Sunday 31st

A wander around the Oasis in the late morning sun was quite good when you got out of the breeze. A few Cauchas fibulella were found amongst the Germander Speedwell with Argyresthia pygmaeela and Eupoecilia angustana also seen.

Ringed China-mark was the first for the year at Sandown Road. This is one of an extraordinary group whose larvae spend their life feeding on the underside of floating vegetation.

Saturday 30th

The wind continues to nag away from areas between North and East and at this time of year it keeps the night time temperatures down and consequently catches are low. Small Square-spot was new for the year at Sandown Road and at the Observatory. The numbers of this species seem to be declining year on year, lets hope it does not join Garden Dart in almost disappearing completely. A Reddish Light Arches was also new at the Obs.

Small Square-spot. June 30th.I Hunter
Small Square-spot. May 30th. I Hunter

Wednesday 27th

A mix of the usual species reported so far in the Sandown Road trap. Of note was a Depressaria daucella larva found whilst walking around the Estate (a rather under-recorded species here).

Depressaria daucella May20 SZW
Depressaria daucella by S.Walton

Tuesday 26th

A few Yellow Shells, Cinnabars, and Mother Shiptons were seen on the Estate during today’s Butterfly transect and later a bunch of Mullein larva were noted around the Observatory garden.

Along the road Bright-line Brown-eye and Shark were new for Sandown Rd in a surprisingly quiet trap.

Monday 25th

Last night the wind switched around to northerly and dropped the temperature somewhat. Still, Currant Pug, Snout, Burnished Brass, Common Marbled Carpet, and Willow Beauty were new at the Observatory. Along the road Shears and an early Scarce Footman were new for the year. The wind has spun back around to the south during the day so tonight looks another good night.

Sunday 24th

Another cool windy night. It will be interesting to see what affect the continued dry weather (one light shower since lock down) will have on moths. In previous conditions like this numbers have been reduced as vegetation dries up. A Southern Wainscot was our earliest by a couple of weeks. Clouded-bordered Brindle and Light Arches were in the Observatory trap and a Small Dusty Wave was on the window.

Saturday 23rd

As expected the cool breeze reduced the catch to 32 moths of 15 species at Sandown Road. White-point was new for the year there and five Small Elephant Hawk-moths continued their good run.

Friday 22nd

It was another warm night last night and the Sandown Road trap had its first signs of migration with a Silver Y and a Diamondback. The origins of a Hoary Footman are up for debate. It is early for a resident one and they are migrants as well. Grey Pine Carpet and Garden Pebble were new for the year and eight Small Elephant Hawk-moths were of note.

Over at the Observatory it was also good. Dark SpectacleWater Ermine, Shaded PugOak-tree Pug, Clay Triple-lines, Clouded Silver, Figure of Eighty, Middle-barred MinorMaiden’s Blush, and Oak Hook-tip were the best.

It looks as if the next two nights will be spoilt by the strength of the wind.

Hoary Footman, showing distinctive hindwing. 22/5/20. I Hunter
Hoary Footman, showing distinctive hindwing. 22/5/20. I Hunter

Thursday 21st

In light of the promising conditions a few traps were set around the Observatory and an actinic by the Oasis. The actinic held almost 70 moths although half were Treble Lines. There were three Fox Moths whilst Cream-spot Tiger was new for the year. Unfortunately, one of the MV traps at the Obs failed overnight but the other was good with 196 moths of 49 species. Pride of place went to the Concolorous, whilst Dark Arches, Bordered Sallow, Lime Hawk-moth, and Straw Dot were all new species for the year.

Down the road the catch also continued to improve; Small Phoenix, Sharp-angled Peacock, and Waved Umber were all new for the year.

Concolorous May20 SZW
Concolorous by S.Walton

Wednesday 20th

At Sandown Road Orange Footman was new along with Mottled Pug. Argyresthia trifasciata was a distinctive little micro which is associated with garden conifers. Over at the Observatory Peppered Moth, Dogs-tooth, Shark, Sand Dart, and Common Wainscot made an appearance and a Mother Shipton was flying around this side of the Chequers.

Buff Tip doing what it does best-being a twig. 20/5/20 I Hunter
Buff Tip doing what it does best-being a twig. 20/5/20 I Hunter

Tuesday 19th

The warm spell continued and the Observatory trap held 82 moths of 28 species. Most numerous was Treble Lines with 15. Buff-tip, Light Brocade, Peach Blossom, Spectacle, Large Yellow UnderwingWhite Colon, Knot Grass, and L-album Wainscot were all new for the year whilst a Burnet Companion found during the day in the Whitehouse paddock was only our third record.

