Wednesday 31st

The wind increased and the catch decreased. There were just 104 moths of 25 species. Were the four Diamondbacks heralds of an arrival which may show if the wind drops?

Tuesday 30th

One or two forecasts are catching up with the fact of how blustery it is on the coast. Despite the wind the temperature did not fall below 17.3°C and there was cloud. The catch actually increased to 261 moths of 43 species. This was helped by the regulars - 86 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 30 Flounced Rustics, and 26 Common Rustic aggs. The only migrant related moths, although they are probably now locally bred this summer, were a Silver Y and a Diamondback.

Monday 29th

A quiet night with just 179 moths of 30 species. Pink-barred Sallow was new for the year.

Sunday 28th

A stiff overnight breeze kept the catch right down despite it remaining warm with a minimum of 17.8°C. Two traps were operated in readiness for today's open day. The car park trap had just 135 moths of 28 species. There was the first of the next generation of L-album Wainscot but no migrants.

The feeders trap had 100 moths of 31 species. This did include a Great Brocade and a Clancy's Rustic.

Great Brocade by S.Walton

Saturday 27th

It was 5° cooler last night at 12.4°C and the catch reduced to 267 moths of 46 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character continues to lead the way with 71 but Flounced Rustic claimed second spot with 52. A Vestal was of note.

Friday 26th

The warm nights continue and the minimum was 17.6°C. The catch dropped to 384 moths of 68 species and I am not sure why. There were four Silver Ys, two Rush Veneers, and a Bordered Straw. Local breeders included three Delicates, another generation of Kent Black Arches, Webb's Wainscot and the first Brick of the autumn. Two Box-tree Moths could have been wanderers or from the Estate.

Thursday 25th

At one time heavy rain was forecast from before dawn but, as we got closer to the time, its arrival time got later and later. In the end, apart from five minutes of very light spots, it never arrived and the ground remains very dry.

The night was humid with the temperature not falling below 17°C. There were 568 moths of 81 species. The only migrant related records were eight Rush Veneers, a Dark Sword-grass, and an Evergestis extimalis. After a gap of a few days another Jersey Tiger appeared and the next generation of Beautiful Hook-tips is appearing.

Wednesday 24th

A quieter night with 372 moths of 61 species. Most of the migrants seem to have moved on with just six Rush Veneers and singles of Scarce Bordered Straw, Pearly Underwing, and Diamondback.

Tuesday 23rd

There was intermittent thick cloud overnight keeping the temperature above 18°C. This gave a busy catch of 672 moths of 71 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character (217), Common Wainscot (86) and the grass moth Agriphila tristella (75) were the most numerous.

Of note were three Oblique-striped, four Delicates, two Pearly Underwings, 39 Rush Veneers, three Scarce Bordered Straws, one Bordered Straw, two Dark Sword-grasses and a Vestal.

Hummingbird Hawk-moths were seen on the Estate, New Downs, and the Green Wall today. Now is a great time to see them. If visiting the Observatory keep your eyes on the flowering Verbena and Buddleia in the garden.

Monday 22nd

The cloud cleared overnight allowing the temperature to fall to 11.5°C. There were 382 moths of 63 species. This included another four Pearly Underwings and 12 Rush Veneers. Delicate has started reappearing but with it now breeding in the area it is difficult to know if last nights were migrants. There was also another Bordered Straw.

Hoary Footman is now well established and the next generation are appearing with four last night.

Sunday 21st

The stiff breeze fell away and cloud gathered giving good conditions. There were 511 moths of 60 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character was well in front with 168 followed by Common Wainscot with 93.

Large Wainscot was new for the year and there was another Hedge Rustic. There were four Pearly Underwings, four Silver Ys, two Scarce Bordered Straws and one Bordered Straw. A lot of the Rush Veneers seem to have moved on and there were just 15 last night.

