A black day for moths around here. It was a beautiful, clear, night with a huge moon and the temperature down to 6.3°C. All this conspired to give the worst June catch I can remember. There were six moths in total- singles of Common Wainscot, Bright-line Brown-eye,Reddish Light Arches, Heart and Dart, Heart and Club, Small Square-spot and Dark Arches. Catches are normally in the 2 or 3 hundreds at least.
Not only is this worrying for the moths but bats such as Brown Long-eared,which rely on the flying adult moths, are really struggling. The lack of caterpillars is still affecting birds as well, brood size is well down.
To add insult to injury the field on the right as you start down to New Downs was being mown today. Last year there were more than 100 Bright Waves counted on a sunny day there. It has not been mowed at this time for several years.
Day flying moths continue to try and lift our spirits with the first Burnets flying and good numbers of Bright Waves along the dunes.
Two traps were set last night as a group are visiting to see some moths and it is just as well we did as the catch remains very poor. The main trap managed a mere 52 moths of 22 species. This did include six Diamondbacks and the first Dusky Brocade of the year. The trap by the feeders managed 67 moths of 18 species including two Silver Ys and ten Diamondbacks.
The easterly continued to freshen and there were only 14 moths of eight species. I feel each needs an honourable mention – three Setaceous Hebrew Characters, three Dark Arches, two Diamondbacks, two Heart and Darts, and singles of Large Yellow Underwing, Treble Lines, Vine’s Rustic, and White Ermine.
The stiff easterly ensured the catch fell to 55 moths of 19 species, I was surprised the temperature only fell to 14.2°C. Heart and Dart led the way with 16 plus there was a Silver Y.
The first Bright Waves of the year were seen on New Downs and a few Hummingbird Hawk-moths were on the Estate beach.
The trap was quiet with 115 moths of 38 species. Lesser Yellow Underwing was new for the year. Singles of Southern Wainscot and Peach Blossom were the first for a couple of weeks.
The unsettled weather continues to keep catches down. Even though the temperature did not fall below 13.5°C out of the wind there were only 122 moths of 52 species. To make up for this one was the aptly named Beautiful Marbled. Udea olivalis was also new for the year.
Three Silver Ys, two Dark Sword-grasses and five Diamondbacks hinted at what might be around if the nights settle down. It is unlikely to be tonight, as I was setting up the trap this evening there was a cool easterly and some rain.
It was not stormy but there was steady rain, that combined with the wind switching to North-east reduced the catch to 144 moths of 43 species. Striped Wainscot and Crambus pascuella were new for the year. Three Privet Hawk-moths were of note. The origin of three very fresh looking Silver Ys is up for debate, it is only a short hop across the Channel.
A stormy, humid, night with some heavy rain and thunder at times. The temperature stayed above 17.8°C increasing the catch to 381 moths of 75 species.. Despite the origins of these storms being to the south there was no influx of migrants. New for the year were Festoon and Lesser Wax Moth.
Lots of Yellow Shells can now be found in the more vegetated areas. They’re easily disturbed off foliage by day.
Although it was a little cooler at 14.3°C it did not explain why the catch dropped to 178 moths of 63 species. The Hoary Footman show continued with another example. New for the year were Dwarf Cream Wave, Small Fan-footed Wave, and two fairly local pyralids, Anerastia lotella and Vitula biviella. The at-times-very-common grass moth Crambus perlella also emerged.
There was a stiff onshore breeze which greatly reduced the catch in a trap on the beach. Three Rest Harrows were the first of the year and there were three Sand Darts.
The car park was more sheltered and the temperature did not fall below 16.2°C. There were 301 moths of 67 species. Small Elephant Hawk-moths were the star with 20 of them. New for the year were Lime Hawk-moth and Coronet. Three Silver Ys and a Diamondback were possibly new in.
One Small Yellow Underwing was showing in the Jubilee Field.
The carpark catch last night was disappointing but Heart and Club and Small Dusty Wave were new for the year.
A few actinics were places around The Elms. Singles of Nematopogon swammerdamella, Eidophasia messingiella, Epinotia bilunana, and Ptycholoma lecheana were the micro highlights, with the latter new for Sandwich Bay. Dwarf Cream Wave, Treble Brown Spot, Common Marbled Carpet, Engrailed, and Light Arches were new for the year.
Cooler last night, dropping to 11.1°C. This made a big difference with 172 moths of 59 species being caught.
New species for the year continue to appear however. This time it included Reddish Light Arches, Clay, Single-dotted Wave, Small Magpie, Beautiful China-mark, Scoparia pyralella, and the attractive Dioryctria abietella.
Just what we wanted a warm, muggy, night with a minimum of 16.4°C. We ran two traps just in case to get moths for tonight. The main trap held 303 moths (the first 300+ catch this year) of 70 species and the trap by the feeders held 303 moths (no fix, honest!) of 83 species.
