Suffolk Moth Group Newsletter

Issue 24 - November 2001

Edited by Tony Prichard

In this issue


Another season draws to an end and a bit of an odd one at that (as they all seem to be at the moment). Yet another warm spring enabled a few of us to get out and about around the county a few times in February. This came to abrupt end with the restrictions imposed by the outbreak of  Foot and Mouth. The restrictions only started easing in May meaning that the SMG larval hunt at West Stow had to be transferred to Milden Hall farm (thanks to Juliet Hawkins for allowing us on her farm at short notice). Poor weather over this period meant that species were quite late in emerging giving the impression that flight periods were late and extended with numbers of moths recorded down.

The weather finally bucked up in July and everything seemed in a rush to catch up. Several regular site recorders reported greater than average species numbers for this period.  The group had several nights during this period where we recorded high species totals,  the highest being at Redgrave Fen with 190 species. The group seemed to spend most of late July and early August on the trail of the White-mantled Wainscot - which we recorded at 3 sites, including the Dingle Marshes reserve. Another notable event of this period was the influx of migrants including Red-necked Footman and Silver Barred.

Autumn seems to have been particularly mild - on one night in October the temperature was 14C when we packed up to go home after a moth night at around 10.30 or so. There have been quite a few reports of species being recorded outside their normal flight periods (e.g. Willow Beauty, Rosy Footman, Maiden's Blush at Barnhamcross Common one night). A few species seemed to have done well this autumn including; Orthopygia glaucinalis, Merveille du Jour (a new species for my backgarden) and the Streak, although I wouldn't say that the Sallows have had the best of seasons.

The mild weather in autumn has also meant that the leafs have remained on the trees for much longer than normal extending the usual period of leaf-miner recording. This has helped the group extend the recording of this under-recorded group of moths with several new species to the current checklist discovered.

As far as I am aware the SMG has not previously held an indoor member's meeting so with any luck I'm correct when I say that the first SMG indoor members' meeting will be held on the 26th January 2002 at the Ipswich Museum. Further details later on in the newsletter.

It will soon be the time for all moth recorders to start thinking of sending in their moth records for the year. If possible it would really help if records could be sent in by the end of January 2002. This will give me some time to process all the records before having to write the moth notes for the SNS transaction and start the Suffolk Moth Panel process rolling before the season starts afresh. However, this is not a firm deadline and I'll accept records at any time of year.

The next issue of the newsletter will be sent out in early March so if anyone has any articles for the next issue could they please send them to me by the end of February - they'll be gratefully received. I'll also be including reminders for subscriptions for 2002 for mail subscribers along with the next issue where appropriate.

See you all at the indoor meeting hopefully.

Suffolk Moth Group Indoor Meeting 2002

There will be an indoor meeting for members and guests of the Suffolk Moth Group at the Ipswich Museum on the 26th January 2002. The meeting will start at 10.30am and continue into the afternoon for as long as people are interested to stay or until the museum closes. Details are outlined below.

A rough outline of the day as it stands at the moment

There may be a nominal charge if we encounter any expenses between now and the meeting but this will be limited to a maximum of £2.

Lunch will not be provided so I would suggest that you bring a packed lunch if you would like something to eat and intend staying into the afternoon, although I will try and organise something in the way of refreshments. The Greyhound pub just up the road serves a nice pint and good food.

For those unfamiliar with Ipswich Museum it can be found in the High Street, Ipswich. Parking is available at a nearby multi-storey car park. Please get in contact if you are unsure how to get there and I'll send out some directions.

Clicking here will take you to and show a map of the location of the museum.

Directory of Suffolk moth recorders - update

I'm still in the process of putting this together and will hopefully be sending out the directory to those people who have said that they do not mind being included in a directory with the next issue of the newsletter. So it's not too late to say that you would like to be added to the directory - in fact you can add your details at any time or take them off at any time in the future.

Phyllonorycter platani (Staudinger) - a new moth for Suffolk

Neil Sherman noticed some leaf mines on the London plane at the Suffolk College, Ipswich (TM171443) on the 1st October this year, which he identified as Phyllonorycter platani. This prompted me to have a look at the London plane in Christchurch Park, Ipswich as I walked to the Suffolk Naturalists Conference on the 20th October and there also were the mines. Neil also found more mines on London plane in Alexandra Park, Ipswich on the same day.

The mines on the trees in Christchurch were quite large and easily noticeable with the usual Phyllonorycter mine form - a fold in the leaf with patches of eaten parenchyma on the leaf.  This species forms an underside fold.

As this species was only discovered by Maitland Emmet in London in 1990, at a BENHS exhibition I believe, and John Langmaid says he does not have any records for Suffolk it would appear that this is a new species for the county.

If anyone knows of any London plane particularly in the West Suffolk vice-county I'd be interested to hear of its location so we can hopefully add this species to that vice-county.

