Tuesday 30th

Another very windy night kept the catch at similar levels with 244 moths of 53 species. Poplar Lutestring was of note.

Monday 29th

The strong wind continued last night and the catch was limited to 257 moths of 45 species. There were two each of Diamondback, Dark Sword-grass and Silver Y.

Sunday 28th

A case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show today. Although the temperature remained no lower than 15.3°C the wind did it in for us. Amongst the 220 moths of only 33 species we recorded singles of Dark Sword-grass, Langmaid’s Yellow Underwing, Silver Y and Poplar Lutestring.

Saturday 27th

The lowest temperature last night was 16.5°C but a strong breeze picked up from the south west. The catch reduced to 498 of 93 species. Migrants included nine Diamondback, eight Silver Y and a Rush Veneer. New for the year were Striped Wainscot and Dusky Plume. Down the road Clouded Brindle was also new and there were two Acrobasis tumidana.

Friday 26th

Last night could not have been better for the visiting local mothers with warm humid conditions and the temperature only dropping to 15.9°C. The car park trap held 594 moths of 104 species. Firsts for the year included Matthew’s Wainscot (2), Pigmy Footman, Least Carpet, Ruddy Carpet, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Ruby Tiger, Tawny-barred Angle, Blackneck, Bordered Beauty, Sciota adelphella and migrant Red-necked Footman. Other migrants included 11 Acrobasis repandana, 19 Diamondback and 3 Silver Y. There was also the first of the second generation Engrailed.

Another 150 additional species were recorded around the Oasis and Whitehouse area including our first ever record of Light Crimson Underwing. New for the year were Four-dotted Footman, Dark Umber, Fern, Lead-coloured Pug, Haworth’s PugCommon EmeraldSwallow-tailed Moth, Shaded Broadbar, Scallop Shell, Festoon, Silver Barred, Cloaked MinorCypress Carpet, Silky WainscotJuly Highflyer, Yellow-tail, Fan-foot, Maple ProminentDingy Shears, Mottled BeautyPoplar Lutestring, Oak Nycteoline, and Brown Silver-line plus lots of Acrobasis repandana and a handful of Sciota adelphella. Argyresthia ivella was new for Sandwich Bay.

Light Crimson Underwing 26 June 2020 S Whitehouse I Hunter
Light Crimson Underwing 26 June 2020 S Whitehouse I Hunter


underwing Light Crimson Underwing 26 June 2020 S Whitehouse I Hunter
Light Crimson Underwing 26 June 2020 S Whitehouse I Hunter

Thursday 25th

The temperature did not drop below 15.2°C  and it was humid so it was not surprising the catch was 597 moths of 95 species (with a few more still to work out). There were no big signs of migration but it was good for our residents.

Moths of note included six Bright Waves and a Langmaid’s Yellow Underwing. New for the year were Coronet, Scalloped Oak, and Round-winged Muslin. There were eight Silver Ys and four Diamondbacks and there appeared to be several Acrobasis repandana around the trap but only three stayed. Brown-tails were down to 31.

Wednesday 24th

With the forecast hot and humid weather setting in hopes were high for a good catch. 462 moths of 84 species was a pleasing result. New for the year were three Double-lobed, Kent Black ArchesGrey Pug, Barred Straw and Leopard Moth plus a localised speciality Aphomia zelleri. The only hint at migration was seven Silver Ys.

Leopard Moth. 24/6/20. I Hunter
Leopard Moth. 24/6/20. I Hunter

Of interest was an emergence of Brown-tail moths. Although we get some big catches when trapping near the plants their larvae strip, such as Sea Buckthorn and Blackthorn, a count of 55 in the car park trap is unusual.

Down the road Lackey was new for the year.

Lackey.24/6/20. I Hunter
Lackey.24/6/20. I Hunter

Tuesday 23rd

A Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet was on Royal St George’s Golf Course.

With the temperature dropping to 11.8°C and the sky remaining clear the catch was reduced to 199 moths of 49 species. A single Bright Wave reflected its preference for grassland and daytime activity where for example 100 were counted in the corner of one field in half an hour. There was also one Diamondback. Short-cloaked Moth, Beautiful Hook-tip and Archer’s Dart were of note.

Monday 22nd

Another clear night and so the catch reduced to 259 m0ths of 59 species. This did include a Dark Sword-grass, a Delicate and four Silver Y’s. Barred Straw was new for the year and two Birdswings were of note. Hummingbird Hawk-moths are starting to get seen with more regularity on the seafront with the Red Valerian, Seaside Daisies, Silver Ragwort, and Viper’s Bugloss all in flower.

