It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to write a report on the moths seen at the golf course, simply because I’ve had limited time. Various work, home and other commitments plus a couple of holidays has kept me very busy but a recent slight let-up has given me a bit of time.
This summer so far has been pretty poor for moths in my opinion, with only a few nights with what I would call good catches. With high pressure being dominant this summer, the days have been warm and sunny but the nights have been clear, not good for decent catches especially when the moon starts to get bright. Coupled with the drought affecting flowers and moth food-plants I can’t see things improving and I even think 2019 could be bad as the larvae of next year’s moths have very little to eat!
There have been a few highlights seen here however, including new species. First, I found a Phyllonorycter emberizaepenella on the outside of my kitchen window on 9th May. Not too far away is a large clump of Honeysuckle, the foodplant, so I guess it came from there. Probably an overlooked resident species. Then, on one of the only really good moth nights this summer on the 1st June I found a superb Agrotera nemoralis amongst the hordes of common species. Just slightly worn, was a most welcome record. Coincided with another record away from the breeding areas in the UK so could have been a migrant or dispersive individual. On 1st July found the final new species for the period covered here, an Obscure wainscot. Again, could be a migrant or dispersive individual, following on from Matthew’s sighting in June.
Due to the large period covered I’ll only list a few other interesting observations (there haven’t been many anyway). Dog’s tooth (11th May, less than annual here), Broom-tip (15th May), White colon (3 records in June, all different ones – only 3 previous records in 3 different years so best year ever), Cream-spot tiger (rare here so good to get 2 records), Nemophora fasciella (male found dead in greenhouse in June), Red-belted clearwing (2 to pheromone on 23rd June), Garden dart (28th June), Plain pug (1st July, second site record). Caught a strange form of Heart and Dart too with all the dark scales colourless (see photo). Also has been regular sightings of Evergestis limbata so probably breeding and OK numbers of Shaded fan-foot and Vitula biviella.
With the lack of much moth news (apart from Matthew who always seems to do well compared to the rest of us!) I’m guessing other people have been struggling too.
Hopefully the rest of the summer will buck the recent trend of poor catches and we will get some rain, we are certainly pretty desperate for it now at the site.
Weird Heart & Dart
Back on the 5th of July I decided to trap the small but special site of the old Brick-works at Somerleyton. Allan Eaton joined me and I ran just three traps which were all fairly close together. This was the site where I found O. semirubella last year and they came to light very early, and on this occasion the first were in just 8 minutes after switch on. Plenty of moths seen, highlights as last year being the semirubella 6 and G. ochrodactyla ( Tansy Plume) this time around an impressive 3. Perhaps overshadowed by the capture of a Scarce Black Arches, however the former two species much better on the eye. 132 total species. Back home where I ran my fourth trap the outstanding moth for me was a Pristine Black-neck which I have rarely seen ever, and a home first.
Herringfleet Hills 17th July; Brian and I joined by Allan again. I’d promised him 220+ species but for the 2nd time my target at this site not met, with 195 species recorded and nothing outstanding. Lots of Triple-spotted Clay a site specialIty, and high numbers of P. alpinella. Best moth probably the locally common White-mantled Wainscot with a single recorded.
Unfortunately as the 2 main leaders with keys to the site cannot make the evening meeting regrettably it has been decided to cancel this part of the recording session. The afternoon leaf mine and larval hunt will continue as planned however.
Here is a reminder for this weekend’s meeting. Note it is a daytime and night recording event. I can only attend the afternoon recording session – I have to be at work very early on the Sunday morning so cannot stay up late, so someone else will be leading this part of the meeting.
21st July. Groton wood SWT reserve (daytime for leaf mines and larvae followed by night trapping)
Meet in car park along road at TL976428 at 2pm for daytime recording followed by 9pm for trapping.
Our follow-up visit to North Cove told us nothing about the interesting moths we found there in July 2017 as none of them were recorded even though there was just 7 days difference in the dates. Six of us with 10 traps met up on a clear evening which felt chilly out on the marsh with a thin mist making it quite damp.
These conditions no doubt contributed to the slow trickle of moths that came to the traps and the sheet light, so that by the time we packed up with the thermometer showing 11 degrees we had only recorded around 160 species which was well down on last year’s bumper numbers. Those recorded were typical for the time of year. Most interesting was Catoptria verellus (3) which is now appearing regularly in the Waveney Valley and must be considered as resident but was a ‘first’ for several present. Anclis baddiella, Ypsolopha nemorella, Stathmopoda pedella , Monochroa palustrellus and Phtheochroa inopiana were the only other micros of note with a Phalonidia that looked interesting turning out to be manniana and not the rarer udana.
Of the macros, Muslin Footman (3) was probably the most interesting and none of the others came in any great numbers. An unusually marked Clouded Bordered Brindle was the only macro we had to deliberate over.
It illustrates well how much we rely on the right weather conditions even on a prime site such as North Cove.
I lent my Skinner actinic to a non-mothing friend who lives in the village of Barking (SW of Needham Market) to use last night and went through the catch this morning, finding a Toadflax Brochade – see attached pics.
The web-site suggests that this is an unusual record, especially inland, but I am aware that they have been expanding their range over recent years.
