Overwhelming June at IGC.

June has been a phenomenal month for recording moths at IGC, so much so I haven’t had any time to collate thoughts for a write-up till now! Pretty good numbers of moths trapped even on the not so good nights showing there are a lot about. A lot of species appearing earlier than expected e.g. Scalloped oak, Black arches and Dun-bar.
No data input at all as not had time, so can’t say how many species have been noted. Do know that I’ve had 5 new site records: Aristotelia brizella (3rd), Grass rivulet (2 on 10th already reported), Grapholita compositella (in greenhouse on the 13th), Assara terebella (18th) and finally a Larch pug female (30th).
A few other thoughts and observations for the month. Shaded fan-foot (started early in month and regular), Large nutmeg (2 seen, scarce here), Alabonia geoffrella (2nd, another scarce species here), Cream-spot tiger (2nd, again scarce here), Lobesia littoralis (2), Four-spotted footman (2 males, 8th and 21st – think breeding locally now), Festoon (very good numbers), Beautiful golden Y (a few), hawkmoths generally in very good numbers especially Elephant and Eyed, but Poplar very rare this year so far, Dark spectacle (2), Red-necked footman (a few), Grey arches (very good numbers after many poor years here), Buttoned snout (14th), Blackneck (16th, 2nd site record), Rosy marbled (21st, a female, trying to rear some larvae from her eggs), Evergestis limbata (3, following on from the first last year), Caloptilia cuculipennella (first for year 26th), Marasmarcha lunaedactyla (Crescent plume, 3rd site record 23rd), Nemophora fasciella (2 females and a male seen in the garden on Horehound), Yellow-legged, Red-belted and Currant clearwings (all seen in the garden).
I’ve found birds to be a very big problem this year, much worse than previous seasons, raiding my traps mostly for the big moths like the hawks and Buff tips. I’ve even got up before the sun has come up but there were still casualties. Main culprit is a male Blackbird, I’ve seen him above one the traps. Robins and Great tits are also to blame. Hopefully this will ease once they have stopped raising young.
Hopefully others will report how they have got on, there must have been other good moths seen around the county.

Neil

Grapholita compositella

Grapholita compositella

Shaded fan-foot

Shaded fan-foot

Evergestis limbata

Evergestis limbata

Larch pug female

Larch pug female

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The Patch, June 2017

The Patch is a private area of land that I am grateful to the landowner for allowing me to moth trap there. It has turned up some very interesting results. Despite the trap locations being only around 500 metres from my home the catches are very different owing to the very different habitats. The land borders the Black Ditch and is wet woodland with areas of boggy ground, beds of rush, sedge and reed. It has springs, streams and ponds and a huge range of tree species having been planted as a ‘garden’ in the past. Name a tree and it will either be there now or has been. There are a lot of fallen trees since as the ground is wet they readily fall. Then there are the natural species for a wetland site, the sallows, willows and alder. Bucculatrix cidarella was numerous at the end of June. Psyche casta males flying in profusion in mid June. Expected wetland species are there and some surprises. A number of species new to me have been caught, which is good for just two months of trapping to date. Aethes cnicana has been in abundance and I have yet to find it at home. Coleophora taeniipennella in the rush bed. Elachista utonella found in the sedge bed. This is virtually identical to the E. scirpi I get at home but has white dorsally to the ‘black dash’. They are very different upon dissection. Strophedra weirana is there. Larger and not such a smart looking moth as S. nitidana I have found at other location. Spilonota laricana has been captured and Monochroa tenebrella was a first for me. A number of he attractive Purple Clay and the Rufous Minor was common with few other Minors.

However after the Agrotera nemoralis in May the best catch/discovery to date is of Catoptria verellus. When sorting on 19th I found a Catoptia verellus and thought wow that’s a good record. Then another appeared, and another. My mind then got confused and wondered if I was mis-identifying. But no. There were 5 from two traps. To prove the point I returned to trap on 26th. A further 5 Catoptria verellus from my two traps. The species is clearly breeding at the site. Reading the texts the larval food is given as moss on old trees. Perfect for the site.

Elachistaicat cnic

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Chalk Lane wander 1st July 2017.

A few of us went for a bit of daytime surveying along the Chalk Lane in the King’s forest on Saturday late morning/early pm. No real targets, we were happy just to find anything!
Was warm and sunny if a little cloudy at times. Butterflies abundant on the numerous wildflowers and of course we found some moths. Some of interest too, especially the micros.
Best macro was a slightly worn Tawny wave. We also had Fox moth (larva), Hummingbird hawk (2 feeding at Viper’s bugloss) and a Blackneck. Micros included Marasmarcha lunaedactyla, Delplanqueia dilutella (or inscriptella), Gillmeria pallidactyla (Yarrow plume) and Syncopacma taeniolella.
A quick visit to Barton Mills afterwards didn’t produce the hoped for Orange-tailed clearwing sadly. Would have been a good finish to the day.

