Suffolk Moth Group Newsletter
Issue 31 - Winter 2003
In this issue
moth recording year starts I am currently busy entering moth records
into the database and still finishing off reports on surveys and fields
trips from 2003. Many thanks to those recorders who have already sent
in their moth records for 2003 and a gentle reminder to those who have
yet to send them in that early submissions would be much appreciated.
It is hoped to produce an update to the checklist this year so the
earlier the records are received the earlier an updated checklist can
The events list for 2004 is still in the process of being organised but
should be finalised within the next month or so. I'll be sending out
the events list separately to the newsletter as the next newsletter
will probably produced a bit too late for the start of the programme.
Part of the events will be concentrating on those species that we
looked for last year and had a distinct lack of success with; False
Mocha, Marbled Clover, White-mantled Wainscot and Marsh Carpet.
Thanks again to those people who have contributed material for this
newsletter. I initially thought that this would be a particularly
lean issue but some late submissions have managed to boost the page
count. I would really like to see more recorders sending in site
reports or at least a summary of unusual species they have caught
recently. The reports do not have to be long if you do not have much to
say but it is interesting for people to hear what is being recorded
elsewhere in the county.
It has been a topic of discussion recently as to how moth numbers and
species will be affected this year after last year's rather long hot
dry summer. Personal experience combined with reports I have heard from
people looking for larvae in the late summer and autumn last year was
that larval numbers were particularly low. Is this an indication
that we are not going to see large numbers of certain species this
year? Something to bear in mind during the year's recording.
Indoor Meeting - 2pm, 27th March 2004 -
Alder Carr Farm, Needham Market
The date of
this year's indoor meeting has now been fixed for Saturday, 27th March
2004. This is a little later than in the past but up until now I have
been unable to commit to any time in January or February to organise or
run the day. This year's proceedings will be more informal than
previously with no guest speaker so for entertainment we will be
relying on members bringing along things of interest to show others. I
will be bringing along a slide projector and we should also have a
digital projector - so slides and digital photographs are most welcome.
Other types of exhibits are also welcome - anything that you think
might be of interest to other moth recorders. Alternatively just bring
yourself and see what others have been up to in the last year.
trying a new venue this year - Alder Carr Farm outside Needham Market.
We used this venue for the Butterfly Conservation AGM last year and it
would seem a good venue for our needs. There is good parking at the
site and this is a more central location in the county - so it should
hopefully suit more people.
For those reading this on the web a map showing the location of Alder
Carr Farm can be found here.
Alternatively the grid reference for the farm is TM091553.
Approaching Needham Market from the A140/A14 junction the farm is
clearly signposted. On parking at the farm go through the farm shop to
the courtyard and the Barn Room we will be meeting in is opposite.
The meeting will start at 2pm
and probably last until around 5pm, depending on how much we have to
keep us going. We will be setting up from around 1.30pm if you would
like to come along and help set up. Refreshments will be available.
Hope to see more than a few of you there.
Happened To......? - by Arthur Watchman
It was not until I
loading moth records on to MapMate from Record Cards that I discovered
how many macros, which were regularly attracted to light when we lived
in Ipswich (records from 1975) and subsequently, when we moved to West
Suffolk in 1978, had become non-existent at light in Monks Eleigh.
seems that most of those looked at so far are now rather scarce on a
wide basis also, so the following notes are mainly of historical
In Ipswich most
were from a trap left out overnight and this form of recording
for the first five years or so at Monks Eleigh. However after 1982 the
trap was only used occasionally and most observations were of moths
to the Mercury/Tungsten blended bulb at the front of the house,
with those at other external lights. These lights were usually turned
by midnight which naturally affected both the number of species and
overall totals. Nevertheless many moths could still be seen on the
wall in the vicinity of the MTB light for some years after 1982,
the subjects of these notes. Actually, there seems to have been an
reduction in the numbers of moths at light in Monks Eleigh, but with
natural fluctuations, one can never really be sure of their real status.
members of the Lasiocampidae and Geometridae are just some of the ones
that fit the criteria mentioned in the first paragraph.
Pale Eggar, Trichiura
- This species was not seen at Wye Road Ipswich, but was a frequent
to the trap at Onchan Monks Eleigh, often in double figures until 1980.
Then spasmodic until 1987 when the last one was noted on 15th September.
