Friday 31st

The temperature is creeping up and there was a much better catch with 319 moths of 40 species. Shears was new for the year and there were 70 Heart and Darts. Small Elephant Hawk continues to be the main hawk species with five today.

A trap by the feeders yielded a Ruddy Carpet.

Thursday 30th

Although it felt cool and was windy and wet the temperature did not drop below 12.1°C and their were a few more moths. One hundred and sixty three of 27 species. Shoulder-striped Wainscot was new for the year. There were also six Silver Y’s and a Diamondback. The daily trickle of single, fresh, Cream-spot Tigers continued to add a splash of colour.

Wednesday 29th

The cool nights returned with the temperature dropping to 5.4°C and so moths dropped to 64 of 21 species. Dark Arches was new for the year.

Tuesday 28th

Although showers were forecast one short, sharp, shower before dawn was not enough to lift the very dry conditions. Two traps were run with the car park yielding 226 moths of 56 species and the feeders trap 251 moths, also of 56 species (but not all the same ones).

The highlight in the car park was a Hoary Footman with only a few records here previously, though becoming more regular. Also new for the year were Pale Mottled Willow, Coronet, Figure of Eighty, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Water Ermine, Straw Dot, May Highflyer, Willow Beauty and Small Seraphim. Rusty-dot Pearl was also new.

Hoary Footman. 28/5/19. I Hunter
Hoary Footman. 28/5/19. I Hunter

Monday 27th

A good catch of 172 moths included 34 species was recorded. We seem to be doing well for species which are local specialties but who do not reach the trap annually. This time it was Sand Dart, which rarely leaves the shoreline. Also new for the year were Bordered Sallow, Cream-spot Tiger and Dog’s Tooth.

Sand Dart. 27/5/19. I Hunter
Sand Dart. 27/5/19. I Hunter

Sunday 26th

A similar temperature but a bit more breeze resulted in 156 moths of 53 species. There was another Seraphim but the highlights were the first White Colon and Snout of the year and the first Chamomile Shark since 2016. During the day a Yellow Shell was seen along the Worth track.

Chamomile Shark. 26/5/19. I Hunter
Chamomile Shark. 26/5/19. I Hunter

Saturday 25th

Cloud kept the temperature above 13.5°C and the catch rose accordingly. The car park trap held 183 moths of 56 species and a second trap by the feeders also held a good variety. New species for the year included Reddish Light Arches, Small Clouded Brindle, Least Black Arches, Burnished Brass, Grass Rivulet, Middle-barred Minor, Eyed Hawkmoth, Light Emerald, Mullein Wave, Mottled Pug, Common Pug, Heart and Club, Dark Spectacle, Small Square-spot and Dwarf Cream Wave. There was also a good variety of micros including regulars such as Ringed China-mark and Bactra furfurana (which is rarely recorded here). Diamond-back reappeared with two individuals.

Friday 24th

More of the same conditions overnight and so 58 moths of 18 species was not a surprise. Mottled Rustic was new for the year and there was a very fresh looking Silver Y.

Thursday 23rd

Even cooler last night, down to 5.2°C and so it was pleasing to get several new species for the year. A trap in the shelter of the Elms yielded Tawny-barred Angle, Orange Footman, Angle-barred Pug and Silver-ground Carpet. The car park trap added Common Wainscot, Purple Bar, and Gold-spot.

Wednesday 22nd

Another clear night with the temperature below 10°C resulted in 49 moths of 22 species. Common Swift was new for the year and Treble Lines led the way with nine. A Mother Shipton was seen on the Estate.

Setaceous Hebrew Character. 20/5/19. I Hunter
Setaceous Hebrew Character. 20/5/19. I Hunter

Tuesday 21st

A cooler, clearer night resulted in a smaller catch. However there was a Pinion-spotted Pug on the Observatory wall.

Monday 20th

The improvement continues and a cloudy night with light showers yielded 115 moths of 41 species. The following were new for the year Buff Ermine, Clouded Border, Vine’s Rustic, Puss Moth, Iron Prominent, Satin Wave, Common Wave, Buff-tip and Poplar Kitten. There was also a Seraphim of which there have only been one or two records at the observatory trap.