Phyllonorycter platani mines on London plane leaf


Gelechia senticetella (Staudinger) - another new species for Suffolk

Jeff Higgott had this species tentatively identified by John Langmaid  from a photograph on the ukmoths email group, following its capture in his Rushmere garden trap on the 25th July this year. During our jaunt down to the BENHS exhibition it was confirmed that Jeff's rather worn specimen was in fact G. senticetella. This species was first recorded in Britain at Grays in South Essex in August 1988 by David Agassiz and now seems to be in the process spreading across the country. The larva apparently makes spinnings on the foodplant (David Agassiz mentioned to me that he finds it very common on C. leylandii now in Kent)

National Moth Night 2002

The date for next year's National Moth Night has been announced as Saturday 15th June 2002. The target species for the event are the Bordered Gothic and the Scarce Merveille du Jour. I'll probably be leading a public moth night somewhere in the Brecks looking for the Bordered Gothic as this seems to be the most appropriate species to look for from a Suffolk viewpoint. More details in the next newsletter.

Suffolk Moth Group - Email group set up

I have recently set up a free email list for the Suffolk Moth Group members. For those unfamiliar with email lists the idea is that you subscribe to a particular email list covering a topic you're interested in. Members of the email list can send emails to the email list which are then distributed out to all members. Setting up this group enables members of the group to send an email which will be sent to all members of the SMG subscribed to the email list without having to come to me to distribute the information to members of the group (ie it cuts out me as the middle man in distributing information). The email list server that is being used also provides a bit of a web site for the group with facilities such as areas for uploading files which can be viewed by other members of the group and a calendar which can be shared by the group. Unfortunately you'll need an email account to subscribe to this group so the paper newsletter is not likely to disappear in the near future.

If anyone is interested in subscribing to the group it is based under the Yahoo groups web site at and the the SMG email group can be found at You may need to set up an account on Yahoo (which is free) to be able to access the web site. Alternatively send me an email I can send you an invite to join the group.

Although the group may go a bit quiet as the season draws to a close it is one step forward towards having rapid dissemination of information between members of the group (as in 'put your trap out tonight there's a heap of migrants on their way').

Exporting Data from Mapmate for Submission of Moth Records

The time is fast approaching when you should be thinking of sending your moth records in for the year. I know that quite a few members of the group have started using the Mapmate program for storing their records. This program provides a synchronisation feature which enables easy swapping of records between fellow Mapmate users without having to manually re-enter them. However, Mapmate is not in my view a suitable program for county recorders as it provides very limited record management facilities, so for the foreseeable future I'll be sticking to Recorder 3. Mapmate in my view still has a long way to catch up with the facilities that are available on Recorder, although Mapmate wins hands down on price and presentation and is quite suitable for individual recorders.

Neil Sherman who uses Mapmate has come up with a way for extracting your records from Mapmate in a format which will make it as easy as possible for me to enter them into Recorder. I've adapted his guide after having had a go at it myself using my copy of Mapmate.

There are two main steps to this process; the first is extracting the appropriate data from the relevant records from Mapmate into a tab-delimited file, the second is loading the tab-delimited file into a spreadsheet, possibly adding additional data, sorting the data then saving the records out as a spreadsheet file or printing them out.

Here is the step by step guide

First step

Second step The screenshot below shows an example of the results in Excel.

If you have any problems then I'm sure Neil or myself will be able to help.

If all else fails you can send me a Mapmate synch file which I should hopefully be able to load into my version of Mapmate and I'll read the results from there.

Records and Intellectual Property Rights

I was browsing the National Biodiversity Network web site a short while ago and reading a document [1] about transferring data from Recorder 3 to Recorder 2000. One section 'Data "ownership"' caught my eye as it went on to cover the topic of record ownership and intellectual property rights and associated issues. What follows is largely based on information from that document.

Apparently a biological record once it has been written down is legally an 'original literary work' under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988. The recorder, unless they're working for someone else, is the owner of the copyright of biological records that they write down.

The law makes a distinction between ownership of an object and the ownership of intellectual property rights (IPR) in it. The physical owner can sell, lend, display or even destroy the object but the IPR owner essentially controls the right to reproduce that object. Ownership of an object does not give you the right to reproduce it. Authors (recorders) also have a right not to have their work subject to derogatory treament (i.e. not distorted in a way that is prejudicial to their reputation) and, if their work is commercially published to be identified as the author.

What this means to the county recorder as far as I can see is that

On the first point I think there are no problems - the only occasional changes I might make to submitted records are to enter a nominal grid reference where only a location name has been supplied and the record is marked as having a grid reference entered by me. The process of validation by the Suffolk Moth Panel may add additional comments associated with a record and an indication of whether it was accepted, required confirmation or was not accepted, but the original details of the record remain the same. Hopefully the way the panel works is understood by most recorders now.

The second point could cause a few problems. I submit records to various national recording schemes (for pyralids and leaf-miners with more to follow) and also to people like John Langmaid (the National Microlepidoptera Recorder). I'm also in the process of trying to get the records in a suitable state for sending to the SBRC. If any recorder would prefer that I did not pass their records on (in part or as a whole) could they please let me know otherwise I'll assume that they are happy for me to do so.

