Post 7/7 anticlimax

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.

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Banana moth challenge!

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!

Neil

The banana!

The banana!

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irecord v Mapmate

Does anyone use irecord. Is it better/easier than using mapmate. Or is it not as good?

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Winds of Change…

…or maybe not.

I got back a few days ago from a self-indulgent mothing month in Cenral/Souther France. Saw a lot of wonderful things (and rediscovered the joys of sugaring), but what was entirely absent was any migrants. After about 30 nights of MV trapping spread over four distant and different sites I caught a total of 2 Silver Y and no dark sword grass (or diamond-back, or anything else). There was also a marked absence of migrant butterflies like clouded yellow and painted lady – I know there is an in-between time for generations, but this was really quite eerie.
I have experienced some quite magical migrations in the past – including seeing hundreds of convolvulus hawks in Northern Italy, then driving through Central and Northern France and seeing dozens every evening all the way to Calais – and then catching several in my garden MV. I really felt I had travelled with them across Europe.
But nothing this year. Last night, with the big storm, I did wonder if there might be a few intrepid rush veneers etc, but there were no migrants at all (unless they were Continental nutmegs and lesser yellow underwings sheltering in the windswept corners of my MV.). Things will change through August I have no doubt. But it’s salutary to realise that Europe isn’t always (or often) awash with death’s heads and flame brocades.

Tony H.

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Suffolk Moth Group ‘away’ event 15/07/2017 – Kent.

5 moth-ers headed down to Kent for a bit of ‘away’ mothing on Saturday 15th July. First stop late morning was just off the M2 at Ranscombe Farm Plantlife reserve. This site has many rare plants but we were here to look for some chalk loving moths. Sadly, on arrival it was gloomy, overcast with light rain – not the best conditions for finding day-flying moths!
After an early lunch break things did improve slightly with the rain stopping and the temperature lifting a bit so we set about searching a meadow full of Marjoram. Main target was Moitrelia obductella and we located 3. Other species of interest: Nemophora metallica (female on scabious flower), Oncocera semirubella and Merrifieldia baliodactylus (Dingy white plume).

Moitrelia obductella

Moitrelia obductella

 

 

 

 

 

 
We then moved on to have a look at the Park Gate down reserve, another chalk grassland famous for orchids. It was quite windy at this spot, again, not great for finding day flying species but at least the sun came out for a bit. Not much was seen here apart from a Small purple-barred and Anania fuscalis. Nice to see Marbled whites and a Chalkhill blue though.
After a meal at a local pub it was on to the trapping site – Covert wood. This wood has a mix of deciduous and planted conifer trees with a mix of flora along the rides. Main target found here was the Dusky peacock moth, a relatively recent arrival to the UK.
7 traps (2x WEM light traps, 3x 125w MVs and a couple of other actinics) were deployed along the rides and tracks covering various groups of trees. It was a warm evening with cloud cover and we were sheltered in the wood from any breeze. Moths soon started coming in and we were kept very bust right into the early hours of the morning. The main target species was seen in numbers with at least 30 seen. Other highlights, of which there were many, included the following.
Beautiful carpet, Waved carpet (60+ seen many different forms), Clouded magpie, Satin beauty, Triangle (4), Satin lutestring (40+), Red-necked footman, Olive crescent (15), White-banded carpet (3), Pseudatemelia josephinae, Amblyptilia punctidactyla (Brindled plume), August thorn (2), Four-spotted footman (male and female), Green arches (worn), Broom-tip, Assara terebella, Barred red (prasinaria green form), White-line snout, Dark marbled carpet, Moitrelia obductella and a Sub-angled wave (that eluded capture!).
At the end of the night I had 201sp in my notebook, so yet again another very good recording session following the same trend of the rest of the summer so far. Added bonus that 3 of the macros I hadn’t seen before – the Dusky peacock, White-banded carpet and Waved carpet.