Sunday 21st

There was cloud at times last night and although it was not any warmer there was an increase in the catch to 397 moths of 81 species, helped by a big increase in micros. Three Bright Waves and a Rest Harrow were in the trap although plenty can be seen in the grasslands by the coast. A Pearly Underwing looked as if it had had a tough journey from the continent but the Silver Y’s are looking very fresh, presumably recently emerged. Langmaid’s Yellow Underwing was a new emergence as was Bordered Sallow.

Saturday 20th

A one degree rise in temperature increased the catch to 264 moths of 48 species. There was Lychnis, Purple Bar, and Magpie new for the year.

Friday 19th

It was clear last night and hence cooler, down to 10.9°C. Even so the drop in moth numbers was surprising just 159 of 30 species. A Wood Carpet was of note as they rarely venture to the main trap.

Wood Carpet. 19th June. I Hunter
Wood Carpet. 19th June. I Hunter

Down the road a Varied Coronet was another species which only occasionally makes it to the main trap.

Thursday 18th

The right kind of rain!

Although showers were forecast before dawn it actually started raining before dark and kept on most of the night. It was constant but light giving the parched ground a good dampening. The humidity kept the temperature just above 14 and so it was a good night for moths. There were at least 523 of 85 species including several new for the year; White-line Dart, Iron Prominent, Scorched Wing, Common Rustic (agg.), Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Eyed Hawk-moth, and Green Pug. Heart and Dart was the most numerous and became the first species this year to make three figures with 119. Also of note was a Lime Hawk-moth of the ‘rusty’ form brunnea.

Down the road a Crescent Plume was of note.

Wednesday 17th

It remained dry but a bit muggy overnight and the minimum temperature kept just above 12°C. Not to be outdone by a batch of chemicals the car park trap hit back with our first Dusky Marbled Brown, only the 12th record for Britain.

Dusky Marbled Brown. first O bservatory record. 17 June 2020. S Walton. I Hunter
Dusky Marbled Brown. first Observatory record. 17 June 2020. S Walton. I Hunter

The total catch was down to 262 moths but there were 65 species. Goat Moth was the next highlight with Lesser Yellow Underwing and Clay also new for the year.

Tuesday 16th

A wander around the Green Wall found at least 80 Bright Waves along a small stretch of grassland, no doubt more were present. Best of all though a speculative pheromone lure proved successful for Hornet Clearwing, a first for Sandwich Bay.

Hornet Moth, 16 June 2020. S Walton. I Hunter
Hornet Moth, 16 June 2020. S Walton. I Hunter

The emergence of Bright Waves also showed in the trap where two were noted. There were five species of Hawkmoth (Poplar (2), Small Elephant (5) and singles of Elephant, Pine and Privet). Obscure Wainscot was new for the year amongst a catch of 303 moths of 59 species. We also received confirmation that a Pammene species, caught on 17th May in The Elms and sent off for GenDet, was indeed P.trauniana, a new species for Sandwich Bay and the first East Kent record for 20 years.

Monday 15th

338 moths last night. There were no mega migrants this time but Single-dotted Wave and Double Square-spot were new for the year. Out in the field and the first Forester appeared in the Whitehouse area and Nemophora fasciella were lekking near the Black Horehound in Middle Field.

Sunday 14th

It felt humid last night and so it was a surprise to see that the temperature dropped to 10.4°C. This did not deter the variety of moths even though the total in the car park was 340, one short of yesterday, but this time there were 72 species.

The clear highlight was our first record of Black V Moth, an extreme rare migrant from the Continent with only four previous UK records in the last 50 years.

First Observatory record od Black V Moth. I Hunter. 14 June 2020
First Observatory record of Black V Moth. I Hunter. 14 June 2020

Other new for the year moths were Breckland Plume, Sciota adelphella, Dotted Fan-foot, Least Carpet, and Small Clouded Brindle. A Brown Rustic on the trap by the feeders was also notable, as well as May HighflyerRiband Wave, Beautiful Hook-tip, Miller, and Reed Dagger new for the year. A few traps set on the beach found double figures of Shore Wainscot, a Ghost Moth, a few Dwarf Cream Waves and Pigmy Footman, as well as lots of Rest Harrow, Bright Wave, Anerastia lotella, and the scarce Cochylimorpha alternana.

