Wednesday 14 November 2012

I will be working through some more moths that I have to identify soon but as something to view in the meantime, I thought I would add a short slideshow from my new website that I am in the process building.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Well, sadly, it looks like winter has arrived in earnest and I may have seen my last moth for 2012.  I did get a single Juniper Carpet and a worn looking noctuid that I haven't identified in Lethbridge last weekend.  At some stage I will post a summary of the years highlights and if I manage to identify any currently unidentified moths from the year I will post these as well.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

There were no moths last night but I did get 13 macro moths of 6 species on the 15th and 13 of 5 on the 16th.  Of the 26 moths 9 were Fall Cankerworm moths (Alsophila pometaria) and 8 were Juniper Carpets (Thera juniperata).  There were no new species for the year and still no Bruce Spanworms (operophtera bruceata).  I did get a second Ipsilon Dart (Agrotis ipsilon) on the 16th and am still hopeful of getting a Bruce Spanworms (operophtera bruceata) before the end of October but the temperatures are falling fast tonight.  At the time of writing (7pm) it's already down to 5.8.  On another subject, I had a fairly close encounter with a Great Grey Owl on the 16th...

Great Grey Owl

Ipsilon Dart (Agrotis ipsilon)

Saturday 13 October 2012

Well, the moths are not quite done and if the warmer weather persists for a while, who knows... After a few days of light snow things warmed up yesterday afternoon and there were 3 moths of two species in the light trap last night which included one new moth for the year. Actually, I had anticipated getting a, rather unglamourously named, Fall Cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria).  This moth usually turns up after a cold spell in October. After asking Greg Pohl, I've given the micro moth, that I had on the 8th, a tentative id of Acleris nr/= bowmanana.  Greg pointed out that it would take dissection or DNA barcoding to be sure of the id but at least I'm in the right area.

Fall Cankerworm (Alsophila pometaria)
Juniper Carpet (Thera juniperata)

Acleris nr/= bowmanana

Wednesday 10 October 2012

There was just 1 micro moth in the trap last night and there is no chance of any moths tonight.  Hopefully the weather will improve over the next few days.  The photograph below was taken on the 17th June during one of my Waterton trips and was a new Sphinx species for me.

Twin-spotted Sphinx (Smerinthus jamaicensis)

Monday 8 October 2012

After several days of empty traps I was beginning to wonder if I was going to make it to 200 backyard macro moths for the year.  However, last night there were 3 moths in the trap.  There was 1 micro moth, a Lucerne Moth (Nomophila nearctica) and 2 macros, a Pink-barred Sallow (Xanthia tatago) and an Ipsilon Dart (Agrotis ipsilon).  The Ipsilon Dart (Agrotis ipsilon) is a new species for the year so that brings up the 200!!  This is 57 more backyard macro moths than I recorded or identified last year.  Sadly, the temperature has been fairly low all day today and is still only 5.8 so I'm not expecting much tonight.

Ipsilon Dart (Agrotis ipsilon)

Lucerne Moth (Nomophila nearctica)

Thursday 4 October 2012

Not unsurprisingly, with overnight temperatures below freezing and the first snow since spring, there have been no moths for the last two nights.  However, there were 10 moths of 5 species on Sunday night.  Given the low temperatures I was quite surprised at this number.  Nothing new for the year but there was an Alfalfa Looper (Autographa californica) that had a stigma in two parts.  I think this is the first time I've seen an Alfalfa Looper that that doesn't have a one part stigma.  I'm hoping that there may still be a few moths around as the weather improves over the weekend.  Maybe a Fall Cankerworm Moth (Alsophila pometaria) will be my 200th macro.

Alfalfa Looper (Autographa californica)

Monday 1 October 2012

Due to my weekend away in Waterton I'm a little behind with my blog.  This entry is for Friday 28th Sept.  Moth numbers continue to be low but there were 2 new species for the year, Grote's Satyr Moth (Ufeus satyricus) and American Swordgrass Moth (Xylena nupera).   One more needed to reach 200 backyard macro moths for the year!  I'll blog some details later but needless to say, there were higher numbers of moths in Waterton.  On Saturday morning I counted 32 moths of 13 species which included a few that I haven't yet identified.

American Swordgrass Moth (Xylena nupera)

Grote's Satyr Moth (Ufeus satyricus)

Juniper Carpet (Thera juniperata)

Thursday 27 September 2012

The numbers remain low with 5 moths of 4 species last night.  I photographed another Pearly Underwing (Peridroma saucia) as this has a slightly different colouring to the previous specimens I've had in the bait trap.  I also took some new Dot-and-Dash Swordgrass (Xylena curvimacula) photographs.  I'm staying in the Waterton area for the next few days.  It will be interesting to see if the moth numbers are much different to my backyard.

