The weather is still looking better for Saturday night so the meeting to Hen reedbeds will go ahead then.
The weather is still looking better for Saturday night so the meeting to Hen reedbeds will go ahead then.
Not the best of weather for moths and moth-ing but there were some days that provided good catches and visited The Patch on 7th. Catches of micros have decreased except for Blastobasis adustella in profusion. A single Parornix fagivora was captured at The Patch that was a first for me as was an Acompsia cinerella on 4th at home. Grass moths have moved on to Agriphila tristella, selasella, geniculea and inquinatella but not taken a latistria yet this year. Ancylosis oblitella has been common this year and is now turning up as a dark form. Flounced Rustic in full swing at the end of the period and Light Emerald has appeared too. Lots of Nutmeg and Turnip but not been inundated by large Yellow Underwings this year. Two nice catches of the Tawny Wave and the Treble-bar that turn up in very low numbers each year and a Peach Blossom at The Patch which also provided a very pretty Maiden’s Blush that had me wondering over its identity for a while. An Oak Processionary Moth in a very dilapidated condition arrived on 8th. I had a Poplar Kitten on 15th too. The Kittens confuse me. Whilst I know this one is a Poplar Kitten, large with the cross band strongly and evenly edged, I also get it early before the Sallow Kitten. Poplar Kitten is supposed to be single brooded and the Sallow double brooded though?
Migrants have been the regulars but a lot of Scarce Bordered Straws this year and recently a lot of Dark Sword-grass. My second Pearly Underwing for the year on 15th the first being quite early in the year.
Bactra: Since Paul Kitchener brought the occurrence of Bactra lacteana to Suffolk moth-ers attention I have been finding it at most sites I visit during its flight period. It has been very instructive identifying the Bactra species. I have found that all the bi-coloured individuals have been B. lacteana females. The double black dashes that identify the males on sight is obscured by this colouration of the females. I also note when I look at Lepiforum images that there are no examples of B. lancealana that are strongly bi-coloured and wonder if the variation everyone thought existed in B. lancealana was in fact due to there being two species. I have yet to find much variation in B. lancealana that is also the larger species when compared to B. lacteana. Time alone will tell on this possible difference that hopefully will assist identification on sight.
Celypha rufana: I have captured two specimens of Celypha rufana at home. The first on 7th was the fuscous colour variant and the second on 13th, the reddish brown colour. I presume this is the first record for the county. Both were males and owing to their rarity in the UK and distance from other known locations I find it hard to view them as either wanderers or immigrants. I would therefore encourage other Suffolk moth-ers to watch out for the species. It lacks the rosy pink underlying colour of rosaceana. It also shows the reticulations over the entire wing area whilst rosaceana tends to have it clouded by a brown suffusion basally. C. rufana also shows an indication of two fascia primarily at the dorsal edge. I note one of the images of C. rosaceana on the dissection web site appears to match the reddish brown form of this species and wonder if that was identified by dissection.
After a break the meetings programme continues this weekend with a visit to Hen reedbeds. Meet in car park TM471771 at 8pm. Looking at the moment as if Saturday is going to be the better night with a strong breeze on Friday. Watch this space for the final decision.
Most of July continued on the same theme as June, with good numbers of moths around, keeping me very busy. On top of this there were all the field meetings going on and a holiday at the end of the month so I’ve been rushed off my feet and only now have the time to write a report. Bad weather too has also allowed me to do this, we had to get some eventually!
The last week of the month saw a drop in temperature and hence a drop in moths, except for the 26th which was a good night (more on this later).
Main highlights were 2 new site records – Marbled clover on the 19th trapping out on a heath area on site and Dichomeris alacella, trapped on the 26th at home.
Other observations included the following, starting with the macros.
Lackey – 1st, first since 2010.
Minor shoulder-knot – 1st, first since 1996!