Saturday 13th

Despite last night being a couple of degrees cooler there were 341 moths of 53 species in the car park trap. Common Footman, Beautiful China-mark and Anerastia lotella emerged for the first time this year.

Down the road a Privet Hawk-moth was of note and a second emergence of Oblique-striped seems to be underway.

Friday 12th

The catches are increasing, helped last night by a minimum of 12.8°C, giving a catch of 241 moths of 43 species. Four Diamondbacks and a Silver Y could have been new in. Southern Wainscot and Rosy Wave were new for the year at the Observatory. Despite being regular a mile down the road two Buff Ermines were also new for the year. Treble Brown-spot was a first for the year at Sandown Road. A Burnet Companion was also seen in Middle Field.

Burnet Companion Jun20 AML
Burnet Companion by A.Lipczynski

Thursday 11th

It was a better in the Observatory trap last night. Cream-bordered Green Pea was new for the year and there were a handful of Heart and Club and Reddish Light Arches which had been scarce up to now.

Wednesday 10th

It was interesting watching the Kent news on tv tonight and seeing the spread of rain around us, but apart from a few drops it remained dry here (apparently there is the possibility of some rain tonight). This dryness and the cool breezes has turned this spring into the worst I can remember. New species are still trickling out and hopefully there are a lot still to come. Elephant Hawk-moth was new at Sandown Road in a terrible haul of only nine species.

A walk over New Downs in the afternoon produced the first Bright Wave of the year and quite a a few Aethes tesserana, which seem to do well there (but not on the Sandwich Bay Estate for some reason).

Tuesday 9th

A trap at the Observatory suffered from the cold temperatures overnight but did include a surprise Delicate. A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was also nectaring on the Red Valerian on the Estate beach.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Jun20 SReynaert
Hummingbird Hawk-moth by S.Reynaert

Monday 8th

The ground was actually darkened by some light showers and it drizzled overnight. Normally this might result in a big catch but the cold wind put paid to that. The catch did increase to 12 species, which is terrible for this time of year but worth monitoring. Light Emerald was new for the year at Sandown Road. Looking for larvae is another alternative and Vapourer, Mullein and Psyche casta were all lurking in the garden.

Sunday 7th

It remains very quiet but new for the year species are still creeping out at Sandown Road, this time it was Smoky Wainscot.

Saturday 6th

With the clear, cool, windy, and often rainy nights, the trap hasn’t been set at the Observatory recently. However, a wander around Middle Field during the day today produced Rest Harrow and a few Adela croesella. A Garden Tiger caterpillar was at Roaring Gutter too.

Saturday 6th

Although there has been the occasional very light shower the ground remains very dry and hard. The catch at Sandown Road was down to 14 moths but the second Broad-barred White of the year was pleasing.

Friday 5th

Although the cold conditions did not auger well last night and indeed the catch was down to 19 moths at Sandown Road a Clancy’s Rustic was a bonus.

Thursday 4th

It was much cooler last night and by all accounts it will stay that way over the weekend at least. However the forecast showers did not materialise and the ground remains very dry. Dark Arches was new for Sandown Road.

Wednesday 3rd

It clouded over during the night but the catch was not as high as hoped. Satin Wave and Shoulder-striped Wainscot were the first recorded this year whilst Homeosoma nimbella was caught for the first time in a few years (though i imagine it is often overlooked amongst Phycitodes species). Rosy Wave was another good coastal speciality down at Sandown Road along with the first Uncertains of the year.

Rosy Wave. 3rd June. I Hunter
Rosy Wave. 3rd June. I Hunter

Tuesday 2nd

Catches at Sandown Road continue to improve very slowly. Heart and Club was new for the year and ten Small Elephant Hawk-moths were notable.

Small Elephant Hawk-moth. 30th June. I Hunter
Small Elephant Hawk-moth. 30th May. I Hunter

Monday 1st

Although the night started very windy the wind dropped and a few more moths emerged. At Sandown Road Middle-barred Minor, White-point and Broad-barred White were all new. Along the Green Wall a Six-spot Burnet was our earliest record by a week.

Broad-barred White. June 1st I Hunter. (No it does not have 4 antennae, it is just an effect of photo-stacking.
Broad-barred White. June 1st I Hunter. (No it does not have 4 antennae, it is just an effect of photo-stacking).

Clearly not a moth but one decided to leave stripping my Rosemary plants and sit on the moth trap.

Rosemary Beetle. June 1st. I Hunter. Notice the reflection of the camera in the wing case
Rosemary Beetle. June 1st. I Hunter. Notice the reflection of the camera in the wing case