Suffolk Moth Group Newsletter

Issue 41 - Autumn 2006

Edited by Tony Prichard

In this issue


Since the last newsletter there has been a bit of turn around in the year's moth recording, most people having reported a very good season. This I suspect has been largely due to the large number of migrant species that have turned up around the county. In June and July the group had several successful meetings around the county but as August arrived so did the weekend rainy nights. Despite the poor weekend weather August was when the arrival of migrants really picked up and migrants carried on arriving in numbers well into October - see Matthew Dean's article later on for a summary of migrants during the year.

The observant amongst you may have noticed already that this is the autumn issue of the newsletter. Being busy with the field season and not having a fixed calendar for the production of the newsletter I managed to miss the summer issue. Over the winter I will be having a re-think about when the newsletters are produced and how best to slot four issues into the year. My personal preference would be to retain four issues as then the material remains more topical but I will also need to consult with regular contributors so that production of the 'Recorder Reports' for the four issues does not become an onerous task.

I have received a request for specimens of the tortrix Epinotia solandriana, from Brian Goodey who is doing some work on this species. If you come across any of this species in 2006 could you please forward them on to Brian. I can provide Brian's address to those who do not already have it. Brian appears to be very busy at the moment working on a moth dissection web site ( and is doing some sterling work in putting together a collection of images of moth genitalia for all the lepidoptera. There is really nothing in print to match the reference material that this site provides so it should prove to be an invaluable resource. It will no doubt continue to improve with time as more images are added.

The Essex Moth Group have fixed the date for their indoor meeting - 10th March 2007. Further details to follow and I am sure that Suffolk Moth Group members will be welcome to attend, a few of us have regularly attended for several years. A bit further afield, the Hertfordshire Moth Group have also fixed a date for their winter indoor meeting on 24th March 2007. Both meetings provide a good opportunity to talk to like-minded people and give an idea of what is happening in the moth world in surrounding counties. I have not yet organised our own indoor meeting as I need to work out that there is enough material/presentations to keep people entertained for the day, alternatively I may go for just an afternoon or evening meeting, but either way it is likely to be sometime between late February and mid-April. Further details will be sent out when they are known.

Even though the newsletter has been a bit late arriving I have not been idle. New draft species accounts have been uploaded to the web site for comments, before general release in the near future. These include accounts for a number of micro-lepidoptera families (Bradley and Fletcher numbers 1-13, 19-159, 385-486 and 870-920). I am currently working on the accounts for the Gracillaridae family. From then on it will be just be a process of filling in the gaps when time allows - with exceptional luck I might even have the complete set, at least in draft form, finished by the end of the winter. Some new features have been added to the moth guide to complement the leaf-mining families that will become obvious when the accounts have been reviewed and released.

Many thanks again to those who have contributed articles, reports and records for this newsletter. If it was just down to me to write the articles for the newsletter it would certainly be a lot shorter.

Noctua fimbriata (Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing) and its sister look alike N. tirrenica - Jon Clifton

Noctua tirrenica is a known migrant of southern Europe and resembles our Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing very closely. It may be a potential migrant to reach our shores so care should be taken with pale examples taken at coastal watch points in autumn at times of high migration.

I have experience of N. tirrenica in France and pale examples of fimbriata can be a problem. The attached highlights the main differences in external features should one come across a possible contender but to be 100% sure examination of the genitalia should be sought. This is very easy to do with both male and female and does not have to harm the moth as it can be performed in the field.

In the female there is a very long finger like projection from the antrum in fimbriata (see picture) This is very easy to see in the field if the moth is held and the abdomen given a light squeeze.  The male is equally easy to determine via the same process, this will reveal the very top of the genitalia (the uncus) which has two notches on either side in fimbriata.

Matthew Deans who runs traps at Bawdsey and who usually has the lion's share of migrant moths in Suffolk caught two pale Noctua species in Septemebr during a spell of heavy migration, these where bought to me for critical examination but both where unfortunately N. fimbriata. Another time he may be more lucky……….

