Cheshire's Macro-Moths

Moth-List & Reports Annual Report 00  Annual Report 99  Annual Report 98  News 

Historical Background: 

Steve J. McWilliam Moth-trapping at Moore N.R. with an MV  Moth-trap.Over the past 100 years there have been two societies which have been instrumental in the development of Moth Recording in the North West, these being the 'Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society' and the 'Lancashire and Cheshire Fauna Society'. Both have encouraged the evolution of lepidoptery though nowadays, as at 2002, the Fauna Society tends to concentrate on birds and ornithological aspects of natural history.

The first known publication to deal with the Moths of Cheshire is 'The Lepidopterous Fauna of Lancashire and Cheshire" by J.W. Ellis in 1890. Ellis was, at that time, the Honorary Secretary of the Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society, and his paper was revised in 1940 by William Mansbridge FRES. This revision repeated all the relevant data published by Ellis as well as including all that had been collated in the intervening period.

A further revision was published over a number of years as adjuncts to the LCES Journal by S. Gordon Smith for the Butterflies and Macro-moths and by Hugh N. Michaelis for the Micro-lepidoptera (e.g. LCES Sessions 1953/54 and 1954/55 - Records of Butterflies and Moths found in the Counties of Lancashire, Cheshire, Flintshire, Denbighshire, Caernarvonshire, Anglesey, Merionethshire, Montgomeryshire, Cardiganshire and Radnorshire by: S.Gordon Smith, F.L.S., F.R.E.S., - and - Records of Microlepidoptera from Lancashire and Cheshire by: H.N. Michaelis).

Late in 2001 a new Cheshire Moth Group was formed to promote all moth recording in the Cheshire region (both macros and micros), as well as to work towards a distribution atlas for all moths in the area. As well as these aims the group has put in place a Validation Panel to vert each years records in a similar manner to validation panels run by ornithological groups (birdwatchers) for many years. For further information about the group please contact: Adrian Wander.

If you have plant or animal records for the Cheshire region (Chashire, Halton, Warrington, Wirral or Stockport areas) then please add them to the growing database at the Cheshire Local Record Centre here !!

Provisional Distribution maps for Cheshire Moths can be found on the web-site for "rECOrd - The Biodiversity Information System for Cheshire, Halton, Warrington and Wirral" - over at:

Cheshire Macro-Moth Project - Meetings - 2002\2003:

The following meetings are set for recording/moth-trapping of both macro-moths and micro-moths during the 2002 season:

