Thursday 30th

Well if you had not noticed autumn is arriving last night’s minimum of 4.5°C and the upcoming wind and rain will make the point. Despite the temperature there were 139 moths of 20 species. This included the years first Pink-barred Sallow for the main trap and the first Chestnut of the autumn. Lunar Underwing was most numerous with 64 and there were six Delicates.

Tuesday 28th

A much cooler night, down to 7.3°C, as the unsettled weather approaches. There were 199 moths of 25 species. Of the locals Brown-spot Pinion and two Deep-brown Darts were nice. Otherwise there were three Delicates, and singles of Diamondback, Rush Veneer and Silver Y.

The forecast for tonight is rather unpleasant and it will not be safe to put the trap out.

Feathered Brindle. 25/9/21. I Hunter
Black Rustic 23/9/21. I Hunter

Monday 27th

Although the wind picked up noticeably overnight the rain did not arrive until daytime. The catch increased to 249 moths of 30 species. Mallow was new for the year. Interesting local species included Dusky-lemon Sallow and Hoary Footman. There were two Delicates and singles of Pearly Underwing, Silver Y and Rusty-dot Pearl.

Trapping around the area at the weekend added Orange and Pink-barred Sallows to the year list. The latter had a good year last year but has been absent until this record this year.

Sunday 26th

The forecasts imply that we are getting towards the end of  the more settled good mothing spell. Last nights gathering cloud was enough to give a catch of 187 moths of 33 species. Box-tree Moths keep on going, with another example. as do Hoary Footmen, with two more. Thirteen Black Rustics was a nice count. There were four Delicates, two Silver Y’s, a Diamondback and a Rusty-dot Pearl.

Saturday 25th

The temperature continues to creep back up and the catch also increases. There were 189 moths of 34 species. Delicate was up to six plus there was a Silver Y and two Rusty-dot Pearls. The next generation of Beautiful Hook-tips appeared along with another Vapourer. Micros remain fairly thin on the ground all though there was a tiny Cosmopterix which requires closer examination.

Friday 24th

The night time minimum is slowly creeping back up and so is the number of moths. Last night there were 113 moths of 37 species. Beaded Chestnut (2) was new for the year and I cannot remember if Deep-brown Dart was as well. A single Hoary Footman continued their good year. There were single Diamondbacks and Rush Veneers to show migration is not over yet. One species we have not had this year is Golden Twin-spot. They had an excellent year last year with several double figure nights and we even found their larvae on Tomato plants by the greenhouse.

Thursday 23rd

The same again but with a bit of breeze which kept the temperature above 11°C. The catch crept up to 67 moths of 17 species. There were three Delicates, a Silver Y and a Rush Veneer.

Wednesday 22nd

Another cool, clear, night resulted in another low catch of 52 moths of 16 species. Autumnal Rustics are always attractive and the one last night had strong pink colouration. There were two Rusty-dot Pearls.

Tuesday 21st

What a difference a day makes! It was clear and calm last night and so the temperature dropped to an autumnal 8.8°C. This and a very bright moon meant the catch dropped to 49 moths of 19 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character was still most common but there were just 14. There was yet another Box-tree Moth and a Delicate.

Monday 20th

The cloud which gathered before the heavy rain kept the temperature above 15.5°C and masked the bright moon. This gave a busy catch and once I had waded through all the Craneflies I counted 303 moths of 50 species. Two Dusky-lemon Sallows were the first this year as was a Feathered Brindle. Other moths of interest were two Hoary Footmen, seven Delicates, a Rush Veneer, a Pearly Underwing, and a Pinion-streaked Snout.

Sunday 19th

Fairly warm (minimum 14.3°C) and cloudy overnight but no sign of wet stuff. There were 315 moths of 53 species. Two Autumnal Rustics were new for the main trap this year. Male Vapourers are often seen winging around the trees during the day but one in the trap was more unusual. There were two Gems of migrant origin.