Noctua fimbriata and N. tirrenica underside
1 - The black area is more extensive on the underside of the wing in N. fimbriata
2 - The terminal and dorsal areas of the forewing underside and the costal area of the hingwing underside are much paler in N. tirrenica
 © Jon Clifton

Noctua fimbriata and N. tirrenica upperside
3 - the black band on the hindwing is more concave in N. fimbriata
4 - the black band on the hindwing is straighter in N. tirrenica
© Jon Clifton

Noctua fimbriata genitalia
Noctua tirrenica genitalia
Noctua fimbriata female genitalia
Noctua tirrenica female genitalia
Note : the differences in male and female genitalia are very easily seen by brushing away the hairs on the tip of the abdomen. A full dissection in not necessary.
© Jon Clifton

Summary of migrant moths in Suffolk during the period May to November 2006 - Matthew Deans

It has been a phenomenal year for rare immigrant moths nationwide and Suffolk has certainly experienced a fair share of the excitement.  The results have been summarised below covering the main immigration so far between the months of May to November 2006.  An incredible four new pyralids and four new macros – all migrants - were added to the Suffolk list during this period.  Three of these macros were predicted by the author to occur in the article in the previous newsletter.  It only covers reports that I am aware of and other records will no doubt surface once submitted to the county recorder at the end of the year - hence this summary is not complete but a preliminary glance at what has been turning up.  All records listed here are subject to validation by the Suffolk Moth Panel.  
Rare migratory micro-lepidoptera included Vine Moth Eupoecilia ambiguella noted at Landguard (NO) and at Bawdsey in August (MD). An Ethmia dodocea at Landguard on 7 July (NO) mirrored a record on Thanet, Kent at around the same time so was presumably a migrant.  For the second consecutive year Cydia amplana was taken in Hollesley - on 26 August (NM).  The migratory Crocidosema plebejana was taken at Landguard (MH et al) and Bawdsey (MD) during October.

Immigrant pyrales during this period were certainly very exciting and included four new species to Suffolk: Euchromius ocellea at Bawdsey on 29 September (MD), Evergestis limbata recorded at Bawdsey on 23 June (MD), Old World Webworm Hellula undalis at Landguard on 14 September (NO) and Antigastra catalaunalis caught in September at Dunwich Heath on 14th (CM), Bawdsey on 15th (MD) and Reydon on 16th (AC). A second for Suffolk was an example of Uresiphita gilvata at Landguard on 30 September (NO) - the first County record since 1869.  The attractive pyrale Diasemiopsis ramburialis was taken at Dunwich Heath on 14 and 23 October (CM) – the second and third County records and at Landguard on 25 October (NO).

Still very rare in Suffolk the pyrale Palpita vitrealis was noted at Bawdsey on 24 September and 17 and 29 October (MD) and at both Dunwich Heath (CM) and Landguard (NO) on 9 October.  The attractive pyrale Oncocera semirubella had its best ever year in the County with singles at Landguard (NO), Dunwich Heath (CM), Aldeburgh (NS) and Bawdsey (MD).  Sciota adelphella was widely recorded – at least some of these are probably migrants.  Ancylosis oblitella was recorded at coastal sites away from its usual haunts – two at Bawdsey during August (MD) and singles at Trimley Marshes (SMG) and at Havergate Island on 1 September (SMG) were likely migrants when assessing the national situation this year. 

Immigrant geometrids were dominated by the appearance of no less than four specimens of the Many-lined Costaconvexa polygrammata this year.  The forerunner was a specimen taken at Covehithe on 12 May (SMG) (two others recorded in Norfolk the same night) with a second wave arriving mid-July including singles at Bawdsey on 17th (MD), Dunwich Heath on 22nd (CM) and Minsmere on 23rd (RH).  Perhaps this species is on the verge of re-colonisation in the U.K. as there has been a recent upsurge in records nationally?  Specimens of The Gem Orthonama obstipata were noted at Bawdsey (MD), Hollesley (NM), Ipswich Golf Course (NS), Blythburgh (DW) and Dunwich Heath (CM) with the peak nightly count being 14 at Dunwich on 17 October (DB and CM).

The Vestal Rhodometra sacraria was noted in September at Blythburgh (DW), Rendham (MD), Great Cornard (SR) and Bawdsey (MD) – the latter was surprisingly the first site record.