Records mentioned in the moth notes write up I have done for the SNS transactions include an acknowledgement to the author - so no problem as far as I can see on this point.

If recorders have any questions about this subject then please feel free to contact me.

[1] - Transferring from Recorder 3.4 by Stuart Ball (available from the NBN website)

A Great Moth Trapping Expedition in Suffolk - by Jon Clifton

I have certainly been to out and out places moth trapping over the years but never anywhere so isolated and forgotten as the Suffolk Moth Groups visit to Orford Ness on the 20th July 2001. It started with a boat journey from the picturesque Orford village at 7pm with the backdrop of the daunting castle just to remind us of the history of this old port.

Orford Ness is an eleven-mile long shingle strip, being very exposed, lonely and hostile. It has a large area that was acquired by the War Department in 1913 and saw an intense 70 year period of military experimentation, most of which related to aerial warfare. It was after the Second World War that work on the Ness increased with experimentation on bomb ballistics and firing trials taking place but with work largely concentrating on the establishment of the first nuclear weapons with the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) that gives much of Orford Ness its distinctive landscape nowadays.

Once over the River Ore and on the Ness we unloaded quite some tonnes of equipment for the night ahead. Four generators, nine traps and miles of cable, not to mention sleeping and eating equipment! This was all loaded into the National Trust’s superb land ranger four wheel drive truck with articulated trailer and accompanying seats.

We were taken to the accommodation block where we found it far more luxurious that first imagined and it transpired that most of us had our own bedroom with sheets, pillows and even a television! (not that that was used, at least in my room). After unloading food and other bits we headed off to start setting up the traps at four separate sites seven miles along the shingle spit. With a strong onshore wind increasing all the time (ah, the joys of coastal moth trapping) we found it hard to find shelter on this desert like landmass. Graham set up around the Black Beacon once used for experimental navigation beacons, one trap even set up inside one of the empty falling down buildings. Two other traps including the sheet were set around the ugly remains of Lab 1, the first of the atomic weapons testing site built in 1956, here lots of elder and some reed gave us some sort of shelter.

The remaining traps were set near the AWRE site where initial testing of atomic bombs were concentrated. Two traps were set along the salt marsh edge giving us all much laughter as Matthew tried in vain to untangle his two miles of cable and then found he had forgotten the perspex for the top of the trap, in the end resorting to muddy planks of wood the keep the moths in the trap! The final two traps were set out in the old garden of a derelict summerhouse used many years before the Ness got its casing in concrete bomb testing innovations.  Here there was a good mixture of old twisted and gnarled bushes containing elm, tamarisk and elder. We were impressed to see good numbers of the larva of the Ground Lackey along most of the salt marsh in this area.

It was now time to turn on and wait……. wait we did as very little came to light because of the prevailing wind and some of us resorted to hunting for grasshoppers with the Suffolk Orthoptera recorder Stuart Ling, at least finding Grey Bush Cricket at its only east coast site in the UK.

We soon decided to retire to our beds and return at first light. The long walk back to the accommodation block was hard in the now fierce wind and rain starting to fall.

Alarms ringing out at 4am and Graham rattling the door. Such was the wind in the night that some of us admitted to finding it hard to sleep with the rattling of windows and splattering of rain. Myself and Graham tried at least to serve ourselves up a hearty breakfast but I burnt my porridge in the microwave spilling it everywhere in the process and Graham forgot his sunflower oil and ten rounds of bacon got rather stuck to the bottom of the frying pan!!!

Back to unload the traps…….ahem, some traps. Yes the middle of summer and some of the traps were empty due to the inclement overnight weather but despite this we did record the Starwort, Dog’s Tooth and over 40 Ground Lackey adult moths.
It was not the lack of moths or the howling wind that made this one of my most memorable moth outings but just being on this mass of land, Orford Ness.

Yes, I will be back!

A few Loxostege (Margaritia) sticticalis records in September

I heard of a few reports of Loxostege sticticalis records during September not just in the county but around the country as a whole. On prompting people for records more seem to have been seen that I'd originally heard of.

Matthew Deans has informed me of the following records in the county;

Neil Sherman reports the following sighting While I'm on the subject of migrants a Golden Twin-spot  was reported by Glen Tyler from Kessingland on the night of the 18th October 2001. Glen lives on the cliff top overlooking the beach - what better place for picking up migrants.

A late record from Paul Kitchener in Eye on the migrant front is a Gem on the 3rd November, a first record of this species for Paul at his home site.

Of Marriage and Micro's - The Further Trials and Tribulations of the Thurston Recorder - by Paul Bryant

As October draws to a close the 100+ species nights become a distant memory and the weather has a distinctly autumnal feel with my thoughts turning towards birding.

