Moths: June 2017
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The warmth meant there were plenty of moths but the breeze reduced the number of species, particularly the smaller ones. Dark Arches increased to 180. Pine Hawk and Langmaid’s Yellow Underwing were new for the year.
A cooler night but still very humid. There were 99 species of moth id’d in the trap. Dark Arches led the way again with 133 and Chrysteucha culmella was second with 53. Still hardly any migrants with Dark Swordgrass and three Diamondbacks the only candidates. Continuing the excellent year for local specialities there was another Bright Wave, an N.lineana and three more Aphomia zelleri. A Purple Clay was our fourth ever.
It might not be good for our sleep but the warm, humid, nights are continuing to turn up a good variety of local specialities. The main trap held 98 species, led by 84 Dark Arches. Highlights included two Crescent Plumes, 3 Aphomia zelleri, Scorched Carpet, Striped Wainscot, Silver-barred, and Miller. A Mere Wainscot came from an adjacent actinic trap.
Despite starting with a stiff breeze the night temperature did not drop below 15.2°C.
The trap held 272 moths of 63 species. The two highlights were only our third record of Four-spotted Footman and the very scarce pyralid Nyctegretis lineana. Sycamore, Rustic, Drinker and Garden Tiger were all new for the year.
One of the advantages of being on the coast is that sometimes, particularly when it is very hot, a sea breeze gets up. This is probably what caused the temperature to drop briefly to 12 and a bit °C last night. The trap held 228 moths of 74 species. Pigmy Footman, Round-winged Muslin, Nephopterix angustella and Brown-tail were new for the year. The latter is not good news as apart from the severe irritation the larvae can cause they strip the sea Buckthorn and sometimes other thorny bushes. There was also another White Colon. A visitor trapped a female Goat Moth the previous night.
The night started very warm but the temperature did drop a little and so the catch was not quite as good. Delicate, Clouded Brindle and Pandemis cerasana were new for the year. There were nine Green Oak tortrices which is interesting in that there were not any last year and in that there were similar numbers of Cream-bordered Green Pea the night before.
Last night was very good for moths. Although there was no obvious immigration local moths were out in force. The main trap had 545 moths of 92 species. New ones for the year in this trap included Buff tip, Fan-foot, Bordered Beauty, Strped Wainscot and White-line Dart. Small Fan-foot,Marbled White-spot and Rosy Footman were in another trap. A trap by the Whitehouse yielded Satin Wave, Dingy Shell, Sallow Kitten, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Brown Rustic,Silver-barred and Dotted Rustic.
It provided a great variety of sizes and shapes for the 25 visitors to see.
More details later but it stayed warm and there were plenty of moths. This is just in time for Saturday nights “Moth Night” It starts at 1800- ALL WELCOME.
In the meantime an intersting lesson for in id. Various guides differ in how they describe the hindwing of Triple-spotted Clay, which is a useful way of telling it from Double Square-spot. Some books say the former has a darker hindwing but reference to Moths of GB and dissected material show this is not the case. It is intersting to note other people have discussed this on the internet. Any way it means our first record of Triple-spotted Clay is no longer.
Wonderful Three Degrees!
It was three degrees warmer and the moths showed their appreciation. The main trap held 266 moths of 88 species and the other trap held a first for me- the first Hummingbird Hawk I have seen actually in a trap. Other vhighlights were Common Emerald, Dogs Tooth, Silver-barred, Tawny-barred Angle, Dark Spectacle and Barred Yellow plus the recent colonist Summer-fruit Tortrix.
After an increase to 277 moths of 68 species the previous night the clear cool conditions meant a return to another small catch. The forecast southerly influence did not show up overnight and the only migrants were a few Diamond-backs.
In the main trap new species for the year included Magpie moth, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Cypress Carpet and a selection of tortrix moths including Hedya salicella. Last night Green Silver-lines, Archers Dart and White-line Dart were firsts of the year. A trap just round the corner of the building was similarly quiet but did yield Broad-barred White, Privet Hawk and Bright Wave. The latter is very much a local speciality and good numbers have been located by specific searches but this is the first to make it to the trap this year.
The first moth night is this Saturday at 1800 when we will look at the results of the previous nights trapping.
Similar conditions overnight but moths crept up to 124 individuals of 39 species. A Dark Swordgrass and six Diamondbacks suggest better things maybe on the way as it gets warmer.
Another clear night but a degree centigrade warmer meant it was only a slightly better catch. Southern Wainscot was new for the year.
A trap near the beach yielded a Striped Wainscot. This species is regular along here but only the occassional one ventures in as far as the observatory.
A clear night and the breeze continuing might explain the paltry catch of 42 moths of 30 species. Sandy Carpet and Udea ferrugalis were new to the main trap. There was not a single hawk moth.
Day flying moths continue to provide interest. Normally Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet is the first to show but today the earliest ever, by a week, Six-spot Burnet headed the show in the morning. Some Five-spots showed in the afternoon.
The cloud ahead of another spectacular, but thankfully much shorter, thunderstorm kept the temperature above 10 and a variety of traps yielded a good mixture of moths.
The main trap had 140 moths of 56 species. A big suprise was the most common moth- Small Elephant Hawk, with 14 individuals. New for the year were Barred Straw, Light Arches and Uncertain. Three Silver Y’s and a couple of Diamondbacks may have been migrants.
In other traps Cream-spot Tiger continues its strong showing and there were several Water Ermines. Ingrailed Clay was new for the year from the Elms.
Fierce winds coupled often with lashing downpours have really hampered trapping over the last three nights. Very little to report with Heart and Darts competing with Setaceous Hebrew Character for top spot. Hummingbird Hawkmoths continue to be seen on the Estate beach mostly around the Valerian.
It was nice to have one warmer night but the temperature dropped to 8.6°C last night and moths decreased to 143 of 39 species. Small Square-spot fell one short of equalling Heart and Dart. New for the year were Obscure Wainscot and Hedya nubiferana.
The temperature got above 10, reaching 11°C and the moths responded accordingly. There were 387 of 77 species in the main trap. This included 45 Heart and Darts and 12 White-points. Shoulder-striped Wainscot was new for the year. There were also the 2nd and 3rd obs records of Argyresthia cupressella. This North American species was first recorded in the UK 20 years ago and has been spreading since. Our first record was during the week.
A variety of other traps yielded the first Ghost Moth, Smoky Wainscot, Silver-barred and Freyers Pug of the year. There were also two July Highflyers, our previous earliest of these was June 8th.
Last night dropped to seven and a bit °C and so the main trap was limited to 116 moths of 35 species. The only new species for the year was Luquetia lobella. The portable trap in the Elms yielded four new macros for the year: L-album Wainscot, Mottled Beauty, Birds-wing and Wormwood Pug.
Steffan’s daytime patrols are also continuing to yield interesting micros for us to identify. Many are not necessarily rare but have not been looked for previously.