Moths: May 2018
Another night with no trapping but least 100 Diamondbacks were still present on RSGGC. Small numbers of Yellow Shells and Silver-y’s were disturbed from foliage on the Estate, along with Phtheochroa rugosana, Cacoecimorpha pronubana, and many Glyphipterix fuscoviridella.
No traps were set last night due to the torrential conditions but that didn’t mean there were no notable sightings today. The first Small Dusty Wave for the year was found on the outside of the Observatory building, over 100 Small China-marks were flitting around a pool on Worth marshes, and at least 270 Diamondbacks were on St George’s Golf Course.
Apart from one shower it remained warm and muggy. The catch in the car park improved and there were 120 moths of 54 species. White Colon was of note plus Bordered Sallow and May Highflyer were new for the year.
Another muggy night yielded an excellent variety of moths. Strangely the main trap in the car park only held 53 moths but there were 32 species including Buttoned Snout plus three Diamond-backs and two Silver-Ys. An actinic nearby only had two moths. Maybe there was just enough moonlight and northerly breeze to restrict moths in the open site. A trap in the sheltered Elms showed what it could be like with 198 moths of 61 species. The highlight was the first White-pinion Spotted and Triple-spotted Pug for the Observatory.
New moths for the year included Small Clouded Brindle, Dusky Brocade, Middle-barred Minor, Common Marbled Carpet, Pine Carpet, Small Phoenix, Small Square-spot, Silver Ground Carpet, Dwarf Cream Wave, Pale Oak Beauty, Barred Red, Mottled Pug, Mottled Rustic, Peacock (much scarcer than Sharp-angled Peacock), Marbled White-spot and Pinion-streaked Snout. Excellent stuff!
It felt muggy at times last night and the temperature did not drop below 13.6°C. Just the one trap, in the car park, and it held 80 moths of 40 species. Treble Lines continued its dominance with 19. Orange Footman and Beautiful Hook-tip added variety.
The highlight in the smaller moths was our third Spuleria flavicaput.
A great night with 300 moths of 66 species in MV trap set in the Whitehouse. Treble Lines led the way with 51 individuals whilst Bird’s Wing, Shaded Pug, Straw Dot, Cream-spot Tiger, The Flame, Brown Silver Line, Blood-vein, Beautiful Hook-tip, Buff Ermine, and Light Emerald were all new for the year. Micros such as Ethmia bipunctella and Saltmarsh Plume are always great to see too.
The Obs carpark was mediocre in comparison with just 60 moths though an actinic in the Elms produced the first Spruce Carpet and Dark Arches of the season plus the first Tachystola acroxantha to be recorded at SBBOT.
Another bonus was our second ever Alabonia geofrella found by the brambles outside Middle Field. Possibly one of the most attractive of our British micros.
Decent variety in the traps again with Orange Footman, Purple Bar, Common White Wave, and Lead-coloured Pug all new from the carpark trap. An MV by the Feeders was even better with Clouded Silver, Dog’s Tooth, Mottled Rustic, Coronet new this year plus the infrequent Shears, 19 Diamondbacks, and best of all, our first ever Evergestis pallidata.
Well it was good while it lasted. The cold north-easterly returned and moth numbers dropped to 50 in the two traps.
At last! Complete cloud cover and occassional light showers seemed to encourage moth activity. Two mv and an actinic trap were run and yielded a good variety and number. The trap by the feeders led the way with 113 moths of 49 species, the car park trap had 70 moths of 33 species and the actinic at the south end of the estate had 44 moths. All in all there were 69 species. New ones for the year included Buff-tip, Figure-of-eighty, Shark, Knotgrass, Yellow-barred Brindle, Angle-barred pug, Common Swift, Oak Hook-tip, Goldspot, Burnished Brass, Grey/Dark Dagger, Lychnis, V-pug, and Cream-bordered Green Pea.
A female Fox moth was also notable. There was clear sign of some movement with 27 Diamond-backs and four Silver-y’s.
After a mostly grey and cool day the weather settled a bit at night and 27 moths of 15 species were caught. Water Ermine was the highlight and Common Wainscot plus Vine’s Rustic were new for the year.
A better night brought 34 moths, including new for the year species in Treble-bar, Reed Dagger, Peppered Moth, Marbled Minor agg and White-spotted Pug. Perhaps we’ve turned the corner at last?
The cold nights persist and there were 13 moths of eight species. The good run of Light Brocades continued.
Despite it being even cooler, down to 6.5°C, a slight drop in the wind strength helped moths rocket up to seven in total. One of these was a Chocolate-tip.
