Sunday 19th

A small drop in the minimum, to 11.7°C brought about a large drop in number of moths to 54 of 29 species. Maybe the cloud cleared to allow the moon to take over. Common Wainscot, Yellow Belle and Straw Dot all started for the year. There were only a few caddis lies and no ichneumon wasps so general activity was suppressed as well.

Saturday 18th

A cloudy night gave a much warmer night with a minimum of 13.2°C. The catch went up to 113 moths of 40 species.

Buttoned Snout, Common Wave and Figure of 80 were all new for the year. The arrival of Silver Ys continues with another 23 in the trap, there were also two Diamondbacks.

Friday 17th

The sky cleared and the temperature dropped to 7.5°C. The moth numbers dropped dramatically to just 12 of six species. Lime-speck Pug was new for the year and there were six Silver Ys.

A daytime wander around the Whitehouse revealed quite a number of both Glyphipteryx simpliciella and G.fuscoviridella, Thisanotia chrysonuchella, Crambus lathoniellus, Oblique-stripeds, and Grass Rivulets.

Glyphipteryx fuscoviridella by S.Reynaert




Thursday 16th

It was a bit cooler despite the cloud with a minimum of 10.9°C. There were 75 moths again but of 38 species. Hoary Footman was new for the year, but inside the main building. Cypress Carpet and Buff Ermine were new for the year in the trap. Best of all was a Dusky Hook-tip There were 18 more Silver Ys (plus 'plenty' in the dunes) and four Diamondbacks.

Wednesday 15th

The same minimum but a few less moths, this time it was 75 of 31 species. Common Swift and Lesser Treble-bar were new for the year and there was another White Colon. Migration continued with 22 Silver Ys and six Diamondbacks.

Cases of both Coleophora conyzae and C.follicularis were found on Fleabane in Middle field.

Tuesday 14th

A covering of cloud meant the temperature did not fall below 13.1°C. This resulted in the best catch so far this year. There were 101 moths of 45 species. New species for the year are appearing at a good rate. Last night these were Latticed Heath, White Colon, Pale Prominent, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Sandy Carpet and Setaceous Hebrew Character. The latter has one of the most protracted seasons of the species resident here and in late summer regularly has three figure counts. The locally distributed grass moth Thysanotia chrysonuchella made its first appearance of the year in the field and in the moth trap.

Monday 13th

An other warm night with a minimum of 12.5°C. The moths are appreciating it and there were 75 of 41 species. Common Wainscot, Knotgrass, Treble Lines (2), Light Brocade, Pale Tussock, Bloodvein and Common White Wave were all new for the year. Also new for the year were two Homeosoma nebulellas although not a rare moth they are not annual here and may have been migrants. There was one Silver Y.

The first Small Yellow Underwings were seen in the Jubilee Field and feeding signs of Dyseriocrania subpurpurellla were seen in The Elms.

Sunday 12th

Another warm day this time reflected in the night time minimum of 12°C. The catch went up to 57 moths of a nice variety of 32 species. There were two Silver Y's and a Diamondback indicating a bit of migration. The new species for the year were Orange Footman, Sharp-angled Peacock, Brown Silver-lines, Willow Beauty, May Highflyer, Broad-barred White, Small Clouded Brindle, White Ermine, Buff-tip, and two Marbled Minor aggregates.

Scorched Carpet by S.Reynaert

Saturday 11th

Such was the excitement of photographing the Northern Lights it was forgotten to plug the trap back in. At least the photos were good!

By the morning three moths remained - Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, and Brimstone.

Friday 10th

The day's warmth has helped the night time minimum creep up to 7.2°C. The catch increased to 26 moths of 21 species. Cinnabar, Poplar Grey, Gold-spot, and Common Pug were all new for the year. There was also another Pinion-spotted Pug, Waved Umber, and Seraphim. A Dark Sword-grass was the only migrant.

Thursday 9th

It must have cleared overnight as the temperature was down to 5.2°C. There were just 13 moths of nine species. Dark Spectacle was new for the year. Despite the SE breeze there were no migrants.

Our first Mother Shiptons were flying in the Oasis, with Grass Rivulets, Oblique-striped, and Glyphipteryx fuscoviridella all in the area.

Wednesday 8th

The minimum just kept in double figures at 10.2°C although it felt cooler first thing in the morning. There were 18 moths of 13 species. Small Square-spot was new for the year but there were no migrants.

Adela reaumurella by S.Reynaert

Tuesday 7th

The catch reduced to 28 moths of 18 species despite a minimum temperature of 12.1°C. It did include singles of Silver Y and Dark Sword-grass. The most interesting insect was a Slender Groundhopper.

Monday 6th

It was cloudy last night keeping the temperature above 9.1°C. The catch increased accordingly to 43 moths of 23 species. Brimstone led the way with nine followed by five Least Black Arches and three Silver Ys. Two each of Waved Umber and Rustic Shoulder-knot plus a Green Pug were all new for the year. We had found several larvae of the latter during the weekends caterpillar course.

Sunday 5th

A clear night led to the temperature falling to 4.3°C. This did not impress the moths and there were just 11 of eight species. Clouded Border was new for the year in the trap although they have been around in sunny spots. Given the trend two Dark Sword-grasses were not expected.

Saturday 4th

Daytime is warming up but the night was still cool at 5.5°C due to a clear sky. This restricted the catch to four moths. Cabbage was new for the year and there was a Chocolate-tip, plus a Shuttle-shaped Dart and a Hebrew Character.

The day and night was spent searching for and identifying caterpillars. An interesting variety were found including Copper Underwing and Lesser-spotted Pinion. There seemed to be a reasonable number of Winter Moth larvae which is very good news for the nesting tits some of which have chicks hatching.

Larval searching after dark by S.Walton

Friday 3rd

It was windy overnight but the rain held off. The wind reduced the catch to 19 moths of 11 species. This included a Dark Sword-grass. A visitors trap out the front of the Observatory caught another Pinion-spotted Pug.

Once the rain stopped the afternoon was spent  on a pleasant and very informative walk with Phil Sterling and Barry Henwood looking for moth larvae. This was in preparation for tomorrows Kent Magnificent Moth project training day about larval id.

Thursday 2nd

The second night with the temperature in double figures at 10.2°C. There were 31 moths of 21 species, Most of the Silver Ys had moved on and there were just three in the trap. There was another Dark Sword-grass and the first Rusty-dot Pearl for the year. The first hawk moths emerged in the form of two Poplar Hawk-moths. Also new for the year were two Pinion-spotted Pugs and Nutmeg.

Wednesday 1st

Heavy showers overnight did not deter an arrival of migrants. The cloud kept the minimum to 11.3°C. There were 33 moths of 11 species. The migrants were 19 Silver Ys and a Dark Sword-grass. The Silver Y total is good for that species at this time of year, often they are so active they do not stay in the trap. Seraphim, Chocolate-tip and Grass Rivulet were all new for the year.