Other migrants/wanderers in the geometrid line included Balsam Carpet Xanthorhoe biriviata at Bawdsey on 4 July (MD) – most recent records have been coastal so assumed to be migrants.  The third County record of Feathered Beauty Peribatodes secundaria also occurred at Bawdsey on 4 July (MD) just two days after a presumed immigrant at Greatstone, Kent.  The migratory Cypress Pug Eupithecia phoeniceata notched up its third and fourth appearance in Suffolk with singles at Bawdsey on 14 August (MD) and Hollesley the following night (NM).  A most unexpected Little Thorn Cepphis advenaria at Ipswich Golf Course on 12 June (NS) was the first for Suffolk and could equally have been a migrant from the continent or a wanderer from southern England.  Four coastal Large Thorns Ennomos autumnaria recorded at Bawdsey and Hollesley during August and September (MD and NM) were considered likely to be migrants.

It was an excellent year for immigrant hawk-moths with the highlight being a Silver-striped Hawk-moth Hippotion celerio caught at Dunwich Heath on 14 October (CM) (unfortunately the wings only as birds had eaten the abdomen!) – this was the first Suffolk record since 1958.  Single Death’s Head Hawk-moths Acherontia atropos were recorded at Darsham (found on washing hanging on the line in September) and at Halesworth in October.  A large influx of Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli occurring mainly in September with some high counts at some traps including fourteen at Dunwich Heath on 21 September (ten in a single trap!).  Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum enjoyed an exceptional year with many hundreds around.  The peak count at Bawdsey was twelve nectaring on a single Buddleia bush on 11 August (MD).

Hyles hawk-moths were well represented by singles of Spurge Hawk-moth Hyles euphorbiae at Landguard on 24 June (NO) – and at Rendham on 16 August (MD) with at least four Striped Hawk-moths Hyles livornica in Suffolk – a record year.  These were recorded at Worlington on 17 June (T Jacobson), Minsmere (RH), Kessingland (unknown) and Bawdsey on 19 August (MD).  At least two presumed migrant Bedstraw Hawk-moths Hyles gallii were noted (Theberton (AMT) and Orfordness).

It was a truly incredible year for footman moths with Red-necked Footman Atolmis rubricollis recorded at Dunwich Heath (CM), Bawdsey (MD) and Ipswich Golf Course (NS) during June and July.  Five Dotted Footman Pelosia muscerda were recorded at Bawdsey (three in July and two in September) with others in Suffolk at Rushmere St Andrew (JH).  The Pigmy Footman Eilema pygmaeola was noted twice at Bawdsey in July (MD) and once in Hollesley (NM).  However the most unexpected influx of footman came in September when maybe as many as 100 Four-spotted Footman Lithosia quadra appeared in the middle of the month.  With only one recent record in 2001 this was certainly quite a spectacle with many recorders picking them up even inland.  Most records were of males with very few females reported.  Out of nineteen trapped at Bawdsey just one was a female.  Minsmere received the bulk of records with c60 recorded. 

Four Scarce Black Arches Nola aerugula were caught along the coast with three singletons at Dunwich Heath and one at Bawdsey in July (CM and MD).  The Portland Moth Actebia praecox was unexpected at Dunwich Heath on 18 August – the first county record since the 1920s when the species was resident.  Occasional migrant individuals of Portland Moth are recorded in the east and south-east of England mainly in Kent – there was one this year at Sandwich Bay on 30 August – less than two weeks after the Suffolk record.  Langmaid’s Yellow Underwing Noctua janthina was recorded for the third consecutive year in Suffolk and seems to be on the increase with six at Bawdsey between 19 July and 2 August.  One at Ipswich Golf Course was an exceptional inland record and new for the site in July (NS).  

An exciting influx of the mythical Great Brocade Eurois occulta during August was witnessed by many with at least 20 recorded in East Suffolk.  A specimen of Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea in Woolpit on 12 September (PB) may well have been a migrant as it was away from the apparent ‘population’ on the Felixstowe peninsula.  The second county record of Cosmopolitan Mythimna loreyi occurred at Bawdsey on 24 August – the first was way back in the year 2000.  The third recent County record of Red Sword-grass Xylena vetusta was taken in Eye on 16 October (PK).  The third County record of Red-headed Chestnut Conistra erythrocephala occurred on 12 October at Bawdsey where a fine specimen of ab. glabra was trapped (MD) – all Suffolk records have been at Bawdsey.  Scarce Dagger Acronicta auricoma was an addition to the County list in July with a single on Orfordness on 22nd (MM) and one which the author had predicted to arrive in the county having trapped one in Kent in recent years. 

