Wednesday, 3 December 2014


I got a report  from Nigel G of a Peacock Butterfly sunbathing near Lumb Falls in Crimsworth Dean on 30th November. A nice late record.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Mega Moths...........

Last night saw in the region of 7,500 Winter Moths in Only House Wood one tree have over 200 individuals on it..A few Scarce Umber and many female Winter moths..............have a look in your local wood....!!!!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Only House Wood

Down the woods again tonight with Steve Cummings in tow with all his camera equipment. Steve set up and started filming Winter Moths in cop and emerging from the leaf litter.
   I had a good look round the rest of the wood, as many as 500 + Winter Moths and 10 pairs in cop  , 2 Scarce Umber , 10 Mottled Umber  and  5 Northern Winter Moths

Down the woods

Popped down into the local beech wood last night , ---
200 + Winter moths
24       Mottled Umber
1 female Mottled Umber

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Memories of Summer

Forgot to post this in the summer when I spotted this fine example of a really fresh White-letter Hairstreak Satyrium w-album. This is only the second one I have seen near the town centre.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Lee Mount

It was a surprise this afternoon after a cool overcast day with drizzle and very little sunshine to find a very worn Red Admiral on the Erysimum. Also a Comma, but it disappeared before I could get a photo.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Various !

In the garden last 2 days, at least 7 Red Admirals and 2 Speckled Woods on the Erysimum. and Sedum

Walk over Ovenden Moor, Fly Flatts and Ogden today
c6 Speckled Woods and 2 Red Admirals along the track from Ogden car park this morning.
c20 Red Admirals seen over Ovenden Moor along with 1 Small Tortoiseshell
6+ Speckled Woods along the edge of the tree belt by the golf course this afternoon and c4 Red Admirals with 1 Comma by the former Res'r keepers cottage.

Red Admiral on Sedum

Monday, 29 September 2014

High Brown Knoll

Walking over the highest point in Calderdale yesterday and spotted quite a few Red Admirals in the patchy sun ant this very handsome Cat. Cat someone id it for me please?

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Recent news

Lots of Red Admirals about this week along with Small Tortoiseshell ,Small and large Whites ,Speckled woods and a Peacock around the house. Black Rustics seem to having a good year along with Brown Spot Pinion. Lots of Common Marbled Carpets , Lunar underwings and the last of the large yellow underwings.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Ogden (Fox Moth ?)

We found several af these large caterpillars at the lower end of the golf course yesterday in and area of grassland, billberry and heather. They are at least 2 and a half inches long and curl up when disturbed. We think they are Fox Moth caterpillars but would be glad for someone to confirm if our
 i d is correct - or otherwise!.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Lee Mount

A Humming Bird Hawk Moth on Tuesday afternoon was feeding on and around an Erysimum plant in the garden for around 20 minutes. Unfortunately I could not get a photo of it but I am on the lookout for it returning !
This is the only second sighting of this species we have had in the garden since we moved here in 1974 so we made the most of it  while it was here.

Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' - this plant seems to flower for ever in summer and winter given a reasonably sunny spot (but gets knocked back in winter with hard frosts) a great plant for insects.

Also on the plant there have been numerous Bees and Hover Flies, 4 Red Admirals together, just 1 Small Tortoiseshell and up to 3 Speckled Woods have been around. Several Speckled Woods also seen this week near the Ski-slope at Ploughcroft.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

This week in the trap.............

The recent warm nights and easterly winds have not sent us any migrants as yet , but this week , Black Rustic , Lunar Underwing , Red Barred Tortrix , , Beautiful Plume , Blairs Shoulder Knot , Autumnal Rustic and the highlight here a Beaded Chestnut.................

Saturday, 6 September 2014

RFI Ghost Moth records

Hi guys, I am trying to collate any info regarding local (West Yorks.) Ghost Moth populations and would welcome any info regarding dates, locations and numbers. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Painted Lady

1 Painted lady , 3 Small Copper , 4 peacock , 20 + Speckled Wood and a large White today at the moth trap last night a Rosy Rustic, Salllow and 33 LYUnderwings.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Cromwell Bottom 30th August moth Night

The friends of  Cromwell Bottom will be running a moth night on sat , usual place by the lagoon, would be nice to see some local moffers there, I will be there from 10ish, the light will be put on at dusk.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Manchester Moth

Sorry AndyC I have belatedly answered your query in the comments box of 'The Manchester Moth' of 20th July, if you care to have a look.