Shaded fan-foot – regular
Beautiful golden Y – a good year with a few more noted
Grass emerald – a few
Dark spectacle – again a good year for this with a few seen
Haworth’s pug – 10th, scarce here
Saltern ear – 10th
Triple-spotted clay – second site record on 17th
Maple pug – at end of month
Garden dart – towards end of month, one a nice fresh specimen never seen a pristine one here before!
Small rufous – 19th
Square-spotted clay – 26th
It has been an excellent year for Beautiful hook-tip, with it appearing almost every trap night, along with the Festoon too, never seen so many. Yellow-legged clearwing has also done well with 2 more sightings this month. Late summer species started early too, with Black arches and Canary-shouldered thorn appearing before their usual time.
On to the micros. Evergestis limbata (2 records, seems established in the area), Coleophora limoniella (a saltmarsh wanderer on the 4th), Bucculatrix nigricomella (7th), Anerastia lotella (another coastal wanderer on the 8th, second site record), Anarsia inoxiella (9th), Oncocera semirubella (2 records), Cydia amplana (first for year on 18th), Thiotricha subocellea (18th), Bucculatrix maritima (26th, yet another coastal wanderer) and Eucosma tripoliana (you’ve guessed it, another coastal species – 27th).
The night of the 6th I ran traps in my main reedbed area to check the White-mantled wainscot colony. Doing well it seems, with 5 trapped, my highest count. Also recorded there were Dotted fan-foot, Shaded fan-foot, Gelechia muscosella, Anania verbascalis and Brachima inornatella, all species known from the spot but still nice to get as they are scarce in the county. I also surprisingly picked up another White-mantled wainscot in my trap at home on the 26th which is about a quarter of a mile away from the colony site, the second time this has happened.
Migrant moths have been in very low numbers at the site with only a few of the commoner ones noted. Best species recorded was still a lepidopteran, but not a moth – a pristine Long-tailed blue butterfly, present in my garden for 10 minutes on the 9th . My first UK sighting of this species – superb!
I’ve found larvae of Toadflax brocade and Broad-barred white again this year in the garden which was good to see. My banana experiment hasn’t done too well as the bad weather started as soon as I put it up! Just Copper underwing noted so far but I’ll be carrying it on.
With rain pouring down outside and most of the start of August cool, has summer come to an early end?
Well we had to pay for the good mothing spell sooner or later. The current windy weather on westerlies has not been the best for moths or trapping. It looks like it will be another couple of weeks before August improves. I also had a generator failure when I tried an ambitious excursion on 16th July. Turned out the ignition system had worn out and took me a while to fix it so I was also without my generator on the group visit to Orford Ness. Quite a good trip as Neil has reported where I saw 3 moths new to me one of which was Depressaria sordidatella (not reported by Neil). An excellent catch for Suffolk and The Ness.
Much of the second half of the month has lacked great interest but the 17th was good for me at home. Elachista maculicerusella and Waved Black were new for my site. There was my only Nut-tree Tussock so far this year and a Ground Lackey wanderer off the coast. My third Merrifieldia baliodactylus for the year that was for sure not a recapture. Second brood Crombrugghia distans has been common and Green Carpet and Cinnabar have recently re-appeared. Mouse and Copper Underwing throughout the period. Recently added Agriphila selasella and Square-spotted Clay to the years list.
Migrants have not been dramatic being mainly what I refer to as routine species but also a number of Scarce Bordered Straw. Thankfully I have not been invaded by high numbers of Large Yellow Underwings this year but I have taken a moth for the first time that has surprised me that I feel has come in as an immigrant. The Garden Dart. In my post for the earlier part of July I mentioned an unidentified noctuid. This was the first Garden Dart. It was very dark and large. At the upper size limit for the species and turned up in the same trap as The Orache Moth. I have since caught further individuals. They have all been dark and always with catches that have included fresh known immigrant species.
6 moth hunters came to this meeting, including one from the Norfolk group on his first meeting out with us. As usual, the staff and Mike Marsh helped us transport the load of equipment over to the reserve by boat. A Barn owl was seen en route, crossing the river back to the ness.
