Five nights trapped this month. Some findings different than those further south with Lunar Under-wing and Beaded Chestnut having a good season here after a couple of not so good years for the former. I’m glad Raymond mentioned Cypress Carpet as I hadn’t seen it since my apparent 2nd Suffolk record in 2011 until the 17th, with two taken. However subsequent nights of 19th 23rd 25th and 26th it was not seen despite my having enough habitat for a very strong colony. Other than Raymond I wonder if anyone else records it on a regular basis? Blair’s Shoulder-knot doing rather poor here as with other Moth’ers. Reluctant to highlight too many moths doing well as that is the majority, however, very high numbers, for the site, of Green Brindled Crescent worth a mention. Brick appears to be doing very badly though with only a single specimen seen and it was a no show for Pink-barred Sallow this year. Immigrants were the abundant ones of this autumn and in no great number, although no Palpita vitrealis for me this season. My last Painted Lady Butterfly turned up on one of those orange sun days the 6th of October and it was seen again a few days later no doubt transported in the wrong direction by the warm winds. A pretty good year for that species in my garden this year with it present in single figures throughout most weeks of the summer.
I have wandered no further from home than down the road to The Patch for mothing this last month. The month started poorly but improved considerably as it progressed and then ended with some cold days more in line with expected weather for the time of year with December Moth from 26th bringing that fact home.
It has been a good year here for some species that are normally scarce such as Cypress Carpet that seems to be on the increase, Streak, Blair’s Shoulder-knot and Feathered Brindle. Also high numbers of Phyllonorycter messaniella. One of particular note has been Hypsopygia glaucinalis. So abundant with up to 15 a night (2 traps). There has been discussion in social media as to whether or not it is an immigrant as it has been found by many moth-ers this October. The numbers I have caught have been so unusually high that I believe at least some of them must be immigrant. Another species that has stood out for me has been Adoxophyes orana. Normally lucky if I get one a year. I have seen several this October. Nice to be catching Acleris schalleriana routinely now too. It has been a very poor year here for the Beaded Chestnut. The autumn noctuid Yellow-line Quaker seems to have replaced it though the dominant species in the catches has been the Black Rustic. One of my favourite moths. It has also been another good autumn for the Epirrita and I have recorded the Pale November at The Patch and taken one at home.
As for out of season species and immigrants, I am finding it increasingly difficult to separate moths into these categories these days. Moths deemed as immigrants by some are resident for me. Crocidosema plebejana is a regular double brooded catch in my garden. Rosy Footman has been caught on a number of occasions but there has been discussion as to whether that could be an immigrant. I think not. I caught a Bedellia somnulentella on 24th and another one on 25th in my front garden trap along with other immigrants such as Pearly Underwing and Vestal. I spent days trying to photograph this tiny moth with a novel haircut that would not keep still only to find Neil posting the best photo on this blog. You have my best attempt anyhow. I believe they are immigrants. Neils was caught on 25th too. The Blood-vein has been a regular. Also species that have turned up include, Buff, Common and Dingy Footman, Dark Arches, Swallow-tailed, Brimstone, Kent Black Arches and Clepsis consimilana. I had a Vapourer at the patch on 26th. Not common here.
On 19th I caught a Cosmopolitan. This was the windy day and the day Matthew caught his Death’s Head Hawk-moth. The Cosmopolitan has been turning up in numbers to the UK this October and penetrating well inland. It is also considered to breed in the UK on occasions. On 22nd I thought I had a second one but on closer examination I got to wondering and then examination of the hindwings showed it to be a White-speck but it was smaller than the Cosmopolitan. It is a worn individual of this moth that is resident in the south and my second example. I am thinking that these might be species that we will start to see regularly in Suffolk. In the USA the White-speck has a north-south migration pattern as part of its normal life style. Probably a different climate here but could that happen in the UK? Scarce Bordered Straw, Delicate and Vestal have been in abundance, not just for me but elsewhere coastally in the UK, whilst the more usual ‘regular’ immigrant species have been in relative short supply.
Wishing you all happy and successful mothing.
Didn’t feel like autumn much this month, with some warm sunny days and mild nights. There were some good spells of southerly winds that brought plenty of migrants to the UK and I did get a few, more on this later.
