Important news – Suffolk Moth Group events programme cancelled/postponed.

Given the government advice to avoid social gatherings and venues, the Suffolk Moth Group has regretfully made the decision that it will be in the best interests of everyone to cancel our meetings planned for May and postpone all other events until we know whether they can go ahead if and when the disease comes under control.
We are sure you will agree we have a duty of care to those wishing to attend and given the present situation, we believe this is the correct decision in these difficult times to ensure the welfare of everyone comes first.
This blog and the Facebook page will be used to update on news about the events when we are in a position to resurrect any if at all possible. It may well be likely that all summer events will have to be cancelled.
It is hoped that a leaf-miner recording day can still be arranged for October and the annual indoor meeting that was cancelled in March has been re-booked for mid November. More news on these 2 events later in the year once the virus situation is known.

Best wishes to all and stay safe

Neil Sherman – Suffolk County Moth Recorder.

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Suffolk Moth Group Field Meetings Update

Just a note to say the field meetings programme has been updated with details for the Breckland moth night in June, which will be at Cavenham heath NNR.

Please watch the blog and the group’s social media platforms to see if meetings will be going ahead given the Coronavirus outbreak.

Neil Sherman (Suffolk County Recorder)

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Suffolk Moth Group Indoor Meeting Saturday 21st March cancelled.


Given the latest government advice to avoid social gatherings and venues, the SMG has regretfully made the decision that it will be in the best interests of everyone to postpone our Indoor Meeting scheduled for Saturday 21st March until later in the year when it is hoped Corona virus will be under control. We are sure you will agree we have a duty of care to those wishing to attend and given the present situation, we believe this is the correct decision in these difficult times to ensure the welfare of everyone comes first. The new date for our Indoor Meeting will be announced in due course.


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See below the list of events for the Suffolk Moth Group for 2020. Note that there are still 2 meetings awaiting confirmation. Once this has been obtained then the details will be added to the programme.


Friday 22nd May – Ramsey Wood RSPB reserve (looking for the Mocha and general recording)
Meet beside entrance to wood just off the road at TM062438 at 8.30pm.

Saturday 30th May – Raydon Wood (looking for Mocha and for general recording)      Meet in the Car park for the Hadleigh Railway walk at TM060404 at 8.30pm.
We will head off from this car park after a short wait to the wood entrance                      further down the road.

Friday 19th June - Cavenham heath, Breckland - for Breckland moths.
Meet in reserve car park at TL744721 at 9pm.
We will move off down the main track for recording after a short wait.

Friday 10th July – Captain’s wood Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve (for general recording. Olive crescent was recorded from this wood in 2017, so this meeting is arranged to see if any more turn up)
Meet in the reserve car park on right side of School Road at TM420531 at 9pm. We will move off into the wood after a short wait.

Saturday 1st August – Moth morning at Ipswich Golf Course, Purdis Heath (heathland, grassland and wetland species possible). Joint meeting with the Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation.
Meet by the large Ipswich Golf Club sign on the green along Bucklesham            Road at TM204425 at 9.30am. We will then walk up the lane to view traps run              overnight by Neil Sherman, County moth recorder. Note there is no parking at              Ipswich Golf Club, cars to be parked along Bucklesham Road only please.

Friday 14th August – Darsham Marshes Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve (for wetland species)
Meet in the reserve car park at TM420692 at 8pm.

Friday 28th August – ‘Moth Night’ event at Bawdsey Hall – theme underwing moths. More details to follow later in the year.

Friday 4th September – Wolves Wood RSPB reserve (for possible Clifden Nonpareil and general recording. This wood has a large amount of Aspen so the aim of the meeting is to see if Clifden Nonpareil has colonized the wood, so sugar and wine ropes         will be used as well as light traps)
Meet in the reserve car park at TM053436 at 7pm.

