Suffolk Moth Group Newsletter
Issue 32 - Spring 2004
In this issue
to the contributors who have sent in reports for their area of the
county for this issue. This time of year can be a it quiet before the
season gets under way and they have managed to provide some interesting
write-ups. It would appear that the start of this season has been a bit
slow (or possibly back to normal after the run of early springs). Most
the Quakers and other early spring moths seem to have been particularly
low on the ground based on the results at lights we have run out and
about this year. In the
last week or two the late spring species have been appearing and we at
last seem to have entered the 'large fluffy moth' season. Will they
appear in lower numbers as well?
Following on from the success of the winter indoor meeting this
autumn/winter there will be another indoor meeting. This will
take the form of a workshop covering the setting of moths and how to
perform genitalia dissections. Jon Clifton has kindly agreed to come
along and run the dissection workshop. Details will be sent out when
they are firmed up. If you come across any 'Ears', Grey/Dark Daggers,
Minors or non-descript Pugs during the summer that you would like
confirming then I
would suggest keeping them and bringing them along to the meeting.
The next issue of the newsletter should be out around August time.
Indoor Meeting - 27th March 2004 -
Alder Carr Farm, Needham Market - Tony Prichard
was the third indoor meeting for the group and we were trying a new
venue at Alder Carr Farm. This site is a bit more central and
accessible than the museum in central Ipswich. As I had not
arranged for any
formal speakers an afternoon only meeting of three hours seemed enough
time for some waffle from myself and for others to show a few slides.
That turned out to be an example of poor
estimating. As SMG meetings go this was particularly well attended - I
think I counted over twenty-five people at one stage.
There was quite a selection of exhibits including some live ones (see Caloptilia azaleella later on).
After the usual coverage of recording in 2003 by myself it was onto the
more enjoyable moth picture slide shows, with presentations from Neil
Sherman, Bryan Goodey, Matthew
Deans and myself. It was all a bit of a rush at the end as we ran out
of time. Many thanks to all those who brought exhibits and slides along
- without them it would not have been much of a meeting.
The general impression I have had so far was that the event was enjoyed
by people but that it was not long enough and the proceedings were
rather rushed. I would really like to get some
more feedback on how members thought the meeting went, otherwise I will
assume everyone is extremely happy and arrange a similar but longer
2004 Field Events Programme
Events Programme was sent out with the last newsletter. At the time
there were still some events that were awaiting confirmation. These
now been confirmed and will go ahead as detailed in the distributed
A correction needs to be made to the programme
sent out - the daytime meeting at Priestley Wood in May that was
originally shown as Sunday 29th May should read Sunday 30th May.
hannoverella confirmed - Tony Prichard
in the last newsletter that we were trying to rear through some
leaf-mines to determine whether they were a new species to Britain (Ectoedemia
hannoverella) or mines of a known
turbidella) in a
new foodplant. At the time I
think I may have put my money on the latter. Since then some mines from
East Suffolk VC
reared through by Neil Sherman and Jon Clifton have hatched and been
as E. hannoverella after
genitalia examination. Externally E.
hannoverella is normally
indistinguishable from E.
turbidella, but they have
quite distinctive features in the genitalia that enable determination.
Some mines from West Suffolk VC that I have been rearing have just
hatched so with any luck these too should be confirmed as E. hannoverella. I would not
be surprised if this species turns out to be not that scarce in Suffolk
- so it might be
worth keeping an eye out for mines in fallen poplar leaves in the
© Neil Sherman
in black poplar hybrid © Rob Edmunds
and Pieces Quiz - The Answers - by Neil
This seemed quite
a popular item in the last newsletter with those getting the colour web
version at an advantage. I think I'll be after Neil to do another one
next year. Here are the answers.
|05 Treble Bar
|19 Oak Beauty
|20 Alder Moth
Moth Recording Coverage in the County - Tony
meeting I was asked by a few people to put some of the slides from the
presentation into the next newsletter so here are what I hope are the
most relevant and interesting. If there was one that you particularly
wanted to see but I have missed then let me know.
|Moth species count
per ten km square
of squares with less than 200 species recorded in that ten km square
continues to decline. Field trips
in 2004 are targetted at some of these under-recorded squares. I would
very much like to hear about possibilties for new recording sites in
any of these under-recorded squares.
in moth species counts per ten km square in 2003
species count per ten km
for suitable moth trapping venues in any of these under-recorded areas
would be much appreciated or if recorders would carry out their own
recording even better.
received per year
of records received per year continues to increase. Some late records
received since the meeting have now pushed the 2004 figure past 2003's.