- Rarely seen in any numbers this attractive moth is another not noted
at Wye Road, but a regular at Onchan in small numbers. The last one was
seen on 12th August 1984.
- Frequent in good numbers in Ipswich. Less common but still a regular
at Monks Eleigh. Last one seen on 13th July 1986.
The V-Moth, Semiothisa
The same comments apply to this moth as to the previous one. Last
on 26th July 1985.
- Unknown at Wye Road, but frequent for the first few years at Onchan.
Then regular but scarcer until 1992, when the last one, a female, was
on 2nd September.
- Frequent but in small numbers in Ipswich. Much more common at Monks
(up to 15 per night) and noted every year from 1978 to 1990. Only 6
in 1991 and last seen on 26th September 1992.
- Occasional, mostly singles at Wye Road. At Onchan this species was
in evidence during 1978 and 1979, but only a few in the next two years.
Then 1 on 2nd September 1986 and the last on 10 August 1987.
- This predominantly woodland species 'fills the gap' between the first
and second broods of the Early and Purple Thorns, all records being
in June except two at the end of May. One seen at Wye Road in 1976.
singles at Monks Eleigh in 1979, one in each of the years 1980 and 1981
and the last noted on 30th May 1984.
- Frequent in good numbers (up to 9 per night) in Ipswich. More
at Monks Eleigh with 35 in the trap on 4th May 1978. Then much in
up to the mid-1980s, equally as common as its close relative the Pale
Beauty which is usually on the wing earlier. Becoming much scarcer,
singles being noted in 1994 and 1995. The last one was seen in March
Skinner suggests that this moth flies in March and April, but in twenty
years I only saw it twice in March, the majority being noted during
and up to the end of May! MBGBI Volume 7, part 2 also thinks it is not
on the wing during May! It makes one begin to wonder whether those late
fliers were actually a different species! Any thoughts anyone?
and Irish Pug Moths - A Guide to their Identification and Biology by
Adrian Riley and Gaston Prior. A Review By Neil Sherman
At last, after many
years of waiting, this Pugs book has arrived, and it was worth the
This particular group of moths can be very difficult to identify, even
sometimes with fresh specimens, but this book has the means to sort
of them out.
The text is
with each species having its characteristic features listed at the very
start, followed by the different variants. This is followed by a list
‘similar species’ with which to compare to. My only complaint on this
is the fact they are all listed in Latin, with no English names as
but there is a reference to figures within the text that will
lead to the English name. These figures will also be very useful,
the features to be looking for on the particular specimen you are
to identify in relation to the others.
section is then followed by a comprehensive description of the life
of each moth, including descriptions of the larvae at various stages of
growth, foodplants, habitats, flight periods and finally a collecting
rearing section. This will certainly be extremely useful as a lot of
Pug moths are far easier to record as larvae than adults, a good
being the Sloe pug, whose larvae can be beaten in Spring from
blossom, but the adult moth is rarely seen (in my experience anyway).
Following on from
the text on each species are plates of the genitalia and illustrations
of the fully -grown larvae. These caterpillar pictures are in black and
white, which show up some of their features quite well, removing the
of colour as some species have larvae that are very variable in this
After this are the Vice County maps, with simple dots to show whether a
species is widespread, not generally distributed or of uncertain status.
Then is the
that most people will head to first – the colour plates, split into
sections. First, species are shown in taxonomic order, followed by
grouped together of similar appearance, then by species in their
resting postures. The plates of the set moths are of good quality,
each moth is a bit on the small side. Certainly the idea of grouping
the similar looking species is a good one and will probably be the most
used section of my book. The plates of the moths in their resting
however are quite variable in quality. Some are ‘flashed out’ so you
unable to see any features at all! Others are placed on too cryptic a
so you can barely see them – the specimens resting on leaves are by far
the better ones.
