James Lowen 

So somewhere towards 50 new species for the garden this year. And autumn is still to come... Beautiful Marbled, please!

Others pushing for the podium included Norfolk's 20th Lyonetia prunifoliella (a species that went missing in the UK for a century before being rediscovered), Cosmopterix lienigiella (a Fenland specialist), Cydia conicolana (nationally scarce), Cydia inquiniatana (new for Norfolk in 2011, when it ws the fourth British record, but we now have 33 county records), Coleophora deauratella (new for the 10km square, and scarce away from the Norfolk north coast) and the furthest east Ethmia dodecea recorded in Norfolk. 

Star micros

The vast majority of new-for-garden species were, understandably micros. There are far more of these, they are harder to identify (generally) and I have been looking intently at them for a shorter period. The star moth was actually the rarest specie s(in terms of UK records) I have ever caught anywhere. This was a little tinned ('clothes moth') called Monopis fenestratella. At the time of catching it, there had only been about 10 UK records. The week of my catch (late June), there were at least three found in the UK. Remarkably, one of the earlier records, 20-ish years ago, was just half-a-mile from home, suggesting that the species might actually be locally resident. I was fortunate to have an inkling as to what it was, as my friend Keith Kerr caught one further west in Norfolk last year.

The very same night an odd, unprepossessing tortrix proved to be Nesophaleroptera nubilana. This is a scarce moth, and only the 10th modern Norfolk record. I had a hunch it was this species, then Dave Appleton independently thought the same, and Keith Kerr confirmed that it was a female.


10 September 2023 NFG

NFG? To a moth-er, that means 'new for garden'. It's a unit of currency common to all who partake in things lepidopteran and nocturnal. We all hope to catch something at home that we have not caught previously. That's easy enough when you move to a new home, and in the first two or three years. After that it gets difficult, albeit not increasingly so, because as your skills develop, so you perceive differences that you might have overlooked previously. And thus the past four years' total of NFGs has varied: 55 in 2019, 112 (astonishing!) in 2020, 21 in 2021 (poor) and 49 in 2022. At the start of this year I reckon I'd identified perhaps 780 species in my Norwich garden. So far this year, I've added around another 45, perhaps 50. So what are these newbies?  

Some other new micros

Here then a slideshow of a raft of other micros new for the garden, some scarce, others less so, and some common but presumably overlooked. It's not a comprehensive list - I didn't bother photographing Common Clothes Moth, for example, but gives an indication into what else brightened my early mornings this summer. So check out the species names at the bottom of the slide.

Surprising macro moths

Surprising because they ought to have occurred earlier... included Puss Moth (long overdue, and long wanted; they occur frequently in the river valleys a mile north and south of me, thanks to abundant sallows), Lobster Moth​ (mystifying that I hadn't caught one at home before, so much appreciated), Tawny Pinion (the night after I gave in a pot-twitched one) and Brown Silver-lines (how has that not wandered to my garden previously?).

Pleasing macromoths

Mere Wainscot was actually NFM - new for me. A moth that I had somehow not caught anywhere before. So a doubly pleasing catch. Then there were a couple of clearwings - Orange-tailed and Six-belted - that I had been trying for for a couple of years, so was pleased to finally get. Then brace of pugs that I may conceivably have overlooked in previous years, because I didn't pay these Doppelgängers adequate notice: Shaded and Sloe. Then a yearned-for wandering from the Brecks: Tawny Wave. And an expected-at-some-point Oak Processionary Moth. And a similarly hoped for biggie - given its rapid spread north: Dark Crimson Underwing (two!).