What is the current status of this spp in the county?
I’ve just had a report and photo of Forester moth from North Warren courtesy of Richard Perryman. This is the first record that I’m aware of for this species in the east of the county for a very long time. Well worth keeping your eyes open for this moth if you’re in the area.
This coming weekend it’s the SMG event at North Cove the Waveney Valley site of SWT. We have the option to trap Friday or Saturday. At the moment Saturday looks the better choice with higher night-time temperature forecast. So at this moment with no rain forecast we will say meet in the car park next to the railway line (TM471905) at 9pm on Saturday 14th July. Last year’s visit was very rewarding; this one should be interesting too.
Hello again. I have not been particularly active in mothing outside of my village during the month. Partly owing to poor weather and also a slow recovery of fitness following illness earlier in the year I placed three traps on one of the National Moth Nights on a friend’s land at Clopton. He had bought a field adjacent to the property some years ago and planted areas with trees, British and non-British species as well as fruit trees and grape vines. There is also a large are of unimproved dry grassland and hedgerows. It was a good night for moths on 15th. The 149 species in total did not show a woodland selection of moths as a whole. The trap placed inside the wooded area was the poorest served. The Large Nutmeg was common but species were mostly those of open country, hedge-row and garden. A rampant growth of the common Bird’s Foot Trefoil in the orchard area produced a Syncopacma larseniella that seemed to trigger a spate of them which I also caught at Abbey Farm, Snape and at home. A good record for home where I introduced the trefoil a couple of years ago. The Clopton site produced two moths that were new to me; a Pretty Chalk Carpet and Triaxomera parasitella. Cochylis molliculana was also quite abundant.
My escapades to Abbey Farm, Snape this June have been aimed at the hope of proving the identity of a Monochroa species. I managed to disprove my belief that they were M. arundinetella, but were M. suffusella. This was achieved by the dissection of a captured female. It is not known what the species feeds on as larvae in southern and eastern Britain. On my two visits in June I placed 4 traps in differing habitats. I expected high numbers , but typical of the month, they were not as good as they might have been, 176 on 1st June and 188 on 19th. The reed-bed trap on 1st June was inundated by midges and Coleophora caespititiella, there were also a lot of Brachmia inornatella. Bactra species were common, mainly B. lancealana but also furfurana and lacteana. There was a Glyphipterix thrasonella and a single Nascia cilialis on 1st but several N. cilialis on the 19th when I also found Sitochoa verticalis and as a first for me, two Blacknecks and an Archips crataegana. Also common on 19th were Dotted Fan-foot. The Lackey was captured again. I have yet to see that at home where I get the Ground Lackey. Also a couple of Nematopogon metaxella. I have this occassionally at home where I usually catch N. schwarziellus. I have yet to find N. swammerdamella in Suffolk.
Have eked out time from preventing the desertification of my garden to do a bit of mothing during June, though the weather has not been so good for that either. A few good moth nights had to be used to make the month worth while. Luckily for the National Moth Nights two of those were good for moths. I promised a friend who lives at Clopton I would do one of those nights on his land and I will post that separately along with my escapades at Abbey Farm, Snape. In this post just my garden and The Patch.
My attempts to establish Agrotera nemoralis as breeding at The Patch were thwarted by the poor moth weather during its fight period. However I understand there have been other captures in the county and country that suggest the species may well be establishing itself away from its Kent haunt. The same can also be said of Catoptria verellus. Whilst I captured 7 at The Patch on 30th, it was also being found in Essex and on the south coast without there being a general migration evident from Europe. It is on the move. Look out for it. I have had two at home since my catch at The Patch. Cydia inquinatana is also on the move now being found in the Ipswich area. I suspect it will become a regular for Suffolk soon. I captured a Lunar Yellow Underwing at The Patch which was a surprise for a wetland site. There were also a lot of Shaded Fan-foot there where-as I have had very few at home. Also further records there for Scoparia basistrigalis, confirming it as established there.
At home I managed a few Currant Clearwings but have so far failed to lure any other clearwing species. I have caught one Merifieldia baliodactylus. I thought that the wild marjoram I had grown had died out but that is not so as it seems to have spread away from the original patch so I am hopeful the plume may continue to breed in the garden. Of interest to me during June is that I joined the Metalampra italica club on 19th when I also took a Carpatolechia notatella. I have caught C. notatella at Hollesley Marshes. I wonder if I might also find it at The Patch but have not seen it there yet. New to me on the 1st June was an Adela croesella and Coleophora lassella. An Elachista triatomea on 18th and a Monochroa tetragonella on 29th.
Finally: I have purchased a Malaise Trap. This is because I have decided to try to identify Ichneumon Wasps and the Malaise Trap is one way to catch them (along with other flying insects). However I did not wish to kill my catch. I have therefore modified the outlet to take a screw-on PET drinks bottle. I swap them over, anesthatise the catch to tip them out and sort out what to keep, releasing all the rest. It also catches a few moths. Whilst recently it has mostly been Silver Ys and Pexicopia malvella, both abundant at the moment, I did have a couple of good moths earlier in June; Ancylis obtusana (VC first I believe) and Diplodoma laichartingella.