If you are
in this difficult little group of moths (like me), then this book is a
must, and, at £29.50 is reasonably priced for a hardback book
Lunar Yellow Underwing
Larval Survey 2004 - so far - by Tony Prichard
winter's survey was rather delayed in starting due to the spell of cold
nights running from mid-December through to early January. Since then
we have managed to make four outings to look for larvae in the
Rendlesham and Tunstall areas. Although it is still early days the
impression that we are getting so far is that in general numbers are
down on last year's survey and that the habitat in most locations
searched is degraded in terms of the acid grass available for the
larvae. It would appear that the long dry summer last year has not been
good for the fine grasses used by the larvae and what was present has
been severely cropped by rabbits. Another thought in our minds at the
moment is that the adults may not have fared well last summer - what
sort of impact do hot summers have on aestivating species? The picture
is slightly confused by the results from two sites in Rendlesham Forest
where we recorded our highest ever counts of larvae (70+). It would
seem that they have fared well in these spots. We need to carry out
quite a bit more surveying before coming to any firmer conclusions and
unfortunately we have, at the moment, only one previous year's data
against which to compare the current results.
objectives of this year's surveying are to find new sites for the
species, begin monitoring of selected sites to build up detailed
information on these sites and to investigate the day-time behaviour
of larvae in the short sward sites found in Rendlesham Forest.
The surveying will continue into the spring and any results will be
published in a later newsletter.
A very interesting leaf-miner, possibly
- by Tony Prichard
story starts in 2002 when Jon Clifton and myself were doing some
leaf-miner recording in the north-west of the county at Howlett Hills.
the site is some hybrid Black Poplar and on these we noticed that there
were some mines at the base of the leaves coming out of the petioles.
Consulting the MOGBI key there was only one species that mined poplar
leaves in this manner and that was Ectoedemia.
turbidella, so we recorded the species as such. On hearing about
our finding this species Neil Sherman also managed to find similar
mines in hybrid poplar at the Ipswich Golf Course and these too were
attributed to E. turbidella.
In the following year I sent these records into John Langmaid
(the National Micro-lepidoptera recorder). After checking the foodplant
we had found the species on he informed me that E. turbidella was known only to
occur on Grey Poplar in this country (I'd passed over the 'grey' in the
MOGBI key when matching it to E.
turbidella). Initially I thought we might have mis-identified
the poplar as the mine was a classic for a petiole-mining Ectoedemia and I remained
confident that it was a lepidopterous mine. Further investigation
conluded that the poplar was a hybrid poplar and not Grey Poplar.
The only solution was to rear some mines through and identify the
species from the adult. In the autumn of 2003 a few of us collected
leaf-mines to breed through. This species needs to be over-wintered to
rear it through and
belongs to a group that can be tricky to rear through so the plan was
to have several people over-wintering the mines, thus increasing our
chances of success. Neil Sherman took some mines down to the BENHS
meeting to hand over to Jon Clifton as part of this plan and while
there the mines were shown around interested members and managed to
raise a bit of puzzlement and excitement over their identity.
During the autumn of 2003
similar mines were also found at 3 more sites, one in the Brecks (AWP),
one in the Woodbridge area (AWP) and one in Norfolk (Andy Musgrove).
Thoughts on the identity of the moth fell into two main
possibilities. The first was that it might be a new species to the
country - Ectoedemia hannoverella
- which mines hybrid Black Poplar and occurs on the continent,
it could be E. turbidella on
a new foodplant for this country - although European literature
Poplar as unconfirmed foodplant for this species.
John Langmaid pointed out that there are differences in the larvae
between the two species. So a couple were examined and would seem to
indicate that they are probably E.
turbidella. Despute this we are still waiting for the
adults for conclusive determination of the identity.
My money is on E. turbidella
at the moment.
and Pieces Quiz - by Neil
knowledge on these
moth/caterpillar pictures. Each shows part of either the wings, body or
a moth or larva, all you have to do is identify the species. The only
that all have been seen within Suffolk in the last year. Answers will
be in the
reports - by Tony Prichard
September 2003 - Bromeswell
Green - SMG Moth Night
This is an
SWT reserve in the south-east of the county with recording this night
mainly in the woodland and meadow areas. We had rather productive
evening's mothing given the time of year with 73 species recorded.
Prior to the light trapping some leaf-miner recording turned up some
new site records; Bedellia
somnulentella and Cosmopterix
zieglerella. New species to the site that appeared at light
included Feathered Gothic, Red
Underwing, Centre-barred Sallow and Acleris
emargana. Given that this is a frequently recorded site it was
interesting that 24 new species for the site were recorded, with 12 new
species for the 10km square. Other seasonal species included;
Canary-shouldered Thorn, Hedge Rustic, Brindled Green, Copper Underwing
and Frosted Orange.
