Moths: April 2014
The new month opened with a Blossom Underwing, a species that has been recorded at the Bay only once before, in April 2011, followed by V-Pug and Chinese Character on the 2nd and Muslin on the 4th. The 5th produced Dotted Chestnut, first recorded here in 2011 and captured only five times since, followed by Flame Shoulder and Nut-tree Tussock on the 6th, the latter an insect of sporadic occurrence that is fairly scarce in spring. After a Ruby Tiger was extracted from the moth trap on the 8th a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was found along the shore and both Buttoned Snout and Spruce Carpet were found in the Elms during daylight on the 10th. Clouded Border and Swallow Prominent appeared for the first time on the 11th, Puss Moth was captured on the 12th and the first Brimstone and Chocolate-tip were recorded on the 13th, followed by Mullein on the 16th.
The 17th brought three new macros for the year that were also the earliest ever at the Bay – Setaceous Hebrew Character, Cinnabar and Pale Mottled Willow – together with a Nutmeg that was only two days later than the earliest. Quality rather than quantity characterised the Easter break, with a Streamer on the 18th, only the fifth to have been recorded at the Bay – the first was in 2005 – and the second ever Northern Drab on the 19th – the previous record was in April 2011. Although there were no new macros, the 21st produced our earliest ever record of the long-horn Adela reaumaurella, but the following overnight session produced four new for the year – Common Wave, Waved Umber, Iron Prominent and Poplar Hawk-moth – all but the Common Wave being the earliest on record at the Bay. Oblique Striped was recorded on the 22nd and the 23rd was an exceptional night, with a total of 81 moths of 38 species, including nine macros new for the year and the local speciality Ethmia bipunctella. The most interesting were Least Black Arches, Double-striped Pug, Reed Dagger, Dark Spectacle, Dog’s Tooth and the less-than-annual Oak-tree Pug and, continuing the theme of early emergence, five of these were the earliest on record at the Bay.
Yellow Belle and Common Pug on the 24th were also the earliest to have been recorded here, while Oak Nycteoline and Emperor were also new for the year, followed by Red Twin-spot Carpet on the 25th and, on the 27th, Bright-line Brown-eye, Sallow Kitten, Pebble Hook-tip and only the third record of Small Phoenix for the Observatory. Lime-speck Pug and Turnip were caught on the 28th and Knot Grass and Buff Ermine were new for the year on the 29th.