When I last wrote an article for the moth group I was not only reflecting on my first six months of garden trapping but also looking forward to a certain wedding. Having chosen cup-final day what better time for our ceremony to start than 3.00pm. A fantastic day was had by all and for those that know them, even Lee Gregory and Matthew Deans were persuaded to tear themselves away from their more normal weekend routine and join in the celebrations. However old habits die hard and they were caught starting up a butterfly list in the church grounds! Unfortunately, my duties as a groom prevented me from getting that chance to look around the outside of the marquee for moths.

Our wedding vows talked about sharing but as far as my wife is concerned, I think moths are excluded. The only night that I have been able to persuade her to venture out this year and meet everybody was at a typical cool, misty and quiet Market Weston Fen this August. As a result Ann still doesn’t see what can be so fascinating about sitting around a white sheet, coffee in hand, illuminated by a MV bulb and seeing nothing in particular. I can’t complain however as she will never turn me into a gardener. All that I am interested in is trying to identify the moths, butterflies and hoverflies that feed on our garden Buddleia.

On with the trapping. For most of the year I have been using an 11W actinic tube only recently switched back to my 125w MV. This new, more neighbour friendly trap is left out all night, with apparent success. My garden list now stands at a credible 236 species with several micros’ still awaiting identification. Although I still have some way to go before I reach the group’s unofficial target of 300 species per 10k square I am hopeful that at least one or two more species will added before the year is out. So come on December Moth I know you’re out there and what happened to those species that I keep on hearing about on the Suffolk coast like Lunar Underwing and White-point - don’t they like the west of the county?

Most of my new additions have been of relatively common species that we encounter throughout much of Suffolk on our regular moth nights. I do hope that this was down to the change in light source / increased trapping hours and not observer ability. Needless to say, they have all been welcome.

Once again I will try to pick out some of the highlights, starting with the micros. Of these several appear to be of either limited or unknown distribution in Suffolk including Paraswammerdamia lutarea, Ypsolopha nemorella, Batia unitella, Phtheochroa rugosana, Epinotia abbreviana and, most recently, Acleris hastiana. Nearly all were single individuals that were religiously ‘tubed’ up and taken along to the next moth night for verification. I keep telling myself that one day I will be able to sort the them out myself so role on those affordable identification guides.

Of the macros, I have recorded ten new pugs this year including Maple, Foxglove, Lime-speck and Oak-tree. A part worn Netted Pug trapped on the 20 June was my personal favourite. An interesting haul of eight Latticed Heaths on the night of the 30 July still constitutes the only record. Both Purple & Canary-shouldered Thorn appeared on the 14 August and there was a single Pine Hawk-moth on the 6 July. The latter appeared to mirror movements of this species elsewhere in the county at around the same time. Another new and much anticipated Hawk-moth was a single Poplar trapped on the 20 August - still the only garden record! Good numbers of Heart and Dart were seen this year compared to the few seen last year and there was also a nice trio in the form of single Campion, Lychnis & Varied Coronet all trapped within a week or two of each other around late June / early July. A stunningly fresh Merveille-du-Jour was trapped on the night of 27 September and the latest garden addition have been a Blair’s Shoulder Knot trapped on the 5 October and November Moth on 17 October.

Prize for the most valuable record this year must go to a Square-spotted Clay trapped on the 14 August. This BAP species was the target of a special meet held at Tunstall Forest only four days later. It was also interesting to note that this record neatly coincided with another individual trapped at about the same time by Lee in his Thetford garden. We still have a lot to learn about this species in Suffolk and I don’t suppose that I will ever know where this individual came from or where it was going. Only the moth will know…
The Thurston Merveille du Jour

Reports from recorders around the county

Records reported here have not yet been checked by the Suffolk Moth Panel.

Eye - August to October 2001 - by Paul Kitchener

It has been a very interesting three months, since moving in July, with eight species of macro recorded that I had not seen at all in five years at my previous address, just ½ mile to the north. The proximity of a good-sized piece of damp woodland with much sallow, willow and poplar has meant several species were recorded in greater numbers than before. These included Clouded Border, Common Wave, Dingy Footman (with one ab. stramineola), Dingy Shears, Drinker, Plain Pug, Single-dotted Wave, Straw Dot and White Satin. Other species much more evident than last year have been Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Small Square-spot (200+ in August compared to less than 30 last August), Flame Shoulder and Shuttle-shaped Dart. Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (two records) was seen for the first time since ’98.

August produced Knot Grass (two), Bordered Beauty (two), Chocolate-tip (two), White-spotted Pug (four), Double Lobed, Black Arches (only the second I’ve seen in Eye), Ear Moth, Dark Umber, Currant Pug (two), Cream-bordered Green Pea (last noted 21st), August Thorn (also, only the second I’ve caught in Eye) and most unexpectedly a Butterbur (on the 24th). The Pyralids were well represented with the notables being Pyrausta purpuralis (three records of a moth not seen at my old address), Chilo phragmitella, Scoparia subfusca, Udea lutealis, Cataclysta lemnata, Elophila nymphaeata, Nymphula stagnata, Parapoynx stratiotata, Calamotropha paludella, Trachycera suavella, Galleria mellonella and Nephopterix angustella (also recorded last year).