Tree-lichen Beauty may well have colonised coastal Suffolk in recent years as the moth appears every July like clockwork!  Five were trapped at Bawdsey this year (between 25 July and 16 August) (MD) with others at Landguard (NO) and Orfordness (MM) during this period.  Another potential colonist is Clancy’s Rustic Platyperigea kadenii – noted for the second consecutive year in the Suffolk with the second County record at Bawdsey on 18 September (MD).  This was followed by a wave of records in October (two at Landguard on 9th, NO), twelve at Bawdsey during the month (MD), Hollesley on 11th (NM) and Eye on 20th (PK).  Somewhat drab was the female Porter’s Rustic Proxenus hospes caught at Bawdsey on 16 September - the second County record - attempts to secure eggs from her failed.  A Blair’s Wainscot Sedina buettneri trapped at Rendham on National Moth Night (23 September) was a most unexpected new County record (MD and PB) and not one the author had predicted to occur.  However there is a recent record from Frinton-on-Sea, Essex of a migratory individual.

The Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera had to get a mention as it was such an impressive summer with many hundreds recorded county-wide including records in the west of the county at Sudbury (SR) and Woolpit (PB).  The Bordered Straw Helicoverpa peltigera had a good year but it was vastly outnumbered by the armigera.  Another regular immigrant the Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua is erratic in its appearance in Suffolk.  Some years there are none recorded but this year was exceptional with many around.

Surely one of the most spectacular moths on the British list – the Beautiful Marbled Eublemma purpurina turned up at Bawdsey on 21 September (MD) the first for Suffolk and East Anglia.  Incredibly another arrived the following night at Dunwich Heath (CM)!  There was a record influx of Silver Barred Deltote bankiana this year with individuals recorded at Bawdsey (3) (MD), Dunwich (1) (CM) and Orfordness (1) (JA) in the period June – July.

Plusias recorded included Golden Twin-spot Chrysodeixis chalcites at Aldeburgh on 21 July (SMG), at Orfordness (date unknown) during the summer.  Like 2005 another influx took place during October with records from Landguard (MH, NO et al), Blythburgh (DW), Dunwich Heath (CM), Bawdsey (MD) and Spexhall (TH).  Two Ni Moth Trichoplusia ni showed up with singles at Landguard on 29 July (NO) and Rushmere St Andrew (JH) – a poor showing considering the number recorded in Kent this year; Dewick’s Plusia MacDunnoughia confusa was caught by a visiting moth-er at Bawdsey on 27 July (CW) and the first specimens of Scarce Silver Y Syngrapha interrogationis in Suffolk arrived (see article in next issue).

The only rare catocalid was a worn Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini at Blythburgh on 21 September (DW) but was the first County record for eight years.

Recorders: David Brown (DB), Paul Bryant (PB), Alan Cornish (AC), Matthew Deans (MD), Mark Hammond (MH), Robin Harvey (RH), Jeff Higgott (JH), Tony Hopkins (TH), Paul Kitchener (PK) Nick Mason (NM), Mike Marsh (MM), Clive Moore (CM), Nigel Odin (NO), Stuart Read (SR), Neil Sherman (NS), Suffolk Moth Group (SMG), A & M Tebbs (AMT), Chris Wheeler (CW) and David Wilson (DW).

National Moth Night 2006 - Stuart Reed

For National Moth Night 2006 on 23rd September I decided to trap at Cornard Mere SWT Reserve. This being a possible location for Pale-lemon Sallow, one of the target species for the night, due to the presence of Black & hybrid Poplars at the site, also it is within an under recorded 10km square in the county.

I ran two 125W MV Skinner traps out on the Mere plus a 15W actinic Skinner trap under sone trees where the car was parked.

It was a mild night for the time of year with the lights running from about 19:15 until I started packing up at about 00:45 finishing packing up by about 01:45. The result was a total of 224 moths of 51 species, including most of the brightly or cryptically coloured autumnal species.