September 2003 - West Stow
CP - SMG Moth Night
park in the Brecklands has some good heathland habitats but as
experience has shown these can be rather cold at night. This was the
case for this meeting and we took refuge with the lights in the birch
copses dotted around the heathland. Only 18 species were recorded with
four new site species; Hypatima rhomboidella (also a new
10km record), Epinotia ramella,
geniculea and Eudonia
truncicolella. Species also recorded included; Spruce Carpet,
Autumnal Rustic, Feathered Gothic and Pink-barred Sallow.
September 2003 - Alder Carr
Farm - BC Moth Night
This was a
moth night organised to follow on from the Suffolk Branch of Butterfly
Conservation's AGM and provide some evening entertainment for those
attending. Weather conditions were fair and 21 species were recorded.
Interestingly the sheet light out in the open attracted more moths than
those positioned in the copse - a bit unusual for this time of year. BC
Members had the opportunity to see a fair selection of autumnal species
including; Feathered Gothic (new site species), Large Wainscot (new
site species) and Rosy Rustic along with some more unseasonal species -
Small Fan-footed Wave and Single-dotted Wave. Bedellia
somnulentella would appear to
have had a good year in 2003 and some mines of this rather localised
species were noted on the abundant bindweed - providing a new 10km
2003 - Priestley Wood -
SMG Moth Night
A night at
this ancient woodland site owned by the Woodland Trust that will be
remembered more for the large number of hornets than the moths. No trap
avoided attracting their share of these gentle giants with a sting in
their tail (not how Iwould normally refer to them). Some
leaf-mining prior to the meeting proper turned up a new 10km record - Ectoedemia
louisella - that forms
mines in the keys of field maple. 43 species were recorded in
total with those of interest being; Ypsolopha
bonnetella, Red-green Carpet, Brindled Green, Brick,
Centre-barred Sallow, Sallow, Brown-spot Pinion and Pink-barred Sallow.
field trail of the SMG hornet trap © Neil Sherman
September 2003 -
Aldeburgh/Thorpeness - Moth Night
site may not have seemed the ideal location for a moth night at this
time of year - apart from looking for migrants. Large numbers of Fox
Moth larvae were found amongst the low-growing vegetation while we were
walking around the site prior to setting up - not surprising given the
numbers of adults we see here earlier in the year. As the night
progressed a single Dupochelia
fovealis turned up at the lights - presumably a migrant as other
records of this species appeared at this time in Essex and
Suffolk. Thirteen new site species from
37 species recorded proved the value of holding the event here at this
time of year with new site species being Feathered Gothic, Barred Red,
Rustic, Feathered Ranunculus, Red-line Quaker, Lunar Underwing,
Pink-barred Sallow, Sallow, Frosted Orange, Bulrush Wainscot and Large
|Duponchelia fovealis © Neil
2003 - Great Martins
Wood - SMG Moth Night
This was our
second visit of the year to this privately owned woodland not too far
from Ipswich and the last official moth night of the year. As with the
previous visit lights were concentrated on the heathland area and
adjoining woodland. It was touch and go as we were setting up whether
the evening was going to be a wet one or not - shortly after setting up
the lights the question was answered when quite heavy rain started.
Despite the rain we carried on and recorded 31 species, with 20 new
species to the site - not too surprising as not much recording has been
done here previously. Those species new to the site included Autumnal
Sallow, Pink-barred Sallow, Mallow, Plain Wave and Lunar Underwing. The
moth of the night was a singleton Black Rustic that made up for most of
us feeling rather soggy. This species in recent years is being recorded
more frequently and this probably indicates its continuing
establishment within the county.
Rustic © Neil Sherman
2003 - Reydon Wood and
Benacre Woods - SMG Leaf-miner Recording Day
leaf-miner meeting seems to have become well-established and attracts
several members of the group - the lunchtime visit to the pub for
something to eat could have something to do with that. This year we
were up in the north-east of the county covering the SWT reserve Reydon
Wood in the morning before moving on to Holly Grove (part of the
Benacre Estate) in the afternoon. During the late summer I had had
concerns that by the time this meeting took place there would hardly be
any leaves on trees due to the exceptionally dry summer but as it
turned out there were still plenty of leaves on the trees. At Reydon
Wood recording started in the track leading up to the wood and a fair
number of species had been clocked up before we even entered the wood.