Neil

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‘The Life of Casta’

Psyche casta in fact. I have been pondering this species for some time, wishing to catch a male. I have collected numerous cases as they climb up posts, walls, plants etc to pupate and only ever found females emerging. I got to wondering if they were parthenogenic, however males are known and have been illustrated. They are reported to fly in morning sunshine. My ponderings reached a conclusion around 12th June this year. Whilst sorting a catch at The Patch at around an hour or so after sunrise there were a number of small black insects flying in an haphazard fashion in the vicinity. I took them to be caddis flies and caught a few to identify. The first clearly identified them as Psychids. I took a couple home and introduced one into the container of the emerged female Psyche casta. The males are over sexed. Mating took place within a minute or so. The male then mated with a dead female. Unfortunately for him it was impossible to separate and he died in this position. A day later a Psyche casta male came into the house to the container of emerged females. Their strongly pectinate antennae clearly serve very efficiently in finding their mates. Having captured females in the past, they turn around after mating and lay their eggs inside the case. The young Psyche casta upon hatching then feed on the body of their mother and cut pieces of her home up to make their own. I have little knowledge of the larvae and what they feed on but considering their first meal is their mother then I suspect they will eat anything. If the larva is female it will climb up to pupate. If it is a male it will not.

Psyche casta

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June moths at home in Hollesley

Managed to find an opportunity to run through my records for my home and gather together a report. There is a great deal I could say and I am sure everyone else has found this June exceptionally good so I shall keep it relatively brief.

Overall high numbers in the catches reaching the usually July peaks of around 200 species. I had often thought ‘so and so’ hasn’t turned up yet and then remembered it was only June. Poor on grass moths here this year. Tons of Yponomeuta evonymella. Marbled Minor has done very well in contrast to the Tawny Marbled and also had a few Rufous. Buff Footman in abundance in contrast to last year and Dingy only just arrived. A small number of Nemapogon ruricolella  Nematopogon metaxella  and my first Glyphipterix thrasonella. Delighted to finally pick up Anarsia innoxiella. Two in the same catch. A Dichrorampha plumbana was my first and puts my Dichrorampha up to 9 species at home. The other scarce one was a D. aeratana in 2012. Both confirmed by dissection but the D. plumbana was identified from the moth initially. Dark but very attractive. As is Gypsonoma minutana. Whenever I catch this moth I am in awe of its beauty. Cydia inquinatana has been caught throughout June. Up to 6 per catch and present in 9 out of 17 catches for the entire month. Some variation has been noted, with white scales especially in the distal third. As my Pug identification improves I have added the Larch Pug to my site list. Two captured so far. Rosy Wave turning up and a Cypress Carpet first brood. The first time I have caught one in summer. Some less common Pyrales have included Assara terebrella, Ancylosis oblitella and Ortholepis betulae (possibly immigrant as two coincident with other immigrants)

And on the immigrant front, no Hawk-moths for me yet but I did get the spectacular Orache Moth on 25th. I also took a noctuid on that date which remains unidentified. If it turns out something good I will post it. All the ‘routine’ immigrants plus some that are not such as Ethmia dodecea and Ethmia quadrillella and a Grass Rivulet on the 9th. Probably missed a lot of interest out but that will do for now. What will July bring? Wishing everyone good mothing.

Photo1Photo 2

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Rose Gold

Prospects were looking good Thursday evening when I arrived in perfect conditions at the old Brickworks site at Somerleyton. It sits on top of what would have been a former cliff I suppose and it now towers over Somerleyton marina.  I have passed by on numerous occasions thinking I must give it a go here someday. The part of the site of particular interest is very small but consists of a group of specialist plants that thrive on what I guess was once the concrete floor of part of the factory, plants of very poor chalky soil which are very rare in my area. Surrounding this some scrub, poor grassland and some Tansy, not a huge amount of it but it is scattered around the Somerleyton area. I was hoping at best for perhaps a few micros on the (special plants) and therefore focused on just a small patch of the site measuring around 50 x 50m.