Saturday 18th

The night started clear but fortunately some cloud gathered to mask the bright moon which is developing. There were 203 moths of 41 species. Two Large Wainscots were new for the year plus there was another Bulrush Wainscot and two L-album Wainscots. Other moths of interest included  singles of Dewick’s Plusia, Large Thorn, and Rush Veneer. Delicates continued their late rush with six more. The dark form of Box-tree Moth tried to creep in by stealth.

dark form of Box Moth.  I Hunter

A bit of searching for larval signs produced small numbers of Phyllonorycter tristrigella on Elm and Phyllonorycter quinqueguttella on Creeping Willow in Little Gully. There were surprising amounts of Choreutis nemorana on Fig, which was only recorded in Kent for the first time last year, and also  Cosmopterix zieglerella on Hop, which turns out to be new for Sandwich Bay.

Friday 17th

A slight increase to 275 moths of 36 species. Another Convolvulus Hawk-moth was the main interest. Hoary Footman and Box-tree Moth continued their excellent run with singles of each and two Bulrush Wainscots were a bonus. Lunar Underwing is slowly building up but has a way to go yet, there were five last night.

Thursday 16th

The diversity of the trap contents decreased markedly overnight. Common Wainscot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Bright-line Brown-eye, and Large Yellow Underwing dominated the egg boxes. A few migrants appeared, Turnips and Delicates, and more autumn fare crept out, in this instance our first Sallow of the year.

Wednesday 15th

Last night was cloudy and after a tiny bit of damp during the previous day the number of moths shot back up to 540 of 55 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character returned to form with 155 but second was Bright-line Brown-eye with 83. Brown-spot Pinion was new for the year. Hoary Footman seem to have really settled in and there were eight last night. Other moths of note included five Delicates, a Large Thorn, and a Palpita vitrealis.

Tuesday 14th

A Convolvulus Hawk-moth was one of the first moths staring at us in the trap this morning. Red Underwing was nice to see and the first Black Rustic appeared. In the evening a Dark Dagger caterpillar was found on the Elm trees near the entrance of the carpark. Grey Dagger and Dark Dagger cannot be reliably separated as imagos so are recorded as aggregate species when seen in the moth trap. However, the larvae are different and so this individual can be specifically attributed to Dark Dagger. It becomes only our third confirmed record.

Dark Dagger larva by S.Walton

Monday 13th

The return of warmer (15.3°C) cloudier conditions did not help increase the catch which was 340 moths of 38 species. The two tiny box bushes just by the Moffice must be quaking in their roots as another Box-tree Moth appeared.

The continued search for interesting leaf mines yielded another first for the recording area with mines of Phyllonorycter comparella being found on Grey Poplar.

Sunday 12th

Autumn is definitely coming, last night was clearer and the temperature was down to 11.8°C. There were still 552 moths of 43 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character passed 200 again with 219 but Common Wainscot was second with 68. Three Rush Veneers were of note in what has been a quiet year for them so far. Another Mathews Wainscot showed up frustratingly a day late for the moth night. The first Lunar Underwing added emphasis to the arrival of autumn.

Saturday 11th

Cloud gathered and kept the temperature above 16.8°C resulting in a busy catch in the main trap. There were 650 moths of 52 species. A second trap by the feeders was surprisingly quiet with 222 moths of43 species.

Setaceous Hebrew Character became the first species this year to have more than 200 individuals with 246 in the main trap and 62 in the feeders trap. The second species was less than half this as Large Yellow Underwing made 101. A late Peach Blossom added a bit of colour and there was the third ever record of the pyrail Pyla fusca.

Friday 10th

Once again not a hint of thundery showers but it does remain warm and calm (minimum 15.2°C). This led to another good catch, this time 535 moths of 63 species, it all looks hopeful for tomorrow’s Moth ‘Night’. Setaceous Hebrew Character reasserted its dominance with 130 individuals. There was the first Vestal of the autumn. Other moths of note included another Beautiful Marbled, three Delicates, and singles of Hoary Footman, Hedge Rustic, and Old Lady.