Neil

Dusky peacock

Dusky peacock

Waved carpet

Waved carpet

White-banded carpet

White-banded carpet

Dark marbled carpet (underside)

Dark marbled carpet (underside)

Satin lutestring

Satin lutestring

 

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White-mantled Wainscot

I note that there has been a post of what appears to be a White-mantled Wainscot caught in Somerset. Posted on the Migrant Moths Facebook site early on the morning of 18th. Does the species occur as an immigrant or perhaps the Somerset environment could be another location for this species.

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First half July 2017 Hollesley and around

A round up of my catches over the first half of July in this superb mothing year. Apart from catches at home I visited Captain’s Wood on 7th and The Patch on 14th. The Captain’s Wood catch was good at around 200 species where I picked up my first Broom-tip in Suffolk and a second site for me for Cedestis gysseneliella. The sorting was somewhat irritated by swarming gall wasps for-ever tickling and irritating especially in the hair. Otherwise the catch was average but up to the current standard.

I got my first White-mantled Wainscot at home on 19th that I put down to a wanderer from the established population on Hollesley Marshes however I then captured one at The Patch on 14th. The species may well be resident there as the habitat is suitable.

A first for year of Blastobasis adustella at home on 6th, ffy Marbled Green at The Patch on 14th. My second Catoptria verellus this year at home on 8th. My first coincided with one caught by Matthew and a few others coming into the country but I think the second was a wanderer from The Patch where I caught 2 on 14th. Looking back on last years records of this species I suspect at least one of them was also a wanderer from The Patch now I am aware of it’s presence there. It has been a good year for catching Pyralidae for me. Apart from the regulars Cryptoblabes bistriga is a routine at The Patch with an enormous amount of variation. I take it occasionally at home. Also at The Patch is Assara terrebrella with a few also turning up at home. At home a lot of Pempelia palumbella now tailing off, a couple of Pempelia genistella and Gymnancyla canella that are found on the coast. At The patch the Twin-spot Carpet has turned up in two catches (a rarity at home). The Large Emerald is a regular there as is the Suspected and a Gothic on 14th. Two species abundant there at present are Thiotricha subocellea without doubt feeding on the Water-mint and Adaina microdactyla. The Hemp Agrimony is there in abundance for it. There is still a plume from The Patch to identify. I have had good catches of plume moths at home too. 2 Merrifieldia baliodactylus on 3rd and one (possible recapture) on 6th and the lovely Cnaenidophorus rhododactyla on 8th. For the third year running now at home I have captured Agonopterix curvipunctosa and less rare but interesting Bryotropha basaltinella. Nice to find a couple of Acleris schalleriana and also on 14th an A. kochiella. Lots of Silver Y recently along with ever greater numbers of Nutmeg and a few Dark Sword-grass. They report a possible long distance migrant invasion for Tuesday. We shall see.

Photo1Photo2

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SMG meeting 7th July, North Cove SWT reserve – a superb night!

