs seemingly getting ready to pupate they would suddenly stop moving and out would wiggle dozens of small white maggots eating their way out of the by now hopefully dead larva. In about 20 mins the larva went from a seemingly happy healthy Egger to a empty bag of skin.I have some photos somewhere of these maggots munching their way out and will see if I can find them and post them on the blog

January Moths

There are a few about in January Charlie and when running the MV light at Park Road, I rarely blanked even on the worst nights. I was unusual in being just about in Park Wood with my back garden and most winter flying moths occur in woodland. My one tip would be to make sure you get the light on or get out looking before dusk as the first hour of dusk can be the only time all night that moths move if the sky is clearing and temperatures dropping. The list below is the the species list for my MV trap in January from 2000 to 2004. Spring Usher earliest date 3rd January, lastest date 26th February

Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana)

Acleris ferrugana/notana

Tortricodes alternella

Ypsolopha ustella

Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata)

Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria)

Mottled Umber (Erannis defoliaria)

Scarce Umber (Agriopis aurantiaria)

Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)

Chestnnut(Conistra vaccinii)

Northern Winter Moth (Operophtera fagata)

Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Sunday Evening

Hi all,I am meeting with Brian Leesey at Gorpley Clough to run the trap and sugar some trees on Sunday evening.It should be dark by 5ish(clocks go back sat night).Staying for a few hours until the temp drops off.All welcome if any one wants a lift please leave a message below.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Wellholme Park

A walk around Wellholme Park this afternoon produced 1 Red Darter. I know it's not a butterfly, but I thought a few people might be interested.


Still hanging in there

One Comma today in the afternoon sunshine at Northowram

Migration and Global warming

If you click on this picture you should be able to read this very interesting article.Closer to home the number of Butterfly species in Calderdale is definitely on the increase and new moth species are also on the increase ie Light Brown Apple Moth,Blairs Shoulder Knot,Black rustic etc.But the numbers of common moths are on the decline through habitat loss and farming practises.This is why all the information/data we collect is locally very important .If any one has records for Calderdale(old or new) please could you send them to me and please include date,how many,how you saw it ie daytime obsevation,light trap or sugaring etc.Many thanks Andy

Friday, 17 October 2008

2009 National Moth Night

I see that Butterfly Conservation have given the date for National Moth Nights 2009. They will be on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 September 2009.

Do you think that it might be possible to arrange a few trapping sessions across Calderdale to see what we get.

They have no specific species or habitats that they are targetting, however the theme is migration. Andy mentioned earlier that we might like to get the LNR lists of moths and butterflies up to date. (I'm still collating the various info on the different sites, but for many it is pretty sketchy), so one option is to do some trapping on one of these sites.

We may also (as the Council) run a public moth trapping event on one of these nights and publicise it in the Wildside guided walks and events programme, if anyone would be interested in helping out, especially with the identification then please let me know.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Today's sightings

1 Red Admiral butterfly this afternoon in Cunnery Wood LNR.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Last nights moths

Wine Ropes at Hallwood Todmorden :-
42 Chestnut
1 Saterlite
1 yellow line Quaker
6 brick
Sugaring Only House Wood Northowram :-
20 Chestnut
5 Brick
1 Green Brindled Cresent
MV Northowram :-
1 Ypsolopha sequella (Rabbits ears and all)
1 Silver Y
10 Light Brown Apple Moth
2 Garden Rose Tortrix
1Common marbled Carpet

Monday, 13 October 2008

Photo Gallery

Hi all,many thanks to everyone who uploaded photos over the weekend .There are now nearly 200 species listed and we should be able to get up to 300 in the near future.And maybe 400+ by this time next year.If you click on view and then thumbnails it gies you a better view of the photos.many thanks Andy

Last nights moths

MV 125 Skinner trap in back garden
18 Light Brown apple Moth
3 Garden Rose Tortix
5 Red Green Carpet
1 Silver Y
2 Blairs Shoulder Knot
1 Autumn Green carpet
2 Spruce Carpet
3 Common Marbled Carpet
1 Barred Sallow
1 Angle Shades

Sugar in local wood
12 Chestnut
1 Angle Shades

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Juniper Pug ?

I had this Pug on Friday night and think it may be a melanistic Juniper Pug - British & Irish Pug Moths state that Juniper Pug occurs until late September so it is just a little late, any ideas?

Few other Moths so far this month include Angel Shades, Silver Y, November Moth spp, Red-green Carpet, Brick and Yellow-line Quaker, very quite,


Yellow-line Quaker

November Moth spp - either November or Pale November Moth

Silver Y

Todmorden wine Ropes

Brian Leesey reports 47 Chestnut,Red Sword grass and 2 Tawny Pinion last night at wine ropes in Hallwood .

Friday, 10 October 2008

Gallery open to post

The gallery is now open for anyone to post there photos on it ,Martyn your open on both your e-mails,just click on the green add files and away you go.The B+F numbers can be found on UKmoths in the links area.If not I will add them later.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Today's sightings

Alegar Bank Wood - Brighouse

1 Large White
1 Paletussock caterpillar (pictured)

For Charlie !