I was away during the first two weeks of September but the second half of the month saw the expected autumn moths. These included Mallow, Brindled Green, Frosted Orange, Beaded Chestnut, Brown-spot Pinion, Sallow and Pink-barred Sallow as well as late records for Light Emerald (last, 28th). Eudonia angustea was also seen and the last Pleuroptya ruralis on the 22nd.

October has been very mild with winds mostly from the south and more species have been caught than in any October before (41 macros up to the 20th). Amongst these there has been Burnished Brass (up to the 14th), Brick, Red and Yellow-line Quakers (mostly the former so far), Riband Wave (10th), Bulrush Wainscot, Flame Shoulder (a very fresh one, 11th), Rosy Rustic (up to the 20th), Merveille du Jour, Green-brindled Crescent, Blood-vein (total of six, up to 20th), Herald, Dark Chestnut, Dusky Thorn, Spruce Carpet, Straw Dot (13th), Grey Shoulder-knot, Mottled Rustic (19th), Ghost Moth (a male, 20th) and Feathered Thorn.

A few migrants have reached the trap, namely Dark Sword-grass (singles, 30th August and 20th October), White-point (26th September), Humming-bird Hawk-moth (one in the trap, 13th October), Udea ferrugalis (13th October) and Nomophila noctuella (18th August and 22nd, 25th, 27th and 28th September, all singles except two, 25th). Straw Dot and Orthopygia glaucinalis on the 13th October may also have travelled some distance.
Silver Y has been seen much less than last year with eleven in August (39 on one day last August), one in September and seven in October (a maximum of only three on two nights).

Moths at Ipswich Golf Club - August 2001 - by Neil Sherman

Another good month of recording at the club, but numbers of species have declined from the peak in July. 193 species were noted (111 macros), with the best night being the 15th/16th, when there were thunderstorms and humid conditions all night. This tempted me to a ‘final fling’ of intensive recording, when I put out all 3 of my traps, and resulted in 112 species being recorded, including some of local interest (more later).

Also National moth night fell during this month (11th/12th), when as usual I try to run at least 1 light on the site to support the event. The problem this year was that the Suffolk moth group (including myself) had a very late (although very good) moth night at Minsmere RSPB reserve. Didn’t get home till 3a.m, so I only had 3 hours sleep before I got up to go through the trap at work before the Robins emptied it! Needless to say, I slept well when I got back home later that morning! 76 species were caught in the Robinson, including Aspilapterix tringipennella, a new site record so it was all worthwhile in the end.

Micros of possible interest this month were: Argyresthia semifusca (23rd), Eudonia truncicolella (confirmed by genitalia dissection – seen several times during the month), Agdistis bennetii (on 23rd - this distinctive plume has been noted at several other inland sites this season, well away from its saltmarsh haunts) – all new site records. Also of possible note: Ypsolopha scabrella (15th), Ypsolopha sylvella (22nd) and Cyptoblabes bistriga (possible second brood individuals).

Most macros of interest turned up on the night of the 15th/16th, when the thunderstorms obviously encouraged some local movements. Seen that night were: Tawny Wave, Dark Spinach (second record), Square-spotted Clay and most interesting of all a Sandhill Rustic (confirmed by the Suffolk Moth Panel), only the third recent record. With the Languard record from a few years ago this points to the possibility of a local colony on a nearby saltmarsh, something which the moth group will try to confirm at a later date.

Other species notable to the site were: Bordered Beauty (2), Six-striped Rustic (23rd), Hedge Rustic (in good numbers) and Pinion-streaked Snout (several).

Migrants have continued to trickle in, with the most common being the Silver Y, followed by White-point (20 noted during the month), Dark Sword-grass and a single Nomophila noctuella (23rd).

Daytime searching when time was available produced Wormwood pug Larvae on Mugwort (15th), a brightly coloured Sycamore Moth caterpillar (with its bright orange hairdo! 24th) and a dead Old Lady moth found by the Mill stream (on 30th).

Moths at Ipswich Golf Club - September 2001 - by Neil Sherman

September turned out to be a very wet and cold month, not good moth recording weather! Light traps were only run on 6 occasions, when there were windows in the rain. Best night was early in the month on the 2nd/3rd, when 61 species were recorded. Despite the conditions, 3 new species for the site were seen: a female Large Thorn on the 6th, Acleris hastiana (4 recorded on 2 dates) and Acleris rhombana (on the 27th).

Other species of possible interest, starting with the micros were: Acleris emargana (4 of this distinctive moth seen on the 3/9), Mirificama mulinella (2/9 – more readily found as larvae in Gorse flowers here), Crambus hamella (a singleton on the 2/9), Agriphila latistria (2/9) and Eudonia truncicolella (more on 2 dates after the first records last month).