The car park caught Goat Moth, Buff Ermine, Grey Pine Carpet, Rustic, Water Veneer, Chrysoteucha culmella, and Cochylis hybridella new for the year. The feeders caught Uncertain and Light Arches.
Also of note were seven Hoary Footmen, a Buttoned Snout, and four species of Hawk-moth.
The temperature keeps rising, this time the minimum was 13.4°C, but there was a stronger breeze. There were 163 moths of 55 species. The only new macro was Snout but there was additional cast of interesting moths including Chocolate Tip, another Hoary Footman and Figure of Eighty plus seven Small Elephant Hawk-moths. Diamondbacks were the only migrants again with six last night.
Another degree and a bit warmer at 12.5°c but the important bit was that it felt more humid. This resulted in this years first catch of more than 200 moths with 225 moths of 66 species.
The only migrants were five Diamondbacks. New for the year were Shears, Southern Wainscot (2), Green Pug, Campion, and Grey Dagger agg.. Also of note was a White Colon and a Hoary Footman.
Another clear night but, as forecast, it is warming up with a minimum of 11.2°C. The clear does not matter at present as there is little moon.
There were 171 moths of 44 species. Eyed Hawk-moth was new for the year but sadly the birds only left one wing. Other new moths were Clouded-bordered Brindle, Ringed China-mark and Hoary Footman (2).
Sandown Road added Lunar Thorn and Pale Oak Beauty.
Cool and clear again with the temperature down to 8.2°C but warmer more humid nights are forecast which is usually good for moths. There were 84 moths of 29 species. The only new one was Willow Beauty. There was one Diamondback.
Following their recent discovery a trip to the Jubilee field produced two Small Yellow Underwings.
Although the days are hot the nights, so far, are clear and cool. Last night it dropped to 9°C and there were 76 moths of 33 species. Sandy Carpet, Dark Arches, Shark and Rusty-dot Pearl were all new for the year. There were no migrants.
Last night was cooler, down to 9.2°C but there was no moon to compete with, and so there were 72 moths of 32 species. Treble Lines continues to be most numerous with 12. A Privet Hawkmoth was new for the year but we still have not seen Eyed or Lime Hawk. Also new was Figure of 80 and the distinctive ‘micro’ Ethmia bipunctella.
Some cloud kept the temperature above 13°C and there were 117 moths of 34 species. Cream-spot Tiger was the new one for the year plus there were two Silver Y’s and four Diamondbacks.
The best news came from a visitor who supplied a photo of a new macro for us – Small Yellow Underwing. Turns out it’s a new species for Sandwich Bay.
A Pine Hawk-moth at the Sandown Road trap was the first of the year.
Last night the wind swung from south to north and so it was not quite as warm (min. 12.8°C). The threatened rain kept away and there were 136 moths of 45 species in the main trap. The only migrants were a Silver Y and five Diamondbacks. New moths continued to appear with Small China-mark, Water Ermine, Yellow-barred Brindle, Chocolate-tip and two Small Clouded Brindles in the catch. The moth of the night was our third ever record of the pyralid Nascia cilialis.
A warm (min. 15.5°C) night with some cloud and a late moon provided excellent conditions. Two traps provided more than 100 species. Potential migrants were two Silver Y’s in the car park and seven Diamondbacks in the Whitehouse. Each trap also had another White Colon. New for the year moths included Red Twin-spot Carpet, Latticed Heath, Silver-ground Carpet, Buttoned Snout, Pebble and Oak Hook-tips, Lime-speck, Mottled, and Shaded Pugs, Dog’s Tooth, Gold-spot, Burnished Brass, Poplar Grey, Poplar Lutestring, Brown Silver-lines, Sycamore, Small Seraphim, Waved Umber, Peach Blossom, Least Black Arches, Puss Moth, and Satin Wave. Twenty-one Lead-coloured Pugs in the Whitehouse were interesting as there were none in the main trap. Six Fox Moths were not a surprise out at the Whitehouse as the males can be shooting around the golf rough during the day, they are less frequent 200 metres inland at the Observatory.
The trap along Sandown Road added Orange Footman.
Two moths showing subtle mixtures of white, grey and black with a tint of silver.
At last the temperature stayed above 10°C, helped by the wind falling away. There were 73 moths of 27 species. Treble Lines was the first species to hit double figures with 12. New for the year included Pale Prominent, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Sharp-angled Peacock, Setaceous Hebrew Character (3), Blood-vein, Flame, White Ermine and Obscure Wainscot. There was a Common Wainscot down the road.
The improvement continues and although the temperature still dropped below 10 to 8.4°C there were 39 moths of 25 species. Treble Lines remained most frequent with five, closely followed by four White-points. There were several new for the year including Spectacle and Dark Spectacle, White Colon, Vine’s Rustic, Buff-tip, Light Brocade, Middle-barred Minor and Small Square-spot. A Silver Y was worn enough to have travelled across the channel.
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