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)