Macros included: Spruce Carpet (6/9), Flame Carpet (last of the year on the 3/9), Lunar Yellow Underwing (2 records of this BAP species on 2/9 and 20/9), Heath Rustic (seen on the 6/9 and 20/9 as singletons), Centre-barred Sallow (only the second ever record in 7 years trapping here on the 11/9 – very little Ash on the site), Old Lady (a very tatty individual seen at light on 3/9), Red Underwing (1 sighting of this impressive species on the 2/9) and Pinion-streaked Snout (4 seen during the month).

Later in the month, the first records of Feathered Thorn, Autumnal Rustic, Deep-brown Dart, Brindled Green, Feathered Ranunculus and Pink-barred Sallow showed that the season was drawing to a close for another year.

During the annual hay cut on an area of fen containing Bulrush, the pupae of Bulrush Wainscot (head downwards in the stem) and Webb’s Wainscot (head upwards) were discovered (on 17th), proving that both are breeding on site after discovering them at light in previous years. Neither has been caught this season, so this shows the value of using other techniques other than light trapping.

Also found during the day (something to do while it was raining!) were 24 species of leaf mines, 13 of which were new site records. With more rain likely next month, I’ll be out searching for more!

Fressingfield, Eye - July to September 2001 - P Vincent

P Vincent has sent in a report of the species he recorded for the period July to September 2001. I've picked out some of the species which I think may be of interest.

Moths at Parham - August - Tony Prichard

This year I was asked by Parham Parish Council to help them set up a survey for moths in their parish and also run a few moth nights during the year. The first moth night I held in the parish in May did not go at all well with very cold weather resulting in a singleton Common Quaker after all but two of the interested people had gone home.

I ran a couple more moth nights in August (8th and 10th)  in a garden where the old railway station used to be - it was a long garden. These two night were more successful. The best of the catch was a Square-spotted Clay, which has also been recorded at nearby Rendham by Matthew Deans. Other species of interest included Stenoptilia bipunctidactyla and Magpie Moth (this seems to have had a good year).

Field reports - Tony Prichard

SMG MV - Walberswick - 3rd August

After various debates and some negotiation we ended up concentrating on the reeds-beds, acid grassland and scrub habitats in this English Nature reserve. The recent series of moth nights with long species lists continued with over 170 species recorded on the night from 8 lights.

Species of interest included; White-mantled Wainscot, Fenn's Wainscot, Dotted Clay, Webb's Wainscot, Silky Wainscot, Twin-spotted Wainscot, Dog's Tooth, Lunar Yellow Underwing, Crescent-striped, Reed Dagger, Bulrush Wainscot, Blackneck, Broom-tip, Calamotropha paludella and Oidaematophorus lithodactyla.

Walberswick Reed-beds
Dotted Clay


MV - Lower Hollesley Common - 4th August

One of our regularly visited Sandling heathland sites, which currently looks in need of some habitat management with the gorse and bracken spreading well across the heath. This was rather a quiet night following a day of rather heavy showers which probably damped things down a bit.

Of the 93 species recorded those possibly of more interest included; Pine Hawk-moth, Narrow-winged Pug, Pempelia palumbella, Plain Wave and White-point. P. palumbella seemed to have rather a good year a couple of years ago but since then numbers seemed to have died away.

Pine Hawk-moth
True Lover's Knot

SMG MV - Market Weston Fen - 10th August

This SWT reserve offers fen and heathy habitats - a good place on a warm night but when its cold its really cold. Unfortunately, we experienced the latter on this night with temperatures dropping to 4C by the end of the evening. Not suprisingly moth activity was low and not many species were recorded.

Of possible interest were; Six-striped Rustic, Garden Tiger and Bordered Beauty out of 47 species. This site seems to be quite a good site for Garden Tiger with the species being regularly recorded here.

SBC MV - Minsmere - 11th August - National Moth Night

This moth evening was run in conjunction with a bat evening as part of the Suffolk branch of Butterfly Conservation's National Moth Night event. As usual the event was heavily supported by the Suffolk Moth Group. Even though the two groups (bats and moths) may not get on too  well in the wild the combination of bat walk and moth night does seem to go well together - keeping the public amused until the moths are ready to make an appearance.

Although National Moth Night was targetted at recording the White-spotted Pinion, this event was organised before that was anounced and I'd targetted the evening at recording White-mantled Wainscot in some of the other drier areas of reedbed where we've not previously recorded the moth. The evening was rather over-subscribed with 40 people turning up - which was good and bad news. Good that that many people were interested but rather a large number to manage around a moth light. That said, they seemed to go away happy having seen plenty of moths with a few big fluffy moths amongst them.

We managed to record a single White-mantled Wainscot, in an area we'd not recorded it from previously, although a few more individuals in this area would have given me more confidence it is resident in this area of the reserve.

Since Ant-lions were discovered in this area of the Suffolk coastline we've often wondered why we have not had the species to light while trapping the area. All we needed was a little more patience as one turned up on the night. They seem to be very poor fliers so may be it shouldn't be too surprising that we've not seen more of this species.

