Purdis news December 2018.

Not much to report from my site for December as I didn’t really do much trapping (due to time constraints). Was a lot of Mottled umber around, more so than normal as well as lots of Winter moth, both mainly seen around security lights or flying around in torchlight when starting work at 6am here in the dark. Interestingly saw some female Winter moths round the lights too, did they crawl in themselves or were they carried there whilst attached to males?
My 2019 list has already started with Pale brindled beauty, Winter and a few Mottled umbers and Spring ushers noted on the night of the 1st January.


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December and annual review 2018 Hollesley

Nice to see a post from Matthew. Lets have a few more posts all round..

December was interesting Yellow-line Quaker persisted in the first week and as Matthew points out Dark Arches were caught. These are interesting catches being found around the coast at the end of the year (a few inland) which suggests they could be immigrants. They are often in catches that include other species known to migrate. It has been poor for me with the Umbers but as others have found, Spring Usher and Pale Brindled Beauty appeared late in December. The 31st turned up the last Dark sword-grass of the year and the 30th turned up a micro that I put down as Acleris hastiana but was unusual. I posted it on Facebook and that straightway got a correction from Steve Nash and Paul Kitchener that is was actually Acleris umbrana. Quite a catch. The nearest modern record to Suffolk is East Sussex in 2009. Otherwise it is found in the south west (Hampshire to Monmouthshire).

2018 started slowly and as summer approached catches were low and late so the peak numbers turned up in August rather than July as usual. Catches were reasonable then through to the end of the year. Total species caught in 2018 for me turned out the same as in 2017 and I picked up 35 species new to my home site. This brings my site total to 1075 species. 2013- 745, 2014- 726, 2015- 738, 2016- 751 (35), 2017- 769, (32) and 2018- 769, (35). To me 2018 saw the impact of climate change. I see this as the spread of species to Suffolk from further south, such as Coleophora amethystinella, Acleris schalleriana, Dotted Chestnut. Also establishing resident populations of immigrant species and their range increasing. Caloptilia hemidactylella, Oncocera semirubella, Cydia inquinatana (now reached Ipswich), Catoptria verellus (also at Waveney sites and in Essex), Cydalima perspectalis, Clancy’s Rustic and Clifden Nonpareil. Less clear on residency but look like they will at some stage might include Oak Processionary, White-speck, Oak Rustic and Blair’s Wainscot. Only time will tell! There are others that could be added to the list though proving any listed as being resident is less easy that making rash assumptions!

Happy 2019 to all and good mothing.


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Record beating December mothing at Bawdsey

Mild conditions which prevailed during December resulted in my best ever catch results for that month at Bawdsey.

Good numbers of the regular species put in an appearance; most especially Mottled Umber which was adundant and the not-so-common Scarce Umber.  There were a number of late specimens of Dark Arches recorded during the month.

Early spring species such as Pale-brindled Beauty and Spring Usher were recorded late in the month – the latter not noted here for a few years.

Some recorders thought I was totally crazy operating traps this late in the year.  I was hoping for a Red-headed or Black-spotted Chestnut, or a late Oak Rustic.

Migrants during December included 133 Diamond-back Moth, 3 Silver Y and 30 Dark Sword-grass.  However, the icing on the cake was a fabulous Sword-grass taken on 28 December – a fitting finale to a brilliant mothing year!


This is the first Sword-grass recorded in Suffolk since one at Reydon, Southwold in September 2003 (which was believed to be the first record since Morley et al).

There were eleven additions to the Bawdsey macro-moth list this year including Lesser Treble-bar Aplocera efformata on 13 May, Scarce Merveille du Jour Moma alpium on 31 May, Cream Wave Scopula floslactata on 2 June, Spinach Eulithis mellinata on 29 June, Angle-striped Sallow Enargia paleacea on 3 July, Oak Processionary Thaumetopoea processionea on 24 July, Lace Border Scopula ornata on 25 July, September Thorn Ennomos erosaria on 17 August, Hoary Footman Eilema caniola on 13 September (to be confirmed), Oak Rustic Dryobota labecula on 7 November and the Sword-grass Xylena exsoleta on 28 December.

This brings the number of macro-moths recorded at Bawdsey up to an impressive 520 species.  There are still some common species to target in 2019.  I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy new year and good mothing in 2019!

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Moths from November 2018 at Hollesley

In addition to regular autumn species immigrant species have continued intermittently. Dark Sword-grass has been abundant, though it may also be resident. Yellow Line Quaker that seemed to come in during October, along with the Large Wainscot, continued to mid month and White-speck appeared mid month too. Also of interest has been the Dark Arches that has coincided with immigrant peaks during the last couple of months that suggests it too may join the immigrants along with other resident species such as Angle Shades, Turnip, Vine’s Rustic and Setaceous Hebrew Character.

Picked up my first Sprawlers for my home site during November, which really exited me. Have 4 records for it. I have also been doing a few dissections that have been left over from June/July peak catches and recorded another two firsts for me. Coleophora coracipennella from 17th July at home. Looks very similar to C. serratella. Also whilst dissecting Cnephasia species from Abbey Farm, Snape from 19th June, one turned out to be Neoshpaleroptera nubilana. It was a dark very undistinguished specimen with no clear markings.

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National Moth Night Data

National Moth Night Data must be recorded before 2nd December.

I have just uploaded one set of data on the Moth Night recording data sheets. In doing so I realised that there were two different recording sheets for moths. The other being found through Butterfly conservation web site. Having uploaded to the Moth Nights web site and then being shown a map of all sites uploaded so far, my other data set was not on it. There were also very few other sites in Suffolk. I have emailed the moth night info to ask if I have to re-load the first data set to their recording sheet.