Friday, 15 August 2014


Was walking up above North Dean Woods yesterday and heading back on Scholes Lane and saw a moth going bananas, decided it was worth a look and to see if it landed. Glad I did it was a male Vaporer with a female and cocoon that then started to mate.It was on the wall just before Scholes Farm heading from Greetland.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Painted lady

On the 8th August I found a freshly emerged Painted lady at Northowram , its wings were still unformed as it climbed a large grass stem. After a few minutes its wings started to inflate. A rare local sighting.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Pepper Hill / Claremount

 Wall Brown
 Small Copper
Small Copper and Small Skipper
What a week or two for butterflies, its been amazing - rounded off today with a walk along Hag Lane at the back of the Ploughcroft  ski-slope and along the track to Claremount and the hillside above Horley Green.
We thought we were doing well near Black Boy Farm on a small patch of weeds with Peacocks, Small Skippers and Gatekeepers as well as Small Tortoiseshells when we came across this Small Copper. we watched it with real pleasure.
Then as we walked further around the hillside facing over Halifax we had a possible Wall Brown but couldn't confirm it, then we found another two and managed a poor photo but it was enough to confirm identification. We came home well satisfied - as good as birding ! (well nearly)

Also a good number of Speckled Woods in that area too.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Butterfly Count / Wall brown ??

The Big Butterfly count is on at the moment and only takes a few minutes to submit your records.

With good numbers of butterfly's recorded in Calderdale over the last couple of years and new species being added over the last couple decades (Ringlet ,Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper etc)  its odd how the Wall Brown is becoming very scarce , 3 years ago I would have had 3 /4 in the garden at this time of year but since then I have had only one sighting in the last 3 years. Has any one seen a Wall Brown this year in Calderdale..??

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Lee Mount

We have a small garden and over the last year or two we have planted a Buddliea and a few other insect loving plants such as Cotoneaster horizontalis, Sedum spectabile and Erysimum (Bowles Mauve) - the latter is the best plant we have found for attracting insects over a long period - in fact this last winter it flowered all winter and has never stopped all summer long.
In the last few weeks we have had an unprecedented selection of butterflies
Lots of Small Tortoiseshells
A good number of Meadow Browns
A similar number of Ringlets
2 Commas
1 Gatekeeper (a first)
Several Small Skippers
Speckled Woods most days
A few Peacocks - but not many Red Admirals
Large, Small and Green-veined Whites
Occasional Orange Tips (several weeks ago)


Sedum - coming into flower

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Painted Lady

Came across this Painted Lady whilst birding at Roils Had today.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mile Cross Road

Been pleseantly surprised at the new home with some good moths in the last week or so,Lempkes Gold Spot, Dagger, Heart and Dart but not sure about the last one, any ideas????

Sunday, 20 July 2014

St Matthews Churchyard - Lightcliffe

An quick meeting at St Matthew's Churchyard, Lightcliffe this lunchtime met with 7 species of butterfly in 20 mins. Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Large White, Green-veined White, Comma & Ringlet. Wonder what the moth population is like?

The Manchester Moth

No, I haven't found one! But you may find this story interesting.

Abraham Stansfield, lived in Todmorden and then moved to Kersal Moor at Salford in 1858. He was a poet/naturalist. I was researching him when I found this fascinating reference to a now extinct moth. The Manchester Moth, Euclemsia woodiella.

Why was this moth confined to Kersal Moor and why has the Australian museum got a specimen?

The moral is--do not leave moth specimens with landladies!

Read the fascinating tale here

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Tachystola acroxantha.

After a message from Andy I had a wander round to Sean Johnston's place in the Heath area of Halifax to check out a potentially rare moth for Yorkshire. As suspected it was a rather fresh looking specimen of Tachystola acroxantha, a suspected Australian adventive. It was only added to the Yorkshire list in 2012 and as of yet it not listed on the Yorkshire Moths database (Terry, are you reading this? :-)

Sean's trap was still brimming with all manner of species so I helped myself to a couple of micros which turned out to be Dipleurina lacustrata and below, a rather worn Paraswammerdamia nebulella (I think), only the second one I've seen.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

KEEP AN EYE OUT for................

In the last few days a few Scarce Tortoiseshell Butterfly have turned up on the east coast of England. There has been a massive invasion of this species into the Netherlands which had no previous records. So it would be worth checking any "Small Tortoiseshells" as they might be something a great deal less common
  IN Northowram today on my local walk ,----
Small Tortoiseshell      134(checked all of them)
Meadow Brown             87
Ringlet                           35
Gatekeeper                      2
Purple Hairstreak            2
Comma                           1
Large White                   1
Small White                   2
large Skipper                  1
Small Skipper                2
Speckled Wood             1

Friday, 11 July 2014


Dave's observation of ringlets in Withins Clough echoes what I saw on Monday this week and I posted this on the Calderdale Wildlife blog:-

"This year seems a good one for Ringlets and there are reasonable numbers up Tod.
But I was in a wet sphagnum field in a woodland clearing up Crag Vale this morning, (upstream from the Hinchcliffe), and at a guess there must have been into the hundreds of ringlets; plus some Small Skippers and Meadow Browns. Wonderful to see."

