Return to Hen reedbeds 23rd September.

A return visit to Hen reedbeds was planned for some time but it wasn’t until towards the end of the month that the weather became suitable! The aim was to see if any more Clifden Nonpareil could be found at the site.
We set up a few traps, painted sugar on trees and posts plus hung up a good number of wine ropes around the car park area where there was a stand of Poplars and Aspens.
A few moths were seen around the lights, along with a bit of moth interest in the baits, but, sadly no Clifdens appeared.
In this good moth year there were still some things of note recorded however.
Moth wise, this included: Deep-brown dart (one on sugar, a new moth for Brian and a scarce sighting for others), Acleris emargana (on wine rope), Large wainscot (4, first for year for all of us), Brown-spot pinion (2 at light), Pink-barred sallow (at light), L-Album wainscot (2 at light, quite northerly county records), Monopis monachella (2 at light), Southern wainscot (at light, second brood one, first time we had all ever seen it at this time of year), Lunar yellow underwing and Bulrush wainscot. Best 2 moths were Epinotia sordidana (a new moth for some of us including myself) and a late record of Crombrugghia distans.
A few larvae were found as well, the best of these being a Reed dagger seen crawling across Brian’s sheet trap and a few Yarrow pug larvae on Yarrow seedheads.
Although we saw no Clifdens on the night we did hear from a local moth-er that another had been seen in the area so it is still very possible it is established as a breeding species locally in Suffolk. Going on the numbers seen this year around the south of the UK this appears to be a moth ‘on the move’ with a growing resident population probably bolstered by immigration. Hopefully it will appear in all our traps soon!

Neil

Crombrugghia distans  Breckland plume

Crombrugghia distans
Breckland plume

Epinotia sordidana

Epinotia sordidana

Reed dagger larva

Reed dagger larva

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Autumn, and Asian Aliens

Having been away for June I missed the best of the year here. The last week has produced regular autumn attractions like merveille du jour and the rapidly increasing black rustic. On the 30th the garden trap turned up a delicate and a couple of scarce bordered straw, and two red admirals. As usual I have to be quick in the mornings to rescue anything from around or on the trap. This year the culprit is a young moorhen: yesterday it dismembered a great silver water-beetle, and for one hear-stopping moment I thought it had done for a clifden nonpareil. All that was left was half a forewing, but from the size and general tone of the remaining fragment I think it was just a red underwing.
Concerning the box-tree moth – I haven’t yet caught one here but I’m sure it is on the way. When I was in southern France this year it was abundant – a lovely-looking moth with a beautiful purple/grey form which seems to make up about a fifth of the population. But the poor box bushes we saw in every village were totally destroyed.
We tend not to think of France as a victim of alien depredation but it seems to be suffering more than we are – where I was in the Dordogne the big problem for entomologists is the Asian hornet, Vespa velutina, which is very handsome but much more aggressive and voracious than our own species. I had to get out of the way fast when a couple of them took a close interest in my moth trap. And like the box-tree moth it is on its way here.

Tony H.

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September 2017 Moths from Hollesley and around.

Interesting year so far. June was exceptionally good and early for moths. We then saw a slow decline, as compared to the norm, through July and August and with the exception of a day or two in early September mid September’s weather was dire. Things started to buck up from 20th though and the end of September has brought some interesting catches.

Apart from trapping at home I visited The Patch on 4th and 28th, Tangham on 25th and Captain’s Wood on 26th. I have picked up most of the autumn species now with the exception of the Brindled Green and Green-brindled Crescent. Pink-barred Sallow, Black Rustic and Feathered Brindle seem to be having a good year. The milder weather that started around the 20th has brought out a number of late brood individuals. Whilst some might be prolonged late summer broods such as the Ruby Tiger others have been more interesting. Fresh specimens of Bucculatrix nigricomella, Anania coronata, Small Fan-footed Wave, Riband Wave, Swallow-tailed, Buff, Common and Rosy Footman, Yellow-tail, Buff Arches and Flame. Most excitingly for me was a male Archips oporana at Tangham on 25th. It is resident at a low frequency in our pine forests but I would be interested to know if it has previously be caught as a second brood.

The 28th brought me a couple of striking moths that were new for me. The rapidly spreading pest, the Box-tree Moth and 2 Plumed Fan-foot. On the 30th a Clancy’s Rustic turned up. Another first for me. It is difficult to know if these are immigrants or wanderers from locations where the moths are established in the UK. Rather like the Four-spotted Footman it may also be that they are resident. Four-spotted Footman has turned up at home (1), The Patch (2) and Tangham (3).

Other than the above most of the regular immigrants have visited my traps. The Scarce Bordered Straw has been especially prominent being found in most catches at home and usually more than one. Towards the end of September an invasion of the Delicate occurred in the UK. I have caught a few with a peak of 8 on 29th. A moth not normally listed as an immigrant is Hypsopygia glaucinalis. Whilst it is resident, there have been an unusually large number of them, coinciding with the underwings peak in late September. They have turned up at all the sites visited too.

A quick note on my other sites. The Patch on 4th turned up a pleasing 9 species of Phyllonorycter including P. rajella (photo) and 2 Roesterstammia erxlebella with 108 species. Captain’s Wood found me a Caloptilia populetorum, Stenoptilia zophodactylus, Orange Sallow and my first Feathered Thorn for the year.

Finally a note on our Bactra species. In my last post on them I suggested that the strongly bicolour variety of Bactra might be B. lacteana female specific, however I have now found one that was a female B. lancealana. It cannot therefore be used as a field ID character.