Dot-and-Dash Swordgrass (Xylena curvimacula)

Dot-and-Dash Swordgrass (Xylena curvimacula)

Pearly Underwing (Peridroma saucia)

Wednesday 26 September 2012

There were just 7 moths of 5 species yesterday and nothing new for the year.  Due to rain I didn't put the light trap out last night but was quite surprised to find 9 moths of 4 species in the bait trap this morning which included:

4x White Specs (Mythimna unipuncta)
1x Garden Cutworm (Fishia discors)
2x Bicolored Sallows (Sunira bicolorago)
1x Dot-and-Dash Swordgrass (Xylena curvimacula)

Monday 24 September 2012

There have been no new species for the last 2 days.  In fact, of the 22 macro and micro moths in the traps 10 were Garden Cutworm Moths (Fishia discors) and in spite of another warm night there were only 2 macro moths in the traps last night.  Hoping for more tonight.  As there are no new backyard moth photographs I thought I'd add a moth photograph that I took in Ecuador last year using a flash. I wish I'd had more time for moth photography.  There were certainly some fantastic moths around the lights in the evening...

Automeris zugana (Saturniidae) - Taken in Ecuador 2011

Saturday 22 September 2012

There were  just 7 moths of 6 species in the traps on Friday and nothing new for the year.  However, last night was the best night for some time with 16 moths of 10 species and 3 new backyard species for the year.  The new species were Battered Sallow (Sunira verberata), Pallid Rustic (Hydraecia pallescens) and Juniper Carpet (Thera juniperata).

This brings my 2012 total for backyard macro moths to 197 and my all time total to 250.  I've already seen or identified 54 more species than in 2011...  Perhaps 200 macro moths for this year is now looking like a possibility?  Certainly this has been an excellent year for a backyard moth'er...

Pallid Rustic (Hydraecia pallescens)

Battered Sallow Moth (Sunira verberata)

Thursday 20 September 2012

The moth numbers have continued to be low with 9 moths of 7 species on the 18th, 11 of 6 on the 19th and 9 of 6 last night. There were no new moths with one notable exception. Yesterday, there was a new Lymantriidae, Douglas Fir Tussock Moth (Orgyia pseudotsugata) on the wall behind the light trap. This appears to be the first record of a Douglas Fir Tussock Moth for Alberta.  Apparently, this is not an entirely unexpected record as it was thought that it might occur in the western mountain region of Alberta in association with its host, Douglas-fir, especially during outbreak years.  So far this is just a one off record but I will deploying my backyard light traps with interest over the next few weeks.

Douglas Fir Tussock Moth (Orgyia pseudotsugata)

Monday 17 September 2012

There were 12 moths of 8 species last night which included a new macro moth for the backyard, a Pearly Underwing moth (Peridroma saucia).  This moth is also known as Variegated Cutworm Moth.  I think the Plume is Geranium Plume Moth (Amblyptilia pica).

Pearly Underwing (Peridroma saucia)

Geranium Plume Moth (Amblyptilia pica)

Sunday 16 September 2012

The moth numbers remain low, although, there was a slight increase yesterday with 15 moths 8 species including a Semirelict Underwing moth in the bait trap. There were 12 moths of 9 species in the traps today. This included 4 micro moths. I'm still seeing a number of White-Specks (Mythimna unipuncta), Mouse Moths (Amphipyra tragopoginis), Garden Cutworms (fishia discors) and Maple Spanworms (Ennomos magnaria).  In addition to this I just found an Olive Green Cutworm (Dargida procincta) outside my back door.  The photograph below was taken last year.

Olive Green Cutworm (Dargida procincta)

Friday 14 September 2012

A slightly better night with 10 moths of 7 species but nothing new for the year.  4 of these were Garden Cutworms (Fishia discors) which appears to be my most common moth at this time of the year.  I went to Glenmore reservoir today in search of Dragonflies.  I believe this is a female Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae).

Black Meadowhawk (Sympetrum danae)

Thursday 13 September 2012

It was a little warmer last night but there were just 5 macro moths of 5 species in the traps and no micro moths. There were no new species for the year.  There was one fresh looking Alfalfa Looper (Autographa californica). Autographa pseudogamma is quite similar to A. californica but a black dash that connects the subterminal and postmedian lines will separate these species.  I've highlighted the dash in the picture below.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Due to very cool overnight temperatures there was only one moth in the trap yesterday and I didn't put the light trap out last night.  In fact, the low temperature for both nights has been just above 1C.  The Large Grey Pinion (Lithophane georgii) picture was taken on the 10th.  I am still hoping to get to 200 identified backyard macro moths this year as I have several moths to ID and should get a few new species for the year between now and late October. 

Large Grey Pinion (Lithophane georgii)

Monday 10 September 2012

The number of moths for the last two nights have continued to be low.  There were 16 moths of 11 species on the 9th and 9 moths of 7 species last night.  In fact, after some rough weather in the afternoon and evening, I was in two minds as to whether to put the trap out last night .  However, I'm glad I did as there was a new backyard species in the light trap this morning.  I'm putting it down as Rugged Rover (Platypolia anceps).  It appears be quite similar to Platypolia contadina but I think the fairly wide bipectinate antennae make it anceps.  Having said that I have asked for a second opinion.

