Atropos finally arrives at Bawdsey!

I struggle with time nowadays to write these blogs and logging on to the site from various devices I find most difficult, so apologies for lack of updates this season.

I had to write this short post though as last night (19 October) I had the most exciting catch of my whole mothing career – spanning nearly twenty years! A fine Death’s-head Hawk-moth arrived at Bawdsey Hall! As many of you will know this moth has been my most wanted. As a young lad thumbing through moth books, I used to look in awe at this species and the Clifden Nonpareil, and wonder if I would ever see them.

Last night was rather blustery and a bit wet too. The moth was inside one of my more sheltered traps between two sheds. Amazingly, hardly any other moths were caught last night.

The recent saharan dust resulting from Ophelia has also brought other goodies this week including Spoladea recurvalis (third site record) on 18th and Small Marbled and Blair’s Mocha (first site record) on 17th.

I have been incredibly lucky to have also caught my other most-wanted – the Clifden Nonpareil on 29th September – this autumn!

With more southerlies next week there could be more good stuff to come?

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Moths in the mist

I was a bit doubtful when I looked out just before dawn and realised it was very misty. I’d put the garden trap out hoping for migrants in the SE breeze. I beat the moorhens to it this morning, and there were some migrants: 5 Vestal (all with a grey line across there forewing, and all but one in the grass, where the moorhens would have got them), 3 Silver Y, 3 White-point, 1 scarce bordered straw, 1 small mottled willow, 2 rush veneer and 2 rusty-dot pearl. Plus 30 other residents. Good, but I had hoped for something a bit better. Then I looked more closely at what I’d thought was a micro and realised it was a Eublemma of some sort. Turned out to be a small marbled (which should be re-named the VERY small marbled). A new species for the garden and for me. It’ll be interesting to hear what’s turned up on the coast.

Tony H.

 

Small marbled.

Small marbled.

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Suffolk Moth Group leaf miner day – this Sunday (22nd).

Just a reminder that it is the Suffolk group’s leaf mine recording day this Sunday at Reydon wood. Details listed on an earlier post. This is the last field event of the year so is the last opportunity to get together before next year’s indoor meeting in late winter.

Neil

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September moths

I trapped on six nights starting with the 4th and 48 species. Nothing too unexpected. Most moth species enjoying a very good year here. Latticed Heath turned up on many more nights than normal including this night along with September regular Dark Spectacle which was almost absent last year. Best of the night Scarce Bordered Straw.

No more trapping until 23rd when I had a run of sessions as the last week of September/first week of October usually provide some nights of excellent conditions and usually some good records for me here, although the same time last year I decided conditions were unfavourable and didn’t put out any lights at this time. Each night, 23rd through 26th and then again on the 28th had a highlight or multiple highlights.

On the 23rd the first of many Black Rustic recorded. The Mallow was also recorded on each night. While others were looking for Blue Underwing I had my one and only Red Underwing, Scarce Bordered Straw and my second Dewick’s Plusia of the year. Autumnal Rustic which I only get about once a year.

The 24th brought L-album Wainscot, only the third night I have ever had it, 2 Delicate( light and dark variants), Dusky-lemon Sallow ( usually annual) Dark Spectacle which was also recorded on the 23rd. The 25th brought the first Large Wainscot of the season and they appeared nightly thereafter. A single Delicate, 2 L-album, Ruby Tiger, Feathered Ranunculus, contaminella and glaucinalis. It also seemed odd to still be seeing Rosy Rustic, although it’s not unusual but it  was first seen back on the 7th of July at North Cove, what a long season they have had! Copper Under-wing seen also after a long absence. 26th highlights; Delicate upstaged by 2 L-album, 2 Pale-lemon Sallow( a home special annually but never had two in a night before) and that was even bettered for me by my first sighting ever of Feathered Brindle. My first Brindled Green of the autumn also put in an appearance. The 27th was given a miss. On the 28th the species count dropped from 40+ to 34 but it wasn’t as good a night. I only really put the traps out for a Gem ( male recorded) but also had a late brood Southern Wainscot and saw my first Green Brindled Crescent, Red-Green Carpet and Red-line Quaker of the Autumn along with another Pale-lemon Sallow. Leaving me  pretty chuffed with my September catches.

Pics of Dusky-lemon Sallow and Feathered Brindle

Dusky-lemon Sallow 24-ix-2017Feathered Brindle

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The ups and downs of September at IGC.