Of the 62 species recorded in the morning seventeen were new site
records and fifteen were new to the 10km square. The more unusual
species included Ectoedemia louisella,
Ectoedemia argyropeza, Ectoedemia minimella,
Stigmella viscerella and Deltatornix torquilella.
moved on to Holly Grove in the afternoon the wind was picking up making
it harder to spot the mines on the fluttering leaves. A search of the
reed-beds failed to find any of the species associated with Common Reed
- we've not had much success to date locating these reed-dependent
species. In the end 57 species were recorded and again a good number
(30) were new to the 10km square. Species of interest included; Stigmella viscerella, Stigmella alnetella, Heliozela
syringella and Phyllonorycter
2003 - Ramsey Wood - Moth
at the tail end of the season was held at this RSPB-owned woodland site
on the off-chance of recording Plumed Prominent. A previous search has
been made for this species at the site in the past. The previous visit
failed to find the species and we had a similar lack of success this
time. Scarce Umber turned up in reasonable numbers as well as good
numbers of December Moth. Other species recorded at light were Northern
Winter Moth, Sprawler, Feathered Thorn and Brick.
from Recorders around the county
Records reported in
this section have not been checked by the Suffolk Moth Panel.
Moths at Rendham –
September to December 2003 – by Matthew Deans
week of the month was fairly quiet with a couple of Dark Sword-grass,
single White-point and four Nomophila
noctuella being the pick of the bunch amongst the hordes of
Mid-month saw the emergence of a number of autumnal species notably
Brown-spot Pinion, Orange Sallow and Lunar Underwing all on the
15th. With near-perfect mothing conditions the trap was run
nightly for a week. This effort paid-off with two species new for
the garden on the 16th - Scarce Bordered Straw and Hedge Rustic.
A single Dark Sword-grass also arrived with a Pearly Underwing.
The night of 17th produced a Bordered Straw, which was excellent
comparison with the previous night’s Scarce! An unseasonable Buff
Arches and an early Satellite also appeared. Yellow-line Quaker
on 18th was a surprise this early.
Bordered Straw and Bordered Straw
© Matthew Deans
© Matthew Deans
As the month came to a close Grey Shoulder-knot and Autumnal Rustic
showed up on 24th and 25th respectively. There was one final
long-awaited addition to the garden list - a Pink-barred Sallow on 29th.
What a start
to the month I had, when the first moth I set eyes on during the trap
inspection after the night of the 1st was a superb example of The
Vestal! It was a very fresh red individual and a welcome garden
|Vestal © Matthew
The Mallow was quite numerous during the month as was Barred
Sallow. Two Large Wainscots appeared on the 2nd with another on
the 5th – this species occurs annually in small numbers. The
first November Moth showed up on the 5th, which was somewhat
depressing. On the 8th Feathered Thorn, Blair’s Shoulder-knot and
Green-brindled Crescent emerged.
An impressive 22 species were notched up on 9th including two Merveille
du Jour - the first of many. A few late immigrants included
White-point on 9th and Silver Y (12th). The Deep-brown Dart
showed up on the 13th - only the second garden record following one
last year. Two Red-line Quaker and a late Large Yellow Underwing
rounded off October on the 28th.
The Rendham trap
was operated on 13 trap nights this month, far more coverage than any
previous November due to the unseasonably warm conditions.
Moth was the first new species for the year appearing on the 3rd.
The last Brick and Orange Sallow of the year were trapped on the 5th.
interesting exercise on the night of the 8th the trap was run and
monitored during a lunar eclipse. With bright moonshine no moths
appeared until a single Feathered Thorn was lured to the light half way
through the eclipse at 11.30pm. At midnight a November Moth
showed up by which time three-quarters of the moon was eclipsed. Once
the eclipse was over, the garden was illuminated until dawn by strong
moonlight and no further moths appeared.
following night (9th) was much better with Mottled Umber and Sprawler
the best of nine species. A flurry of late immigrants included Silver Y
on the 18th and N. noctuella
and Dark Sword-grass on 21st.
The month ended with two Winter
Moths on 21st with three Scarce Umbers during 22nd - 30th.