Searching of the lights in the toilet block turned up several species not recorded at the main lights, including Dark Spectacle.

Species of interest included; Calamotropha paludella, Pediasia contaminella, Schoenobius gigantella, Tawny Wave, Oblique Carpet, Flame Carpet, Magpie Moth, Sharp-angled Peacock, Dark Sword-grass, Reed Dagger, Fenn's Wainscot, Webb's Wainscot, Silky Wainscot and Pinion-streaked Snout. Over a 160 species recorded on the night.

Melanic form of Scalloped Oak
Ant Lion
Dark Spectacle

MV - Dunwich Beach - 14th August

Forecasts of a warm night tempted a few of the group to try a mid-week visit to this site with reed-bed and vegetated shingle habitats. Results, however, were rather disappointing with few moths attracted to any of the lights. Species of interest out of the 67 recorded included; Eucosma maritima, Depressaria pastinacella, Pima boisduvaliella, Dark Spinach, Fenn's Wainscot, Twin-spotted Wainscot, Dog's Tooth, Tawny Wave, Oxyptilus distans and Reed Dagger.
Twin-spotted Wainscot
Reed Dagger
Rosy Rustic

SMG MV - Southwold Denes - 17th August

A visit to the small area of sand dunes south of Southwold, a habitat which appears to suffer from tourist/visitor pressure. The site does not offer much in the way of shelter which was rather unfortunate as a rather stiff breeze blew in offshore for the time we were there.

The species targetted for the night was the Coast Dart, which we managed to record a singleton of along with several Shore Wainscot. Archer's Dart was another species of possible interest amongst the few (16 species) that we managed to record.

Southwold Denes
Coast Dart
Shore Wainscot

BENHS MV - Tunstall - 18th August

A British Entomological and Natural History Society meeting at one of the heathland sites near Tunstall. The meeting, led by David Young, was targetted at recording the Square-spotted Clay. A few members of the SMG turned up for local support.

I don't want to steal David Young's steam so you'll have to subscribe to the BENHS to read the details of the meeting in the journal. I will say that a few hornets made an appearance at some of the lights but fortunately not in mine.

Red Underwing
Tawny Wave


SMG MV - North Warren - 24th August

A visit to cover the reed-bed habitats of this reserve lying inland of the famous Aldeburgh-Thorpeness shoreline. This turned out to be another of those warm clear nights with not many moths. This could have been a false impression because we'd been spoilt recently with high species counts, as some may consider over 80 species to be not a bad total for the end of August,

On the plus  side we did manage to record several Webb's Wainscot. Other species of possible interest included; Cream-bordered Green Pea, Lunar Yellow Underwing, Bordered Beauty, Calamotropha paludella, Oblique Carpet.

Lunar Yellow Underwing
North Warren Reed-beds
Frosted Orange

SMG MV - Lackford - 31st August - by Neil Sherman

Lackford lakes are a series of flooded gravel pits in West Suffolk, with a mixture of reedbed, fen and wet woodland habitats, owned and managed by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. After a day of heavy showers, coupled with a cold clear night and full moon it was a surprise any moths were caught at all!

Hopes were up as large numbers of caddis-flies and mosquitos soon appeared to the 5 lights set up, but moths were few and far between.

Only 38 species were recorded. Possible highlights were: Bulrush Wainscot (x3), Hedge Rustic - (x1) - a new species for some, Feathered gothic (x1), Frosted orange (x3), Schoenobius gigantella (x1).

MV - Aldeburgh Beach - 1st September - taken from comments by Neil Sherman

5 members of the Suffolk Moth Group trapped at Aldeburgh beach on this night. This is an area that the group have looked at regularly in the past, running lights around the mixed scrub and vegetated shingle. For once there was little wind, which normally hampers us when we visit this site. All night we were surrounded by the song of the Great green bush cricket - 5 were seen, but there were many more - a very impressive beast!

Not a busy night, but nice to see a few migrants around as well as the odd coastal species. 44 species were recorded. Of possible interest were; Wormwood - a single larva found feeding on Wormwood, Wormwood pug - also found while searching the wormwood, Silver Y - 25+ seen, Yellow Belle, Archer's Dart, Nomophila noctuella (x1), Plutella xylostella - 3.

SMG MV - Groton Wood - 7th September

Another visit by the group to this SWT reserve which is known for its large stands of small-leaved limes. Weather conditions were not ideal with a rather strong wind blowing although temperatures were quite warm. 3 MV lights run. Nothing remarkable was recorded amongst the 32 species (including leaf-miners), although the more interesting species of the bunch included; Bordered Beauty, Centre-barred Sallow and Ypsolopha sequella. A possible Orange Sallow sighted at sugar was not confirmed.
Groton Wood


SBC MV - Thornham Estate - 8th September

This moth night was part of Suffolk Branch of Butterfly Conservation's AGM at the Thornham Estate in mid-Suffolk. This site is currently the only known site for the Oak Lutestring in Suffolk and the moth was expected to be flying at this time.  The weather was much colder than at Groton Wood with temperatures dipping to 6C. 4 MV lights were operated, positioned mainly amongst the oak trees in the area where the moth has been recorded previously.