Withens Clough, Cragg Vale

On Wednesday this week there were quite a number of Ringlet butterflies on the grass next to the car park just below the res'r though I couldn't get any decent photo's - they were very active along with a few Meadow Browns and Small Heaths.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Bird-cherry Ermines - Cunnery wood.

Following up on Chris' find I soon located the webs - not easy to miss. With just one or two larvae visible I took one of the nests home to determine the species. 

On closer examination of the nest it soon became apparent there was a nucleus of many pupal cocoons. Opening one up revealed a healthy looking moth pupa - all bodes well.

Two days on and two moths had emerged - on day three their numbers had swelled to nearly 30 individuals, they were continuously emerging before my eyes. Time to leave them outside in the garden!

The finished article - as the tree was re-identified as a Bird Cherry it's safe to assume the moths are indeed Bird-cherry Ermines. Both the size and five rows of dots also indicate this species. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Ogden Water

Our WATCH group meeting today was on bumblebees, but when we headed out to look for them the butterflies took over! We hunted on the little bit of moorland to the top side of the house on the other side of the reservoir. Not a bad selection for 40 minutes of hunting. If anyone can identify the top photo then I would appreciate it.

Our list
1526 Small Skipper
1574 Common Blue (2nd photo) lots of them, including some mating
1614 Speckeld Wood
1626 Meadow Brown
1629 Ringlet
1638 Fox moth caterpillar - we think (3rd photo)
1738 Common Carpet

Also had a visit to Cunnery Wood with
1614 Speckled Wood
1742 Yellow Shell

Friday, 4 July 2014

2221 The Mullein Shargacucullia verbasci

A  Mullien Moth caterpillar has been found this week in Todmorden (*thanks Ross) and a Eyed Hawkmoth has been seen in The Tod area (thanks Portia).All the local butterfly species have been seen in good numbers this week . Small Tortoiseshell have emerged from some cats I found at Lightcliffe quarries today , loads and loads of cats on nettles at Northowram and Adults seen copulating yesterday will surely make for another great summer for this species.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Cunnery Wood caterpillar nests

Found these in Cunnery Wood on the willow trees. They are normally there this time of year, could anyone identify them for me? Thanks.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Skinner moth trap and 80W MV set up

Greetings from the east Coast :) We are considering upgrading to a Robinson trap with 125W MV, if we did this we would have a Skinner trap plus 80W MV set up (and spare bulb) to sell, anyone know about how much to charge?

Cat identification

Look at this group of synchronised cats feeding on rose, tails in the air in my daughter's neighbours garden down in Somerset. Any ideas before they strip the plants entirely?

Monday, 23 June 2014

Wood Tiger.

Found this wood tiger at the back of Widdop res today,loads of Small heath , Green Veined White and my first Red Admiral of the year. Thanks to Charlie for posting the picture.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Any ideas?

I had this emerge this morning - forewing 9mm. I think it was feeding on oak but had a bit of an accident with the pupae and they got mixed up. I'm leaning towards Gelechidae but that's just a hunch. Those four pairs of scale tufts must narrow it down quite a lot you would think!


At last a Red necked Footman for our area , been looking for the last few years ,so well done to Dave Franz for finding this one at Lower waslhaw..brilliant

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Riddlesden 20th June

Howdo All,
Not done a great deal of trapping so far this year but last night got my first Elephant Hawk-moth.

Also got a few Buff Ermine, Green Arches, Heart & Dart, 
Bright-line Brown-Eye, Sword Grass, Dark Arches, 
Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix, Light Emerald, Marbled Minor Agg,
Silver-ground Carpet, Small Fanfoot, and a Spectacle.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Dingy Skipper Update

The Dingy Skipper showed very well today when the sun came out, there may well have be two but never saw them together ,also 6 Ringlets , 20 +Meadow brown ,1 Cinnabar ,1 Yellow Shell , 2 Silver Ground Carpet , 2 Snout and 18 Speckled Woods.....1 Mother Sipton , 17 Small Heath , 15 Speckled Wood , 1 Small Copper and 1 Brown Silver Lines near Stoodley Pike this morning.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Hummingbird Hawk Moth

1 seen today very active over nettles at Calderdale Business Park Club lane Ovenden, no picture unfortunately as it was so active couldn't get on it.

Still fantastic to see and be able to point out to my students, only the second I've ever had in Calderdale.