We are asked regularly if the drought is affecting moth numbers. It does not seem to be doing that here yet but next year could be different particularly if this years larvae find it difficult to feed up.

Six-spot Burnet Moths by S.North

Saturday 20th

We ran two traps last night in prep for tonight's moth night. The nights are getting cooler with the sky clearing and the temperature down to 11.9°C. The main trap had 226 moths of 49 species and the feeders trap 191 moths of 47 species (16 of which were different to the main trap). Of particular note were 40 Rush Veneers. Other migrants included two Pearly Underwings and another Bordered Straw. Hedge Rustic was new for the year and a Cypress Pug was the first for a couple of years.

The Hummingbird Hawk-moths continue to work the Observatory garden and several local gardens.

The first record of Convolvulus Hawk-moth this year came to light when a neighbour showed me a photo, taken last Sunday, of a' huge moth' on their driveway.

Friday 19th

Down a degree but still warm and dry. It is a reflection of how good it has been that a Scarce Bordered Straw, a Pearly Underwing and a Dark Sword-grass feel a bit disappointing. There were 183 moths of 46 species in total.

Thursday 18th

It remains dry and hot with a minimum of 17.5°C last night. Surprisingly the trap was quieter with 250 moths of 59 species. There was another Bordered Straw (+1 in another trap).

Wednesday 17th

We actually had some rain with associated thunder last night but as I write this and the tv rain radar shows it raining here it has sadly remained dry all day. Hopes were high with there being cloud cover last night. The temperature did not fall below 16.8°C. The number of moths was almost the same - 494 - but the number of species fell to 74.

Common Wainscot led the way with 107. There was the first Frosted Orange of the year. Three Bordered Straws, three Silver Ys, eight Diamondbacks, 11 Rush Veneers, a Jersey Tiger, and a Pearly Underwing were of interest.

Tuesday 16th

Although it remains bone dry there was cloud last night and there were 484 moths of 94 species. This included the first Scarce Bordered Straw and Six-striped Rustics for the year. There were also four Diamondbacks, 11 Silver Ys, seven Dark Sword-grasses, ten Rush Veneers and a Pearly Underwing. Jersey Tigers continued with two more but two Maple Prominents highlighted an excellent and extended season for this species.

Scalloped Hook-tip and Bordered Pug were new for the year in Middle Field.

Monday 15th

The upward trend continues. There were two Bordered Straws in the main trap plus a Beautiful Marbled from the Middle Field. The trap on Sandown Road held Bordered Straw, Gypsy Moth, Jersey Tiger, two Ancylosis oblitella and the first Svensson's Copper Underwing for the year.

Sunday 14th

Maybe because the moon is rising later or the night feels more humid the catch is continuing to increase. There were 315 moths of 72 species. The best record was a Clouded Buff. This was the first for a while and only a few records here. The run of Gypsy Moths and Jersey Tigers continued with singles of each. Diamondbacks increased to six and there was an example of the attractive grass moth Catroptria falsella.

Saturday 13th

The moon continues to outshine artificial light but as it gets warmer the catch continues to inch up. There were 224 moths of 68 species. Surprisingly I have not seen a Hummingbird Hawk-moth inside the trap for a long time and perhaps due to the number around at present there was one last night. There was also yet another Gypsy Moth plus two Diamondbacks and single Rush Veneers, Dark Sword-grass and Silver Y. Singles of the second brood of Rest Harrow continue to appear and there was a late Small Elephant Hawk-moth.

Friday 12th

It is getting hotter and dryer and the moths were down to 92 of 50 species. The highlights were Gypsy Moth, Dark Sword-grass and a very small plume moth which we need to think about.

Thursday 11th

The brightness of the moon is impressive unless you want to catch moths. In the heat of the day there continues to be a good spread of Hummingbird Hawk-moths. The night was a bit cooler at 14°C but the catch increased to 150 moths of 64 species. There was the first Bulrush Wainscot of the year for the main trap (one in Middle field last week) and two Hoary Footman indicated another wave of these. Gypsy Moth, Jersey Tiger, Pearly Underwing, and Diamondback were also of interest.