Down the road the catch is also increasing. Pale Oak Beauty was new along with Chinese Character and six Buff-tips were of note.

Monday 18th

The cloud cover remained almost all night and, coupled with a light south westerly wind, made for a good trapping night. Two MV traps were set around the Observatory and an actinic in The Elms. The Observatory carpark trap brought us the first Setaceous Hebrew Character and Cabbage of the year, plus Argyresthia semifusca which seems to be new for Sandwich Bay. This seems surprising considering Hawthorn is one of it’s main foodplants. The other MV was set by the feeders and contained Shears, Blood-vein, and Garden Carpet. Over in The Elms the actinic was equally productive with Common Pug, Mottled Rustic, Sandy Carpet, Small Seraphim, and Spruce Carpet all new for the year. The smart micro Ethmia bipunctella would usually be the highlight but an excellent candidate for Pammene trauniana was also caught. This would be the second new micromoth for the Observatory in one night.

Pammene trauniana May20 SZW
Pammene trauniana by S.Walton

Sunday 17th

The nights are slowly getting warmer and the wind is moving out of the North and East so prospects are improving. The trap at Sandown Road actually made it into double figures last night. Buff Ermine seems to be taking on the mantle of Muslin and becoming the commonest species with three last night. Grey Dagger is one of those regular species which cannot be differentiated from another species, in this case Dark Dagger, without checking its genitalia and so the first one for the year last night goes down as an agg. It is worth watching out for their larvae however as they can be identified specifically.

Over at the Observatory Marbled Minor agg. was another ‘aggregate’ species recorded, as you cannot separate it from Tawny Marbled and Rufous Minors.

Saturday 16th

The first White-point, Lime-speck Pug, and Lychnis of the year were in the Observatory trap.

Wednesday 13th

A cool night but Green Carpet was new for the year at the Observatory.

The cold wind also continues to keep the number of moths at Sandown Road in single figures but there was a Seraphim last night and Buff Ermine was new for the year.

Tuesday 12th

No trap at the Observatory last night but the first Oak Eggar caterpillars were seen on New Downs and Worth.

Oak Eggar larva May20 AML

Sunday 10th

Last night’s conditions were good and sure enough it was the best trap of the year so far with 67 moths of 33 species. New for the year were Broad-barred White, Common Wave, Poplar Grey, Vine’s Rustic, Gold Spot, and Flame. There was another Seraphim too, a moth that was rare here until a few years ago. Later, a wander around the Whitehouse area discovered our first Clouded Border, Common Carpet, and Grass Rivulets of the year and a Drinker caterpillar.

Saturday 9th

Not a bad night at all. Pale Prominent and Turnip appeared for the first time and a Yellow-barred Brindle was disturbed from vegetation during the day.

Friday 8th

It was a little better last night. Shuttle-shaped Dart and Muslin were the most numerous species with five apiece. New for the year were White Ermine, Heart and Dart, and Rustic Shoulder-knot. Down the road Common Swift and Pale Mottled Willow were also new for the year but Muslin continues to be the most frequent moth.

Pale Mottled Willow. May 8th 2020. I Hunter
Pale Mottled Willow. May 8th 2020. I Hunter

Thursday 7th

It was very bright last night and the temperature got down to a little over 3°C. So it was good to see a few new species in the trap. Small Elephant Hawk-moth and Light Emerald made an appearance. A wander around the Estate produced day-flying Glyphipterix fuscoviridella, Cydia ulicetana, Thisanotia chrysonuchella, Latticed Heath, and Oblique-striped.

Monday 4th

Another quiet night with only ten moths in the trap including singles of Poplar Hawk-moth and Treble Lines. Down the road Muslins had reduced to six but there were two Brimstones and a Yellow Belle. During the day a Scarce Footman larva was found near Restharrow Scrape. With the breeze forecast to pick up and come in off the cold sea plus a bright moon prospects are not great for the next few nights, unless it clouds over.

Sunday 3rd

Last night was not the most productive in terms of numbers at the Observatory but Bright-line Brown-eye and Seraphim were new for the year.

Down the road there were more moths (26) but less species. Twenty-four of these were male Muslins plus a Pale Tussock and an E.postvittana.

Saturday 2nd

A Latticed Heath was disturbed from the grass in Middle Field, where there were oodles of dichroramphas also present.