  • Pym Chair/Goyt Valley - 29th March 2002: - This area is an outstanding area of upland heather and bilberry moorland, a rare habitat in VC58. We plan to target the area with a number of field trips this year. This trip will try to locate some of the early season upland specialties, including the Mottled Grey and the Red Sword-grass. Meet in the Pym Chair car park. If conditions are bad, we'll move on into the more sheltered Goyt Valley. Meet at 6:00pm. If this trip proves to be a wash-out with weather we will reorganise for later in the weekend. Make sure we have contact details for you if you intend to come along.
  • Little Budworth Country Park - 13th April 2002: - Meet in the main car park at 11:00am. This will be a workshop on beating and sweeping for larvae and will be followed by an evening moth trapping session. We should hopefully find a range of Coleophora as well as various macro larvae. Bring a good pair of shoes and a packed lunch. During the afternoon we should also be able to see Orange Underwing Archiearis parthenias (binoculars useful). We will probably visit a nearby hostelry for dinner before commencing trapping activities!
  • The Kettering Entomological Fair - Sunday April 21st 2002 - It is on and it opens at 10:30am. Admission 2 GBP. Parking is free. Exit J8 on the A14 and follow the signs for the Kettering Leisure village. Its an excellent venue which has an eatery and many other facilities and the Fair is housed in a spacious hall. If you are into birding too the lake behind the complex can be interesting.
  • Pym Chair/Goyt Valley - 4th May 2002: - This trip will target some late spring species. Meet at 2:00pm for an afternoon of searching for daylight flying moths (including the Emperor). Meet 7:00pm for the evening light trapping session. Again, we plan to meet in the main car park and will change venue if conditions are bad.
  • Norton Priory, Runcorn - 29th May 2002 - a moth trapping session from 8:00pm - all are welcome, especially those with traps etc.
  • Pym Chair/Goyt Valley - 1st June 2002: - This time we will be searching for some of early summer species including the Striped Twin-spot Carpet, Light Knot Grass and the Glaucous Shears. Meet 8:00pm in the Pym Chair Car Park.
  • National Moth Night - 15th June 2002:
    • Wigg Island, Runcorn - 15th June 2002 - SJ529836 - a moth trapping session will be held in association with Halton Borough Council and the LCES. Contact Steve McWilliam for details.
    • Marbury Country Park, Northwich - SJ652763 - 8.30pm to midnight on 15th, and 9.00am on 16th. Contact Paul Hill on 01565 722938 for details.
    • Venue to be Confirmed, Butterfly Conservation (Cheshire and Peak District) and Cheshire Moth Group. Contact Shane Farrell for details.
  • Venue TBA - 22nd June 2002: - Following the discovery of Currant Clearwing, Synanthedon tipuliformis, in central Cheshire this year (see issue 5 of the newsletter for details) we will hold a daylight visit to one or more fruit farms in central Cheshire to survey for further sites for this beautiful and under recorded insect. This will involve the use of pheromone traps. If you purchased a set of traps last year, please bring them along. More details in the next Newsletter issue.
  • Ashton's Flash - 29th June 2002: - Meet at the new Wittton Mill car park (SJ663747) at 2:00pm. The afternoon will be spent at Ashton's Flash, Anderton Lime Bed and Dairy House Meadows. Meet 8:30pm for the evening light trapping session at Ashton's Flash. This site yielded a new VC58 record last year (Ectoedemia arcuatella - see issue 5 of the newsletter) and has only been trapped on one previous occasion. Creeping Willow is common and the site could lead to the presence of some interesting species.
  • Little Budworth Country Park - 6th July 2002: - Meet 8:30pm in the main car park (the one with the toilet block).
  • Pym Chair/Goyt Valley - 20th July 2002: - Again meet in the Pym Chair car park at 8:45pm as we survey for some high summer species. We hope to locate Scarce Silver Y, Grey Mountain Carpet, Red Carpet and Ling Pug amongst other species. We will also target the spruce plantations for Satin Beauty.
  • Jackson's Brickworks, Higher Poynton - 2nd August 2002: - Following on from the success of last year's moth session, Pat Hilton, warden at Jacksons Brickworks, Higher Poynton, is organising another moth evening with the New Mills Nats., on 2nd August 2002, to which the general public will be invited. She would again welcome the attendance of anyone from the Cheshire or Lancashire Moth Groups.
  • Pym Chair/Goyt Valley - 31st August 2002: - Meet at 2:00pm for a search for daylight flyers that should include Small Autumnal Moth. Meet 8:00pm for evening light trapping for species such as the Golden-rod Brindle.

Hope to see all interested at these meetings, beginners to experts, with or without equipment. All are welcome.

Migrant Moths:

Quite a few of our moths and butterflies migrate to this country from other countries, usually as a dispersal mechanism in order to attempt to expand their range. Records of these migrant lepidoptera are collated and analysed each year by two intrepid moth'ers (Bernard Skinner and Graham A. Collins) and they are then published in The Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.

Obviously, to be able to analyse the records they have to recieve them and most County Recorders, including myself, send the collated County records in on an annual basis. However, should you wish you can also send them in yourself to Graham Collins as a "*.txt" file or should you have specific records of unusual species they can be posted at a migrant lepidoptera web-site, run by Steve Nash, where they are instantly available for all to see - a sort of 'hot' migrant news. This Migrant Lepidoptera site is an excellent resource for the collation of migrant information and Steve sends in all the collated records to Bernard and Collin on an annual basis.

Please help if you can, send all your moth records to me (Steve McWilliam) and I will ensure that the migrant information reaches the necessary people and post 'special' information at Steve Nash's site for more immediate use.

For a list of the migrant species for which information is required for this publication please click here for the Migrant Species List.

Thank you.

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