As is often the case the moths starting turning up after most people had left. 32 Oak Lutestring were recorded from the four traps at the end of the evening along with a few hornets. Orange Sallow was another species of interest which turned amongst the 17 species recorded.

Orange Sallow
Thornham Estate
Oak Lutestring


SMG MV - Little Blakenham Pit - 14th September

This site, an old disused chalk quarry,  has been visited by the group several times in the past. Weather conditions were quite favourable on the night following a rather miserable week weather-wise. 3 MV lights were run. Species of interest recorded included Oak Nycteoline, Mullein Wave and Autumnal Rustic.
Little Blakenham Pit

MV - Raydon Great Wood - 15th September

Weather conditions were far from ideal for this night at this ancient woodland site, near Hadleigh. Conditions were rather wet and rain finally called an end to play after a couple of hours.

SMG MV - Bromeswell Green - 21st September

Another of our frequently visited sites, this SWT reserve offers a variety of habitats although this time we concentrated on the woodland and meadow habitats. 21 species recorded with a few autumnal species; Pink-barred Sallow,  Brindled Green and Autumnal Rustic.
Pink-barred Sallow

SMG - Southwold Denes - 22nd September

We sieved the sand at Southwold and we sieved the sand at Sizewell but no Sand Dart larvae were found. We moved on to Kenton Hills for leaf-miner recording, which was more successful. Near the car park good numbers of Clouded Magpie larvae where found on elm.

MV - Sizewell - 22nd September

A visit to this exposed coastal site on a rather breezy day. Species recorded of possible interest included; Large Wainscot and Frosted Orange. Migrants? We had two species - Nomophila noctuella and Silver Y.
Large Wainscot

SMG MV - Monks Eleigh - 28th September

The last official SMG moth night of the year was held at Juliet Hawkin's farm at Monks Eleigh amongst the areas of young woodland. Some autumnal species were recorded including; Brown-spot Pinion, Beaded Chestnut, Orange Sallow, Barred Sallow, Pink-barred Sallow and the Sallow. Of particular note was the record of Epinotia maculana which has only been recorded from one tetrad since 1990.

MV - Minsmere - 29th September

The following night at the RSPB reserve at Minsmere (29th September) a few of the group, who were not off chasing rare birds around the country (some people don't seem to be able to get their priorities right), ran 5 MV lights on the reserve. Conditions were wet but warm after rain during the day and there was the occasional light shower during the evening. A singleton Monopis monachella was interesting to see at this known site for the species. Several Orthopygia glaucinalis were found at the lights - we normally see this species in ones or twos. Other species of interest from the 34 species recorded included Autumnal Rustic, White-point, Feathered Brindle, Deep-brown Dart, Frosted Orange and Large Wainscot.

MV - Bentley Long Wood - 5th October

A surprisingly quiet night given the temperatures at this piece of ancient woodland just outside Ipswich. Orthopygia glaucinalis put in an appearance again. Only 8 species of moth recorded at the light although this did include a Merveille du Jour.

SMG - Clare Castle Country Park - 7th October

This daytime meeting was an introduction to identifying the leaf-mining lepidoptera which attracted 5 members of the group. After a brief overview of the different types of mine made by lepidoptera the group went hunting for mines around the country park. After lunch at a local hostelry a few of us moved onto Groton Wood. Unfortunately by this time the weather had deteriorated and we only managed a rather hurried look around the wood.

MV - Offton Middle Wood - 12th October

A trip to this ancient woodland by a few of the Suffolk Moth Group was rather disappointing given the rather warm temperatures. The Streak was a bit unexpected as there is not much of the foodplant on the site. Recent reports for this moth in areas around the country were it is not normally recorded and at the same time that migrants have been recorded initially made me think that these may be migrants but reports from sites where it is resident seem to indicate that it may just be having a very good year. Other species of interest included; Feathered Thorn, Oak Nycteoline and several Epinotia maculana.
Green-brindled Crescent


MV - Barnhamcross Common - 13th October 2001

This site just south of Thetford was visited in the hope of recording the Figure of Eight and also to gain some records for this site which is under development pressure. Temperatures were very unseasonal with a starting temp of 18C at 6.40pm and a finishing temperature of 14C at 10pm. We picked up a few unseasonal species including; Orthopygia glaucinalis, Maiden's Blush, Willow Beauty and Rosy Footman, although I've since seen recent comments by Tony Davis, the National Pyralid Recorder, that he regularly receives records of O. glaucinalis for this time of year. Other species of interest recorded included; Calybites phasianipennella, Streak, Autumnal Rustic, Merveille du Jour, Yellow-line Quaker, Flounced Chestnut, Beaded Chestnut and Brown-spot Pinion.
Flounced Chestnut
Rosy Footman

Contact details

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