Moths: May 2017
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Wow! I have never seen an electrical storm like last nights in the UK. There was over an hour of continual lightning flashes and some pretty heavy rain. The trap however survived this and had a pretty good catch presumably due to the humid conditions before the storm. There were 189 moths of 45 species. 37 Heart and Darts led the way, there was another White Colon plus Water Ermine and Clay new for the year. Unsuprisingly there were not many micros. Migrants were represented by a Diamondback and three Silver-Y’s plus there was another Hummingbird Hawkmoth along the seafront.
A good night gave 65 species in the main trap. Heart and Dart is now the most frequent moth with 30 last night. New for the year were Peacock, Reddish Light Arches, Beautiful Hook Tip and Celypha cespitana. Also new was the migrant Pearly Underwing with further evidence of migration from a Hummingbird Hawk Moth nectaring in the garden.
A Rest Harrow on the beach was the earliest local record by a week.
The stiff breeze did not promote an increased catch but Elephant Hawk Moth was new for the year along with Thistle Ermine and Nematopogon metaxella.
I expected more as it felt humid at first but the temperature still dropped to 8.6°C. The main trap held 107 moths of 45 species. New species included Clouded Silver,Spectacle and the pyrails Udea olivalis, Chilo phragmitella and Bee Moth. Puss Moth and Middle-barred Minor were year additions from the second trap.
Very similar conditions to last night yielded a few new moths for the year and some potential migrants. The former included Clouded Border Brindle plus Poplar Grey, Burnished Brass, Small Seraphim and Lesser Cream Wave from a trap at the front of the building . This also held 9 Small Elephant Hawk Moths. Possible migrants were two Rush vVneers, a Diamondback and a Dark Swordgrass.
I was suprised to note that the temperature still dropped to 9.3°C it felt warmer. The moths also thought this and there were 117 moths of 42 species in the main trap. New for the year were Small Clouded Brindle, Dusky Brocade, Silver-ground Carpet, Figure of 80 and Argyresthia trifasciata. A couple of traps away from the obs also yielded Cream-spot Tiger and the common grass moth Chrysoteucha culmella.
The temperature creeps slowly up and last night there were 69 moths of 30 species. Snout and Mathews Wainscot were new for the year.
The night time temperature is very reluctant to increase and last nights minimum of 6.6°C kept the catch in the main trap to 38 moths. A portable trap in the Elms added Small Fan-foot and Elachista albifrontella to the list for the year.
This time the sky cleared and the temperature dropped to 5.4°C. This meant there were only 14 moths in the trap but this did include the first Large Yellow Underwing of the year.
Just what we needed! It seemed to rain steadily all night. Despite this 12 moths made it into the trap but there was not a Shark, Water Ermine or Codling moth amongst them!
Although it rained for half the night it was not windy and there were still 141 moths. The only new one was Orange Footman. This takes the number of macro species up to 126 for the year, at the same time last year it was 63!
Another great night for variety. The main trap held 69 species and between the two traps there were 19 new macro species for the year- we are still working through some of the micros. Amongst the new ones were Privet Hawk, Dogs Tooth and Brown Silver-lines. For the geneticists amongst you there was a Peppered Moth. A Clay Triple-lines was our earliest by a month.
Migrants included a Rush Veneer and a Gem.
Thats more like it! The temperature did not drop below 13°C and it was more humid. There were 141 moths of 50 species in the trap. Firsts for the year in the main trap included Pebble Hook-tip, Light Emerald, Clouded Silver, Sharp-angled Peacock, Purple Bar, Willow Beauty, Small Square-spot, Grey Pug, Oak Nycteoline, Crambus lathoniellus and Cochylis molliculana.
A clear night resulted in the temperature dropping to 4.7°C and the number of moths to 31. Vine’s Rustic and Poplar Hawk were new for the year. Lets hope the forecast cloudier and warmer nights materialise.
Further evidence of migration with 13 Diamondbacks in the main trap. Eudonia angustea was new for the year.
A second trap run within 100 metres of the main trap but separated by part of the building yielded a different catch. There were only two Diamondbacks but May Highflyer, Common Wainscot and Mottled Rustic were new for the year. Also new for the year was Crocidosema plebejana which is continuing to show it is no longer mostly a migrant to the area.
One of the moths from last night has checked out as Nematopogon swammerdamella- a name about as long as its antennae- which is new for the observatory.
For once the prediction was right and it was our first decent moth night for some time. There were 84 moths in the main trap. This included firsts for the year of Ethmia bipunctella, CreamBordered Green Pea, Knotgrass and Eyed Hawkmoth. There was also a Dark Swordgrass and a Silver Y which might be linked to the obvious arrival of Red Admirals.
A trap by the Whitehouse yielded Shaded Pug, Fox moth and Agapeta hamana.
A trap in the Elms gave the years first Green Carpet and Waved Umber. There are still one or two moths to ponder more closely as well.
Thankfully the forecasts withdrew the threat of rain until much later and so it is raining! It is not heavy but is steady and should guarantee tonight is not another cold , clear, one. Last night the main trap did not run but a portable in the Whitehouse yielded the first Common Wave of the year. There are still plenty of Thisonotia chrysonuchellas active around the dune grasses during the day.
With the temperature down to 5.1°C the moths continue to stay wrapped in their duvets. There were only half a dozen in the main trap. A portable trap in the Whitehouse yielded the first Grass Rivulet of the year.
Sunny conditions during the day mean that in places out of the wind there are some interesting moths to observe. Sheltered between rough grass clumps the locally distributed and distinctive grass moth Thisonotia chrysonuchella was flying.
Another cool breeze during the night limited the catch. There were 13 moths in the main trap, one in a portable by the Haven and six at the back of the observatory. The latter held the highlights- a Small Elephant Hawk moth and a Lychnis.
The cold wind dropped just enough to give a slight increase in numbers to 21 moths plus another seven from the Elms. The first hawk moth in the trap is usually Poplar followed by Eyed but not this topsy-turvy year. A Small Elephant Hawk has that position this year.
The so called breeze increased notably and there were only seven moths in the trap. This did include another Dark Swordgrass.
An overcast night stopped the temperature going below 8.9°C despite a cold wind. The wind did reduce the number of moths to 23 of 13 species. Only our 4th Ypsolopha mucronella led the way along with the first White-point and Brindled Pug of the year. There were also single Diamondbacks and Dark Swordgrass perhaps blasted across from the continent in the breeze.
A warmer night, but not yet making it above the magical 10°C, yielded the best variety of species-21. This is not bad as there were only 37 moths and no micros. New for the year were Latticed Heath, Yellow Belle, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Common Swift, Turnip and Cabbage. There was also a Silver Y.
The temperature got down to 1.7°C and so, despite an extra trap being used there were only 17 moths. This included the first Treble Lines of the year.
Overnight dribbly stuff barely tested the rain gauge but it put the moths off. There were only six including the first White-spotted Pug of the year.