Single Winter Moth and December Moth
were recorded on the 2nd. The only Dark Chestnut of the year
appeared on the 4th. A Mottled Umber on the 8th was one of only two
autumn records this year. The trap was run on Christmas Day night but
rather disappointingly the only moth that appeared was a Winter Moth!
at Bawdsey – September to
December 2003 – by Matthew Deans
The Light Emerald was plentiful in
the first week of the month with five on the 3rd. A couple
of Nomophila noctuella were
recorded on 4th with three Centre-barred Sallows. Small Dusty Wave and
Mullein Wave were present on 7th and 8th respectively. A single
Archer’s Dart was found on the 14th, Treble-bar on 16th and an
impressive 11 Garden Carpets on the 17th. The green prasinaria form of the Barred Red
was seen on the 18th. Excitement on the 19th was provided by two
Humming-bird Hawk-moths nectaring on Buddleia late morning. The last
week of the month was dominated by Feathered Ranunculus and Lunar
Underwings although did include a Dark Sword-grass on the 28th.
One of the more exciting discoveries
this year was a single L-album Wainscot on 1st. This species
seems to be on the increase in Suffolk with more records from nearby
Landguard every year. Most of the usual autumnal species showed up
during the month with November Moth appearing from 12th. The last
White-point was 15th and Silver Y on the 22nd. An Acleris sparsana was noted on the
November Moths and Feathered Thorns
were regular throughout. A single example of The Streak was
welcome on the 11th – a species I have never trapped at Rendham. Three
Scarce Umbers were recorded in the final week of November along with a
couple of Mottled Umbers.
A disappointing end to the year with
just two species recorded this month – Winter Moth and Mottled
Umber. The highest count of Winter Moth was ten on the 23rd.
Ipswich Golf Club - September to November 2003 - by Neil Sherman
weather continued into the first half of September,
only being broken mid month for a short time by a few cold nights (with
the first frost) and some much needed rain showers. The end of the
had some cloudy mild nights which produced some interesting records for
the site, including a few species ‘out of season’, a trend that was
by other recorders in Suffolk at the same time.
© Neil Sherman
Ranunculus © Neil Sherman
were put out on 9 nights during the month, which,
along with daytime observations of larvae and a few leaf miners
a total of 127 species recorded. Of possible interest on the macro
were the following. The Mallow appeared on the 27th (2), the first for
the year. Also a yearly first was a singleton Spruce carpet on the 9th.
Lunar Yellow Underwing appeared as single moths on 5 widely scattered
in previous years there have been multiple records in a night – maybe
is a species that didn’t like the really hot weather. More numerous
Hedge Rustic, Feathered Gothic, Feathered Ranunculus and, from mid
Lunar Underwing. Heath Rustic appeared right on time, with 4 on the
followed by another on the 21st. Another Heathy grassland moth, the
Deep-brown Dart appeared on the 27th (4). The Sallows always add a bit
to what can be a drab selection of moths at this time of year. Orange
(11th – just the wings left in the trap as a Hornet had eaten the
and the Sallow have been noted so far. No Centre-barred Sallow have
seen, a species that seems to be common elsewhere in Suffolk but
isn’t here! Other colourful moths included Red Underwing (a tatty one
the 27th), Flounced Chestnut (30th) and Brick (2 on 18th). The Large
was seen on the 27th, this being the first record since 1995 here.
notable record was the Chestnut seen on the 11th – this is the earliest
autumn record I have for this common species here. Even better were two
new macros for the site – a Small Mottled Willow on the 17th, followed
by a Black Rustic on the 30th. I have seen the Black Rustic elsewhere
the UK, where it seems to be common, while in Suffolk it is very local,
but is almost certainly spreading.
Rustic © Neil Sherman
Mottled Willow © Neil Sherman
possible interest were fewer in number, but included
Prays fraxinella (form
rustica) on the 11th, Ypsolopha
Archips podana (second brood
quite numerous), Orthopygia
and Udea ferrugalis (on the
notable about September this year was the number of
species appearing that I would not normally expect to see at the time
year. Here is a list of the species seen at the site, followed by the
recorded - Acleris forsskaleana
(1), Pediasia contaminella
(7), Eudonia pallida
(2), Buff Arches (1), Willow Beauty (1), Engrailed (1), Riband Wave
Plain Wave (1), Yellow-tail (7), Rosy Footman (1), Nutmeg (1) and
Mottled Rustic (1). Some of these the literature states do have a small
brood, but some of the others do not. It has certainly all been caused
by the weather this year.