Pink-barred Sallow
Sallow © Stuart Reed
Pink-barred Sallow © Stuart Reed

Barred Sallow
Brown-spot Pinion
Barred Sallow © Stuart Reed
Brown-spot Pinion © Stuart Reed

Beaded Chestnut
Beaded Chestnut © Stuart Reed
Brick © Stuart Reed

A few migrants were recorded including a rather nice Vestal plus Nomophila noctuella, Plutella xylostella & a White-point

Nomophila noctuella
Nomophila noctuella © Stuart Reed
Vestal © Stuart Reed

Unexpected catches included Beautiful Hook-tip & Deep-brown Dart the latter seemingly unrecorded in the South West of the County.

It was very pleasing to actually catch two of the target species for National Moth Night, firstly a Dusky-lemon Sallow was caught in one of the mv traps on the Mere, but best of all a very impressive Convolvulus Hawk-moth was caught late on in the actinic.

Deep-brown Dart
Dusky-lemon Sallow
Deep-brown Dart © Stuart Reed
Dusky-lemon Sallow © Stuart Reed

Convolvulus Hawk-moth
Convolvulus Hawk-moth © Stuart Reed

Suffolk Moth Tourists in France 2006 - Quest for the Catocalids - Neil Sherman

After a successful and enjoyable trip to France moth trapping in June 2005, four members of the Suffolk Moth Group (Graham Bull, Paul Bryant, Matthew Deans and myself) decided to return to Las Descargues. This time however, we chose to go in early September, with our main target being the Catocalid group of moths, of which there were 10 possible species.

The week before we arrived in France, Jon Clifton was on holiday in the same area, looking for the same moths. We had received reports from him of bad weather (rain, mist, low temperatures) and despite trying various methods to catch the Catocalids he had caught none! Understandably we were a little worried about our chances of getting any.

After a short flight from England we were soon travelling through a warm and sunny France - no sign of any bad weather at all. In no time we were at Las Descargues, to be greeted warmly again by Robin Howard (the owner of our accommodation for the week). We used his trapping equipment to look at areas of woodland, heathland and meadows close by, as well as trapping in his garden every night. We also ran a light in a poplar plantation in the next village, and one night we took two traps out onto an area of causse (an area of limestone grassland and scrub). Along with the light traps, we put out wine ropes (lengths of cord dipped in a mixture of wine and sugar) another method that can be successful for our quarry.

Last Descargues gorge
Las Descargues Gorge © Neil Sherman

The whole week was warm, including the nights. The only downside to this were the clear skies - we had a bright moon almost every night, this having a detrimental effect on the number of moths trapped, although we still managed 70+ species a night which is more than you can expect in the UK at this time of year. Another problem was the number of Hornets around – one trap site in the garden we had to stop using as we were catching 50+ each night! The traps had to be emptied with care each morning by the brave souls who don’t mind Hornets.

Were we successful? Yes, we were. On the night of the 7th September, we caught 3 Catocalids of 3 species. A walk down to the gorge where the wine ropes were put out produced 2 - a French Red Underwing Catocala elocata (a bit battered) and a Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa (even more battered!). The third, a Red Underwing Catocala nupta, was present in the garden trap the following morning. That was it – we saw no more. There was some cloud cover overnight so this possibly may have been why we saw them then and not at any other time. Of course we saw plenty of other interesting moths, a few of which I’ll list below. A more detailed overview will hopefully be shown as a slide show at the SMG annual meeting next year.

Macros of note from the garden included the following. Delicate (the most common moth both at light and on the wine ropes), Four-spotted footman (present most nights in small numbers, both males and females), Dumeril’s Rustic (common), Orache (on wine ropes as well as at light), Dewick’s Plusia (several), Passenger (2 seen) and Pale Shoulder (regular in small numbers). A few micros seen included Pyrausta singulata (2 seen), Pyrausta nigrata (one seen), Etiella zinkernella (2 of this nice pyralid seen) and Agonopterix kaekeriziana (2 seen).

Catocala elocata
Etiella zinkernella
Catocala elocata French Red Underwing © Neil Sherman
Etiella zinkernella © Neil Sherman

The trap in the poplar plantation caught similar species to the garden, but it did produce Alychimist (1), Spotted Sulphur (4), Dingy Mocha and a Black V Moth.

