A forecast with the chance of rain is not the best weather for getting out in the field for recording but as I’ve been stuck in front of the computer for too many hours recently was nice just to get out. In the end the rain arrived as predicted at lunchtime, a shame, as it meant the visit to a second site was called off.
Only 3 other recorders plus myself turned out for the meeting. The aim was to primarily search the Poplar and Willow trees to see if we could note the scarcer species associated with them. The relatively new arrival to the UK Phyllonorycter pastorella was one of the hoped for species (on long-leaved Willows), but, sadly, we failed to locate it.
Just over 40sp were recorded, a little less than expected. Some species of tree seemed totally devoid of any mines for reasons unknown. Species of interest included Phyllonorycter comparella (mine on Grey poplar, a scarce species mostly found in west Suffolk at present), Phyllocnistis saligna and xenia (on Crack willow and Grey poplar respectively), Ectoedemia hannoverella (on fallen Black poplar hybrid leaves), Phyllonorycter strigulatella (mines on Italian alder) and a Maiden’s blush larva on Oak.
So the field meetings season has now drawn to a close for another year. Watch this space for news on the group’s annual indoor meeting early in the spring next year – planning for this will begin in the very near future.
It’s been really difficult to call what the weather is going to do tomorrow. At the moment it is looking OK for the morning so the plan is to go ahead, at least until lunchtime or until the rain gets bad (if it does). Of course if it is really tipping it down then the meeing will be off. Some of the main recorders cannot make the following weekend so this is another reason to try and carry on as planned this week.
Just a reminder to say that the annual end of season leaf miner recording day for the group is this Sunday - 13th October, meeting at Rampart’s Field picnic site car park (TL788715) at 10.30am. We will then move off in convoy the short distance to a small parking area just off the A1101 to do our recording on West stow country park.
I’ll be watching the weather forecast as the week progresses, at the moment it’s a bit changeable. As long as there isn’t any heavy rain it will still go ahead. Watch this space for any news of cancellation the night before.
Anyone else been catching moths? True not inspiring moth collecting weather which hasn’t enticed me out a lot but there were a few highlights. I had a specimen for dissection left over from 31st August that looked like and was proven to be a Scrobipalpa suaedella. A rare salt-marsh species that made it to the light in my front garden. For September I picked up a Lyonetia prunifoliella on 10th. Good to get this species here as it gives the species a widespread distribution in the county now. I also had my first Clifden Nonpareil on 7th. This species seems to be getting quite common in the county now! Perhaps my best highlight was an immigrant from the east, a lovely example of Caloptilia honoratella. this species has been expanding across Europe and reached Kent this year, so in now in Suffolk too. Otherwise the month has seen a peppering of immigrants with the Delicate being dominant. Interesting on this species I noticed a dark specimen of the Delicate being caught as a garden first in Grundisburgh this year well before the immigrant numbers increased suggesting it could be breeding in Suffolk.
Thoughts on Climate Change: This is something that we are all aware of these days. The expected change to our climate, particularly in the east here has been evident this year. Dry warm summers (I have lost two trees in my garden this year from the drought). Mild wet winters. Once the hurricane season started in the Caribbean then the Atlantic storms have brought the rain to us. How will, or is it now, affecting our moth species. We are clearly seeing an increase in immigrants from more southerly and European climes and some of them are settling and breeding. How many of our established residents are on the decline due to climate change versus loss of habitat? The Monarch Butterfly has been turning up in the south west recently. Will American moth species turn up with the increased storm activity?
As the East Anglian regional representative for Moth Night 2019, I am pleased to invite fellow moth enthusiasts to Bawdsey Hall, on the night of Saturday 28th September. It is the twentieth anniversary of Moth Night (formerly National Moth Night).
Bawdsey Hall is hosting an event and all interested recorders are invited. I would appreciate as much support as possible, especially as Bawdsey Hall and I personally have put a lot of effort into this night and recording throughout the year.
This year the theme is Clifden Nonpareil and migrant moths. A Clifden Nonpareil was taken at light here last night (16 September) but I can’t promise any on the night! However, Bawdsey is a good site for migrants and hopefully a good selection will be trapped.
The evening will start at 7pm with a tour of the grounds followed by deployment of moth traps. Please let me know how many traps you will be bringing?
If people let me know in advance then we can better plan for refreshments. In previous years last minute arrangements have meant this has been tricky to organise.
Only supporters of the event will be entitled to view future rare moths trapped at the Hall.
Matthew – firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone 07912 859747
The annual end of season leaf miner recording day for the group has now been arranged. It will be on Sunday 13th October, meeting at Rampart’s Field picnic site car park (TL788715) at 10.30am. We will then move off in convoy the short distance to a small parking area just off the A1101 to do our recording on West stow country park. This is a spot we haven’t tried before. After either a pub lunch (if there is interest, could be tricky to get in a pub for food on a Sunday lunchtime) or your own picnic lunch, we will then move on to a second site for more recording in the afternoon. This is likely to be Mildenhall woods, another site that hasn’t had much survey work done before.
All are welcome. It’s a good chance to learn about this interesting form of moth recording from some of us that have been doing it for a number of years. At least 50-60 species are likely to be seen, depending on the variety of trees.
This month has not been especially exciting, though there have been a few highlights. The month started reasonably well following a hot July but most of the summery moths disappeared following the rain and wind during the second and third weeks of the month. There has been a slow trickle of routine immigrants plus some highlights amongst them too.
