Moths: October 2018
With the cold air heading this way this could be the last night of trapping for a while. There were 22 moths of 13 species. White-point and Bright-line Brown-eye struggled to keep warm.
As the cold front heads towards us it was good to have a calm night, even if it was followed by frost in the morning. There were 35 moths of 18 species. Large Wainscots furry covering helps them keep going and there were seven. More of a surprise were a Delicate and a Turnip.
It was much windier overnight than forecast and that, combined with a bright moon, limited the catch to 23 moths of 12 species. It did include another Oak Rustic and a Dark Swordgrass.
Back to autumn with a bang! A minimum temperature of 4.2 resulted in a catch of 12 moths of seven species.
Some early showers meant there was enough cloud to tempt some moths out and 78 of 26 species were recorded. Single Delicate, Bright-line Brown-eye, Rush Veneer and Rusty-dot Pearls were all either migrants or the progeny of migrants.
The conditions appeared the same as last night but it was three degrees warmer. This was enough to tempt 110 moths of 25 species out. Migrants included two Vestals, two Delicates, a Diamondback and three Turnips. Six Cypress Carpets was a high count for us.
A clear night with a bright moon and the temperature dropping to 4.1°C meant it was back to normal with just 38 moths of 18 species. There was another Merveille du Jour and an Oak Rustic plus another out of season moth, this time it was a Single-dotted Wave ( normally July -August).
The days might be warm but the nights are just beginning to regain some hint of autumn. The temperature dropped to 10.1°C which is actually still mrelatively warm. There were 52 moths of 16 species. The highlight was yet another Spoladea recurvalis. Large Wainscots were the most frequent with 13.
With the breeze getting elements of north in it it was a surprise to note the temperature did not drop below 12.9°C overnight. There were 192 moths of 38 species, a good catch at this time of year. The majority of migrants had moved on but there were still two Delicates, an Oak Rustic, a Palpita vitrealis, a Dark Sword-grass and a Diamondback. Bright colour was added by the second Merveille du Jour of the year.
A clear night with the temperature going down to just above 8°c meant the catch is reducing. An extra trap was run and yielded our first Oak Rustic of the year. Three Yellow-line Quakers were also new along with the un-attributable November Moth agg. Two Oak Nycteolines were a surprise.
There were still 232 moths of 48 species in the car park trap.
A migrants from the three traps included three Spoladea recurvalis, seven Palpita vitrealis, two Small Mottled Willows, two Vestals, two Delicates and a Scarce Bordered Straw.
For a change I have added a photo of a moth we have not identified yet. Archer’s/Spalding’s/Sand Dart, or a weird Turnip?
Although the temperature dropped a degree it was calm and murky and we had one of the better nights I can remember.
Two traps were operated and some of the highlights are summarised below.
Car Park Feeders
Total 275 168
Species 48 44
Spoladea recurvalis 1 1st obs records 1
Blair’s Mocha 1 1st obs record
Small Mottled Willow 3 5
Scarce Bordered Straw 2 1
Delicate 5 5
Dark Swordgrass 4 4
Vestal 3 1
Palpita vitrealis 8 4
Plumed Fan-foot 2 1
Diamondback 2 4
Rush Veneer 4 4
The car park trap also had Golden Twin-spot, five Silver-Ys, our first Gem of the year, two Rusty-dot Pearls, 34 White-points and a Red Admiral.
There was a Kent Black Arches in the feeders trap.
Another warm night ( 14.2°C ) and most importantly no wind. This time the trap was in operation and we caught up with the arrival of Palpita vitrealis with two of them. More notable was our first record of Box-tree Moth Cydalima perspectalis. This is being considered a pest species and seems to be spreading very quickly. Also in the carpark trap was a Golden Twin-spot, the first Blair’s Shoulder-knot for a couple of years, Merveille du Jour, Dark Swordgrass, two Rusty-dot Pearls and a Diamondback.
A trap by the feeders added the first Red-green Carpet of the autumn.
Another very warm night keeping above 16°C. A trap down the road turned up a Merveille du Jour and a Silver Y.
A minimum temperature of 17.3°C would be very good in the middle of July, let alone October, of course climate change is not going on. The wind was also southerly but there the good news finished because it was very strong and severely limited moth activity. There were 159 moths of 30 species with not one micro. There was the first Vestal of the year plus two Dark Sword-grass, two Delicates and four Turnips. What would it have been like if there was only a gentle breeze?
Some brave visitors hung onto the sea-front using the side of the toilet block for shelter, as was a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, but only had a few moths.
Another warm night started with heavy thunder showers followed by a strong wind. This limited moths to 108 of 26 species. We are starting to get more out of season records and last night it was a Kent Black Arches.
The nights are getting warmer and last night the minimum was 14.2°C. There were 232 moths of 31 species. This included another Golden Twin-spot, a Dark Swordgrass and six Straw Dots.
On the non-moth front there were two Western Conifer Seed Bugs.
The temperature at night did not drop below 6.8°C and there were 122 moths of 28 species.
This included the first Green-brindled Crescent of the year, Pale-lemon Sallow, two Barred Sallows and two Brown-spot Pinions. Apparently the latter used to be the most frequent late autumn moth in the Rothhampstead survey until their population crashed in the 1970’s.
The last two nights have been relatively cool, with a bit of frost on the first, but the days are warm and sunny and this seems to be helping the numbers of resident species. Last night there were 151 moths of 24 species including a Dark Sword-grass and 70 Lunar Underwings.
The good variety continues. Last night yielded the first Feathered Thorn and Dotted Chestnut of the autumn. There was also another Pale-lemon Sallow and two Delicates.
By the end of the night the temperature dropped to 5.6°C but it was warm enough to start with to yield 248 moths of 25 species.
There was a Dark Sword-grass and a Delicate.
Most interesting news was from the world of leaf mines where a visitor has posted pictures of mines of Phyllonorycter medicaginella, a first for the UK.
Although it was clear and cool by the morning the night started cloudy and there was another good catch. The car park trap had 398 moths. Two hundred and twenty four were Lunar Underwings. There were also nine L-album Wainscots, ten Deep-brown Darts and 15 Autumnal Rustics. Combined with a couple of other traps the Lunar total was 318! A trap by the feeders had an Orange Sallow and the main trap had both Dusky-lemon and Pale-lemon Sallows.
Up another degree and even more moths. This time there were 439 of 36 species. There was our first Hoary Footman for the year. Also of note were two Barred Sallows ( this seems to be scarcer than Dusky-lemon Sallow), eleven Feathered Brindles, three Delicates and a Brown-spot Pinion.
A degree warmer plus a covering of cloud led to a very good catch of 334 moths of 31 species. There was our third Clifden Nonpariel plus our first Clancy’s Rustic for three years. Twelve Deep-brown Darts were notable and there was a Rush Veneer and a Delicate.
Although it was colder during today last night was warmer than the previous night at 8.2°C. Moths responded accordingly and there were 258 of 27 species. Only 122 were Lunar Underwings!
Six Autumnal Rustics added colour. There were two freshly emerged White-points, a Turnip and a Diamondback.
We are very fortunate in knowing a person willing to help us with the difficult grade four micros. In the last group nine new species for the observatory were added. This included the snappily named Dichrorampha vancouverana.