One night we went out with 2 traps out onto an area of causse - we had never stayed out with lights before on previous trips so this was a new experience for all. It was interesting seeing moths coming in that you had no idea of what they were! Many had to be potted up to be identified the next day. In the morning after sorting them out we found we had caught quite a few interesting species, again a few of which are listed here. Beech-green Carpet (2), Grass Eggar (a few), Sweet Gale Moth (1), Great Dart (2), Lydd Beauty (4), Plumed Fan-foot (1), Alucita zonodactyla (1 – the 8th record for France!) and the very pretty tiger Cymbalophora pudica (2).

Alucita zonodactyla
Cymbalophora pudica
Alucita zonodactyla © Neil Sherman
Cymbalophora pudica © Neil Sherman

Of course there were other forms of wildlife to look at as well as the moths. We saw Short-toed Eagles, Booted Eagle, Sand Lizards, a young Whip Snake, lots of praying mantids and 48 butterfly species.

Once again a great time was had by all on the trip, with some wonderful wildlife sightings, great company, good wine and food plus excellent accommodation. Thanks must go to Robin for making us so welcome, we will certainly return again another time.

Field reports - Tony Prichard

1st July 2006 - Moth Night at Hinderclay Fen

With just Steve Woolnough and myself out on this evening we decided to head for Hinderclay Fen.The three traps we had out covered most of the main habitats of the site - heathland, scrub and fen. With the favourable weather the traps we had out produced a good selection of species for the site, especially considering that we closed up not long after midnight.

One of the more interesting species recorded was the Blackneck - a moth I would more normally associate with the coastal and Breck areas of the county. Older records exist for various areas of mid-Suffolk but recently it has only been recorded in Bradfield, by Rafe Eley, in mid-Suffolk.

Other species of interest recorded, out of a total of 133, where Dark Spinach, Blue-bordered Carpet, Small Seraphim, Lobster Moth, Marbled Brown, Short-cloaked Moth, Tawny Shears, White-point, Bird's Wing, Small Clouded Brindle, Large Nutmeg, Double Lobed, Silky Wainscot, Bordered Straw, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Scarce Silver-lines, Pinion-streaked Snout. Micro-lepidoptera of interest included Morophaga choragella, Monopis obviella, Ethmia dodecea, Phtheochroa inopianaCalamatropha paludella, Platytes cerussella and Phlyctaenia perlucidalis.

7th July 2006 - Moth Night at Lackford Lakes SWT Reserve

The weather conditions on the night of this meeting did not appear initially very favourable and I was not hopeful of a productive evening.  Six lights were operated along the tracks not too far from the visitor centre, covering areas of wet woodland, scrub areas and along some of the tracks.

A species I was not particularly expecting to see was Pempeliella dilutella. The larva feeds on thyme and I wasn't aware that there was much f the foodplant in the area, although we have recorded this species before a short distance to the north in King's Forest where I know the foodplant does occur.

Although publicised as an SWT event there had been very limited interest, however we were joined by one person who had just turned up for the evening without booking. A good selection of hawk-moths and some of the more colourful moths obliged by making an appearance at the lights, so it was a shame more people had not come along for the evening.

In all 162 species were recorded and my premonition of a poor night was completely wrong. Micro-lepidoptera of interest included Yponomeuta evonymella, Ethmia dodecea, Brachmia blandella, Phtheochroa inopiana, Cochylidia implicitana, Apotomis semifasciana, Calamatropha paludella, Platytes alpinella, Phlyctaenia perlucidalis and Pempelia formosa. Macros of note were Small Seraphim, White Satin, Short-cloaked Moth, Grey Arches, Suspected, Coronet, Dingy Shears, Large Nutmeg, Slender Brindle, Double Lobed, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Nut-tree Tussock and Dotted Fan-foot.

14th July 2006 - Moth Night at Lineage Wood

A meeting intended to look primarily for Brown Scallop and Dark Umber that was rather foiled by a change of lock on the gate and a cold night. Making the most of the situation we decided to run our lights at the top end of the wood - not too far to carry the equipment. Good numbers of Small Dotted Buff were probably the highlight of the evening and despite feeling as though we were sitting in a wood in winter we did manage to record 111 species.  Species of note included Helcystogramma rufescens, Epinotia brunnichana, Cydia fagiglanda, Phlyctaenia perlucidalis, Lackey, Least Carpet, Phoenix, Fern, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Haworth's Pug, Brown-tail, White Satin and Slender Brindle.