We put traps out in 3 areas: out in the ‘Holm Oaks’ an area of scrub trees on the edge of the shingle and saltmarsh, around the buildings in the middle of the site and also the reedbed area to try and find White-mantled wainscot. It was slightly windy but felt warm with some cloud cover so things were looking promising. All traps put out in sheltered spots from the breeze.
Back at the accomodation block whilst having a beer a few moths came in to the lights – Garden tiger, Aphomia zelleri and Pima boisduvaliella, a good start!
Up early the next morning to check the traps. First, the Holm Oaks. Reasonable number of moths seen here, with the following highlights: Tawny shears, Dog’s tooth, Acleris cristana, Saltern ear, Pempelia genistella, Agdistis bennetii, Aphomia zelleri, Aristotelia brizella, Ground lackey (c.15), Tree-lichen beauty (5), Plain pug, Starwort, Coleophora limoniella, Marbled green and a very worn Mathew’s wainscot.
Next stop was the reedbed traps. These were amazing, absolutely full of moths! For example, I estimate at least 800 Dog’s tooth alone recorded between the 3 traps! Highlights here: Garden tiger (40+), Leopard (2nd site record), Reed dagger, Dark sword-grass (a few), Crescent, Crescent striped (c.15, most ever seen in one night at the site), Brown-veined wainscot (2), Silky wainscot, Twin-spotted wainscot, Gold spot, Lesser cream wave, Dotted fan-foot, Brachima inornatella, Cosmopterix lienigiella, Ancylosis oblitella. Sadly no White-mantled wainscot seen here. Trap sorting had to take place in the bird ringing hut as it poured with rain at this point!
Highlights from the building traps: More Tree-lichen beauty, Monopis monachella, Sandhill rustic (first for year) and Pima boisduvaliella. These traps were probably the quietest of the lot for an unknown reason. Also close to the buildings a check of Prickly lettuce plants revealed a number of Small ranunculus larvae.
Yet again this was another very good event with a large number of moths seen. Sadly not the target but gives us a reason to return again next year!
Thanks must go to the National trust staff for their assistance and also Mike Marsh for helping put out the traps and with recording the catch.
Dewick’s Plusia from last night. Only wish it had been alive when I found it!
Anyone know how scarce or otherwise this sp is for Suffolk? The web-site gives the last record as 2008 in Eye (not that far from me in Mendlesham Green) but there must have been more recent records?
Since North Cove the mothing has become much more lacklustre. The trap I ran at home on that night had 78 species whereas on the 17th four traps only had 80sp although two of those were new to me being; Caloptilia populetorum and Plain Pug. Also seen, Privet Hawk and Oak Eggar.
Two trips out on the Somerleyton Estate being Blocka Carr and Fen on the 15th. A warm night, 112 species best I suppose was Prays ruficeps which I have only had at this site before. Shaded fan-foot, Slender Brindle ( having a good year) Crescent, Webb’s W. Flame Carpet in number ( best site I know for this species).
The second outing was Herringfleet Hills on the 21st with Brian. Nine lights were run. The best site for a high species count up this way. 200sp would be reasonable to expect for the time of year but with the early season could that be hoped for? Well surely at least 180sp then! Conditions were warm, never below 18c all night, there was shelter but a strong breeze until late when there was no wind at all and we left site after 03.00. 193 species recorded so pretty satisfying. Nothing blew us away though, best moth Evergestis limbata with a single specimen for the fourth consecutive year. It has still not been recorded any further north along the east coast than this site. Maple Pug first for the Estate records, only had my first last year at home. Gold Triangle, Double Lobed, Kent Black Arches all seen.
Recently on the internet there has been discussion on using bananas to attract moths to feed. The method involves simply cutting sections of skin off the banana and hanging it up in a tree (see photo). There have been reports of Old lady, Red underwing and Copper underwings drawn in to the fruit, so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m also putting the challenge out there to other moth recorders to give it a go, let’s see what we can find!
News on my success/failure will be reported in the near future.
Good luck if you try!
Does anyone use irecord. Is it better/easier than using mapmate. Or is it not as good?