September 30th

The night was seven degrees cooler and the catch reduced to 110 of 15 species. Eighty of these were Lunar Underwings and the second most frequent was Deep-brown Dart with four. There was one Dark Swordgrass.

September 29th

The wind dropped eventually and the temperature hovered around 10°C. The catch increased to 187 moths of 19 species. Feathered Brindle was new for the autumn and there were 110 Lunar Underwings.

September 28th

A windy night resulted in only 71 moths of 18 species. There was one Silver Y and a Diamondback.

September 27th

It remained cool at night but maybe the warmth of the previous day was enough to stimulate a big increase to 136 moths of 25 species. Feathered Ranunculus and Mallow were new for the year and Dark Chestnut was new for the autumn.

Recycling is an important activity which everyone should help with. Our warden got his reward for sorting out the bins at the back of the observatory last night when he disturbed a moth. Fortunately it settled on the wall and was clearly our first record of Bloxworth Snout. There were a few frantic minutes whilst a container was searched for to catch it for checking.

Bloxworth Snout- 1st obs record. S Walton 27/9/18. I Hunter
Bloxworth Snout- 1st obs record. S Walton 27/9/18. I Hunter

September 26th

A degree warmer but still a very bright moon. Only 32 moths of eight species recorded, 19 of these were Lunar Underwings. A single Deep-brown Dart continued their good showing.

September 25th

The light trap could not compete with an amazingly bright moon in a clear sky which led to the lowest temperature so far 3.4°C. There were 38 moths of eight species, 22 were Lunar Underwings.

September 24th

The 23rd was washed and blown out but by evening it calmed down and the sky cleared. The temperature stayed in double figures until after midnight when it dropped by early morning to the coldest so far this autumn, 5.9°C. Most moths kept their heads down and only 55 of 12 species were caught. There was a new leader of the pack- 28 Lunar Underwings. There were two Diamondbacks and single Delicates and Dark Swordgrass.

September 22nd

The wind dropped and more moths ventured out. There were 150 of 23 species. This included the first Red-line Quaker and Deep-brown Dart of the autumn plus three more Delicates.

September 21st

Despite the overnight gale force gusting the trap was in a sheltered enough spot to survive. However it was not the conditions for moths and there were only 39 in the trap. Eleven species included a Silver Y, a Dark Sword-grass and 16 Setaceous Hebrew Characters. Although the wind is set to drop so is the temperature and so catches will reduce.

September 20th

It remained mild but  it was more windy. Moths were down to 306 of 33 species. However there was second Clifden Nonpareil. Dusky-lemon Sallows continued their good run and there were a couple of Delicates.

Autumnal Rustic. 18/9/18. I Hunter
Autumnal Rustic. 19/9/18. I Hunter

September 19th

Its not often we count a round number but there were 400 moths in the trap of 49 species. Our earliest ever Orange Sallow was new for the year. Other records of note were five very fresh, dark and large Dark Sword-grasses, a Latticed Heath, Oncocera semirubella and a Delicate. Two Bordered Beauties were of note because of the difference in size as shown in the photo.

two sizes of Bordered Beauty. 19/9/18. I Hunter
two sizes of Bordered Beauty. 19/9/18. I Hunter
Orange Sallow. 18/9/18. I Hunter
Orange Sallow. 19/9/18. I Hunter

September 18th

Another warm night with the temperature again not below 14°C. The strong winds kept away until after midnight and the trap was busy. Two non-moths, a Migrant Hawker and a Western Conifer Seed Bug caught the attention. There were 269 moths of 33 species in the main trap. Large Wainscot, Black Rustic and Barred Sallow were all new for the year.

September 17th

Although the evening started clear cloud must have collected quickly as the temperature did not drop below 14°C. There were 287 moths of 40 species in the car park trap plus others from a visitors traps. Two Autumnal Rustics were new for the year. Three Delicates and eight European Corn Borers hinted at some migration.

September 16th

Well we timed it well for moth night as last night was quieter in terms of interesting species. There were still 239 moths of 31 species. This included a Delicate, a Dark Sword-grass and a Dusky-lemon Sallow. There were 99 Setaceous Hebrew Characters and 68 Large Yellow Underwings.

A big thanks to everyone who came along to our last Moth Night of the year yesterday. See the report on the Moth Nights section of the activities pages.