It will be interesting to see what impact the National Macro-Moth
Recording Scheme (NMRS) has, if and when it gets under way..
of recorders submitting records per year
trend for moth recording in the county would appear to generally be on
the up. Another figure to keep an eye on during the early days of the
of species recorded per year
Figures prior to the mid-1990s lack Arthur Watchman's records so the
figures for that period are rather lower than they should be.
Macro-moth species totals recorded per year have shown a slight
increase in recent years but tends to remain in the 450 - 510 range.
The increase in the overall total of species recorded shown above is
largely down to increasing interest in and identification of
Yellow Underwing Survey Update 2003-4 - Tony Prichard
came to a conclusion during mid-April as larval numbers dropped
significantly and larvae became hard to find. This is only the second
year that we have been monitoring this species in the Sandlings so not
too much data for comparison. We managed 44 site visits this year
between January and mid-April - more than last year and a bit of
surprise to myself as we did not manage to start surveying till early
January. Periods of milder weather this year have allowed us to do more
survey work in March and April, although I suspect that this later
period data is not as good for assessing populations as the data
gathered earlier in the survey period.
In the main larval numbers would appear to be down on the previous
year. One of the objectives this year was to look into larval behaviour
on the 'lawn' sites. This was not achieved as larvae seemed to be
keeping to the more clumpy areas of grass at the edges of these sites
and few larvae were found out on the 'lawns' this year. Further sites
within Rendlesham Forest have been found for the species. A trip to a
Walberswick site to look at an area of Wavy Hair-grass was made as we
do not see much of this grass in the southern Sandlings. This area
turned up a reasonable number of Lunar Yellow Underwing larva, not too
surprising as the larvae have been found to use this grass in the
On the 28th March we were surveying in the Upper Hollesley areas and
noticed in our
torchlights a few geometers
flying around. With containers in hand (no nets ready to hand) we
managed to pot up
a couple and discovered that these were Mottled Grey - a species that
we normally associate with the Brecks. It has previously been recorded
further up the coast but does not appeared to have been previously
recorded in this
area of the Sandlings.
Grey © Neil Sherman
for Metallic-green Coleophoras and
Cnephasias - Jon Clifton
there are six
metallic-green species known as the trifolii group. In this group two are large
species, trifolii and fuscicornis, and four smaller moths, mayrella (which has distinctive black and
white ringed antennae), deauratella, alcyonipennella and frischella - the latter with only a handful of
records due to confusion with the genitalia figures in Moths and
Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland volume 3.
I would like to make a request
for any recorders catching the latter three species to send them to me
(address below) for critical examination to determine which species
they are. This will help us gain a better understanding of their
distribution and abundance. They may occasionally visit mercury-vapour
lamps but are more often encountered whilst sweeping a net through
grass on sunny days from May onwards.
I would also like to request any
Cnephasia, a rather nondescript tortricoid
moths, to be sent to me as part of an ongoing study, particularly those
caught between May and early June and from mid-July onwards.
Photo by Charles Baker
Photo by Jeff Higgott (www.ukleps.co.uk)
Kestrel Cottage, Station Road, Hindolveston, Norfolk, NR20 5DE
British Tortricoid Moths Volumes on CD - Tony Prichard
are quite a popular family of microlepidoptera but books on them could
be in short supply. The standard reference books in use by most people
for this family appears to be 'British Tortricoid Moths' by Bradley,
Tremewan and Smith, published by the Ray Society. A more recent
alternative is 'Die Tortriciden Mitteleuropas' by J. Razowski but this
contains several errors in the plates, German text and a limited number
of photographs of species subject to variation. This book has been
re-issued in English as 'Tortricidae of Europe' Volume 1 & 2 but as
far as I am aware still contains the same errors as the German version.