September was a strange month for recording – quite good at the very start followed by 2 weeks of absolutely hopeless conditions then good again at the end. Traps were run up until the 7th here, then followed a big gap until I put them out again on the 20th.
The early mild summer has certainly made a number of species have extra broods this year, some that have been noted in previous years and some that have never been seen this late in the year before. Of the more regulars, the following have been recorded – Riband wave, Rosy footman, Buff footman, Ruby tiger, Pediasia contaminella and Swallow-tailed moth. More unusual have been the appearances of Small phoenix, Campion, Southern wainscot (also one noted at Hen reedbeds and already reported), Pempelia palumbella and Spilonota laricana. There have been strong second broods of the hook tip moths and the Satin wave too.
Only one new species recorded during the period, the Box-tree moth  (already reported on) trapped on the 7th. Another was noted on the 29th.
Macro observations of possible interest have included the following. Lunar yellow underwing (a good showing this year with regular appearances), Streak (first and only one so far on the 3rd), Dusky thorn (good year), Feathered gothic (poor year only seen first part of the month in low numbers), Dark spectacle (best year ever), Black rustic (very good year plenty about), Deep-brown dart (again, a good year), Mallow (25th), Merveille du Jour (2 on 25th first for year not many others yet), Flounced chestnut (a few with 3 seen on the 1st October) and Red underwing (only record of the year so far on the 1st October, sadly not its bigger cousin!).
Micros: Ypsolopha sylvella (26th) and Dioryctria schuetzeella (7th).
Now onto migrants. I see the coastal trappers have been doing well for these and as usual not that many seem to be heading inland. Have had some luck however. Scarce bordered straw turned up on the 1st, my only record of the year so far. Others seen – Vestal (3rd), Four-spotted footman (on 27th and 28th, both males, may be locally bred) and Gem (a worn male on the 27th is my first since 2006). Only very low numbers of the commoner species like Plutella xylostella, Dark sword-grass and Silver Y noted here.
With cooler nights now starting to set in and numbers of moths declining another year seems to be drawing to a close.

Neil

Scarce bordered straw

Scarce bordered straw

Mallow

Mallow

Four-spotted footman male

Four-spotted footman male

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Asian hornet

Re my previous mention about the Asian hornet: I’ve just seen a copy of last week’s EDP which includes a piece about the arrival of the Asian hornet in Devon this year. There had been previous reports of the occurrence of the species in the Channel Islands and Gloucestershire last year, but the nests were successfully destroyed by ‘bee inspectors’ before any new queens could disperse. It seems inevitable that this alien species will successfully colonise Britain. It is a much more active forager, with bigger colonies, than our own hornet. Entomologists in France are very gloomy about the effect it will have on local moth numbers. If anyone sees what they think might be an Asian hornet it should be reported to the National Bee Unit or Defra. It’s an easy beast to identify – a little smaller than the European hornet with a broad chestnut band on the abdomen.

Tony H.

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Return to Hen reedbeds 23rd September.

A return visit to Hen reedbeds was planned for some time but it wasn’t until towards the end of the month that the weather became suitable! The aim was to see if any more Clifden Nonpareil could be found at the site.
We set up a few traps, painted sugar on trees and posts plus hung up a good number of wine ropes around the car park area where there was a stand of Poplars and Aspens.
A few moths were seen around the lights, along with a bit of moth interest in the baits, but, sadly no Clifdens appeared.
In this good moth year there were still some things of note recorded however.
Moth wise, this included: Deep-brown dart (one on sugar, a new moth for Brian and a scarce sighting for others), Acleris emargana (on wine rope), Large wainscot (4, first for year for all of us), Brown-spot pinion (2 at light), Pink-barred sallow (at light), L-Album wainscot (2 at light, quite northerly county records), Monopis monachella (2 at light), Southern wainscot (at light, second brood one, first time we had all ever seen it at this time of year), Lunar yellow underwing and Bulrush wainscot. Best 2 moths were Epinotia sordidana (a new moth for some of us including myself) and a late record of Crombrugghia distans.
A few larvae were found as well, the best of these being a Reed dagger seen crawling across Brian’s sheet trap and a few Yarrow pug larvae on Yarrow seedheads.
Although we saw no Clifdens on the night we did hear from a local moth-er that another had been seen in the area so it is still very possible it is established as a breeding species locally in Suffolk. Going on the numbers seen this year around the south of the UK this appears to be a moth ‘on the move’ with a growing resident population probably bolstered by immigration. Hopefully it will appear in all our traps soon!