Although the thermometer said the minimum was 9.1°C it was sheltered fromthe very cold north-easterly. The moths thought different and only two made it into the trap. Interestingly both are potential migrant species namely a Silver Y and a Large Yellow Underwing (yes the latter is an immigrant as well as a common resident). Fox Moths can be seen quartering the rough of the golf course during the day, making the most of the warm sun.
The trap remains fairly quiet. Last night there were 44 moths of 18 species. It could be called a night of the P’s with five Poplar Hawks and 13 Prominents (six Pale, five Swallow and two Pebble). The highlight however did not follow this trend and was a Lunar Thorn. The smaller moths remain very scarce with one or two a night at best. They are out there during the sunny days but are not moving around at night.
Only 33 moths of 19 species. White Point was new for the year.
A more settled night produced a good variety of moths for this year. Seraphim was of note and Mullein new for the year from the car park. Eyed Hawk-moth and Heart and Dart were first from a trap by the bird feeders. An actinic trap in the Elms cornered the market in Green Carpets with ten and Tawny-barred Angle was new for the year.
A wet night that felt cooler than the 10.1°C recorded. Only ten moths ventured out including the first Treble Lines for the year.
Some overnight cloud ensured the catch increased to 41 moths of 20 species. Scorched Carpet, Poplar Hawk and Rush Veneer were new for the year and there were two Small Elephant Hawks.
Similar conditions and the car park trap held 19 moths of nine species. Flame Shoulder took the lead with eight individuals. Shears and Dark Spectacle were new for the year.
Normal service resumed with a cool, clear, night. There were 16 moths of eight species. Rustic Shoulder-knot was the first of the year.
With the temperature not dropping below 12.9°C and a thin cover of cloud there was a big increase in moths. The car park trap had 49 moths of 30 species. New ones for the year were Lime-speck Pug, Common Carpet, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Spectacle, Least Black Arches, Pale Shouldered Brocade, Waved Umber, Nutmeg and Common Pug.
A trap at the Whitehouse had 66 moths of 28 species. New ones included Small Seraphim, Sharp-angled Peacock, Clouded Border, Light Brocade, Grass Rivulet and Crambus lathoniellus.
Migrants included a Silver Y in each trap and a Diamond-back in the car-park.
To celebrate the awakenning of the moths we moved into the ‘new’ moth shed-thanks to Andy for fitting it out.
Twenty six moths of 17 species included the first Angle Shades, Chocolate-tip and Flame Shoulder of the year. The best moth was our second ever record of Lunar Marbled Brown. This is particularly useful as the only other was in 1999 and there is no information on recorder or site.
Away from the trap Cydia ulicetana was recorded around gorse bushes where it can be very common, it rarely visits traps.
The gradual increase continues to 21 moths of 13 species. White Ermine and Common Wave were new for the year and another Dotted Chestnut continued this species good run.
The glorious warmth of the daytime is not translating yet into the night time and the temperature was down to 5.4°C. Moths increased slightly to 12 of seven species including four Swallow Prominents, a Red Twin-spot Carpet and a Bright-line Brown-eye.
It is surprising what nature can do with a bit of white, brown and black.
Although the number of moths is increasing very slowly it will not return to anywhere near normal whilst there is still frost around! This morning first thing there was a grass frost in sheltered spots. Seventeen moths of seven species were recorded. Two Pebble Prominents added a bit of colour.
The scariest thing to happen was in late afternoon when a car was seen to reverse into the moth trap! It must have taken some targetting as there are two large orange and white reflective bollards marking its position plus a dayglow orange box over the cable drum. Fortunately there were only two other cars in the large, flat, parking area.To my knowledge the trap has been in the middle of the car park for several years. The driver looked at the observer and then drove rapidly off. Once the trap was reassembled it looks as if there is no major damage but one of the cones is cracked up.
Although the days are becoming very pleasant it is not warming up at night. The trap held just seven moths. There are a few new species showing up during the day such as Ruby Tiger.
A clear sky saw the temperature drop to 2.7°C and so it was a surprise to get six moths! One of these was our fifth ever record of Lunar Thorn and it is the first record of a first generation example.
Walking around during the day added a few new species for the year including Cinnabar and Garden Carpet.
At last it was safe to put the trap out again. The night started clear and so the temperature dropped to 5°C. With the wind getting up later there was very little moth activity. Only four were recorded but it did include the first Poplar Hawk-moth of the year. It is forecast to get warmer by the weekend and it will be interesting to see how the moths make up for lost time after a terrible April.
Our first Latticed Heath of the year was seen darting through the rough grass surrounding Waldershare Gully. Too wet overnight for a trap though.