Conservation have now produced the two Ray Society volumes on CD. The
cost is £55, slightly cheaper than the £350+ prices
paid recently for second-hand versions of the Ray Society volumes.
Overall I would say that a
fair job has been done of digitising the books. The scanned book comes
a PDF document (and an Acrobat reader if you do not have one already).
The scans of the colour plates appear
to be quite clear, at a reasonable resolution and match the colours of
the plates quite well. The
parts of the text that I have read appear to have converted well,
although there is the odd slip up in line spacing between headings. If
you do not have the Ray Society books already then I would recommend
buying this CD - the text contains a huge amount of useful information,
there are drawings of field signs to look for when searching for the
immature stages and the plates tend to give a bit more idea of the
variety of forms of some of the species. On the negative side due to
the time elapsed since the books were published the species
distributions can be a bit out of date in certain cases.
reports - Tony Prichard
Moth Night -
Tangham Valley - 17th March 2004
I've included this within the field reports section this was really a
night when we were targetting Lunar Yellow Underwing larvae but we did
put some MV light traps out and recorded 15 species at the lights or
flying around while we were searching. Yellow Horned appeared in good
numbers (100+) and a reasonable selection of other springtime species -
March Moth, Pine Beauty, Common and Small Quakers, Chestnut and
larval search for Lunar Yellow Underwing - 19th March 2004
This was the
first official field meeting of the programme and was an opportunity to
see how a few of the group spend quite a bit of time during the
winter. Only one member of the moth group outside the normal surveyers
turned up. This is obviously a subject of great interest to other
recorders but I'll carry on regardless. The group visited a
couple of the sites where we are establishing regular monitoring of
Lunar Yellow Underwing within the Sandlings. At this time of year the
larvae are getting reasonably large although numbers are also dropping.
At the two sites visited we picked out 15 larvae of Lunar Yellow
Underwing and the other species recorded were Straw Underwing,
Square-spot Rustic, Lunar Underwing, Large Yellow Underwing, Autumnal
Rustic and Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing.
Barred Tooth-striped - Exning - 2nd April 2004
species, as far as I am aware, has not been previously recorded in
Suffolk although it has been recorded in Norfolk. Its larval foodplant
is privet and as there are some reasonable stands of this in the west
of the county we thought we would have a look for the species. The
textbook method of looking for this species is to search at night by
torchlight for the adults amongst the foodplant. A search of the site
at Exning where a good number of privet bushes line a disused track did
not produce any of the target species. Other species noted during
the torchlight search included Shoulder Stripe, Engrailed and Agonopterix heracliana. The keen
eyes of Neil Sherman spotted a Square-spotted Clay larva feeding on
nettle just as we nearing the cars on our return leg. The location of
this larva was of interest as it was feeding on nettle growing under
the edge of a bramble clump. Previous work by others on the larva of
this species has suggested an association with elm trees and nettles
and in particular nettles growing under the drip line of elm trees.
With this Exning larva there were no elm trees noted in the direct
vicinity of the larva and it would appear to be a 'No' vote for the elm
tree - nettle association.
Clay larva © Neil Sherman
larval search - Great Martins Wood - 16th April 2004
For once the
weather conditions for the night of the annual night-time larval search
were rather favourable and seven members of the group turned up for the
event. Not one to waste an opportunity we set up some light traps in
the wood to have a look at on our return. Great Martins Wood lies on
rather light soil and has some areas of heathland. I think I am right
in saying that the majority of the wood is under sweet chestnut coppice
with rides passing through areas of birch and oak scrub and with some
more fenny areas at the western end of the wood. Searching with
torchlight along one of the rides produced some of the more usual
larvae to be found - Lesser Broad-bordered, Lesser and Large Yellow
Underwings, Double Square-spot and Square-spot Rustics. A Grey Arches
larva beaten from honeysuckle and two Oak Eggar larvae raised the most
interest amongst the group.
The traps produced reasonable results as well - Water Carpet, Nut-tree
Tussock, Twin-spotted Quaker, Shoulder Stripe, Swallow Prominent,
Frosted Green and Early Tooth-striped.