Hi Charlie

As the most active field lepidopterist in Calderdale I have set a little challange for you. I found twice only the cases of 563 Coleophora argentula on Yarrow (Achillea millefolium ) in Calderdale. I found this at Cromwell Bottom and Lowfields Business Park (before they built on it) and at that time thought I had bagged a new Yorkshire record (its slowly moving north) but Harry Beaumont beat me to it by a year :-(( I am not sure if it occurs on the garden forms of Yarrow as I never found it on any I searched, but there again I only ever found it on two clumps of Yarrow in the wild. It must occur I am sure in other parts of Calderdale but as Yarrow is not exactly abundant it might take some searching for. I have found it today here on the Llyn but as Yarrow is very abundant I was not surprised at finding it. The cases can be found right through winter but I suspect many go to ground later this month to astivate.

The reason I ask for you to look for it is that sadly BOTH patches of the plant were destroyed, built on at lowfields and buried by the countryside unit at Cromwell Bottom :-((
PHOTO: Courtesy of Ben Smart


Below is a wholes series of tips to find moths on Ragwort. This was given out by Ian Smith some years back on Uk Micromoths. Most of the links will no longer work but all can be found on Ian Kimbers UK Moths website, just type in the B&F number given in the link to Ians search engine. PS Charly, I expect some cracking shots of all the goodies you find to stick in my Ragwort File !

In response to your request for more tips I decided to expand on what you may find on ragwort this month. Most of the larvae feed on the flowers/seeds. Some are foliage feeders, but you are likely to get either when you beat.The exceptions are the rootstock/lower stem feeders. For these you will need to uproot plants, and, if occupied, pot them up outside over winter.I don't think anyone will object to the removal of ragwort plants, but could I suggest that lifted plants are not left where stock can reach them. I think farm animals have the sense to avoid living plants, but wilted plants might not have the same warning signs. Accidental inclusion in hay is probably the main danger. Virtually all the micros listed overwinter as diapausing larvae, so essential to keep outdoors in well drained conditions. Many of the macros overwinter as pupae, but outdoors also best. 998postvittana will probably pupate & emerge indoors in airtight container to prevent drying.Below are links to micros that feed on ragwort in September. Where the link is to images in my file 'ifs' on ukmicromoths, you should copy them if you wish (just for own use -I retain copyright) as I will eventually remove them in late October. I have included polyphages I have found on ragwort, but there may be more.964 rootstock/stem stem osteodactylus(1520) is apparently replaced in SE England (Kent, Sussex, Surrey according to Eric Bradford, but perhaps Colin Hart can update us?) by H. chrysocomae(1521). I have no picture. Colin told me that as far as he knows its head is light brown, while on osteodactylus it is black or dark brown. As head colour of larvae often lightens or darkens with development, I'd be cautious about relying on it alone.I hope anyone who gets Hellinsia larvae in the SE will photograph and rear it (outdoors) - I'll be delighted to receive and photograph larvae sent to me from Kent, Sussex or Surrey. It's also reported off Solidago virgaurea and Aster (?Sea aster?).952 I have no illustration of 952Commophila aenana. Rootstock feeder. Winters about 8cm up stem which snaps off above the larva by spring. Heavy clay soils from Lincoln southwards. Scarce. BTS describes: Head brown;prothoracic plate pale yellow; abdomen yellowish or greyish white; pinacula shining greyish white; spiracles blackish brown peritreme; anal plate greyish white marked yellow.Below are Bradley numbers of macromoths which you may beat off ragwort. All are in Porter, but beware of variability of the pugs; some spp have 20 or so varieties illustrated in Buckler, with certain forms resembling those of other species.I think many need to be reared.17201728, 1833, 1834, 1837, 1839, 18401851 think Eupethicia virgaureata can be recognised by the stylised wave patterns on its sides.2136,2305

Mythical Moths rediscovered

Just got my latest copy of Butterfly from BC and two moths have been rediscoverd after decades of absense.One in Scotland Ethmia pyrausta only recorded 4 times since 1853 and White Prominent in Ireland the first for 70 years both found at light on organised moth nights.Brindled Ochre is surley still out there in Calderdale.?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

King of the Skies

Hi All
I have seen a great many large dragonflies this late Summer / Autumn, a lot more than usual. Took this pick of Aeshna cyanea (m) imm ( I think thats what it is, at least) near Yatton late September. Can anyone confirm id?


Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Photo Gallery

Hi all,the photo gallery has now just short of 100 species in it,If any one has any photo's of species not on the gallery please could they add to or send me there photo's.I propose to have the gallery closed on mondays(or any day) to add photo's if this is ok with everybody.? I will send an invite to anybody who has photos to add.

Historical Note on Brindled Ocre

Just been reading JW Tutt...Pratical hints for the field Lepidopterist(written in the early 1900's) and came across this in the October section..In The Halifax and Huddersfield areas Brindled Ocre is freely taken at gaslamps in the early morning and by 'dint of hard work ;on average a ton of stones(dry stone walls been favoured)must be moved to find one specimen......any one fancy a bit of dry stone walling????
There are no recent records of this species that I can find.

Sunday, 5 October 2008


this morning
1 speckled wood
1 emperor dragonfly
1 peokcock

Thursday, 2 October 2008

October Butterfly

One pristine Red Admiral today in a garden in Brighouse anyone else had an October butterfly

New Yahoo Moths

Hi all
I am currently setting up a new group on Yahoo to cover hints & tips on finding lepidoptera. The idea is to have have 12 monthly files that tips can be added to for each family of lepidoptera in the UK. I have couple of people who are helping out with hints and tips but the forum is not public yet until I get some more stuff loaded up. The group will be available for public viewing but you will have to be a member to post. This is a long term project I have been interested in for years and hopefully it will grow into a large resource giving people an idea when and how to find lepidoptera. Hopefully you guys who like to get out in the field looking for lepidoptera will wish to contribute.