Rugged Rover (Platypolia anceps)

Saturday 8 September 2012

A warmer night produced 23 moths 16 species. There were no new species for the year but I did photograph a very fresh looking False Pinion (Litholomia napaea). Litholomia napaea is another hibernator which is normally one of the first moths that I see in spring and one of the last that I see in autumn. My earliest record of a False Pinion is the 8th of April while my latest is the 17th October.

False Pinion (Litholomia napaea)

Friday 7 September 2012

The continuing trend of cool overnight temperatures resulted in only 11 moths of 7 species in the light trap last night with no new species for the year.  I am still getting some Underwing species.

Semirelict Underwing Moth (Catocala semirelicta)

Semirelict Underwing Moth (Catocala semirelicta)

Thursday 6 September 2012

The moths numbers have been very low for the last two nights.  There were 12 moths of 5 species on the 5th, although, I did a find what may be Dark-winged Quaker Moth (Eremobina claudens) on the house siding in the afternoon.  This would be a new backyard species.  I've asked for an ID confirmation.  I've included pictures of 2 Large Yellow UnderWings (Noctua pronuba) that show a typical colour variation.  This moth has been more common in my backyard this year.  Unfortunately, I believed the weather forecast last night so did not put my light trap out.  In the end I don't think it rained at all.  There were 2 moths in the bait last night, a Briseis Underwing and a Fishia discors.

Dark-winged Quaker Moth (Eremobina claudens) ??
Large Yellow UnderWing (Noctua pronuba)
Large Yellow UnderWing (Noctua pronuba)

Tuesday 4 September 2012

This post is for the last two nights.  The numbers remain low with 9 moths of 6 species on the 3rd and 10 moths of  8 species last night.  There were 2 new moths for the year last night, Maple Spanworm (Ennomos magnaria) and Bicolored Sallow Moth (Sunira bicolorago).  Sunira bicolorago can be very similar to Sunira verberata but I'm calling this moth bicolorago because of the paler, more yellow colouration and smaller size.  The 1 new moth for the year on the 3rd was Pink-barred Sallow (Xanthia tatago).

Maple Spanworm (Ennomos magnaria)

Bicolored Sallow Moth (Sunira bicolorago)

Pink-barred Sallow (Xanthia tatago)

Sunday 2 September 2012

Strong winds and cool temperatures resulted in only 7 moths of 4 species with no new backyard species for the year and no Underwings.  The photograph below was taken in Waterton, although, I did get a Satyr Comma in my backyard bait trap this year. 

Satyr Comma

Saturday 1 September 2012

Another cool night produced only 12 moths of 12 species.  There was one new backyard species for the year, a Cow Parsnip Borer Moth (Papaipema harrisii).  I had seen this species in Waterton during August so this continues the trend of my seeing some moths in the Waterton area, which is a 3 hour drive south of Calgary, a few weeks before I get them in my Calgary backyard.

Friday 31 August 2012

With cool temperatures overnight the moth numbers continue to be low with only 13 macro moths of 12 species last night.  Celery Looper (Anagrapha falcifera) was a new backyard species for the year and there are two noctuids that I haven't identified yet.  There was also another Even-lined Sallow (Ipimorpha pleonectusa) but this time it was in a good condition.

Celery Looper (Anagrapha falcifera)

Celery Looper (Anagrapha falcifera)

Even-lined Sallow (Ipimorpha pleonectusa)

Wednesday 29 August 2012

There were 35 moths of 18 species in the traps last night which included 3 Underwings (2 Semirelict and 1 Briseis).  There was one new species for the year, an Olive Green Cutworm (Dargida procincta) and two species that I haven't been able to identify yet.  I've included a photograph of a Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea) that was in the bait trap.

Olive Green Cutworm (Dargida procincta)

Forage Looper (Caenurgina erechtea)

Tuesday 28 August 2012

There were 28 macro moths of 12 species in the traps last night which included 2 new backyard species for the year and another White Undering.  The new species were Even-lined Sallow (Ipimorpha pleonectusa) and Garden Cutworm Moth (Fishia discors).  The Even-lined Sallow was a fairly damaged specimen so I'm using a photograph of this moth from last year.  I've also included another two White Underwing photographs as I think these are a slight improvement on yesterday's images.

Garden Cutworm Moth (Fishia discors)

Even-lined Sallow (Ipimorpha pleonectusa)

White Underwing (Catocala relicta)

White Underwing (Catocala relicta)

Monday 27 August 2012

Although the total number of moths was fairly low, only 34 of 16 species, there were a few very nice moths in the traps last night. Two were new for the year and one appears to be a new species that I haven't identified yet. The two new, eagerly awaited, species were White Underwing (Catocala relicta) and a White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata). This is the first year that I have had two species of Sphinx moth in my backyard, the other being Sphinx Gallium.  Another moth of interest was the Eastern form of the Semirelict Underwing (Catocala semirelicta).  The eastern form is the less common form in Alberta and has a black streak running along the inner edge of the forewing making it easy to identify.  For me this was a good night!

White Underwing (Catocala relicta)

White Underwing (Catocala relicta)

White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata)

 Semirelict Underwing (Catocala semirelicta) - eastern form