Dewick’s Plusia. 9/9/21. I Hunter
Acleris cristana. 7/9/21. I Hunter

Thursday 9th

The threatened thunder did not materialise but it was warm and calm for this time of year. There were 499 moths of 60 species in the main trap. The highlight was a Dewick’s Plusia. Other notable records included 41 Silver Ys, two Rest Harrows, and two Beautiful Hook-tips. Bright-line Brown-eyes continue to show with another 57. Further signs of autumn were a L-album Wainscot and the first Feathered Ranunculus of the year. There were four Box-tree moths to add to several from traps by the Oasis and the Elms. The outlying traps also yielded a Beautiful Marbled and two more Mathew’s Wainscots.

Wednesday 8th

Another night which felt warm and humid although the minimum was 14.9°C. The moths showed their approval with  532 0f 62 species identified so far. Common Wainscot reached top spot with 83 but it was the variety which really made it. There were 25 Silver Ys and a Cydia amplana, three Box-tree Moths (even though we only have two tiny bushes), two Old Ladies, two Bulrush Wainscots, and another Clay Triple-lines. Frosted Orange was new for the year.

Tuesday 7th

It was calm and clear and so the temperature dropped a little to 12.5°C however the heat of the rest of the day tempted 518 moths of 67 species to be caught. Centre-barred Sallow was new for the year. Setaceous Hebrew Character returned to top spot with 83. The number of Bright-line Brown-eyes has been building steadily and there were 51 last night. It was good to note another Mathew’s Wainscot and a Bulrush Wainscot.

Monday 6th

A calm, warm, night encouraged 366 moths of 55 species to visit the trap. Large Yellow Underwing was top moth with 69. Of note were 11 Silver Ys and singles of Palpita vitrealis, Dark Sword-grass, Hoary Footman, Mathew’s Wainscot, and Acleris cristana.

Trapping on the shore yielded a few Diamondbacks as migrants plus a Rosy Wave of note.

Sunday 5th

The hoped for drop in wind arrived overnight and the catch increased to 342 moths of 42 species. The highlight was a good condition Clifden Nonpareil. For once Setaceous Hebrew Character (58) was not the most numerous, Large Yellow Underwing with 69 led the way. There were also 25 White-points and nine Silver Ys.

Clifden Nonpariel. 5/9/21.I Hunter
Large Thorn August 30th 2021. I Hunter


Thicker cloud so a bit warmer despite being windier to start with. The catch increased slightly to 290 moths of 36 species. Setaceous Hebrew Character was up slightly to 70. A late brood Oblique-striped appeared and there were two Dark Sword-grasses and a Rusty-dot Pearl.

Friday 3rd

The night started clear but cloud did gather and it was only a bit cooler at 14.5°C. The catch was pretty similar to last night with 252 moths of 37 species.  There were three Silver Ys and two Rush Veneers. During the day a Goat Moth caterpillar was found over by The Elms.

Goat Moth caterpillar by S.Reynaert

It looks as if this north-easterly will persist until mid-week when it swings south and south-west. As it is forecast to be light catches should improve for next Saturdays (11th) moth night.

Thursday 2nd

Considering the north-easterly picked up I was surprised to note it was a bit warmer with a minimum of 16.3°C. The main trap held less moths with 286 of 44 species. Maybe some went to the other side of the Observatory, out of the wind, where another trap yielded a couple of hundred more moths. Of interest were two Rest Harrows, Jersey Tiger, Hedge Rustic, Narrow-winged Pug and Dark Sword-grass.

Wednesday 1st

More thick cloud kept the temperature above 15.1°C and this meant it was another good catch of resident species. There were 460 moths of 50 species. This time Setaceous Hebrew Characters reached 122. Of note was our second Svensson’s Copper Underwing of the year. Three Silver Ys and two Diamondbacks were probably of local origin.