Wednesday 31st

The difference last night was a layer of cloud. This was enough to increase the catch to35 moths of 19 species. None of these were new for the year although Green Carpet is more frequent in sheltered spots such as the Elms. The migrant last night was a Diamondback.

Tuesday 30th

We have a severe attack of repetitive wind syndrome. Another night of fresh north-easterly yielded seven moths of six species. This included a Silver Y. The forecast sees no let up. The effect on higher predators which rely on various stages of moths will be interesting to see.

Monday 29th

The wind upped its strength and the moths disappeared. There were nine moths of six species including the first Large Yellow Underwing of the year.

Sunday 28th

Just to demonstrate the effect of the wind it dropped to gentle last night and the catch improved to 44 moths of 20 species. Small Square-spot was new for the year. Twelve Treble-lines, four Light Brocades and four Bright-line Brown-eyes were the most numerous. An Emperor Moth caterpillar was found during the day.

Emperor moth caterpillar by S.Reynaert

Saturday 27th

What a difference a year makes. After last years record number of macro and micro species this year is truly terrible. The thermometer told me the temperature did not drop below 11.1°C but it did not feel like that when standing exposed to the north-easterly. The moths felt the same and there was the worst May catch, barring nights when it rained or blew a gale all night, with just four moths in the trap. They were White Ermine, Treble Lines, White-point and Thisanotia chrysonuchella. I hope inland sites, away from this wind, are getting more moths.

Friday 26th

The wind increased a lot but the minimum temperature was a bit warmer at 11.3°C. It reduced the catch to 13 moths of 10 species. The only new species was Esperia sulphurella.

Thursday 25th

The wind dropped a bit and the temperature just kept in double figures with a minimum of 10.4°C. Despite this the catch reduced a little to 22 moths of 18 species. Purple Bar was new for the year.

Wednesday 24th

Another cold night- down to 5.5°C. The warmth of the sun during the day is helping a slow trickle of new species appear. Last night Spectacle, Gold-spot, Poplar Grey and Buff Ermine were new out of 24 moths of 15 species. Away from the main trap there were three or four Turnip Moths.

Tuesday 23rd

The cold north-easterly returned and there were 17 moths of 12 species. Nutmeg and Celypha lacunana were new for the year. Away from the main trap Sandy Carpet was added to the year list.

Monday 22nd

The second night into double figures (12.2°C) helped the catch reach 55 moths of 20 species. Vines' Rustic and Hedya pruniana were new for the year along with a fresh Broad-barred White. There were two Silver Ys and a Diamondback.

Sunday 21st

Although the evening started windy something happened during my sleep and the temperature stayed in double figures at 11.3°C. The catch increased accordingly to 56 moths of 23 species. Two species reached double figures with 13 Yellow Belles and ten Rustic Shoulder-knots. New for the year were Common Wainscot, White-point, Small Seraphim and Thisanotia chrysonuchella. Migrants were represented by two Silver Ys and a Dark Sword-grass.

Saturday 20th

In readiness for the moth night we put three traps out. The catch remained small but there were a few new moths for the year. These were Marbled Minor agg., Eyed Hawk-moth and two 'micros' - Cochylis atricapitana and Aethes smeathmanniana. There appears to be a small emergence of Yellow Belles, there were eight in the trap last night.

Friday 19th

The forecast warmer nights have not arrived yet. Last night it was down to 5°C. There were nine moths of nine species. Light Brocade and Setaceous Hebrew Character were new for the year and there was another Poplar Hawk-moth.

Thursday 18th

The night time temperature is still dropping to single figures- 8.5°C- but that is nearly x2 warmer than the previous night.

There were 15 moths of 14 species, only Bright-line Brown-eye made it above one. Chocolate-tip and Knotgrass were new for the year. Smaller moths remain very scarce with just one Eudonia angustea.

Pinion-spotted Pug. May. I Hunter

Wednesday 17th

It was a degree warmer at 4.9°C last night and the catch increased to 16 moths of 11 species. Puss Moth was new for the year and there was a Silver Y. An Indian Meal Moth was caught in the Observatory. This may have come from the bird seed or be bad news for any flour in the cupboards.

Thankfully the overnight temperature is forecast to increase to double figures by moth night.

