Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Variations of the Speckled Green Fruitworm moth

Due to the weather I haven’t had the light trap out much recently.  However, on the 22nd April there were 9 Speckled Green Fruitworm (Orthosia hibisci) moths in the trap.  The following are stacked images (two more images using different focus points combined) and show three variations of this moth.


Friday, 11 April 2014

Two more hibernators

Because of strong winds I haven’t had the light trap out for a couple of nights but l did put it out last night and was rewarded with two Dot-and-Dash Swordgrass (Xylena curvimacula) moths.  The Least Chipmunk was seen at Glenmore reservoir.



Tuesday, 8 April 2014

At last! The first backyard macro moth of 2014…

I put my light trap out last night for only the second time this year and there were two moths in the trap this morning.  Not unsurprisingly, the macro moth was a Large Grey Pinion (Lithophane georgii) which a hibernator and one of the more common Lithophanes.  The other was a micro moth which is probably an Acleris sp.  I also saw my first butterflies of the year yesterday at a local Calgary park.  A Milbert's Tortoiseshell and  two Mourning Cloaks.  Both of these butterflies overwinter so it is not surprising that these are often the first to be seen in spring.  It’s another warm day today so depending on the wind I should have the light trap out again tonight.


Monday, 31 March 2014


Well, with a wind-chill of close to –20ยบ C this morning and more snow on the ground, spring still seems like a bit of a dream.  That said, I have had several large flocks of American Robins moving through the backyard and the forecast appears to be improving so maybe it won’t be too long before I get the first hibernator in the trap. 

With regards to 2013, I only recorded 165 macro moth species and very approximately 2253 individual moths.  This compared to 2012 when I recorded 201 species and 2778 individual moths.  I still have a reasonable number of unidentified moths from last year but even allowing for these and for some margin of error it is clear that the species and numbers were down for 2013.  It will be interesting to see what 2014 has in store…

I didn’t record many micro moths last year so thought I would post a photograph of the fairly common California Grass-veneer Moth (Euchromius californicalis).  This was taken on the 1st June 2013.  The forewing length is approximately 10mm.



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Late Moth and Butterfly record

I haven’t had much in my light trap for sometime but had a very nice looking moth last night which is a first for my Calgary backyard.  I believe it’s a Thaxter's Pinion Moth (Lithophane thaxteri).   In addition to this, last Friday, I decided to walk up Sulphur Mountain for some exercise and in search of bird and mammal photographic opportunities.  I wasn’t expecting to see any butterflies but just below the summit ridge walkway that leads to the Cosmic Ray Station, I was surprised to find a Milbert's Tortoiseshell flying around the rocks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have a macro lens with me so had to take the attached with my 400mm lens. 

It’s always nice to get a few October records and the new moth perhaps justifies keeping the light trap out for a little longer...



Wednesday, 25 September 2013

End of the mothing year?

I haven’t blogged for a few weeks but the moth numbers have been dropping steadily until 2 days ago when I had my first empty light trap since the start of summer.  I do have some unidentified species and will continue to put up an occasional post as I identify them.

One new species for me, recorded on the 14th Sept, was an Ashen Brindle moth (Lithomoia germana).  This is one of the moths that raises its abdomen at rest.  It’s one of the Cuculliinae  moths which typically turn up at this time of year.  I’ve have also had several of what I believe to be Pallid Rustics (Hydraecia pallescens) and a few Subflava Sedge Borer Moths (Capsula subflava).  The latter Borer moth uses bulrushes, cattails, grasses and rushes as host plants.



Friday, 6 September 2013

No light trap but a bait trap surprise

This is my first blog for a week and I have been getting in the range of 11 to 19 species each night but until last night only one new macro moth for the year (actually, I do have a couple of moths to identify so that statement may not be entirely accurate). Because the weather forecast for Thursday night looked a little grim I didn’t put the light trap out but decided to leave the bait trap out as it is afforded some rain protection by the tree that it hangs under.  The bait trap and the moths were a little damp in the morning but there were 4 new macro moth species for the year and no less than 6 Underwing moths of 3 species.  If I lived in a rural area (or had a very large bait trap?) this might seem like a small number of Underwings but this is definitely the largest number I have had in my trap at any one time.  It almost seemed that the rain and cooler temperatures had brought them out... 

Unfortunately, it looks wet again tonight so I will have to rely on the bait trap again.  The 4 new bait trap species for the year were:

White Underwing (Catocala relicta)
Kidney-spotted Rustic (Helotropha reniformis)
Garden Cutworm Moth (Fishia discors)
Olive Green Cutworm (Dargida procincta)

Pale Enargia (Enargia decolor) – In the light trap over several nights. The Alfalfa Looper (Autographa californica) was in the light trap a few nights ago. This image was created using 5 photographs with different focus points.  In general the Loopers (Plusiinae) lend themselves quite well to focus stacking.

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