Moth Night -
Butley River Valley (Friday Street) - 17th April 2004
This was a
surprisingly quiet night at the lights. Weather conditions seemed
reasonable apart from a bit of a breeze blowing and the traps were
placed in sheltered positions - but only a few moths. A Sloe Pug larva
was beaten from blackthorn at the meeting area before we moved off to
set up the traps. As the lights were performing so poorly we moved off
to beat for larvae. This proved a bit more productive with Grey Arches
and Mottled Beauty being beaten from honeysuckle. Adults of note at
light included Early Tooth-striped and Frosted Green.
Moth Night -
Ickworth Park - 23rd April 2004
A site that
the group has not previously visited and new sites always raise a bit
of interest. This is a large site overall and would appear to have some
good potential - quite large oaks dot the central parkland landscape
and blocks of old secondary woodland lie along the boundary. This visit
concentrated on some woodland areas around one of the reed-fringed
lakes. Twenty-one species were recorded in all with those of most
interest being Purple Thorn, Semioscopis
steinkellneriana, Twin-spotted Quaker, Frosted Green, Dwarf Pug,
Streamer and Chocolate-tip. A couple of individuals of Pebble Prominent
with a quite unusual colour form appeared in a couple of the traps. The
end of the forewings looked as though they had been 'dipped in ink' - a
very dark brown in colour, almost black.
Moth Night -
Tangham Valley - 24th April 2004
visit to this site! It's not a particularly well recorded area and the
site has produced some good species lists at previous visits. Twenty
eight species of moth were attracted to the five MV lights. As well as
the usual Orthosias the
following species were thought to be of interest - Powdered Quaker, Agonopterix
Stripe, Early and Purple Thorns, Brown Silver-line, Great Prominent,
Emperor Moth, Lime Hawk-moth, Early Tooth-striped, Pebble, Swallow and
Lesser Swallow Prominents and Caloptilia
from Recorders around the county
Records reported in
this section have not been checked by the Suffolk Moth Panel.
1st January to 12th April 2004 - Paul Kitchener
As usual, things have got off to a very slow start and
on most nights moths have been very hard to come by. The same period
last year was far from impressive and this year has been even worse in
terms of both numbers and the species recorded.
The following have not been seen at all yet, but were recorded in one
or both of the last two years (in the same period, up to 12 April): Caloptilia stigmatella, Diurnea fagella, Agonopteryx arenella, Alucita hexadactyla, Brindled
Beauty, Early Moth, Spring Usher, Double-striped Pug and Pine Beauty.
One moth was, however, seen for the first time, a single Ypsolopha mucronella on 3rd April.
mucronella © Paul Kitchener
The expected Orthosias arrived
up to two weeks later than last year and in spite of some very mild
nights in early February, when temperatures dropped to no lower than
10°C on two occasions, this was the first year in eight that none
have appeared before the beginning of March. The numbers of the Orthosias have also been down on
last year (except for Clouded Drab), but hopefully the second half of
April will produce a late flurry. I usually record Common Quaker and
Hebrew Character well into May (and once into June) so, given this
year's late start, it's far too soon to predict a local population drop.
Only 21 species have been trapped, up to 12 April, so I shall list them
all, with this year's total of individuals compared to last year's for
the same period. Ypsolopha mucronella
(1/0), Agonopteryx heracliana
(24/16), Agonopteryx alstromeriana
(1/2), Emmelina monodactyla
(13/7), March Moth (11/25), Shoulder Stripe (6/2), Early Thorn (1/0),
Pale Brindled Beauty (1/4), Dotted Border (3/4), Engrailed (1/0), Red
Chestnut (3/6), Small Quaker (24/40), Common Quaker (100/130), Clouded
Drab (70/47), Twin-spotted Quaker (5/6), Hebrew Character (88/95),
Early Grey (11/13), Satellite (1/1), Chestnut (4/2), Dark Chestnut
(4/3) and Herald (2/1).
