Friday 30th

A slight delay in the trap being put out did not have a big affect on the catch. There were 271 moths of 21 species. This included 183 Lunar Underwings and 10 more Deep-brown Darts.

Thursday 29th

Even cooler last night at 5.1°C but the Lunar Underwing fest continued. Out of 319 moths (of 21 species) 191 were Lunar Underwings. There was also a Dark Sword-grass and a Clancy's Rustic. Deep-brown Darts continued as well with ten more. There is some debate about which species this is, as DNA checks have only found Northern Deep-brown Dart in their samples. Deep-brown Dart may not even be a viable species. Anyway hopefully someone will investigate.

Red-green Carpet. September 29th 2022. I Hunter


Two forms of Deep-brown Dart/Northern Deep-brown Dart. 29 September 2022 I Hunter


Wednesday 28th

Despite the temperature dropping to 6.2°C our resident species were active and there were 308 moths of 25 species. Lunar Underwings continued to lead the way with 190. There was a late Light Emerald, a Dusky-lemon Sallow and six Deep-brown Darts.

Tuesday 27th

More sharp showers overnight meant the temperature dropped to 8.2°C. However moths increased to 312 of 22 species. Lunar Underwings did most of the heavy lifting with 214. Variety was added by a Red Underwing, a Dusky-lemon Sallow and four Deep-brown Darts.

Monday 26th

The cloud which delivered heavy showers early morning was enough to keep the temperature above 11°C. There was a reasonable catch of 255 moths of 26 species. More than half, 135, were Lunar Underwings. There were also two Silver Y's, a Rusty-dot Pearl, three Delicates and a Gold Spot.

Sunday 25th

Heavy overnight showers and a wind with north in it were enough to reduce moth activity a bit. There were 172 moths of 23 species in the trap. Seventy-six of these were Lunar Underwings, standard fare at this time of year. Seven Autumnal Rustics were pleasing and there was a Silver Y and a Delicate.

Saturday 24th

Thick overnight cloud kept the minimum to 14.2°C. With a fresh northerly picking up there were no migrants but there were still 224 moths of 24 species. This included two Feathered Brindles, three Delicates and 82 Lunar Underwings.

Friday 23rd

Thick cloud built up overnight keeping the temperature above 13.2°C. This doubling of the minimum did not double the catch but it did increase slightly to 208 moths of 30 species. There were no obvious migrants as two Silver Y's could well have been local.

We are lucky in having an interesting variety of resident moths and Feathered Brindle was new for the year plus there was a Deep-brown Dart and a Clancy's Rustic.

Thursday 22nd

It cleared overnight allowing the temperature to fall to 6.1°C. A catch of 164 moths of 22 species was not bad given the temperature. Lunar Underwing led the way with 87 and a Mallow was new for the year in the main trap.

Wednesday 21st

It clouded up overnight and the wind dropped away keeping the temperature above 10.1°C. The number of moths actually decreased to 214 but the number of species increased to 40. There were no migrants. Square-spot Rustic led the way with 70 followed by Lunar Underwing, both species demonstrating a wide variety of colours. There was another Brown-spot Pinion and a late Heart and Dart

Tuesday 20th

The sky cleared allowing the temperature to drop to 8.4°C however the wind dropped for a while as well  and moths became more active. There were 243 of 38 species. Of interest were seven L-album Wainscots, two Dusky-lemon Sallows, two Cypress Pugs, three Clancy's Rustics and a Pearly Underwing. A Deep-brown Dart was the first for the year.

Monday 19th

This did not seem to bother the moths and there were 142 of 25 species. There were no migrants. Autumnal Rustic was new for the year. Large Yellow Underwing led the way with 43 but creeping up behind are Lunar Underwings, reaching 20.

Black Rustic. September 19th 2022. I Hunter

Sunday 18th

There were 98 moths of 19 species. New for the year was Brown-spot Pinion.

Bulrush Wainscot. 18 September 2022. I Hunter

Saturday 17th

It was a shock to the system as the northerly increased and the temperature dropped to 9.2°C. Two traps were run giving enough moths to make the last moth night this year a success. The Feeders trap had Dusky-lemon Sallow and Beaded Chestnut new for the year, plus three Delicates and a Clancy's Rustic.

Friday 16th

There was a bit of cloud and the wind dropped but the autumnal temperatures are setting in with a minimum of 10.1°C. The undoubted star of the show was in our visitors trap - our first ever record of Dorset Cream Wave. It is probably the first for Kent and there seem to be less than ten records for the UK.

Our trap provided the first Lunar Underwings (3) of the year, a Vestal, five Rush Veneers, a Dark Sword-grass and a Diamondback. Both light and dark colour forms of Box Tree Moth and a Red Underwing were supporting cast. The Beet Moth story continues with another 19.