Trapped on 16 nights during the month. Best night the 23rd with 45 species recorded in 3 traps. The Moth Night event also took place during the month from the 12th-14th. Best night of the 3 here was the 13th with 39sp recorded in 2 traps.
Generally moth numbers were very good for the time of year, with some of the autumnal species putting on a really good showing. Black rustic, Merveille du Jour (average of at least 5 a night here), Flounced chestnut, Dark chestnut, Dotted chestnut, Pine carpet and Orange sallow were all particularly prevalent. However I would say here at this site that Lunar underwing and Blair’s shoulder knot were in low numbers. Lunar underwing has showed a steady decline for a couple of seasons now, hopefully it will bounce back.
There was a single record of Dusky-lemon sallow on the 19th (quite a worn one).
A significant trend this autumn has been the variety of summer species appearing again in small numbers. Here is a list of what I have noted: Endotricha flammealis (a few), Carcina quercana, Pebble hook-tip (15th), Clouded border (16th), Cedestis subfasciella (a few), Blood-vein (23rd), Double-striped pug (2), Least carpet (25th) and Dark arches (26th). I’m sure others have noted the same and/or different species.
Micros have been much more interesting than the macros this month. First, there were 2 new site records – Cosmopterix pulchrimella on the 23rd and Bedellia somnulentella on the 25th. The pulchrimella is a leaf miner on Pellitory of the wall of which there is none round here so it must have wandered a bit of a distance to get here. This moth is also a new Suffolk record. The somnulentella is a leaf miner in Bindweed and going on the number of places I have seen the mine this year is having a good season, something it is prone to do.
Other micros seen have included Plutella porrectella (8th), Acleris schalleriana (2 on 18th), Agonopterix ocellana (25th) and Diurnea lipsiella (from the 23rd onwards). More unwelcome was the discovery of 100′s of larvae of Indian Meal moth Plodia interpunctella in a sack of bird seed. A nice colourful micro but not one I want to spread so the seed was destroyed.
Finally on to the migrants. Being 10 miles inland I’ve not had the numbers the coastal guys have been getting, but the commoner species have been around in low numbers. Scarcer species have included the Vestal, seen regularly from the 18th in ones and twos both at light and during the day with a maximum of 3 on the 26th. Palpita vitrealis (3 on the 23rd and another worn one on the 26th). Crocidosema plebejana (18th, only the second site record). Other recorders not too far away from me have seen more rarer migrants but none appeared here but that is all down to luck, maybe it will be my turn in the next migrant spell. Only had the one Scarce bordered straw here all year whilst others have reported lots. I have a theory on this – I think the moth has been breeding on arable crops or the weeds growing amongst them. I am quite a distance from arable land here in suburban Ipswich whilst I know the guys seeing lots of the moth are surrounded by farmland. No proof of this but just a thought.
With cold weather now finally setting in will it be the end of this excellent year for moths?
Indian Meal moth
8 recorders attended this meeting, the last of the field season for 2017. Not the warmest of days and a bit of a breeze blowing. The day started at Reydon wood, a SWT reserve with a reasonable mix of tree species. Was nice and sheltered within the wood so we were able to record a good range of species. 64 were noted. Of possible interest were the following.
Caloptilia semifascia (cones on Maple), Coleophora gryphipennella (cases on Dog rose), Coleophora solitariella (case on Greater stitchwort), Parornix betulae (folds on young Birch), Ectoedemia septembrella (mines on St John’s wort), Diurnea fagella (larva on Oak) and Infurcitinea argentimaculella (larval tubes on lichen at base of Birch tree). Best record were the mines of Elachista gangabella found on False brome grass near the wood entrance, the first modern record of this species for Suffolk.
After lunch at a local pub for some, a few of the recorders moved on to Beccles marsh for another survey. The weather had worsened a bit, with rain showers and stronger breeze which made recording on this more open site difficult. 38sp were found, with the following of possible interest. Tawny speckled pug (larva on Yarrow seedheads), Coleophora albitarsella (case on Ground ivy), Stigmella regiella (on Hawthorn), Coleophora artemisicolella (feeding signs on Mugwort, no sign of the cases), Coleophora follicularis (case on Fleabane).
Overall a good day’s recording despite some challenging weather.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
Scarce bordered straw
Four-spotted footman male
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.