daytime sightings of larvae were Festoon (the larva
falling on one of the staff as we were driving a buggy under an oak
Grey Dagger and 2 specimens of the Knot Grass.
was in complete contrast to September – apart from a few
mild nights early on, conditions were awful for recording moths. A
of below average temperatures, wind and, at the end of the month rain
the trap didn’t go out much (only 4 times).
well enough on the 2nd, with 20 species. This
included 109 Lunar underwings, Deep-brown Dart, Beaded Chestnut, Barred
Sallow, White-point, Flounced Chestnut and a second brood Smoky
19 species were seen on the 8th, with 5 Barred Sallow, Sallow and
Pink-barred Sallow brightening up the catch. Also seen were Brindled
Green-brindled Crescent and the first November Moth of the season. On
following night, Merveille du Jour, Vapourer, Feathered Thorn (first
year) and another second brood Pediasia
contaminella were seen along
the usual suspects for early October. The trap then went into storage;
not coming out again until the 28th, when a brief let up in the weather
tempted me to try the trap. I was not rewarded by my efforts, with only
5 species appearing, with the most interesting being Flounced Chestnut
(2) and a late record of Large Yellow Underwing (2).
was seen twice in daytime flight, this being
the only adult moth of interest seen all month during the day!
switched to leaf miners, which are much more interesting when
are this bad in the autumn. Most recording was done on other sites in
to help get good coverage of the whole county for this group of moths.
However, the following were found at the golf club that are of possible
interest (foodplant listed afterwards in brackets).
Ectoedemia intimella (sallow),
Ectoedemia argyropeza (aspen),
trimaculella (poplar), Heliozela
resplendella (alder) and Bucculatrix
light traps were operated on 4 nights, when conditions
were mild for the time of year. This resulted in 24 species being
with 15 being trapped on the night of the 18th. After this successful
the weather worsened with wet or frosty conditions finally arriving,
a halt to recording.
possible note seen in the traps were Merveille du Jour
(4th), Red-green Carpet (also on the 4th), Streak (regular), Northern
Moth (on 10th and 4 on the 18th), Brick, Scarce Umber (3 on the 18th
for the year) and Pale November Moth (one on the 4th confirmed by
examination). There were several records of moths not normally seen at
the time of the year, including 2 Large Yellow Underwing on the 5th,
(18th – latest ever) and Vine’s Rustic (also on the 18th and the latest
ever record.). On top of all of these sightings were good numbers of
usual species seen at this time of the year including Feathered Thorns,
December Moths and November Moths.
notable by its absence during the month was the Chestnut,
normally quite common here. Perhaps the dry summer and autumn has had
effect on this species.
Shades and Acleris cristana were
found while coppicing gorse on the 19th and were the only notable
A year at
and tales of a season end puzzler… - by Paul Bryant
from the ex-Thurston recorder. You may recall that
last year Ann & I moved to Hopton whilst looking for a new home.
of us expected to still be living there a year later. The good news is
finally found a new home in Woolpit. The downside is that we can’t move
in as it
needs re-decorating from top to bottom. Consequently, we now spend most
weekends learning new skills
like putting up coving and artexing ceilings! So what I hear you cry,
well, I did
get to spend an unexpected year moth trapping in Hopton so with a
try and be a bit more seasonal in my write-ups in 2004 here is a
flavour of mothing
in Hopton during 2003.
temporary home is on the NW side of the village. I have the choice of
gardens which are laid mostly to lawn. These in turn back on to an
that slopes gently down to Hopton Fen, a few hundred metres away. We
surrounded by a number of well established gardens and to one side is a
hedge. Not too far away there is a scattering of mixed deciduous trees
odd conifer amongst them. Apart from a few pots and some young conifers
at the front
of the house there is also a lone pine tree in one back garden that
10 - 12 metres tall. Hopton Fen is not too dissimilar to Market Weston
which is little more than a mile or two away as the crow flies. Both
are quite exposed and there always seems to be a breeze or gale blowing
the west, which did cause problems at times but didn’t prevent me from
whenever time and conditions allowed.