September 15th

Last night the temperature was a couple of degrees warmer and so more moths were around. The car park trap led the way with 238 moths of 28 species. The big bonus was a Clifden Nonpareil in fresh condition, our first record of this species. Other new moths for the year were two Dusky-lemon Sallows and a Beaded Chestnut. There will be a good variety of moths for tonight’s moth night.

Clifden Nonpareil.First observatory record. I Hunter. 15/9/18.
Clifden Nonpareil. First observatory record. I Hunter. 15/9/18.


September 14th

Last nights clear sky led to the lowest temperature of the autumn- 7°C. There were 127 moths of 29 species. Two Red Underwings lurked around the trapping area. Pearly Underwing was new for the year. Two Latticed Heaths were darker veined than their earlier broods.

A bit more cloud is promised for tonight and so should help pull in more moths for the moth night.

September 13th

A slight clearing of the sky led to a slight drop min temperature. Two hundred and eighty-eight moths of 31 species were recorded. Two Lunar Underwings were new for the year. Archers Dart and Pebble Hook-tip continue to show and Buff Ermine joined the late brood club.

September 12th

The wind dropped and the early drizzle was not strong enough to deter the moths. In the busiest night of the autumn so far there were 527 moths of 56 species. Large Yellow Underwings dominated with 190. Treble Bar was our first since spring and 17 European Corn-borers was notable. Kent Black Arches was another example of a late brood.

September 11th

A blustery night but still a decent catch inside the carpark trap. Another Golden Twin-spot was the highlight though a Brown-spot Pinion was our first record this year.

September 10th

The replacement trap was busy again and even managed to fit an Old Lady in it, our first of the year. There were 422 moths of 42 species. Large Yellow Underwing was top of the charts with 140.

September 9th

The second trap was set up and it was worth it. Cloud had gathered over night and moth activity increased to 452 of 62 species. Two Sallows were the first of the autumn. other notable records included two of Dark Swordgrass, Rush Veneer and Evergestis limbata. Late singles of Common Marbled Carpet, Webb’s Wainscot, Dingy Footman and Smoky Wainscot continued the variety of these.

September 8th

Moth trap RIP  No records last night as the trap was written off.

September 7th

Although it was a cloudy start to the night and there seemed to be plenty of moth activity the cloud cleared and the temperature dropped to 8.4°C. The resulting catch was down to 171 moths of 27 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character reasserted its dominance over Large Yellow Underwing 62 to 57. European Corn-borers continue to appear whilst a nice Vapourer was discovered resting near the Cellars.

Vapourer Sep18 AML
Vapourer by A.Lipczynski

September 6th

Another cloudy night ensured the temperature did not drop below 14.1°C and there was plenty of moth activity. 365 moths of 45 species were caught. Large Yellow Underwings actually dropped slightly to 110. Other notables included another Onocera semirubella, another Evergestis limbata, six Silver Ys and a Delicate. Late brood moths included a Short Cloaked Moth and a Webb’s Wainscot.

September 5th

Another overcast night giving a good catch of common species. Three hundred and fifty two moths of 44 species were dominated by 115 Large Yellow Underwings. There was another Large Thorn and a Dusky Thorn, the latter has been thin on the ground this year. Two more examples of later broods included two very fresh Archer’s Darts and the distinctive Onocera semirubella.

September 4th

A thick layer of cloud developed and kept the temperature at 12.6°C. The moths responded accordingly and there were 335 of 43 species. Large Yellow Underwing continued in abundance with 125. Some fresh Silver Y’s and Rush Veneers are starting to appear.

September 3rd

Another clear sky but the moon is waning and so there were a few more moths totalling 219 of 39 species. For the first time for a while Setaceous Hebrew Character was knocked of top spot. There were 73 Large Yellow Underwings compared to 63 Characters. The first Diamondback for a while appeared.

September 2nd

One hundred and forty nine moths of 28 species. Two Large Thorns added interest to the usual mix.

September 1st

A clear sky resulted in the coldest night of the second half of the year ( 7.4°C ).  Moths dropped to 132 of 27 species. A Rest Harrow continued the good run of second brood examples of this species.

Other records of note include a Western Conifer Seed Bug in the trap and late news of a Goat Moth larva along Guilford Rd.

Goat Moth larva
Goat Moth larva (E.Wells)