Moths at Ipswich Golf
Club - December 2003
to March 2004 - Neil Sherman
The 2003 mothing season wound down in December with
the usual December Moths, Winter Moths and Mottled Umbers appearing in
the trap and under the clubhouse security lights. Moths of possible
note for the site seen were: Red-green Carpet (flushed while coppicing
Gorse on the 1st), Northern Winter Moth (a single in the trap on the
3rd) and Scrobipalpa costella
(2 in the trap also on the 3rd).
The first moth of 2004 was an Agonopterix
heracliana flushed on the 9th January whilst clearing up leaves.
Winter Moths and Mottled Umbers continued to appear at the clubhouse,
with the first Pale Brindled Beauty of the year seen here on the 12th.
The night of the 20th was very mild for the time of year - one of the
traps went out then for the first time in 2004. This produced an
impressive count of 60 Spring Ushers and 5 Pale Brindled Beauties. The
total for that one night is higher than all the other records put
together that I have for Spring Usher in 10 years recording at the
The mild conditions continued for the first half of February, with a
combination of Robinson and Heath traps being put out on the 2nd, 4th
and 11th. This produced some impressive counts of some of the commoner
moth species here, including 37 Pale Brindled Beauty, 25 Spring Usher
and 13 Chestnut all on the 2nd. There were 14 Dotted Border on the 11th
(12 of these being caught in the actinic Heath trap) and 41 Tortricodes alternella also on the
The first Small Brindled Beauty for the year was trapped on the 2nd,
this being the earliest record for the site (previous earliest was 11th
February in both 2002 and 2003). 18 were trapped on the 11th (4 in the
Heath trap). Other moths of possible interest at this site were Early
Moth (2 on the 11th in the Heath trap - none in the Robinson not too
far away) and an Acleris logiana
(on the 4th)
Usher © Neil Sherman
Brindled Beauty © Neil Sherman
Recording then stopped as winter returned with a vengeance for the rest
of the month.
March was a bit better for moth recording, with occasional mild spells
when there were some very good catches of moths, but as usual at this
time of year the weather was mainly indifferent. Lights were run on 9
nights, with the best catch being 22 species on the 31st. With daytime
observations and larval records as well as light trapping results 47
species were noted for the month.
Moths seen in the traps of possible note included Small Brindled Beauty
(9 seen with the last on the 15th). Oak Beauty was in good numbers,
with a maximum of 10 on the 16th. There has also been some interesting
colour forms of this moth, with a melanic one (my first sighting of
this type) as well as a very pale one with virtually no brown
coloration. Yellow Horned was also around in good numbers for a very
brief spell, with a maximum of 18 on the 15th. Brindled Beauty, Pine
Beauty (2) and Early Thorn all appeared for the first time in 2004 on
the 31st. Micros included Agonopterix
umbellana and Agonopterix
scopariella (both as singletons on the
15th and 31st).
As usual at this site, around mid March the Orange Underwing can be
seen flying high round Birch trees. The first were seen on time on the
16th, but more interestingly this year one was seen at low level
basking on my polytunnel for growing Heathers on the 29th - a lovely
Underwing © Neil Sherman
Oak Beauty © Neil Sherman
Another daytime observation not once but twice were pupae of the Pine
Hawk-moth - found while weeding around the base of Corsican pine trees
in the Clubhouse gardens at the end of the month.
On the evening of the 16th, I undertook a nocturnal larval survey to
record Lunar Yellow Underwing caterpillars on some of the acid
grassland areas on the site, to add to the results from other surveys
undertaken at other Sandlings sites. I managed to locate 7 Lunar Yellow
Underwing caterpillars, along with larvae of Yellow Belle, Lunar
Underwing and Autumnal Rustic.
Spring 2004 - Martin Hough
The species list in my Grundisburgh garden for this
year is still languishing at a dismal ten- March Moth (Alsophila aescularia), Oak Beauty (Biston strataria), Red
rubricosa ), Small Quaker (Orthosia
cruda), Common Quaker (Orthosia
cerasi), Clouded Drab (Orthosia
incerta), Twin- spotted Quaker (Orthosia
munda), Hebrew Character (Orthosia
gothica), Grey Shoulder-knot (Lithophane
ornitopus lactipennis) and Early Grey (Xylocampa areola).
