Hi Andy, that's a bit of a contradiction in terms as our "Wainscot" is applied to two completely different subfamiles of noctuids. I think you are on the right track but I think it's a 'true' wainscot (i.e. either a Leucania or a Mythimna), rather than one of the other 'wainscots'.
It's really difficult to tell from the photos but it might be Leucania ursula, or one of its similar-looking relatives (inermis or pseudargyria).
ps Rhizedra doesn't occur there.
pps Don Lafontaine, CNC, Ottawa would be the man to contact.
I can't personally see this moth as ursula. Ursula is one of the most distinctive moths in that genus, and nothing I see seems to match.
One prominent difference that species has a dark wedge-shaped marking at the end of the forewings. It may be faint, but it is always present except when the moth is very worn. Nearly all Leucania have a very very faint mark, like yours, but ursula has it darker in almost all specimens. That's also a generally greyish species not warm brown like yours, with very distinct dark speckling.
I thought I would ask an expert.
He has replied, with in-depth comments:
"The moth is definitely a species of the Leucania pseudargyria/inermis/ursula species complex.
Louis Handfield’s book on the “Papillons du Quebec” (1998, completely revised in 2011) lists all three species for Quebec, but a closer examination of specimens has resulted in all records of Leucania ursula being re-identified as Leucania inermina or pseudergyria.
Leucania pseudargyria is the largest and most common and always has a reddish flush to the forewing, especially round the reniform and orbicular spots, and the male foretibia has a massive tuft of dark blackish-red hair-like scales. It is widespread throughout eastern Canada southwards into the US.
Leucanua inermis is a little smaller, has a faint trace of reddish scaling, and there is no tuft on the male foretibia. It occurs in Canada from southern Quebec and Ontario southward into the US.
Leucania ursula is the smallest species and appears more gray than the other two species, but like pseudargyria, it has a massive foretibial tuft. It is more of a Carolinian species extending into Canada only in southern Ontario where southern trees like Tulip tree (Liriodendron), sycamore, and sassafras grow. It has not been found in Quebec.
So, the image seems to be a pale specimen, suggesting it might be Leucania ursula, and there is what might be the edge of a tuft showing on the right side of the thorax (at the base of the broken twig). The safest answer would be Leucania inermis, but the possibility that this could be the first record of Leucania ursula in Quebec can’t be ruled out.
It would be great if it was subsequently collected".
Some interesting comments.
That's the thing with moths...data is collected, whether its true or false, its published, future publications reference it, and we have several generations of people growing up with information that isn't actually correct. It's such an easy trap to fall into with these sorts of noctuids though. Can't blame anyone.
I agree. I've spent a considerable portion of my working life researching and correcting some of these 'historic' mistakes. It is becoming even harder (in many cases impossibe) when voucher specimens are not taken or if the 'species' can only be separated on DNA.