SMG Moth Night at Old Hall Wood – 29th June – Olive Crescent discovery

Eight people turned up at this privately-owned mixed woodland south of Ipswich. Conditions were fairly good apart from a bit of breeze blowing across the wood, which meant that we avoided placing traps some of the more exposed areas inside the wood. Nine lights were put out, split between the entrance track and an area deeper into the wood where there were some larger oak trees. As well as the lights wine ropes were put out in a couple of areas.

Moth activity was good and numbers gradually crept up at the sheet, with an unusually marked Clay Triple-lines and some fresh Green Silver-lines. Other moths appearing early at the light included Festoon, Blotched Emerald and Taleporia tubulosa. An early trip round the wine ropes did not prove very fruitful with just one Bird’s Wing.

A rather surprising find during our walk around the wine ropes was the discovery of Olive Crescent in one of the traps! The only previous record of this species in the county was in 2005 at Ipswich Golf Course by Neil Sherman. More Olive Crescent were found in another trap and in all we had twelve individuals over the night. This is a scarce BAP species so its discovery is of particular interest. In my view this would strongly suggest some form of colony exists in the wood. The next question is how long has it been there. We have visited the wood a couple of times in recent years with both times in mid-June, a little earlier in the year than this event, but still within the published flight period of the moth. Does this point to it being a recent colonist and could it have colonised other nearby woods as well?

At least three Red-necked Footman were also seen and the species must also be a good candidate as a colonist given the pattern of recent records. A singleton Assara terebrella was another scarce species seen in one of the traps, maybe not too surprising as the wood contains plenty of the foodplant, Norway Spruce. Other species of note seen included Spatalistis bifasciana, Orthotaenia undulana, Archips crataegana, Epinotia demarniana, Cydia fagiglanda, Orthopygia glaucinalis, Parachronistis albiceps, Dioryctria sylvestrella and on the macro front Gold Swift, Grey Arches, Lobster and Shaded Fan-foot. A good night’s mothing with a final total over 120 species and plenty of moths in the traps.

Returning to the Olive Crescent, it would seem a good idea to search for this moth in other woods in the area (there are a few) and in particular to find it as a larva. I understand that the best time to look for the larva is in September so if you would like to be involved in any larval searches then let me know. I’ll probably arrange a daytime meeting to add to the events list.


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