April and May I started to notch up all the species you would typically
to find in and around your average garden or hedgerow. Of the more
species (? immigrant) Dark Sword-grass was trapped on 24/4, a Pale Oak
on 8/5 and a Netted Pug on 29/5. Indications that I was within
distance of the fen arrived in the form of Sallow Kitten on 25/5 and
Brocade on 27/5. The first of seven hawk-moth sp. to appear (alas all
commoner ones and no Bedstraw or Striped) was a Lime Hawk on 10/5. Best
was a female Emperor Moth trapped on the 4/5. Wanting to impress Ann
following morning I kept her in the fridge overnight (the moth, not
to discover that during the night she had laid 40 eggs inside the pot.
all hatched and I few were retained which (fingers crossed) should
metamorphosing in the garage. Like their mother, the rest were
Pug © Paul Bryant
Moth © Paul Bryan
and July things gathered momentum. Heart & Dart numbers peaked at
10/6 and Large Yellow Underwing appeared on mass during July. A Peach
on 4/6 was very welcome, as was a Pretty Chalk Carpet on 26/6.
Hawk-moths; a species that impressed the neighbours, were seen on 17/6
probably came from a nearby garden where the food plant can be found.
reminders were Round-winged Muslin on 8/7 and Fen Wainscot on 22/7.
was seen again on two nights during this period and a single Garden
28/6 was a bonus.
Chalk Carpet © Paul Bryant
Sword-grass © Paul Bryant
was a good month for the common species. Good conditions on the 4/8
Flame Shoulder, c50 Large Yellow Underwings and 100+ Setaceous Hebrew
Characters – numbers of the latter species peaking at 120+ on 22/8.
weeding one afternoon in August I saw a Vapourer moth larva crawling
looking for somewhere to pupate. By September autumnal moths started to
and typically included Brown-spot Pinion, Beaded Chestnut,
and a selection of Sallow sp. A
Bordered Straw was trapped on 7/9 and Lunar Underwing was also seen
the month. A real treat was two Red Underwings seen on the 4/9, only
which stayed in the trap.
Late October and early November was
a frustrating period as I suffered a run of blank nights. My luck
on the night of 19/11, when favourable conditions saw single Feathered
December Moth, Blair’s Shoulder-knot, Dark Chestnut and two
Quakers appear in the trap. Most intriguing of all was what I
identified as a Shark, although a quick read through the literature
pondering as surely it shouldn’t be on the wing at this time of year. I
the specimen up with a view to having a better look when I got home
but it wasn’t until the weekend that I was finally able to have a good
Thankfully, the moth was still alive. I had already mentioned its
Lee and Matthew during the week who both wondered if I had not mistaken
a Pale Pinion or a Grey Shoulder-knot, both species with which I was
It was not until Lee saw it for himself on the Saturday evening that
changed. It was obviously a Shark sp, with Chamomile being favourite. A
phone call to Matthew saw him travel across to have a look and by the
left we were all in agreement - Chamomile Shark it was. But what was it
out at this time of the year?
the importance of the
record Matthew kindly offered to pin the specimen for me, which also
gave him a
chance to confirm its identification using external characters –
hindwing pattern and detail of the wing-tip. This does still leave one
question, where had it come from? From memory the days leading up to
capture were mild so it could have been of local origin, although
implies that the flight period is generally considered to be April to
June. Alternatively, it could have been an immigrant. Whatever, it was
surprise and somewhat typical of what seemed a bit of a mixed up year.
© Matthew Deans
© Paul Bryant
the end of the year, I had recorded just over 300 species which came as
surprise especially considering the time that it took to reach this
Thurston. Thanks as ever must go to everyone involved with the SMG for
and identification skills.
trapping in 2004.
Please send any Suffolk
moth records, moth articles or other queries to myself (preferably via
email) at :
3 Powling Road,
Suffolk IP3 9JR
Email : email@example.com
web site (home of the SMG): http://www.suffolkmothgroup.org.uk/
Recorder : Brian Goodey, 298 Ipswich Road, Colchester, Essex. CO4
This is the newsletter
for the Suffolk Moth Group. It is distributed free to those with email
and at a £2 per annum subscription for paper copies. Four issues
are produced per year although the precise time of production varies. I
always on the look out for articles that will be of interest to moth
in Suffolk, although field and site reports should be topical. Please
contact me for publication deadlines as this varies with each issue and
tends to be flexible.