Friday 12th September – Bradfield Woods Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve (for possible Pale eggar, maybe Clifden Nonpareil and general recording)
Meet in the reserve car park at 7pm. We will move off into the wood after a short wait.

Saturday 10th October – Daytime leaf miner recording day – to be confirmed. Once details are finalized this programme will be updated.

Moth trapping evenings are nice social events and are a really good way to learn more about moths and moth trapping, as well as improving our knowledge of the county’s moths. However, events take place outside in the dark and can run for a few hours until quite late at night (sometimes all night if conditions are really good!) so there are a few things that you will need to bring along so that you have a safe and comfortable evening.

•    a torch is essential (don’t forget to check the batteries are not running low)

•    warm clothing (even if it is a hot day, it can get chilly after dark)

•    suitable footwear (stout walking boots advisable for most meetings, wellies for wet sites)

•    something to drink and a snack to eat

•    something to sit on as we normally run a sheet light as a base and spend a lot of time   close to this

•    insect repellent

•    eye protection against UV light as the bulbs we use emit a lot of it

•    mobile phone (most people have one now anyway!)

Please try to arrive at the advertised time, take care of your own personal safety and listen to the short introductory briefing by myself or another experienced recorder who is running the event about any hazards in the area such as electric cables, slippery paths etc. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian if under 16. If you have any queries before the event please contact myself.

Neil Sherman (

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Indoor meeting 21st March 2020.

Just a reminder to all that the indoor meeting for the group is approaching. If you are planning on attending and eating at the pub for lunch I’d like to know before the end of this week please so I can call them and let them know the approximate numbers. If you have already done this I have you noted down so you don’t need to contact me again.


Neil (

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2019 review of moths for me.

I don’t know how many of you still read this blog now that we have a Facebook site for Suffolk Moths, but I would be pleased to know by way of comments. If you don’t use Facebook it is worth getting an account just to follow ‘Recording Moths in Suffolk’. Your individual account can be private to prevent access by unwanted ‘friends’ and there is no need to add any personal information.

I spent some time on the text for the smaller micros on the new web site this summer which restricted my trips away from home and reduced the amount of dissections I carried out. This was one of the reasons why my annual species total for the year at home was only 741. This considerably lower than the last 3 years. I also only gained a further 22 species new to my home site. However apart from this the year as a whole was not one of the best. Whilst it started quite well for moths and was OK during July, August was not a great month for moths and the rest of the year did not see spells of regular migrants. Species expanding their range in the UK played a prominent part in catches across the county and I was one of those who caught the spectacular Clifden Nonpareil. Some of my site other additions were also pleasing, some of which were new for the vice county. These included Caloptilia honoratella, Lyonetia prunifoliella, Iana incanana, Grapholita lobarzewskii, Sciota hostilis, Three Humped Prominent and Dusky Marbled Brown.

I had a target of the White-mantled Wainscot for the RSPB site at Abbey Farm Snape last year. Really wanting to find it there for the new wetland reserve. As the season progressed it came down to the 25th July as my only real opportunity. However this was also the night when the weather broke with a massive thunderstorm. I took the opportunity. I was successful for the target moth and also picked up a number of other species that I would not have done so without the weather event. It was worth while but especially memorable for the spectacular weather.

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Call for records please.

I would like to ask if anyone has any outstanding records for 2019 then could they please get them to me as soon as they are able before the moth season for this year really starts to get going. Please see the Suffolk Moth website for details on how I would like to receive them.

Many thanks

Neil Sherman (County recorder)

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Suffolk Moth Group Indoor meeting – 21st March 2020 – Bucklesham Village Hall.


Doors will open at 9.30am for setting up, refreshments and general chat plus looking at exhibits. The meeting will officially start from 10am. Some of the group will then be lunching in a local pub just down the road from around 12.30pm onwards. Please let me know if you intend to eat at the pub well before the meeting day so I can phone in advance to let them know numbers. Or you can bring your own food along, the hall can be left open for those doing this. The meeting will continue until we have run out of talks etc, possibly around 4.30-5pm.

