Moths: August 2019
Night of August 31st
More autumnal nights are setting in but the minimum is still in double figures. With the wind from the north west there were no obvious migrants. Single figure Dark Sword-grass, Silver Y and Rush Veneer were probably locally bred. The total of 421 moths of 53 species was made up of good numbers of local species. Golden Twin-spot continued with yet another single.
A further drop in night time temperature to 10.4°C resulted in a drop to 397 moths of 55 species. Large Thorn was new for the year and Golden Twin-spots were down to one.
It was cooler, down to 13.2°C, and the catch reduced to 617 of 70 species. There were three new Golden Twin-spots and Lesser Swallow Prominents continued their resurgence with another example.
A warm, cloudy, night yielded 887 moths of 88 species. The highlights included a Beautiful Marbled, three Golden Twin-spots and a Palpita vitrealis. Rosy Wave made an appearance.
The hot day, warm nights continue and there were 694 moths of 86 species. Again numbers were made up mostly of resident species with another Matthew’s Wainscot, Hedge Rustic and three Rest Harrows the best.
One hundred and seven Setaceous Hebrew Characters dominated a catch of 607 moths of 83 species. Other moths of note were Golden Twin-spot, 26 White-points and two Rest Harrows. Four Lesser Swallow Prominents were more than we have had in the last two years.
Although there are lots of Silver-y’s nectaring very few make it into the trap.
A calm, misty, night gave a catch of 484 moths of 78 species in the car park trap. The highlight in this one was a Jersey Tiger. Frosted Orange was new for the year. The main interest was non-moth with four Painted Ladies and five Western Conifer Seed Bugs adding to the variety.
The trap by the feeders held less than half this number of moths but one of them was our sixth ever Dusky Hook-tip. There was also a Golden Twin-spot and during the day a Goat Moth larva was found crawling across the carpark. All in all a good variety of moths to show for Open Day.
The benefits of the warmer nights augur well for the display at the Open Day on Sunday. Although slightly cooler there were 444 moths of 67 species. This included Maple Prominent, Poplar Kitten and Scorched Carpet. There is an emergence of Silver ys going on with 15 large, fresh examples in the trap.
There was also a Western Conifer Seed Bug in the trap.
The temperature did not drop below 12.5°C and the catch rose to 427 of 70 species. The attractive pyrail Evergestis extimalis was new for the year and a Lesser Swallow Prominent continued their good showing. The breeze has not gone around to the South/East quarter yet and the only moths related to migration were a Dark Sword-grass, two Silver Y’s and four Rush Veneers.
This was probably the last cool night for a few days ( 7.2°C ). The catch was 288 moths of 47 species. A very fresh Palpita vitrealis was the highlight.
Similar conditions but with no wind. The trap remains fairly consistent. There was a slight increase in Rush Veneers and a Vestal in a satellite trap.
Another cool, clear , night dropped the catch to 164 moths of 52 species. This did include a Golden Twin-spot and a Pearly Underwing.
The main event cropped up in an adjacent trap where our first ever Mocha was found.
The cooler nights seem to be setting in and it was down to 10°C. The catch was pleasing with 288 moths of 90 species. New for the year were three Orange Swifts, Clay Triple-lines, Six-striped Rustic and a Matthew’s Wainscot. Tree-lichen Beauties continue to appear with two more and the next generation of White-points is looking healthy with eight. A Gem was a new arrival.
A catch of just 183 moths reflected the colder temperatures overnight. Autumn is definitely on it’s way. A few migrants made landfall though with Vestal, Dark Sword-grass, Rush Veneers, Silver-y’s, and Diamondbacks in the trap.
There’s been a small break away from trapping this week but the trap should be set more frequently from now on. A Pine Hawk-moth in the carpark trap last night continued it’s above-average showing this year. On the flip side there’s been a big increase in Wasps in the trap too, thankfully they’re reasonably placid.
After a night off there was a really nice haul on the 9th. There was nothing new but good variety. A couple of Tawny-barred Angles were unusual for us and 28 Turnips was quite high too.
Despite the big influx of Red Admirals there has been no equivalent mass arrival of moths the best the trap could offer was 18 Turnips (and not a Baldrick in sight). With a windy night the catch was down to 293 moths of 67 species.
This did include a Convolvulus Hawk-moth and a Scarce Bordered Straw. The distinctive micro Mompha propinquella was our first record.
Hopes were raised, despite the strength of the wind, when I noticed a Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on the scabious as I walked to the moth shed.
The wind reduced the catch a bit to 349 moths of 90 species. It did include our second ever Scalloped Hook-tip, our third ever Jersey Tiger and Acrobasis tumidana. Campion is also irregular but maybe Dark Spinach is on the increase following a good showing last year.
Possibly the last settled night for a while and it was a big catch. The highlight was a Great Brocade and there was also a Cydia amplana.
Although there was cloud it was not much warmer. The catch crept up to 450 of 110 species. This included a Gypsy Moth (our second ever).
This was the highlight until a visitor staying in the accommodation next door popped in. They had had another two Gypsy Moths and an Oak Processionary the night before.
A clear sky most of the night resulted in a smaller catch of 383 moths of 99 species. It did include the third ever Dark Crimson Underwing and a Convolvulus Hawk-moth from the Whitehouse.
Another very busy night with two new species for the observatory, both of which did not make it into the trap and were found by visiting mothers. The first was a Pale Shoulder which was found dead on the ground beside the trap. The other was the very scarce grass moth Ancylolomia tentaculella which was found on the wall by the trap.
The car park trap had 650 moths of 145 species. The highlight was a Marbled Clover. One was recorded nearby in the 1990’s and there were a few records at the start of the 20th century. There was also another Golden Twin-spot. The majority of the other species were a really good selection of our resident moths.
Visitors have contributed a lot recently and also added a second Golden Twin-spot, a Vestal and an Oak Processionary.
A bit cooler and the catch reduced to 385 moths of 80 species. Twin-spotted Wainscot was new for the year but the main feature was the high total of Swallow Prominents – 24. A Lesser Swallow Prominent, which is increasingly rare here, tried to sneak through unnoticed.