I have now received a reply to the email.

If you record it on the general data recording sheet in Butterfly Conservation it does not get transfered as a record set for the National Moth Night.

I therefore have to re-enter that data onto the National Moth Nights recording data sheet.

As Neil points out there is very little data there at the moment for Suffolk.

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Season draws to a close at Purdis.

With the prospect of much colder weather arriving looks like the moth season is about to draw to a close for 2018 here. So here is the November news from my area.
Both the Oak rustic and White speck invasion failed to make it to my site despite a lot of trapping effort. I’m sure there will be other chances in future years with climate warming going on. Best night (in fact the best ever November night) was the 15th with 21sp seen. Previous best was 18sp. Only one migrant of note during the period, a Palpita vitrealis on the 15th. Rest of the moths seen pretty typical for the time of year here. Less common species included Diurnea lipsiella, Northern winter (4 seen), Scarce umber, Acleris logiana and Autumnal moth.


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Influx of the White-speck (M. unipuncta)

There is currently a widespread national influx of unipuncta taking place.

I have been fortunate enough to obtain four examples over the past week at Bawdsey; which is about the same number I have seen over the past 15 years in the district!

Another was also noted at Wrentham (A. Wren).

There is still time, over the next few mild nights for more, so keep a look out!


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Oak Rustic arrives at Bawdsey

The anticipated arrival of the Oak Rustic at Bawdsey has occurred with a singleton attracted to my lamps on 7 November.

With much Holm Oak around the Bawdsey district, this moth is likely to become abundant and a regular feature here in late autumns to come.

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October 2018 moths at Purdis.

As Raymond has mentioned in his post, October this year was all about the warm spell mid month, producing migrants, out of season summertime moths and good numbers of some of the autumnal regulars. Not too much happened here before the 10th, with just a steady trickle of the usual species around. I didn’t trap after the 25th, with a spell of much colder weather arriving with the first frosts.
I’ll start with the out of season species. These included: Phyllonorycter coryli, Lozotaeniodes formosana, Pediasia contaminella, Crambus pascuella, Gypsonoma dealbana, Blood-vein, Latticed heath, Least carpet, Riband and Plain waves, Pebble and Oak hook-tips, Mottled rustic, Heart and Dart and Mouse moth. Some of these appeared more than once too.
Onto the regulars. Had Dusky-lemon sallow, Buttoned snout, Dotted chestnut (a few), Streak (good numbers, 19 on 21st highest number), Deep-brown dart (good numbers), Flounced chestnut (again did well), Merveille du Jour (lots, high of 21 on 15th), Turnip (loads, some possibly migrants). Both Blair’s shoulder knot and L-Album wainscot were poor, probably due to the summer drought (my large conifer in the garden died and all the grassland burnt out on site). Mallow wasn’t seen at all, normally regular. A good sighting for here was the Tachystola acroxantha on the 16th, my second record.
Now onto the main event of the month, the warm spell with the winds from southern Europe/north Africa. Like Raymond, I too failed to get any Spoladea recurvalis. However I did get Four-spotted footman (male, 10th), Palpita vitrealis (12th and 20th), Clancy’s rustic (12th, 13th and 16th, all different ones, new to my site list), Small mottled willow (17th) and my personal highlight a Clifden Nonpareil (new site record, 15th). The best night during the warm spell was the 13th  in fact it is almost certainly my best ever October night here. Had 74sp and over 550 moths in 3 traps, never seen so many moths in October before was like a summer’s night! Amongst this catch was a Blair’s wainscot, another new site record. Also found were Vestal (and had another 3 on the 16th), the Clancy’s rustic already mentioned, 4 Cydalima perspectalis (Box-tree moth, also seen on the 15th and 21st) and Adoxophyes orana.
With the three new macro moths I’ve seen this month (along with some other species of moth), I’m finding it is becoming very difficult now to tell whether they are immigrants, internal UK wanderers or local breeders in Suffolk. I guess only time will tell if we start seeing lots more of them.
With November moths and Mottled umbers appearing in the latter half of the recording period, it’s feeling like the season is drawing to a close. Will the warm weather potentially returning for a while at the start of November bring in anything interesting? Has been very cold in France and Northern Spain recently with early snow falls, has this killed off any potential immigrants?


Clancy's rustic

Clancy’s rustic

Blair's wainscot

Blair’s wainscot

Clifden Nonpareil

Clifden Nonpareil

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Convolvulus larvae camouflage

I have done very little moth recording this year and  was completely unaware of the migrant bonanza of mid October until well after the event had occurred, much to my disappointment. Therefore on the 23rd I was very pleased and surprised to find two Convolvulus Hawk-moth larvae on a patch of native climbing Convolvulus plant which I hadn’t got around to spraying off in my garden. Gardeners among you will know that it smothers plants and is difficult to eradicate but from now on I will transfer some pieces of the root to some of my wild areas in hope of hosting further larvae in the future.

These two were found while cutting grass and were both feeding on the bindweed covering the ground. There may have been more hidden by the nettles. There were signs that they had previously fed higher up the plants but perhaps they spend their last few days feeding close to the ground due to size and weight. I have not seen images of them on climbing bind-weeds before as they are often found wandering to perhaps pupate or in search of more food. The green form is well camouflaged being the same shade of green as the foliage and the round dark dots represent the shot holes frequently found on the leaves as illustrated in the photo


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