This year our guest speaker will be Sharon Hearle from Butterfly Conservation. Sharon is the Eastern Region Senior Conservation Officer and is involved with many Butterfly and Moth projects in the area. Sharon will be telling us about the Regional Action Plan as well as work on the high priority moths in Suffolk which includes Marsh carpet, the Breckland species plus the Sloe carpet.
Following Sharon’s talk there will be the chance for members to show presentations. A digital projector will be available for those with digital presentations or images. This year if members could restrict their talks to 30 minutes duration then that will allow us to show what everyone has produced as well as the chance to ask questions. If you are doing a Powerpoint presentation then you should save it in OpenOffice format or if you use Microsoft Office then Office 2007 format or earlier.
Tables will also be provided for those with exhibits. It would be useful if you are intending on giving a presentation to let me know.
I hope to do a demonstration of a moth dissection for those who are interested, a technique that is not as hard as it first appears.
Refreshments  (tea, coffee and cake/biscuits) will be provided. There will be a request for voluntary contributions towards the cost of hiring the hall.

Bucklesham Village Hall is not far from the Nacton A12/A14 roundabout to the east of Ipswich. From the A12/A14 roundabout take the minor exit after the A12 exit but before the A14 Felixstowe exit. This exit is signposted to Bucklesham and leads via a single track road to Bucklesham Village. At the end of this road you will reach the village, at the T junction turn right into Bucklesham Road. Take the next right turn into Levington Lane and the village hall is a short distance down the lane on the right. A map of the location can be viewed by following this link. The OS Grid Reference for the hall is TM242417. If you need any more detailed instructions in how to get there then do get in contact with myself.

All are welcome – if you are just starting getting interested in moths this is a great event to meet up and find out all about it.
Hopefully see you there!

Neil Sherman, County moth recorder. (

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First moth of 2020 – a plume

For me the first moth of the New Year 2020  was a plume. Amblyptilia acanthadactyla was sitting on the conservatory wall this morning (1st). Probably off the geraniums outside on the patio which have not succumbed to the frost yet as it has been so mild.                              I have been browsing through the distribution maps on the new Suffolk Moths site. With the records now completed up to 2018, it’s interesting to see that some of the species we consider common up here in the top NE corner of Suffolk are scarcely recorded over the rest of Suffolk. Best example is probably Common Marbled Carpet with a concentration of dots and many records in the NE but very few elsewhere. A few others similarly recorded are Grey Shoulder-knot, Blair’s Shoulder-knot, Figure of Eighty, Yellow Horned, Crescent, Freyer’s Pug and Least Yellow Underwing.                                                             There are some that are the reverse of this with Nut-tree Tussock and Great Prominent never seen in the far NE of the county.

Also we can now see from the maps a pattern of how some of the new invaders such as Olive Crescent are gradually moving up through the county.

Many thanks to all involved with bringing things up-to-date and best wishes for the New Year which I’m sure will produce some good moths and a few surprises.


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The hunt for Phyllonorycter pastorella


With the moth trapping season drawing to an early close this year with disappointing weather and a lack of opportunities to get out into the field,  my attention has turned to leaf mines. I am out and about most days and it’s relatively easy to pick up several species of mine on the school run or walking to the shops.

Today I convinced my wife to have a trip to Africa Alive Zoo because there is a line of mature Willows and I was on the hunt for a moth only added to the British list in 2014.

I found several mines within a few minutes; Phyllonorycter viminiella and Phyllocnistis unipunctella were the most interesting. By the 3rd tree along I began to find some early stage mines which seemed to match Phyllonorycter pastorella but they could’ve been one of several species.  

After half an hour of searching I found something very interesting and quickly snapped a photo to get a second opinion… Dr John Langmaid and a few others suggested that the mine was a perfect match for Phyllonorycter pastorella.



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