Tuesday 16th

The sky cleared and the temperature dropped to 3.5°C. It was not surprising that there were only ten moths of five species and no migrants. There was a green form of Barred Red in the Elms.

Monday 15th

Cloud with some showers overnight saw the catch increase to 35 moths of 16 species. This included three Pinion-spotted Pugs and two White Ermines new for the year plus Poplar Hawk-moth and six Silver Ys and a Dark Sword-grass. It is of note that despite the persistent north in the wind that migrants are still arriving.

Sunday 14th

It dropped to 9.9°C overnight but a bit of cloud ensured the catch went up to 17 moths of 11 species. Small Elephant Hawk-moth and Currant Pug were new for the year and an indication things might slowly improve.

Saturday 13th

The wind was very strong last night and so a catch of seven moths of six species was not a surprise. Poplar Hawk-moth was new for the year.

Friday 12th

There might not be many moths, with just 16 last night, but there were 14 different species. Shears, Latticed Heath, Rustic Shoulder-knot, Cinnabar, Common White Wave and Oblique-striped were all new for this year in the trap.

Thursday 11th

The thunderstorms returned briefly in the evening before clearing away for clear sky. The catch improved slightly to 26 moths of 13 species. Silver Ys continue to form the bulk of the numbers with 11. Treble Lines was new for the year.

Grey Pine Carpet was also new for the year with one caught in the Elms.

Wednesday 10th

Thunderstorms overnight restricted the catch to just four moths, but at least the trap survived. The moths were a Red Twin-spot Carpet, which was new for the year, and three more migrant Silver Ys.

Tuesday 9th

The showers were heavy but not as persistent as expected. There were 18 moths of 12 species. Common Carpet was new this year for the main trap and Heart and Dart was new for the year.

Monday 8th

Although there were only 17 moths it involved 13 species. There was a second Pine Beauty of the spring plus three Silver Y's. Waved Umber and Flame Shoulder were all new this year.

Trapping in the Elms produced Chocolate-tip, Bright-line Brown-eye and Brindled Pug all new for the year.

Sunday 7th

The weather is improving and there were patches of cloud at times to cover the moon. The temperature still dropped to 8.5°C but the catch was up to 34 of 14 species. That is where the expected ends. Half of these moths were migrants - 14 Silver Y's and three Diamondbacks. I do not remember that happening before, particularly so early in the year. Least Black Arches, Cabbage and Pebble Prominent were new for the year. A Pale Tussock was also in Waldershare Gully.

Saturday 6th

Migrants continue to trickle in with two more Silver Ys. There was the first Pale Mottled Willow of the year plus another Seraphim, two Angle Shades, a Common Quaker and the first identifiable micros for some time - two Eudonia angusteas.

In the Whitehouse there were at least 60 Adela reamurellas dancing about when the sun came out.

Friday 5th

Another bright moonlit night yielded five moths - two Muslins, a Brimstone, a Silver Y and the first micro for sometime- a Dichrorampha agg.

Thursday 4th

I am puzzled, the picture on the BBC forecast site shows a grey, crescent shaped, moon. When I look outside it is a very bright near full moon. Maybe the grey refers to the bit not visible but I cannot find the key. Anyway clear sky and bright moon means  little chance of catching moths. The catch was down to two, both of which were Muslins.

Wednesday 3rd

A clear sky with a fresh easterly breeze resulted in just five moths of five species. These were Swallow and Lesser Swallow Prominent, Muslin, Clouded Drab and Brindled Beauty. No wonder a lot of tits seem to be having late broods - maybe they know caterpillars are going to be late.

Tuesday 2nd

There was enough rain last night to create small puddles on the road but the cloud helped keep the temperature above 10.1°C. The trap was still very quiet but Brimstone Moth and Agonopterix purpurea were new for the year. The supporting cast were singles of Pale Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Brindled Beauty, Muslin, and Hebrew Character.

Yesterdays Ichneumon.
I Hunter

Monday May 1st

A bit of cloud at times last night kept the temperature above 8°C but the moon is getting brighter. The trap remains very quiet but still provides surprises. This time in the form of a Silver Y and a Seraphim. The other moths were two Brindled Beauties and singles of Clouded Drab, Muslin and Hebrew Character.

Not good news for Large Yellow Underwing larvae was the presence of the imposing ichneumon wasp Ichneumon stramentor.