15th July 2006 - Moth Night at Cavenham Heath

Most of our visits to this nature reserve this year have been plagued by rather indifferent weather. With a bunch of kids larking around and lighting fires in the area where I had originally intended to concentrate our recording we had a quick re-plan and ended up setting up in the birch woodland on the southern edge of the heath. In the main a rather slow night with nothing too unexpected recorded, although the pick of the bunch were Scythropia crataegella, Brachmia blandella, Epinotia brunnichana, Rhopobota naevana, Lackey, Narrow-winged Pug, White-line Dart, Archer's Dart, True Lover's Knot, Short-cloaked Moth, Nut-tree Tussock. The moth of the night was singleton, presumed migrant, plume moth - Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla. The larva feeds in spun shoots of dog-rose - not much of that in the area where we were recording. It is not a species that appears to be resident in Suffolk so I would presume that this individual was a migrant.

21st July 2006 - Moth Night at Aldeburgh

This was quite a popular event with a group coming along from Waldringfield and others from further afield in Essex. Fortunately Mark Nowers, from the RSPB, was at hand and did a sterling job during the evening of answering questions and showing around the boxed up moths. As usual we were set up by the derelict cottage but the really productive traps proved to be those out on the track cutting across the North Warren RSPB reserve. The target of the evening was White-mantled Wainscot, we had recorded a singleton the previous year and were hoping to pick up some further individuals. This would hopefully give us a better idea of whether tthe species was resident in the immediate area.

The traps out on the track soon became rather full with moths, clouds of moth scales drifting up from the traps and visible in the moth lights. Not too suprisingly there were good numbers of the various yellow underwing species present, jostling around and disturbing the other moths. Although the total species count of 160 species was not exceptional this was one of those evenings were there large numbers of moths filling the traps and there was lots of coughing and spluttering as we went through the traps, as people inhaled the scales and various midge-flies.

For the site nothing too unusual was recorded, although we did manage to record a further singleton White-mantled Wainscot. Just having a further singleton record did not really help us conclude whether the species was present in the area or not.  A further trip next year is likely to see if we can do better. A notable migrant record was a singleton Golden Twin-spot.

Other species of interest included Yponomeuta evonymella, Ypsolopha scabrella, Eulamprotes wilkella, Anarsia spartiella, Hedya ochroleucana, Epinotia cruciana, Epiblema foenella, Sitochroa palealis, Pima boisduvaliella, Euzophera cinerosella, Oxyptilus distans, Marasmarcha lunaedactyla, Oak Eggar, Drinker, Tawny Wave, Small Seraphim, Brown-tail, Garden Tiger, Kent Black Arches, True Lover's Knot, Dog's Tooth, Campion, Miller, Dusky Brocade, Wormwood, Reed Dagger, Small Dotted Buff, Crescent, Blackneck, Small Rufous, Bordered Straw and Cream-bordered Green Pea.

22nd July 2006 - Moth Night at Shingle Street

A further night when just Steve Woolnough and myself were allowed out to play with the moths.  There were prospects for a good night when we set off but the clouds were gathering when we arrived at this private site and it was not long before the drizzle started. The drizzle lasted for most of the evening and gave a generally damp feeling to the evening.  With just three traps 127 species were recorded - nothing exceptional for the site but species of interest included Brachmia blandella, Evergestis extimalis, Melissoblaptes zelleri, Pima boisduvaliella, Agdisits bennetii, Oxyptilus distans, Ground Lackey, Kent Black Arches, Star-wort, Double Lobed and Herald.

28th July 2006 - Moth Night at Hinderclay Fen

A further visit to this local nature reserve, particularly memorable for the thousands of Acentria ephemeralla attracted to the lights. The ground around the sheet appeared to be moving as the large numbers of ephemerella fluttered around amongst the grass. A reasonable count of 142 species were recorded from five lights, with some giving an idea of the variety of habitats available - these included Monopis weaverella, Anacampsis blattariella, Scoparia basistrigalis, Eudonia truncicolella, Nymphula stagnata, Evergestis pallidata, Slender Pug, Sharp-angled Peacock, Bordered Beauty, Maple Prominent, White Satin, Garden Tiger, White-line Dart, Double Lobed, Mere Wainscot, Twin-spotted Wainscot, Brown-veined Wainscot, Small Rufous, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Oak Nycteoline. We also recorded a migrant Small Mottled Willow