7 moth-ers met up for this meeting at the SWT reserve at North Cove, Barnby, a site that has been trapped a few times before by the group. The site has areas of carr woodland, wet meadows with many wildflowers and reed edged ditches.
Targets for the night were Dentated pug (as there is a lot of Yellow loosestrife present on the site) and White-mantled wainscot (not recorded at this site before). It promised to be a good night with warm temperatures and cloud cover.
8 traps were deployed, 2 along a track beside a reed lined ditch with the rest around the woods and wet meadows. Good numbers of moths soon started coming in with the first interesting species appearing early on – a Double kidney, a new site for this scarce north Suffolk moth.
A check of the traps showed it was going to be a great night with large quantities of moths in and around them. The first target moth, the White-mantled wainscot was found by one of the traps beside the ditch, exactly where expected. The traps in the wet meadow held the other target, Dentated pug, the first Suffolk record for a number of years. But it actually got even better, as a Small dotted footman was found in the grass beside the other trap, only the 2nd Suffolk record! This is a very interesting sighting as this is close to the Norfolk broads, the usual haunt of the moth so it could be breeding in the area. Future searching may provide more evidence of this. The only other record was a migrant one at Bawdsey.
Other macro highlights included: Double lobed, Lilac beauty, Dotted fan-foot, Phoenix, Gothic, Blackneck, Lesser cream wave, Clouded magpie (and Magpie), Slender pug, Small scallop, Reed dagger and Silky wainscot.
Micros of interest were: Anania perlucidalis, Bucculatrix cidarella, Platytes alpinella, Donacaula forficella, Evergestis pallidata, Orthotelia sparganella, Ostrinia nubilalis, Endothenia quadrimaculana, Athrips mouffetella, Stathmopoda pedella, Thiotricha subocellea, Ancylis badiana, Donacaula mucronellus, Gelechia sororculella, Oidaematophorus lithodactyla, Argyresthia pygmaeella, Epinotia tenerana, Anania crocealis, Agonopterix conterminella and Cochylidia rupicola. There was also a very interesting plume that is still under discussion over it’s id. Looking like isodactylus at present, more news will be posted once known.
This was one of those ‘classic’ warm summer nights that as moth-ers you always hope for but often don’t happen in Britain. Huge numbers of moths seen by the end of the night, with a species total of over 230 species. Real quality too including the major surprise.
The great moth year continues!!

Neil

Stop press: The mystery plume moth has now been confirmed by Colin Hart as Hoary plume Platyptilia isodactylus, confirming my initial id. First Suffolk record for a very long time.

Small dotted footman

Small dotted footman

Dentated pug

Dentated pug

Hoary plume Platyptilia isodactylus

Hoary plume Platyptilia isodactylus

Dusky plume Oidaematophorus lithodactyla

Dusky plume Oidaematophorus lithodactyla

Phoenix

Phoenix

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June in Mendlesham Green

This gallery contains 4 photos.

Encouraged by Neil asking for comments on other June records , I thought I’d put a few jottings down on what was a bumper month for my garden records. Firstly, as has been universally noted, everything seems to be 2 … Continue reading

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Quadra fest 2017

Allan Eaton from Kessingland joined Brian and I as we returned to the Ashby site on 2nd July where in 2014 we had 6 and then 45 Four-spotted Footman, Lithosia quadra. In the last two years we had proven the species was still at the site by revisiting at a similar date to 3rd July 2014, but numbers were very low through either seasonal differences or colony decline. Although the former was suspected it was time to get a decent quantity of quadra and with similarities with this and the 2014 season I was very hopeful. Between us Brian and I set out 7 traps covering 400m of the same area we target every year for the species.

Well we didn’t have to wait very long as the quadra appeared keen. The first, a female, on Brian’s jacket. Some peculiar traits were noted as they appear to drop from the sky and often appear from nowhere. None were seen flying along approaching the lights. They also seem at ease in a pot.

Brian put in a big effort to attend on the night as he had only returned from the midlands an hour and a half before the meeting and didn’t want a late night, however on the final trap round we were inundated with them and potting every one to get an accurate count there was no early night to be had. 62 quadra at the final count of which 15 were the four-spotted females. An observation on the very freshly  emerged males was metallic blue on the legs and the costa near the thorax which I have not noted before.

Red-necked Footman on the other hand must have emerged early this year as only two quite worn specimens seen. S. weirana, E.grotiana. Lunar Yellow Under-wing, Birds Wing, Purple Clay, Scallop Shell, Suspected, also seen. Everyone very pleased with a long but worthwhile night leaving at 03.00.

I decided to return on the 4th to an area not trapped before 350m from the nearest trapping point of the 2nd and further away from that point towards the end of the woodland. No Beech trees in this area of Oak, mixed conifer, Birch and a few other trees. I was checking for population density of the quadra this far removed from what is believed to be the core area. 22 trapped and present in all four traps. 10 were in the trap closest to the normal trapping area. 5 females in total.  Also recorded Pinion-streaked Snout, Rufous Minor, Small Rufous, Dichomeris alacella.

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