It was around at approx 13:50

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Svennsonns Copper Underwing Larvae..etc

Its a good time of the year to search beech trees for Sv Copper Underwing larvae just after dark , I found 3 last night .
 Beautiful Yellow Underwing have been seen this week at Whiteholme drain favouring thistle heads and the brick red form of Phiaris schulziana is also on the wing along the drain.(masses of Common Heaths with a full array of colour forms)
Northern Eggar larvae are also easy to find as they reach there maximum size.
On my local nettle patch a large swarm (50+) of displaying Nemophora degeerella have been seen during the day and masses of Small Magpies ,  Snout and Silver Ground carpets can be seen in the evening.
Chimney Sweepers , Yellow shell and  Shaded Broad Bar  have been seen in the local meadows in good numbers and its worth keeping an eye out for Mother Shipton as well.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Dingy Skipper and Pleurota bicostella , New to Calderdale

Top pictures show the micro moth Pleurota bicostella which looks very similar to common grass moth species(crambus)the labial palps are as long as they get, found yesterday near Withens Clough. These two species have not been recorded locally before .Bottom pic shows the butterfly Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages which can easily be overlooked for one of the day flying moths.I found it while taking photos of local orchids. Many thanks to Charlie for posting picture of Dingy Skipper  and for taking the great photos of Pleurota bicostella .

Friday, 13 June 2014

Long Horn Bagworm conclusion

Following on from the photo of the Bagworm I posted a few days ago I now think it's Adela reaumurella. Looking through MOGBI at the library today, the size, shape and construction of the case looks most likely for this species IMHO.

Also, browsing this excellent German site:

The larva looks spot on. It's not a total surprise as this is a fairly common species in oak woodland.

Still, my larva is still alive and I will try and rear it through.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

1165 Zeiraphera isertana

This emerged this morning reared from a larva on oak at New Lane. It has a nice, subtle greenish hue to some of the scales.

No doubt Paul had them in abundance in his garden ;-)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Turn that light out!!

Despite having run a trap since August 2013 at my partners house, we have received our first complaint this morning from one of her indirect neighbours. Given the length of time that has passed since the trap was first run, we find it hard to believe there is any substance to the complaint. Just wondered if anyone had any advice to offer?

Trap is being run in Littleborough and this has put a slight downer on what was our best nights mothing so far, we are determined that they won't spoil our enjoyment but want to be fair and responsible neighbours.


Thursday, 5 June 2014

We were up on the moor avbove Ogden today and came across this moth sheltering in the vegetation. I think it is a common heath but would like someone to confirm it fo me if they could. Many thanks, Chris.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Can you guess what it is yet.............

This little beauty is c6mm long and is one of two reared from folded leaves on Field Maple. A new one for me, should be out soon..............

UPDATE: And here it is and some more pupa shots:

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Green Hairstreaks

Thanks again Dave.......A very good year for this species with reports of good numbers from Ogden, Midgley Moor , Walshaw Dean , Cold Edge  and  Fly Flatts  with numbers on the 18th May peaking at over 200.

Monday, 2 June 2014

BAGWORM........sort of

I found this yesterday slowly wandering around the base of an oak in long wood. The case is made up of three apparently circular pieces of leaf and is a dead ringer for the Nemophora degeerella photo in the new micro guide but I'm told the larva doesn't seem right for that species. Anybody any ideas?

Emperor Moth

Photo from Andy who is unable to post on the blog at the moment - nice shot Andy

Thanks Dave...Pete Smith reports 2 Brimstone Butterfly's recently one on Ogden golf course and one in the  Shibden valley.
 Went for a walk across Midgley Moor on Sunday , this Emperor was the highlight.Other moths included 100;s and 100;s of Common Heath , Neofaculta ericetella x 2 , Ancylis Myrtillana , Philedonides lunana ,Green Veined White , Orange Tip  and plenty of very large Northern Eggar caterpillars.

Poplar Hawk at Cromwell Bottom LNR

Whilst around 20 of us were balsam bashing we came across this moth. I personally have never seen one before, but is apparently the commonest Hawk-moth in the UK. We cordoned off the area so it was not disturbed.
Poplar Hawk-moth   Laothoe populi

Thursday, 22 May 2014


Out and about yesterday near the canal at Salterhebble I came across a scattered colony of these tiny longhorns Adela (Cauchas) rufimitrella. At first I dismissed them as some kind of fly with long antennae, it wasn't until I noticed a second group that I gave them a closer look. They have a forewing of around 5mm and an orangey crown (not evident in this worn specimen). The males, which I believe this is, have antennae twice the wing length.

Another worn one which, like most of the others flew around and settled on Garlic Mustard, the larval foodplant. Note the forward facing palps characteristic of this genus.

To clinch the ID of this scarce moth I returned to capture an unworn specimen and photograph it under more controlled light. The orange crown is clearly evident.
It's a shame the site is being sold off to developers!