Blog 1Blog 2Blog 3

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Monochroa palustrellus

After a two-week pause due to the poor weather, the garden traps been back in action. Lunar, Large and Lesser Yellow U/wing make up most of the now limited catch, as does Set’ Hebrew Character. Black Rustic, Brown-spotted Pinion and Pink-barred Sallow have also appeared over the last few nights. A very fresh looking Silver Y on 20 Sept’ could have been a migrant but who knows. Still also catching Dusky Thorn (1 on 23rd), and the odd Light Emerald and Brimstone Moth (presumed 2nd generation). However, moth of the week must be the Monochroa palustrellus taken last night which is a surprise addition to the garden list. According to the Gelechiid Recording Scheme website, there have been a number of mid-late September records.

Monochroa palustrellus (Woolpit 23-09-17)

Monochroa palustrellus (Woolpit 23-09-17)

 

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SMG Leaf miner day Sunday 22nd October 2017 – Reydon wood.

The leaf miner recording day has now been fully finalized. It will be on the 22nd October at Reydon wood, a site the group visited for an evening recording session earlier this year. Meet at TM480788 (car park along lane) at 10am. If you arrive slightly later than this you should still find us in the area as it will take us a bit of time to move away from the car park as we will be recording mines on the trees there!
After lunch at a local pub (or your own if you bring it), we will move to Beccles Marsh for the afternoon for more leaf-mining.

Neil

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Fifteen minutes (or so) of fame?

I have been invited (via Facebook) to go on Ipswich Community Radio where the Wednesday breakfast show presenter Nel VanHel would like to do a feature on moths and mothing. I can see from her profile and some of the posts that she is genuinely interested in moths so my expectation is that it would not be the usual media “moths eating clothes” garbage.
The point is I am unable to accept the invitation because a) I am caring for Mum and b) I am shy and retiring. Is there anyone from the SMG who would like to step in for me and speak for our Suffolk moths?
Thanks, Paul

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Box Tree moth arrives at IGC.

I trapped a typical form Box Tree moth Cydalima perspectalis last night (7th September) in my garden MV. My first site record of this species and I’m sure it won’t be the last going on the sightings of this moth in London for example that I’ve seen on the web recently.
I know that Matthew has taken this moth at Bawdsey both last year and this year and I was wondering if there have been any other sightings in Suffolk by other recorders. I believe Tony is planning to write an article on this moth for the Butterfly conservation local branch newsletter so any other records will be important to report.
This blog is also going out as a warning to watch out for the moth, especially in the Ipswich area as there will be plenty of foodplant for it in the urban landscape. Coincidentally I do have a small Box bush in my mixed hedge, did it draw the moth in?

Neil

The IGC Box tree moth

The IGC Box tree moth

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Suffolk Moth Group meeting 2nd September – Tunstall common.

5 moth-ers attended this meeting, the last ‘official’ evening event for the year. Conditions didn’t look too promising, with some heavy showers in the afternoon followed by clear skies for the evening. 4 traps (1 actinic) were put out around the more scrubby areas on the common as putting them out in the open on a cold night would have been a waste of time.
A few moths trickled in but it was never going to be a busy night so we only gave it a few hours. To keep ourselves busy during quiet spells we looked round for a few larvae and leaf mines. This boosted the species list from 26sp seen at light up to 44sp.
Highlights included, light trap records first: Lunar yellow underwing (2, no surprise really as this is one of the best sites in the Sandlings for the moth), Feathered gothic, Hedge rustic, Birch mocha and a Latticed heath.
Leaf mines/larvae of note: Festoon (a number of larvae found on Oak tree next to the sheet light), Mother shipton (larva on grass), Caloptilia populetorum (mine on Birch), Bucculatrix demariella (mine on Birch) and Coleophora kuehnella (case on Oak).
So this meeting completed the evening events programme and in my opinion this has been one of the best field seasons for a long time with almost every session producing good numbers of moths and/or things of note. Once all the data is entered it will be interesting to see how it compares to 2006, the last great moth year.

Neil

Birch mocha

Birch mocha

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Late August Hollesley

Just catching at home during this period and with moth numbers relatively low though there are immigrants around. Shall probably branch out a little locally to try and capture the Butterbur that is in flight now.

Setaceous Hebrew Character seems to have taken its place as the most abundant moth species recently replacing a short lived peak of Turnip. As others have reported the Latticed Heath has been common as too has the Brimstone here. Also been catching a few Small Dusty Wave at light as I did last autumn. A moth that is often thought not to come to light does seem to do so during late summer/autumn. Also taken 2 Old Ladys at light too. Some interest in second brood emergence of Chrysoteuchia culmella, Heart and Dart, White Ermine and Buff Ermine. Cypress Pug turns up in low numbers regularly and Ancylosis oblitella is still going strong with another Pyrale , Nyctegretis lineana as a first for me. Three specimens caught so far. It has been a very good year for this family for me.

Immigrants have been regulars in this period. Short of listing them, I have not taken anything exceptional, but in common with others the Scarce Bordered Straw has been particularly common, very few Plutella xylostella and only one Vestal so far but also one Evergestis limbata that I put down as an immigrant individual. The reason being that I saw a local second brood some considerable time back.

Late August Blog 2017

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Tunstall Common this weekend.

This weekend’s meeting, the last ‘official’ Suffolk group evening event this year will take place on Saturday night – showers forecast Friday late afternoon hence why not that night. Meeting time is 7.30pm. Can’t see that it will be a late finish at this time of year.
Hope to see some of you there.

Neil

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