For me the most interesting item on this unspectacular list is the Grey
Shoulder-knot, which for many years was quite an unusual moth (at
least, on my previous West London beat) but has recently become
much more numerous. This was a beautiful fresh specimen, too- they are
supposed to emerge in the autumn and overwinter as adults, but this
seemed to be in too good a nick to have had so long a life.
But as usual, the best story is of the "one that got away". This was a
beautiful dark red hook tip, with a green stripe that shone like a neon
tetra fish, which came to my sheet on the night of March 3rd. Perhaps,
though, I should mention that this was in the forested hills above
Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand, on my annual escape from the soggy
British Winter. I allowed my friend John Moore to attempt to
photograph it, and in the subsequent fumbling it saw its chance and
If you also feel the yearning for warmer weather and teeming moths
during our dreary damp spring, take an electronic trip to John Moore's
website at www.thaibugs.com.
Secondhand entomology can be very enjoyable
Moths at Bawdsey -
January to mid-April
2004 - by Matthew Deans
On New Year's Day six Winter Moths and a single
Mottled Umber were attracted to security lights starting the year's
moth list off. A new micro for the site was an Acleris hastiana recorded on the
5th. The mild night of 22nd was notable with four species
recorded: two Mottled Umbers, three Winter Moths, three Early
Moths and a single Chestnut. It was a lean month for Winter Moths with
just 20 recorded compared with 53 recorded in January 2003.
Only three Pale Brindled Beauties were recorded this
month (two on 1st and one the following night). Four Early Moths
along with single Winter Moth and Satellite were noted up until
mid-month. Two Dotted Borders appeared on 17th and were the first of
many recorded this spring. Overall a very quiet month with
the only other species recorded another new micro for the site: Tortricodes alternella on 29th.
The last Early Moth of the season was seen on the
3rd. With mild conditions single Chestnut were noted on 3rd and
14th and Satellite on the 3rd and 4th. Hebrew Character first appeared
on the 16th and was a regular feature from then on. The first
Clouded Drab showed up on the 21st. The March Moth was low
in numbers with just three for the whole month. The night of the 28th
was good for micros with two Diurnea
heracliana and two plumes recorded: Emmelina monodactyla and Amblyptilia acanthadactyla - the
latter a new site record.
Whilst walking around the estate in the sunny conditions on the
29th I flushed up a moth in front of me, which fortunately landed
on a nearby tree and proved to be a very early Garden Carpet. The
month ended with a Shoulder Stripe on the night of the 29th.
April - to mid-month
Dotted Border and the year's first Common Quaker were recorded on the
1st of the month. Other species recorded included Diurnea fagella, March Moth,
Engrailed and Hebrew Character but conditions were generally dire with
cold windy nights. The 15th was a red-letter day with Bawdsey's second
saltern-form Northern Drab recorded (the first was on May 1st
2003). A Twin-spotted Quaker also appeared that night. A new
macro for the site was a Grey Shoulder-knot which was noted on the
18th. The second Streamer (following one last spring) was
recorded on 19th together with two Red Chestnuts. The Bawdsey site list
now stands at over 140 species - mostly attracted to security lights
and without a single trap ever being operated!
Drab © Matthew Deans
at Rendham - January to mid-April 2004 - by Matthew Deans
first moth of the new year was a single Agonopterix heracliana found
indoors on the 6th. Two nights later on the 8th a Winter Moth
appeared attracted to the garage light. As I was out of the country for a
week during a mild spell, the only other species noted was an Early
Moth on 20th attracted to house lights. Altogether it was a
pretty dire month.
trap was run for the first night of the year on the 1st, luring three
Spring Ushers and a Pale Brindled Beauty to light. Six more
Spring Ushers were recorded this month (three on 2nd and three on
5th). I previously only had one garden record. This species
seems to be appearing earlier each year.
mild night of the 5th was notable for the early appearance of both
Dotted Border and Hebrew Character. Other species recorded that
night were Emmelina monodactyla,
Early Moth and Chestnut. A very early Common Quaker appeared on the
13th (with nearly a month passing until the next on March 8th).
first week of March the Dotted Border was very evident appearing at
house lights on three evenings.