First Observatory record of Dorset Cream Wave. L. Selwyn. I Hunter

Thursday 15th

The sky cleared allowing the temperature to drop to11.8°C. This reduced the catch to 73 moths of 26 species including three Delicates and a Clancy's Rustic.

The next two nights have a bit more patchy cloud and should be a bit warmer allowing more moths to fly.

Wednesday 14th

Although the rain was heavy at times it was not as heavy as forecast. With a minimum of 17.6°C there was some moth activity and there were 99 moths of 27 species.

Sallow was the latest of the autumn regulars to show up There was one Silver Y and one Rush Veneer. The tiny Beet Moth continues to show in ones and twos.

Tuesday 13th

It was cloudy last night after an early shower. The temperature did not fall below 16.5°C. This resulted in the catch increasing to 163 moths of 43 species. Black Rustic was new for the year. There was a Scarce Bordered Straw, a Delicate, two Rush Veneers, three Hoary Footmen and four Silver Ys.

Feathered Gothic. I Hunter

Monday 12th

I do not know if it is a 'harvest' moon but it is certainly big and bright. Although the temperature did not drop below 14.2°C the catch was restricted to 73 moths of 28 species. This included a Diamondback and a Rush Veneer.

Peter Heathcote

I was saddened to hear today that Peter passed away recently. Peter and his wife Pauline took on the task of sorting out the Observatory moth records and produced a report in 2003 which they updated in 2008.

Our condolences to Pauline and his family.

Sunday 11th

A calm, clear, night with a full moon by early morning allowed the temperature to go down to 12.2°C. The moon should be waning in time for our next moth night next Saturday 17th. There were 85 moths of 27 species. This included two Vestals, six Rush Veneers, two Box Tree Moths and single Hoary and Dingy Footmen.

Saturday 10th

The night time minimum has stayed steadily in the 14's and was 14.6°C last night. It was disappointing to get a mere 42 moths of 17 species, maybe early rain depressed things.

Friday 9th

Another unsettled night with heavy rain at times. There were 130 moths of 25 species- not bad considering. A Vestal was the highlight. There were also five Rush Veneers, two Silver Ys, two Diamondbacks and the first of the next generation of Gold-spot.

We continue to find Toadflax Brocade larvae, this must be the third generation this year, but the adults continue to avoid the trap.

Thursday 8th

The forecast meant that the trap was placed in a sheltered spot and it was just as well  There were two bursts of nearly 20mm of rain. In between there were calmer spells and 192 moths of 44 species were caught. Delicate disproved its name with 18 of them. There were also singles of Pearly Underwing, Silver Y and Palpita vitrealis plus two Rush Veneers.

Wednesday 7th

Some proper rain arrived at last with heavy rain at the start and the end of the night. The trap was not washed away and there were 171 moths of 38 species. Feathered Ranunculus was new for the year and there were four Rush Veneers and a Clancy's Rustic.

Tuesday 6th

It was humid at times and a heavy thunder storm whipped up the breeze for a time. The main trap held 162 moths of 37 species. This did include the first Small Mottled Willow for the year (plus another in a visitors trap), plus three Silver Y's and two Rush Veneers. The visitors also added the first Sallow for the year and the first Old Lady in a trap this year. They also added a couple of potentially interesting micros but they will have to be checked further.

Monday 5th

With clear conditions most of the night the catch was less than 200. There were two Scarce Bordered Straws and two Pearly Underwings in the main trap. Visitors caught three Vestals and another Pearly Underwing.

Sunday 4th

A clear, calm, night which was not as humid saw a catch of 215 moths of 53 species in the trap. There were two Rush Veneers plus single Dark Sword-grass, Delicate, and Silver Y.

Saturday 3rd

Although it was a bit cooler at 13.5°C it was cloudy and there was some early drizzle. The dampness was reflected in the fact there were three Great Silver Diving Beetles rattling around inside the trap. Despite them there were 318 moths of 51 species. Flounced Rustic took on the leaders mantle with 117. Large Yellow Underwing is finally getting going with 27. There were six Silver Y's and two Rush Veneers.

Friday 2nd

The wind dropped and although the clear sky allowed the temperature to drop to 14.7°C the catch went up to 153 moths of 36 species. Feathered Gothic and Centre-barred Sallow were new for the year. Of note were three Silver Y's, two each of Dark Sword-grass and Diamondback, plus a second generation Cynaeda dentalis.

Thursday 1st

The pattern continued with strong wind and a dropping catch. Interestingly the thermometer, which is at ground level and out of most of the wind, registered a minimum of 19°C. The moths are above this and do not appreciate the wind. There were just 80 of twenty species. Box-tree Moth continued to demonstrate its robustness with another example in the trap.