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.

SUFFOLK MOTH GROUP INDOOR MEETING – 21st March 2020.

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. (moth@sns.org.uk)

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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.

Brian

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The hunt for Phyllonorycter pastorella

31.10.19

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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Antony

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Leaf miner field meeting Sunday 13th October.

A forecast with the chance of rain is not the best weather for getting out in the field for recording but as I’ve been stuck in front of the computer for too many hours recently was nice just to get out. In the end the rain arrived as predicted at lunchtime, a shame, as it meant the visit to a second site was called off.
Only 3 other recorders plus myself turned out for the meeting. The aim was to primarily search the Poplar and Willow trees to see if we could note the scarcer species associated with them. The relatively new arrival to the UK Phyllonorycter pastorella was one of the hoped for species (on long-leaved Willows), but, sadly, we failed to locate it.
Just over 40sp were recorded, a little less than expected. Some species of tree seemed totally devoid of any mines for reasons unknown. Species of interest included Phyllonorycter comparella (mine on Grey poplar, a scarce species mostly found in west Suffolk at present), Phyllocnistis saligna and xenia (on Crack willow and Grey poplar respectively), Ectoedemia hannoverella (on fallen Black poplar hybrid leaves), Phyllonorycter strigulatella (mines on Italian alder) and a Maiden’s blush larva on Oak.

So the field meetings season has now drawn to a close for another year. Watch this space for news on the group’s annual indoor meeting early in the spring next year – planning for this will begin in the very near future.

Neil

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Meeting tomorrow.

It’s been really difficult to call what the weather is going to do tomorrow. At the moment it is looking OK for the morning so the plan is to go ahead, at least until lunchtime or until the rain gets bad (if it does). Of course if it is really tipping it down then the meeing will be off. Some of the main recorders cannot make the following weekend so this is another reason to try and carry on as planned this week.

Neil

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Suffolk Moth group leaf miner day – a reminder that it is this Sunday (13th).

Just a reminder to say that the annual end of season leaf miner recording day for the group is this Sunday -  13th October, meeting at Rampart’s Field picnic site car park (TL788715) at 10.30am. We will then move off in convoy the short distance to a small parking area just off the A1101 to do our recording on West stow country park.
I’ll be watching the weather forecast as the week progresses, at the moment it’s a bit changeable. As long as there isn’t any heavy rain it will still go ahead. Watch this space for any news of cancellation the night before.

Neil

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September moths at Hollesley

Anyone else been catching moths? True not inspiring moth collecting weather which hasn’t enticed me out a lot but there were a few highlights. I had a specimen for dissection left over from 31st August that looked like and was proven to be a Scrobipalpa suaedella. A rare salt-marsh species that made it to the light in my front garden. For September I picked up a Lyonetia prunifoliella on 10th. Good to get this species here as it gives the species a widespread distribution in the county now. I also had my first Clifden Nonpareil on 7th. This species seems to be getting quite common in the county now! Perhaps my best highlight was an immigrant from the east, a lovely example of Caloptilia honoratella. this species has been expanding across Europe and reached Kent this year, so in now in Suffolk too. Otherwise the month has seen  a peppering of immigrants with the Delicate being dominant. Interesting on this species I noticed a dark specimen of the Delicate being caught as a garden first in Grundisburgh this year well before the immigrant numbers increased suggesting it could be breeding in Suffolk.

Thoughts on Climate Change: This is something that we are all aware of these days. The expected change to our climate, particularly in the east here has been evident this year. Dry warm summers (I have lost two trees in my garden this year from the drought). Mild wet winters. Once the hurricane season started in the Caribbean then the Atlantic storms have brought the rain to us. How will, or is it now, affecting our moth species. We are clearly seeing an increase in immigrants from more southerly and European climes and some of them are settling and breeding. How many of our established residents are on the decline due to climate change versus loss of habitat? The Monarch Butterfly has been turning up in the south west recently. Will American moth species turn up with the increased storm activity?

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Moth Night 2019

As the East Anglian regional representative for Moth Night 2019, I am pleased to invite fellow moth enthusiasts to Bawdsey Hall, on the night of Saturday 28th September.  It is the twentieth anniversary of Moth Night (formerly National Moth Night).

Bawdsey Hall is hosting an event and all interested recorders are invited.  I would appreciate as much support as possible, especially as Bawdsey Hall and I personally have put a lot of effort into this night and recording throughout the year.

This year the theme is Clifden Nonpareil and migrant moths.   A Clifden Nonpareil was taken at light here last night (16 September) but I can’t promise any on the night!  However, Bawdsey is a good site for migrants and hopefully a good selection will be trapped.

The evening will start at 7pm with a tour of the grounds followed by deployment of moth traps. Please let me know how many traps you will be bringing?

If people let me know in advance then we can better plan for refreshments.  In previous years last minute arrangements have meant this has been tricky to organise.

Only supporters of the event will be entitled to view future rare moths trapped at the Hall.

Many thanks.

Matthew – matthewjdeans@yahoo.co.uk Telephone 07912 859747

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