The Silver Y’s had moved on but there appeared to be plenty of Diamondbacks in the rough grass.

Puss Moth. 20/5/19. I Hunter
Puss Moth. 20/5/19. I Hunter


Seraphim. 20/5/19. I Hunter
Seraphim. 20/5/19. I Hunter

Sunday 19th

More cloud kept the temperature above 12.2°C and there was even a very light rain shower. The catch continued to improve with 64 moths of 27 species. New for the year were Marbled Minor agg. (it is impossible to tell this group apart without genital dissection), Peppered Moth, Burnished Brass, Fox Moth and Red Twin-spot Carpet.

The Diamondbacks seem to have continued their migration and there were only five but four Silver Y’s were new in.

Female Fox Moth. 19/5/19. I Hunter
Female Fox Moth. 19/5/19. I Hunter

Saturday 18th

The cloud cover continued and the catch improved to 54 of 21 species.

There were 14 more Diamondbacks plus White-point (2) and two early Sandy Carpets new for the year.

Sandy Carpet. 18/5/19. I Hunter
Sandy Carpet. 18/5/19. I Hunter

Friday 17th

Thick cloud gathered overnight covering up the moon and increasing the catch to 39 moths of 15 species. There was an influx of Diamond-back moths with 18 in the trap and others around the fields. Light Brocade and Yellow Belle were new for the trap this year.

Wednesday 15th

For the first time for a while the temperature stayed in double figures (10.3°C). However the strong Easterly increased and the moths stayed in. There were five moths of five species. Rustic Shoulder-knot was the first new species for the year to occur in the last few days and, unsurprisingly, there have not been any micros. Those wanting to see more moths would do better to find a nice sunny spot, out of the wind, as there is plenty of daytime activity.

Tuesday 14th

The temperature did not drop below 9°C but the wind persists and there were only five moths in the trap.

Monday 13th

Even if the wind did not go the temperature did not drop below 7.2°C but there were only six moths of five species. Herald added a bit of colour.

Sunday 12th

Another clear sky and the temperature dropped further to 2.2°C, there was even talk of a bit of frost very first thing. Predictably the moths were not impressed but there were still 14 of nine species with no new ones for the year. A few Adela reamurella were dancing around the Estate in the midday sun and Thisanotia chrysonuchella are beginning to appear in the rough grasslands.

Saturday 11th

The cold nights returned ( 3.9°C ) and the moths dropped to 14 of ten species. Lychnis was new for the year.

Friday 10th

The temperature crept up a bit and the minimum was 6.8°C probably helped by shower clouds. There were 24 moths of 15 species. Five Muslins were the most frequent. Setaceous Hebrew Character, Heart and Dart, and Pearly Underwing were new for the year. The latter was in a very tatty state perhaps reflecting a long journey here.

Thursday 9th

Again no trap set. However a few Phyllonorycter klemmanella were seen on Alders in Waldershare Gully.

Wednesday 8th

No trap set last night due to the torrid conditions but a Bee Moth hiding on the Observatory building was new.

Tuesday 7th

A Nutmeg was new in the moth trap last night despite it dropping to 3°C. An hour spent sweeping around the Whitehouse was a better use of resources with plenty of Grapholita jungiella, Glyphipterix fuscoviridella and a few Aspilapteryx tringipennella, plus two Common Carpets new for the year.

Monday 6th

A Bank Holiday stroll along the Green Wall kicked up a Pseudoswammerdamia combinella. Not really that common here with this being the first record since 2014.

Friday 3rd

Trap contents were a little reduced from yesterday but still 26 moths of 11 species, all despite low temperatures overnight. Small Elephant Hawk-moth was our first of the year. In the morning Elachista argentella was found on Prince’s Beach.

Thursday 2nd

A big improvement with 18 species with five new for the year; Pale Prominent, Spruce Carpet, Spectacle, Lime-speck Pug, and the rarely caught Mullein.

Mullein May19 SZW
Mullein by S.Walton

Wednesday 1st

20 moths in total last night but only four species. Very much quantity over quality.