The trap was operated on the 8th producing the first March Moth,
Clouded Drab and Small Quakers of the year.
Mid-month was dominated by unseasonably high overnight temperatures
with a minimum of 10-12 degrees some nights! It was during this
period that five Lead-coloured Drab were trapped - a new species for
Satellite and Shoulder Stripe were recorded on 14th amongst the
commoner species, with Engrailed, a record 12 Dotted Borders and Grey
Shoulder-knot the following night.
Stripe © Matthew Deans
Drab © Matthew Deans
However it was
the night of 16th that broke all records. It was my best ever
March night with 289 moths of 15 species trapped: 5 Twin-spotted
Quaker, 182 Common Quaker, 26 Small Quaker, 49 Hebrew Character, 13
Clouded Drab, two Lead-coloured Drab and single Oak Beauty and Shoulder
Stripe being the pick of the bunch.
More Oak Beauties appeared on the 26th and 29th - only the third and
fourth garden records. Why this species is so scarce with several
mature Oak trees in the garden is anyone's guess!
contrast with the early emergence of some species this year, the Red
Chestnut was a long time coming but just snuck-in on the 31st - the
final night of the month! An impressive 703 moths of 23 species
were recorded during the month.
April - to
The trap was
run on the first - April Fool's Day with a Pine Beauty trapped -
the fifth for the garden and first since 2002. An impressive six
Shoulder Stripe were trapped the same night and an attractive
'white-striped' Acleris cristana.
Early Grey and Red Chestnut became more evident as the month progressed
with a few Double-striped and Brindled Pugs around.
second new macro for the garden appeared on the 15th in the form of an
immaculate Streamer found resting on a shed illuminated by the M.V.
lamp all night. Two Powdered Quakers - the fourth and fifth
garden records and the first since 2002, were recorded on the 15th and
Quaker © Matthew Deans
© Matthew Deans
Virtues of DIY - Paul Bryant
As most of
you will know by now we have been slowly refurbishing our house at
Woolpit and have at last reached the stage when we can 'camp out'
overnight in some degree of comfort. This is good news on two counts.
Firstly, it means that we are at last making progress in turning the
house into a home and secondly it means that I get to run my trusty
actinic trap knowing full well that I will be there early next morning
to inspect it contents. Unfortunately, things have been pretty quite
with only small numbers of Hebrew Character, Clouded Drab, Common and
Small Quaker being recorded. The highlights so far are single Pine
Beauty and Early Thorn on 31st March and a Scarce Tissue on the 15th
April. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the nearby streetlights
won't prove to be too much of a hindrance and that species numbers will
pick up as the season progresses.
Tissue © Paul Bryant
So what does
all this really have to do with DIY? Well, the various Suffolk stores
have done rather well out of Ann and I these past few months and it was
whilst wandering around Homebase in Newmarket that I decided, on a
whim, to go and see what the garden centre had to offer. In amongst the
rows of varied pot plants and evergreen shrubs I found what looked like
the feeding signs of Caloptilia
azaleella on an evergreen azalea sp.
Remembering the e-mails that had done the rounds last year I was fairly
sure that this was an important record and, for the sake of
£3.50, decided to purchase the plant with a view to showing this
at the indoor meeting.
mine Caloptilia azaleella
© Paul Bryant
mine of Caloptilia azaleella
© Paul Bryant
The big day
duly arrived and after giving the plant a bit of a clean up to remove
an aphid explosion the plant was duly displayed amongst the dozen or so
excellent exhibits that had been bought along by other group members.
After some deliberation it was finally agreed that I had indeed found
the tell-tale feeding signs of Caloptilia
azaleella - an apparent vice-county first. All this just goes to
prove that there is a lot more to mothing than running a light trap.
