Moths: August 2017
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The threat of continuous heavy rain did not materialise and there were enough dry spells for it to be a very interesting night for moths.
The car park trap lagged way behind the trackside trap in numbers and species. It held 299 moths of 42 species. Only a Scarce Bordered Straw was of note. There was also a Western Conifer Seed Bug.
The other trap held 429 moths of 72 species. This included Scarce Chocolate-tip, Convolvulous Hawk, Nyctegretis lineana, and Feathered Gothic all new for the year. There was also a Dotted Fan-foot and two Scarce Bordered Straws. I have been marking all of the latter with a small harmless spot of paint. None have shown again.
Another warm, calm, night saw an increase to 254 moths of 52 species. The highlight was a Ni Moth, surprisingly only our 3rd record. There was also a second Ancylosis oblitella and maybe these are migrants as well. For the first time for a couple of weeks there was not a Scarce Bordered Straw.
The beautiful, warm, calm, weather continues and so it is surprising there are not more migrants showing in the trap. There were 194 moths of 42 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character continues to lead the way with 52. Of more interest were singles of Sitochroa palealis, Scarce Bordered Straw and Rush Veneer. A pristine 2nd generation Blackneck was a surprise. Hummingbird Hawks continue to show on the few bits of buddlehia left.
There were 227 moths of 54 species in the car park trap and 171 moths of 53 species in the trackside trap. Despite these two being lees than 100 metres apart there were enough differences between the two to give an overall total of 72 species. Highlights included two Large Thorns, the first for a while but a species which is having a good year in East Kent, our 5th Ancylosis oblitella, an Evergestis limbata and yet another Rest Harrow.
Similar conditions and the catch reduced slightly to 169 moths of 48 species. However we were able to pot up a nice variety of moths for Sundays SBBOT Open day when we will also examine the contents of tonights traps.
Clear overnight and so slightly cooler. The moth catch was pretty standard and so two photos of moths from the previous night.
The night started mild and overcast but, according to the digital thermometer, the temperature dropped to -50°C !!! It looks like we will be searching for a new thermometer.
Both traps held fairly similar numbers of moths to the previous night. In the car park Old Lady was new for the year and there were three Scarce Bordered Straws, eight Dark Swordgrasses and a Pearly Underwing. The trackside trap held another Scarce Bordered Straw and 14 Rush Veneers.
The Actinic trap in the Elms yielded a Clay Triple-lines which is a scarce moth here.
Hopes were high after a warm overcast night with more very light south easterly.
Suprisingly the track-side trap held less than the previous night. This may have been due to the bumbling presence of a Dor beetle and a Great Silver Diving beetle. The green form of Barred Red got the heart racing at first.
This time the car park trap held more, but still less than the previous night. There were 252 moths of 58 species. The highlight was a Beautiful Marbled. Cabbages continue to show in force. There was also another Western Conifer Seed bug.
Hopes were high due to overnight being overcast and any hint of a breeze being from the south-east. The catch was definitely up but there was no big arrival of migrants. The car park trap had 260 moths of 72 species. This included a Vestal, a Scorched Carpet and a Scarce Bordered Straw. There was also a Migrant Hawker bashing aronnd inside.
The track trap which is open to the south held a lot more moths of at least 94 species. This included seven Rusty-dot Pearls, four Rush Veneers a Dark Swordgrass and a Diamondback.
The first Frosted Orange of the autumn was in the actinic trap
The forecast of heavy overnight rain meant the trap was placed in a sheltered spot. Despite this there were 351 moths of 84 species. This included 12 Rush Veneers and single Dark Swordgrass, Silver Y and Scarce Bordered Straw. The run of Cabbage moths continues apace. Lets hope the plume of warm air supposed to be heading this way stirs things up.
The temperature dropped as far as 7.8°C and so the 159 moths of 34 species was not a bad catch. There were three Scarce Bordered Straws.