Setting up the three traps including one actinic, switch on was at 21.55. By 22.10 I knew it was going to be a memorable night as there were already two Oncocera semirubella in the trap I was sitting by. I have never seen the moth before and on other occasions have set up hoping for it elsewhere on the Estate as there is a lot of these sandy hills which I believe were ideal habitats for it making up the edge of the Waveney Valley just here. But tonight they came as a complete surprise. I have always believed it to be a resident in Suffolk while some think a migrant but for those who believe the latter then I can reveal I was very happy to have captured 13 specimens of O. semirubella by 1am. Possibly an even better record a single Tansy Plume Gillmeria ochrodactyla confirmed by Tony P. These were to be the two highlights of 128 species which included. G. alismana which seems to be a local speciality as we see it every year, despite the seeming lack of Water Plantain. Pretty Chalk Carpet. Juniper Webber, Blastodacna hellerella, E hohenwartiana and several Rufous Minor. A Purple Hairstreak butterfly also recorded. Best migrant a Dark Sword-grass.

Gillmeria ochrodactyla Somerleyton Suffolk 29-vi-2017         Oncocera semirubella Somerleyton Suffolk 29-vi-2017

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Cosmet Quest

The “Cosmets” – or to describe them more correctly, the Cosmopterigidae – are a small group of mostly black, red and silver marked micro moths. The other thing they have in common is that I’ve not seen many of them. However, last year I came of across what appeared to be the feeding signs of Cosmopterix zieglerella (the Hedge Cosmet) on some river bank Hop along the Gipping in Needham Market. Determined to prove that I was correct, and armed with a valuable bit of advice from Neil, I went out at lunchtime today to do a bit of ‘tapping’. Pretty much the first plant I tried resulted in an adult zieglerella jump into the spring net … and subsequently the pot. Further searches failed to turn up any more but I’m chuffed to bits with this one bit of luck. As for getting a photo, I rate my chances as < 0.5 out of 10!

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Kent moth night details 14th/15th July 2017.

Here are the details for the meeting spot for Covert Wood, kent.
Meet at TR187483 at 8.30pm (to give us time to investigate trapping areas). This is along the southern of the two roads that go through the wood  and is the obvious stopping place with room on either side for several cars.
It is quite likely this meeting will take place on the Saturday night unless the weather forecast is awful. There is also the possibility that some of the group members attending this event will be doing some daytime fieldwork as well, will be decided nearer the time.

Neil

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Herringfleet Marshes 22nd June

Brian and I trapped with 3 generators and at least 9 lights hoping for Obscure Wainscot. With distant lights being ours we did a lot of walking having spanned something like 3/4 km of marshland and tracks. 169 species and plenty of moths although not too many to shout about. Hoards of Southern Wainscot, good numbers of Garden Tiger which seemed very early to me and lots of the regular wetland specialities that I already know well from this site. I was happy to see Four-dotted Footman among them, Grey Arches, Water Ermine, Double Lobed a single Fen Wainscot, N. cilialis all on the site list as regular catches. Gothic and the best macro for us, Coronet. First time I’ve seen it up here. Now that I have a generator again many more outings planned for the near future. No Obscure Wainscot seen on the night, but someone has had one in North Suffolk this year. You know who you are! How dare you get one in your garden!!!

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SMG Event 23/06/2017 – Barnhamcross common, Thetford, Suffolk.

This was a change of venue as the Great Yarmouth meeting was moved to the previous week. 6 moth-ers attended, running 5 traps (1 actinic) in the shelter of the scrub on the edge of the open common due to the breeze. It was still warm at dusk and moths were starting to fly and in fact moths kept flying all night.
Even though this site has been trapped many times in the past by the group it still produces moths of interest and this was the case again.
164sp in my notebook from the night. Moths of interest in no particular order included the following. Reddish light arches (common), Brown scallop (common), Festoon (a few), Bordered sallow, Royal mantle (a few), Beautiful carpet (1), Purple clay, Grey arches (a few, doing well this year I think), Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla, Sophronia semicostella, Epiblema costipunctana, Beautiful hook-tip (seemingly everywhere this year in numbers, can still remember when this was a great rarity not too long ago), Barred yellow, Agonopterix kaekeritziana, Plain wave, Blackneck, Thisanotia chrysonuchella, Mere wainscot, Dark umber, Oblique striped, Wood carpet, Grass emerald, Epinotia tedella, Celypha cespitana.
The most interesting sightings were Evergestis limbata that could be new to the vice county, Syncopacma taeniolella (with its obvious curved lines and white fascia on the underside of the forewing) and a probable Coleophora tricolor that will need dissection for final confirmation.
So yet again another very interesting and successful moth event.

Neil

Evergestis limbata

Evergestis limbata

Oblique striped

Oblique striped

Agonopterix kaekeritziana

Agonopterix kaekeritziana

Beautiful carpet

Beautiful carpet

Syncopacma taeniolella

Syncopacma taeniolella

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