Moths: August 2018
It looks as if we could be in for a run of cool clear nights but the wind direction could add some interest. The car park trap held 132 moths of 31 species. Centre-barred Sallow was new for the year. Late broods of several species seem to be appearing. Last night it was Oak Hook- tip, Ruby Tiger and Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing.
The main moth of the day was not spotted until the evening when I noticed a large grey lump on the Observation Tower above the car park. It was another Convolvulus Hawk Moth.
Another cool,clear night after a wet day. There were only 135 moths of 29 species. Two Hedge Rustics continued their steady run and there was another Tawny-barred Angle.
A cooler, murky, night but the heavy rain held off until first light. There were only 104 moths of 30 species but it did include our first Prays ruficeps. This species was first separated, using DNA analysis, this decade.
The wind dropped and the cloud stayed. The car park trap increased to 232 moths of 58 species and there were more moths of 72 species in the trap by the feeders. The car park trap had the first Pink-barred Sallow of the autumn and a Lyonetia prunifoliella (of which the larval signs were first found last year).
It is interesting to speculate if the 23 Diamondbacks in the feeders trap were new arrivals from the south. There were none in the car park trap which is 25 metres to the north.
Although it started wet and windy the cloud meant that the temperature did not drop below 14.1°C and, once it stopped raining, there was more activity. There were 185 moths of 42 species. Five Silver Ys were the first for a few days. Feathered Gothic was new for this year.
Despite running three traps for the Open Day a cool, clear, night down to 8.6°C meant only 96 moths were caught. The best moth, a Red Underwing, did not even make it in to the trap but sat on the shed wall nearby.
Another two degree drop in temperature and more unsettled weather ensured a big drop in catch. There were 95 moths of 21 species. The only migrant related record was a Dark Swordgrass.
The weather looks a bit more settled overnight so there should be more moths for tomorrows Open Day.
With unsettled weather around and the temperature down to 10.6°C I did not expect a great deal in the trap. However I was wrong and there were 313 moths, albeit of 40 species. This did include a third Golden Twin-spot and the first Maple Prominent of the year.
No trap yesterday (mostly because i forgot to set it) but a Red Underwing was a pleasant find on the Ringing Room door. An overnight temperature of 15°C last night was decent going and tempted out the highest diversity for some time. Our first Scarce Bordered Straw of the autumn put in an appearance whilst another Dark Spinach was notable for us.
Frosted Orange was new for the year in the carpark trap with little other of note though Setaceous Hebrew Characters are bordering on plague proportions.
Not a huge amount to talk about from last night except larger than usual numbers of dung and diving beetles present. However a pristine Cynaeda dentalis was unexpected. Our records for this species ended some time ago as with the Viper’s Bugloss wilted away. Clearly this one had only recently emerged though. Interesting . . .
A bit warmer still but much breezier and the number of moths dropped to 193 of 43 species. There were half as many Setaceous Hebrew Characters as yesterday. Although regularly around during the day Hummingbird Hawks rarely make it into the trap as was the case for one on an adjacent pale wall this morning.
Three degrees warmer and it tempted out 322 moths of 54 species. This included 123 Setaceous Hebrew Characters and the fourth Convolvulus Hawk of the autumn The highlight was our third ever Beautiful Marbled.
Much cooler last night, down to 10.2°C. Moth numbers dropped to 190 of only 35 species. Forty six were Setaceous Hebrew Characters and 40 Flounced Rustics.
After the recent run of added interest the second trap was tempted out. This brought about an immediate decrease in numbers! There were 111 moths of 40 species in the trap by the feeders and 160 moths of 41 species in the car park. The first trap yielded the first Large Thorn of the year.
A clear night but the temperature hung in at 14.1°C. There were 249 moths of 57 species. Setaceous Hebrew Characters continued their lead with 58. The highlight was a Golden Twin-spot and for a third night in a row a new Convolvulus Hawk.
The temperature dropped a couple of degrees and the number of moths dropped accordingly to 231 of 50 species.
Setaceous Hebrew Characters led with 53 but will need to watch out as Square-spot Rustics are emerging. The highlight was another Convolvulus Hawk.
Another humid night gave a catch of 424 moths of 75 species.
As I took the trap in I could see a Convolvulus Hawk but I then got a lifer. I have not identified moths by their sound before but as I picked out the first tray there was a loud squeak. There is only one UK moth I know that makes that sound and sure enough underneath there was a DEATH’S-HEAD HAWK-MOTH. We will keep it until tonight when it will be released.
Cloud overnight ensured a warmer (15.4°C) and more humid night. Moth numbers shot up to 312 of 68 species. This included 32 Silver Y’s, six Dark Swordgrasses and another Evergestis limbata. The highlight was the first Lesser Swallow Prominent for a couple of years.
The temperature dropped another degree but moths increased slightly to 96 of 31 species, still a poor catch.
The temperature plummeted to 9.2°C and the catch dropped accordingly to 74 of 30 species. This included 23 Flounced Rustics and the first Hedge Rustic of the year.
Still warm last night but a bit clearer. There were 226 moths of 72 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character rose to the top with 27. Dark Spinach continued its good run with another individual and there was the first Dingy Shell of the autumn.
Overnight thunder kept the air humid and there was a corresponding increase in moths to 342 of 101 species. Silver Y and Common Rustic agg. led the way with 56 each. There were four Dark Swordgrasses. Langmaid’s Yellow Underwings and Channel Island Pugs are keeping going with singles of each. Tree-lichen Beauties reappeared with five caught.
The 30°C + days continue and the nights stay clear. This time it was 196 moths of 57 species. Orange Swift was new for the year and there were 33 Diamondbacks. Rumour has it today could be the last of the current heatwave, it will be interesting to see if the moths respond positively.
No real change in conditions and so 152 moths of 67 species was the result. Tawny-barred Angle was new this year for the main trap and there were 16 Silver ys.
A clear night which started with a breeze reduced the catch to 173 moths of 68 species. There were two more Rest Harrows but no Tree-lichen Beauties.
Two more moths from the previous night-
A bit warmer again and an excellent night providing a great variety of moths for the moth night. Three traps were run and they all contributed interest.
The highlight was the first observatory record of Gypsy Moth, a male from the Whitehouse. This trap also yielded a Spurge Hawk-moth, two Plumed Fanfoots, a Jersey Tiger of the form lutescens and a Cydia amplana.
The feeders trap had a Golden Twin-spot, another Plumed Fan-foot, and two Dark Spinach’s.
The car park trap had 413 moths of 106 species. This included ten Tree-lichen Beauties, 13 Rest Harrows, another Miller, Dark Spinach and the first Square-spot Rustic of the autumn. A Small Rufous was the first for a couple of years.
The temperature is creeping back up, last night by three degrees. Moths increased to 235 of 76 species. The best was the first Miller of the year. Rest Harrow seems to have had a very good season and good numbers of the second brood can be seen during the day. Four made it into the trap.
Another clear night but moths increased to 183 of 53 species. There were 30 Silver Ys and a single, but very distinctive, Ethmia bipunctella.
The small actinic turned up the first Six striped Rustic and Straw Underwing of the year.
Although the number of species of moth for the year is running at at least the average the total number of individual macros so far is down.
A drop in temperature of four degrees and a clearer, moonlit sky, brought a big drop in numbers to 118 moths of 47 species. The only notable record was a Channel Island Pug.