On the local species I had two Butterbur early in the month which is a good sign for the local population. A Rest Harrow on 8th suggesting they are resident now. A Brick on 29th was my first of what I call the true autumn species to start the autumn off. I had an unusual number of Eucosma tripoliana around the middle of the month. It is quite late for them. I was out on a PoMs trip on the Butley Estuary around then and was paddling the high tide over the salt-marsh so that made me think that perhaps they wander inland when high tides force them off the salt-marsh. Moths of interest included a Hellinsia carphodactyla on 18th which was not my first at home as I caught one several years ago. A dark form of Elophila nymphaeata that had me struggling for an identity for a while and a very small dark Caryocolum which dissected as alsinella but lacked any clear white patches quite unlike others I have seen. A few second broods have turned up. White Ermine on 27th, Chrysoteuchia culmella on 27th and the first of a number of Evergestis limbata on 24th.
Immigrants have been regular at a low level. There have been four highlights from my point of view. A Three-humped Prominent on 1st was a new species for me. I have taken three Beautiful Marbled this year and whilst it has been having a very good year as an immigrant Matthew is of the opinion that it is also resident locally. I took a Tuta absoluta on 7th. I did not take one last year and on 31st I had an Apomyelois bistriatella in perfect condition. I have seen this species in the Tangham Forest in mid-June. Sterling, Parsons and Lewington express the view that late examples of this species may be immigrants and I support this view for my specimen as the suitable habitat is not local to my home and it was caught in the front garden trap that faces the coast. In this Painted Lady year I have also had two Painted Ladys and one Red Admiral in the traps.
This year see’s the 20th anniversary of National Moth Night, a celebration of all the things we love and enjoy about this hobby of ours. One of the themes is Clifden Nonpareil (Catocola fraxini) - aka the ‘Blue Underwing’. Despite a much welcome resurgence of this species across the southern counties of the UK it is a species I have only been lucky enough to see on four previous occasions. My first two were courtesy of a moth twitch Matthew and I made to Stiffkey, Norfolk in Sept’ 2001. I then had to wait almost twelve years to the day before seeing one in Kent. My last was back in August 2017, from Hen Reed-beds. The thought of actual catching my own, and in the garden, seemed more fiction than fact but this morning was one of those rare moments when the moth gods finally decided to smile on my trap once again. As I type this post I’m not ashamed to admit that l’m still buzzing from the excitement of turning over the egg tray and seeing this large pale grey/brown moth sat there, and then the panic that sets in when you think don’t fly before I can pot you up. It’s also interesting to note that the nearest poplar plantation I can think of is approx. 4km due south of me (near Rattlesden) !!
And don’t forget to check out: http://www.mothnight.info/home
C.fraxini (Woolpit) 30 Aug 2019
A surprise this morning with not one but 2 male Gypsy Moths in the garden trap. Not sure of the origin of these 2 moths – are they likely immigrants or wanderers from the expanding London population?
July was an interesting month. Following the chaos of underwings at the end of June things settled somewhat and much of the month was dry with some good moth nights. The temperatures rose towards the end of the month with a dramatic break-down here on the night of 25th. July is now acknowledged as the warmest ever worldwide. The end of the month saw a significant increase in immigrant species but they also trickled in over the month as a whole. The underwings came back again but not so devastating as at the end of June
In general the usual moths for July were caught except for an absence of Brimstone and Nutmeg though they did appear at the end of the month. The Bordered Pug continued to be caught throughout. My first two Lackey moths for my home site were caught on the 13th and 22nd, a second Goat on 25th and the Svensson’s Copper Underwing on 22nd and 24th with one also at Abbey Farm Snape on 25th. I was pleased to catch Merrifieldia baliodactylus on 24th confirming the species is hanging on and also the return of Carycolum viscariella and Gelechia scotinella, 8th and 16th. Endothenia marginana has also appeared in the garden and E. gentianaeana also turned up so along with the regular E. oblongana these need very careful examination now when they appear. The most exceptional find during July however was a specimen of Caryocolum blandulella. It had damaged wing tips but was clearly one of the pale Caryocolum species so I carried out a dissection expecting to confirm C. blandella so the ID was a surprise. It last occurred in Kent in 1983 but has since been found in Carmarthenshire. There are no confirmed records elsewhere. The larvae feed on the Little Mouse-ear in sandy locations. That plant occurs in the Sandlings and Breckland so the species is probably resident.
For the immigrants; however some of these species are also resident so it cannot be clear that for example the Four-spotted Footman, Oncocera semirubella and Catoptria verellus that have turned up through the month are either. The Blackneck was captured on 13th and 16th as elsewhere on the coast and were suggested as possible immigrants. I got a third Sciota hostilis on 24th. The hot weather began to breakdown here on at dusk on 25th with a spectacular thunderstorm, it and subsequent air streams promoted immigrant moths. A large number of Tree-lichen Beauty appeared that night with the variant photographed being common among them. Silver Y, Bordered Straw and Cydalima perspectalis at Snape. From that date to the end of the month at home I have taken, Plutella xylostella (lots), Udea ferrugalis, Nomophila noctuella, Silver Y, Dark Swordgrass and my first Beautiful Marbled.
My trip out to Abbey Farm, Snape was primarily aimed at finding the White-mantled Wainscot there, otherwise I would not have set up with the storm that was forecasted. It was spectacular setting up with ground strikes all around but the downpour did not start in ernest until I left the site. It was a good catch. In addition to those already mentioned I had a Metalampra italica, Acrobasis marmorea, Lesser Common Rustic and Burnet Companion in the trap. I got two possible White-mantled that were too weather worn for confirmation from the moth so dissection became necessary. That proved surprisingly difficult with only one on the web site and no Brown-veined and my dissections conflicting with Pierce. To make matters worse, when I went to my collection for a Brown-veined that also turned out to be White-mantled. Eventual conclusion was all were indeed White-mantled. Have I ever seen a Brown-veined?
Finally but not a moth, a spectacular Longhorned Beetle, male Prionus coriarius arrived on 29th.