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.