What about an annual meeting to do the rounds of a selection of DIY
stores and garden centres to see what we can find!
story doesn't quite end there. After the indoor meeting I stayed over
at Woolpit as we had planned to get on with a few jobs on Sunday. Not
wanting to take everything out of the car, and because I had been told
that in all probability that any adult moth would be long gone, I left
the plant uncovered in the car. When I finally got back to Hopton on
Sunday evening I put the plant indoors whilst I carried on with the
task of unloading the car. Ten minutes or so later my thoughts returned
to the azalea plant. As I bent down to pick it up I noticed that there
was something sitting on the side of the pot. At first I thought it was
just a bit of dead leaf or a small spider and was just about to brush
it off when alarm bells started to ring - waving antennae, tripod
stance, brown and yellow wing markings - *#@t, where are my pots!
Amazingly enough the moth stayed there long enough for me to find a
pot. Excellent, I had found the mine, seen the fold and now I had the
adult moth. It was just a shame that it hadn't emerged 48-hrs earlier.
Of interest, I have since found the feeding signs on at least three
more plants at Homebase in Newmarket and on two or three plants at a
DIY store in Bury St Edmunds.
© Paul Bryant
next, Golden Plusia on cultivated delphiniums anyone.
Oh, I almost
forgot the Emperor Moth pupae. Two females emerged on the 15th April,
followed by two males and two females four days later and a fifth
female on the 20th April. Best of all, I was there when it happened.
Emperor Moth © Paul Bryant
Emperor Moth © Paul Bryant
Moths of the Long Melford area - January to
April 2004 - Darren Underwood
The majority of
the sightings in this brief summary relate to moths either trapped in
the garden, here at Long Melford, or found resting by security lights
at the village hall (a very useful locality that attracts more than my
garden trap at this time of year!), plus records from a couple of
trapping sessions in nearby woods.
The year began well enough with a Winter Moth at the village hall on January 1st.
A male Mottled Umber was then found there on 6th and was followed by
Dark Chestnut on 17th and Early Moth on 24th. Thus ended a quiet month!
Into February and 2nd saw the Heath trap being run in the garden for
the first time this year. Although just a single moth was trapped, it
was a Spring Usher; a new species for the garden list and worth the
effort. Common Quaker and Emmelina
monodactyla were trapped on 4th and the first Hebrew Character
of the year was trapped on 13th. After a quiet spell at the village hall, both Pale
Brindled Beauty and Dotted Border appeared there on 16th (the first of
several of the latter species).
Very few moths were then recorded until mid-March, when a Shoulder
Stripe was at the village hall and an Engrailed
was found at rest on a Cricket Bat Willow near Lineage Wood on 17th.
The evening of 21st saw seven interested members run traps at Arger Fen
LNR in an effort to record some early species at the site. Of the 13
species recorded, highlights included Twin-spotted Quaker, Satellite,
Oak Beauty, Water Carpet, Chestnut, Small Quaker and Diurnea fagella. Early Grey and
Clouded Drab both but in appearances in the garden trap on March 26th
and a single March Moth was seen at the village hall on 28th,
followed by Brindled Pug there the next day.
April then began well with an Early Thorn at the village hall on 3rd and a Red
Chestnut to m.v. light in the garden on 11th (another new species for
the site). The 11th also saw Stuart Read and I go trapping in Groton
Wood SWT Reserve. A total of 12 species was recorded at three traps;
two Frosted Greens being the main species of interest, along with 35
Small Quakers, Twin-spotted Quaker, Engrailed, Early Grey, Shoulder
Stripe etc. The first Streamer of the year was at the village hall on 21st (with
three there on 27th). Returning home during the early hours of 25th, a
moth that followed me in the back door turned out to be a Buttoned
Snout - the mothing highlight of the period and probably somewhat
overdue here - whilst the night of 25th produced Scarce Tissue and
Shuttle-shaped Dart at the garden m.v. trap. Near the end of the month
and Water Carpet and Brimstone were found at the village hall on 27th, whilst
a Scorched Carpet came to the kitchen window on 29th. What seemed to
pass by as a very quiet first quarter of the year did produce three new
macros in the garden, so perhaps it wasn't as quiet as it seemed?
Please send any Suffolk
moth records, moth articles or other queries to myself (preferably via
email) at :
3 Powling Road,
Suffolk IP3 9JR
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
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.