Wednesday 10th

A brief spell looking at leafmines was surprisingly productive with a handful of Phyllonorycter esperella larval signs on Hornbeam, a new (but likely overlooked) species for Sandwich Bay. There were at least 25 Cosmopterix zieglerella leaf mines on Hop in The Elms too. This species was only added to the SBBOT list last year.

Phyllonorycter esperella by S.Walton


Cosmopterix zieglerella by S.Walton


Another clear sky with a building bright moon and so it was a surprise that the minimum was 18.2°C. There were only 105 moths of 42 species in the moth trap. Pearly Underwing and Rush Veneer were of note.

Monday 8th

Slightly warmer at 11.4°C but it remains clear and the catch reduced further to 172 moths of 41 species. Micros are particularly notable by their absence. Straw Underwing was new for the year and White-point equalled Common Rustic agg. at the top with 24 each.

Sunday 7th

With the temperature down to 10.1°C there were 209 moths of 54 species. The only moths originating from migration were two Dark Sword-grasses and a Rush Veneer.

A Jersey Tiger chose not to join the seething mass and sat outside the trap.

Saturday 6th

A cooler night with the temperature dropping to 11°C saw the catch more than half to 208 moths of 48 species. Although Swallow Prominents are having a good year the Lesser Swallow Prominent last night was the first in the main trap this year. Orange Swift was also new for the year. Only one Hummingbird Hawk-moth reported today.

Friday 5th

Much to our surprise we were woken by a short shower in the middle of the night. The cloud meant it was a humid night and there were 474 moths of 91 species. There was a Bordered Straw and a Pearly Underwing plus the yellowish form of Dingy Footman-stramineola. It is pleasing to see the moths hanging on despite the dry conditions.

Mompha propinquella. August 5th 2022. I Hunter

In the Middle Field there was an excellent variety, particularly of geometrids. Bulrush Wainscot was new for the year. Vestal and Golden Twin-spot were of note.

Thursday 4th

Four hundred and thirty nine moths of 97 species included a fresh Cynaeda dentalis and a Sitochroa palealis. There were five Dark Sword-grass and two Rush Veneers. Dusky Thorn, Square-spot Rustic and Webb's Wainscot were all signs of approaching late summer.

The tally of ant-lions increased to five with two more records last night.

Cynaeda dentalis by I.Hunter

Wednesday 3rd

The sky is clearing although it still remains warm with a minimum of 16.5°C. The catch reduced further to 284 moths of 63 species. Pearly Underwing and another Jersey Tiger were of note. Hoary Footman has been quiet for a while but another appeared last night.

Tuesday 2nd

Thinner cloud last night but still cloud. The thermometer said a minimum of 18.3°C which it did not feel like and was not the same as recorded down the road. The moths were equally confused and the catch reduced to 347 of 74 species (+ several micros still to be checked). It is not often Striped Hawk-moth (caught by visitors) is overshadowed but the main trap held our second ever record of the rare micro Ethmia quadrilella - the previous in 2013. Another Ant-lion was also caught by a visitor.

Monday 1st

Having increased my scrap value by having bits of metal implanted in my hip, it was good to limp back to the trap with help from the team. Ironically, after the driest July on record, it rained last night to see the month out. The thick cloud kept the temperature above 16.7°C and there were 404 moths of 86 species. The highlight was our third ever Bloxworth Snout. There was also a male Gypsy Moth with resplendent feathery antennae. With southerly species establishing themselves it is difficult to know if Dewick's Plusia, Evergestis extimalis, three Dark Sword-grasses, six Silver Y's, and a Diamondback were new in.

Away from the main trap an Oak Processionary and two Ant-lions suggested there had been an arrival.

Oak Processionary by S.Walton