Neil

Crombrugghia distans  Breckland plume

Crombrugghia distans
Breckland plume

Epinotia sordidana

Epinotia sordidana

Reed dagger larva

Reed dagger larva

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Autumn, and Asian Aliens

Having been away for June I missed the best of the year here. The last week has produced regular autumn attractions like merveille du jour and the rapidly increasing black rustic. On the 30th the garden trap turned up a delicate and a couple of scarce bordered straw, and two red admirals. As usual I have to be quick in the mornings to rescue anything from around or on the trap. This year the culprit is a young moorhen: yesterday it dismembered a great silver water-beetle, and for one hear-stopping moment I thought it had done for a clifden nonpareil. All that was left was half a forewing, but from the size and general tone of the remaining fragment I think it was just a red underwing.
Concerning the box-tree moth – I haven’t yet caught one here but I’m sure it is on the way. When I was in southern France this year it was abundant – a lovely-looking moth with a beautiful purple/grey form which seems to make up about a fifth of the population. But the poor box bushes we saw in every village were totally destroyed.
We tend not to think of France as a victim of alien depredation but it seems to be suffering more than we are – where I was in the Dordogne the big problem for entomologists is the Asian hornet, Vespa velutina, which is very handsome but much more aggressive and voracious than our own species. I had to get out of the way fast when a couple of them took a close interest in my moth trap. And like the box-tree moth it is on its way here.

Tony H.

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September 2017 Moths from Hollesley and around.

Interesting year so far. June was exceptionally good and early for moths. We then saw a slow decline, as compared to the norm, through July and August and with the exception of a day or two in early September mid September’s weather was dire. Things started to buck up from 20th though and the end of September has brought some interesting catches.

Apart from trapping at home I visited The Patch on 4th and 28th, Tangham on 25th and Captain’s Wood on 26th. I have picked up most of the autumn species now with the exception of the Brindled Green and Green-brindled Crescent. Pink-barred Sallow, Black Rustic and Feathered Brindle seem to be having a good year. The milder weather that started around the 20th has brought out a number of late brood individuals. Whilst some might be prolonged late summer broods such as the Ruby Tiger others have been more interesting. Fresh specimens of Bucculatrix nigricomella, Anania coronata, Small Fan-footed Wave, Riband Wave, Swallow-tailed, Buff, Common and Rosy Footman, Yellow-tail, Buff Arches and Flame. Most excitingly for me was a male Archips oporana at Tangham on 25th. It is resident at a low frequency in our pine forests but I would be interested to know if it has previously be caught as a second brood.

The 28th brought me a couple of striking moths that were new for me. The rapidly spreading pest, the Box-tree Moth and 2 Plumed Fan-foot. On the 30th a Clancy’s Rustic turned up. Another first for me. It is difficult to know if these are immigrants or wanderers from locations where the moths are established in the UK. Rather like the Four-spotted Footman it may also be that they are resident. Four-spotted Footman has turned up at home (1), The Patch (2) and Tangham (3).

Other than the above most of the regular immigrants have visited my traps. The Scarce Bordered Straw has been especially prominent being found in most catches at home and usually more than one. Towards the end of September an invasion of the Delicate occurred in the UK. I have caught a few with a peak of 8 on 29th. A moth not normally listed as an immigrant is Hypsopygia glaucinalis. Whilst it is resident, there have been an unusually large number of them, coinciding with the underwings peak in late September. They have turned up at all the sites visited too.

A quick note on my other sites. The Patch on 4th turned up a pleasing 9 species of Phyllonorycter including P. rajella (photo) and 2 Roesterstammia erxlebella with 108 species. Captain’s Wood found me a Caloptilia populetorum, Stenoptilia zophodactylus, Orange Sallow and my first Feathered Thorn for the year.

Finally a note on our Bactra species. In my last post on them I suggested that the strongly bicolour variety of Bactra might be B. lacteana female specific, however I have now found one that was a female B. lancealana. It cannot therefore be used as a field ID character.

Blog 1Blog 2Blog 3

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Monochroa palustrellus

After a two-week pause due to the poor weather, the garden traps been back in action. Lunar, Large and Lesser Yellow U/wing make up most of the now limited catch, as does Set’ Hebrew Character. Black Rustic, Brown-spotted Pinion and Pink-barred Sallow have also appeared over the last few nights. A very fresh looking Silver Y on 20 Sept’ could have been a migrant but who knows. Still also catching Dusky Thorn (1 on 23rd), and the odd Light Emerald and Brimstone Moth (presumed 2nd generation). However, moth of the week must be the Monochroa palustrellus taken last night which is a surprise addition to the garden list. According to the Gelechiid Recording Scheme website, there have been a number of mid-late September records.

Monochroa palustrellus (Woolpit 23-09-17)

Monochroa palustrellus (Woolpit 23-09-17)

 

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