The wind kept the catch to 153 moths of 36 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character is establishing its usual autumn dominance, there were 50 last night.
204 moths of 45 species included a Delicate and a Scarce Bordered Straw.
More cloud kept the temperature up a bit and moths increased accordingly. There were 234 of 70 species. Most frequent was Vine’s Rustic with 33. There were three more Scarce Bordered Straws. A Small Elephant Hawk was a late record. The warm daytime temperatures are resulting in some interesting second brood sightings such as Chocolate-tip. Male Vapourer moths flitting around the tree tops in the Elms continue to lead hopeful Hairstreak hunters astray.
A couple of degrees cooler last night and the trap was quieter. 187 moths of49 species were recorded. There were two more Scarce Bordered Straws.
The cloud which delivered the rain before dawn kept the temperature a bit higher and there was more activity near the traps. Despite the south-east in the wind there was no obvious immigration of moths. The car park trap held 238 moths of 51 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character pulled level with Vine’s Rustic and there were 29 of each. There was yet another fresh Scarce Bordered Straw. An actinic trap in the Elms yielded Scorched Carpet and Lesser Treble Bar, both new for the year. The trap on the track by the observatory was busy as well. Hedge Rustic was new for the year and there was a second Palpita vitrealis.
On the non-moth front there was a Western Conifer Seed Bug in the car park Trap.
Eighty moths of 36 species included a Scalloped Oak and yet another Scarce Bordered Straw.
Moth activity has been much reduced by the cool, clear nights. Last night was a bit better and there were 32 White-points and 17 Rush Veneers between the two traps. Orange Swift was new for the year.
More of the same but there was a slight increase in numbers including a very freshly emerged Silver Y.
The bright moon adding to the cool night meant the car park trap yielded just 27 moths of 21 species. Interestingly the trap by the obs track (less than 50 metres from the car park) yielded twice as many moths and species. Beautiful Plume was new for the year.
Another calm and clear night with associated temperature below 10°C meant the catch was more like late autumn. There were only 37 moths of 23 species. Only three species had four moths- White-line Dart, Vine’s Rustic and Flounced Rustic.
A calm, clear night led to the temperature dropping to 7.6°C. Moth numbers plummeted accordingly. There were only 43 moths of 33 species.
More news from last night when the Whitehouse yielded our third record of Hoary Footman.
Two traps were run and a variety of moths have been saved to look at even if it rains again. The trap in front of the obs had most species (79) including our 5th record of Epermenia chaerophyllella and a Vestal. The car park trap yielded a Rest Harrow (which apparently is showing in good numbers along the sea-front) and a Birdswing.
A slight drop in the wind meant there were 195 moths of 52 species.This included seven Dark Swordgrasses and 19 White-points.
With the wind forecast to drop further tonight it looks good for another interesting catch in preparation for tomorrow nights checking of the trap contents. All welcome at 1800.
It would be nice to have an overcast night like last night on Friday night in advance of our next open examination of the traps on Saturday.
307 moths of 76 species were identified. Eleven Dark Swordgrass, four Silver Y’s, a Tree-lichen Beauty and a Crocidosema plebjana would have all been considered migrants a few years ago but with colonisation who knows?
Notables included Poplar Kittenn Wormwood, Star-wort and Marbled Green.
There seems to be a new emergence of Archer’s Dart with four examples all of the dark form.
The wind dropped at last but the sky cleared and so the temperature dropped to 9.5°C. There were 112 moths of 53 species. Bordered Straw was new for the year. Five species of wainscot included a Webb’s and a Brown-veined.
Although not many burnet moths have been seen recently pheremone lures had tempted 15 Six-spotted Burnets out by mid-afternoon.
Away from moths this sawfly caused mild palpitations when it flew from the trap. It is very like some Clearwing moths, showing how good their mimicry is.
Also of note was an Ant-Lion in a nice sunny, sandy, spot.