29th July 2006 - Moth Night at Tunstall Common

On previous visits to this site we had been a bit plagued by rain - it could be dry elsewhere in the county but would be raining heavily on Tunstall Common. This time we avoided any rain and had a rather successful night with six lights operating. Not surprisingly most of the species reflected the heathland habitat of the site but some were obvious wanderers with Twin-spotted Wainscot, Calamatropha paludella, Nymphula stagnata and Agdistis bennetii. I also would not be surprised if the Lackey recorded was also a wanderer. A couple of migrants recorded were Dark Sword-grass and Small Mottled Willow. Other species of note from the list of 166 species were Opostega salaciella, Tinea trinotella, Aspilapteryx tringipennella, Ypsolopha scabrella, Metzneria lappella, Aristotelia ericinella, Anacampsis blattariella, Brachmia blandella, Metendothenia atropunctana, Endothenia ericetana, Clavigesta purdeyi, Eudonia truncicolella, Tawny Wave, Small Scallop, Dark Spinach, Magpie, Sharp-angled Peacock, Peacock Moth, White-line Dart, White-point and Miller.

4th August 2006 - Moth Night at Hen Reed-beds SWT Reserve

The month of August saw the start of a series of rather poor moth group nights - as we were plagued by poor weather at the weekends. This evening was a particularly cold night and rather surprising for an August night. A meagre 52 species were recorded from four lights in both parts of the reserve and I would expect the site to do much better than this given favourable conditions. We failed to record our target species of White-mantled Wainscot (not too surprisingly) but fortunately Tim Freed who had been visiting the county prior to our visit had managed to pick the species up. The few species of note out of the total of 52 included Eucosma obumbratana, Sharp-angled Peacock, Dog's tooth, Reed Dagger, Crescent Striped, Crescent and Twin-spotted Wainscot.

11th August  - Moth Night at St Olaves

This moth night was cancelled due to poor weather.

16th August 2006 - Moth Night at Kessingland

A visit to the local parish nature reserve and fishing lakes well known to the birding fraternity (I gather). There has been a bit of an unsuccessful push by local naturalists to make the nearby reed-bed an SSSI and it is hoped that the Fenn's Wainscot that we recorded on the night may help the case. The local nature reserve and fishing lakes overlook the reed-bed and lights placed on the boundary of the reed-bed were well placed to shine out over the reed-bed. The appearance of the plume moth, Oidaematophorus lithodactyla, given the amount of Common Fleabane around the sheet light should not have been too much of a surprise. Other species of note from the 79 species recorded were Eupoecilia angustana, Epiphyas postvittana, Eucosma obumbratana, Schoenobius gigantella, Udea ferrugalis, Magpie, Latticed Heath, White-point, Reed Dagger, Twin-spotted Wainscot, Brown-veined Wainscot and Gold Spot.

18th August 2006 - Moth Night at Cavenham Heath

A rather poor night at this Breckland heath site due to low temperatures. A rather low species count for mid-August of 53 species give some idea of how poor it was. The best species of the night was Marbled Clover, although other species worth mentioning were Hypatima rhomboidella, Six-striped Rustic and Hedge Rustic.

25th August 2006 - Moth Night at Trimley Marshes SWT Reserve

A wet and rather frustrating night at this reserve. The upside was that we could watch the sheet light from the comfort and dry of the visitor centre. The frustrating part was that the moth lights were particularly ineffective at attracting moths. Numbers of moths were seeing flying amongst the reed-banks next to the sheet light but failed to be attracted to the light. This I suspect was due to the close proximity of the light from the extension to Felixstowe Docks - the moths appeared to have lost their attraction to light. The best of the 40 species recorded were Cochylis hybridella, Schoenobius gigantella, Agdistis bennetii and White-point. I mustn't forget the migrant pyralid Ancylis oblitella that was also recorded on the night.

26th August 2006 - Moth Night at Tunstall Common

A further visit to this heathland site and yet again we were not rained out during the middle of the evening. Results were not as good as our previous visit but still provided a reasonable list of 73 species, with the more notable including Cochylidia implicitana, Celypha rosaceana, Crambus hamella, Pyrausta despicata, Cryptoblabes bistriga, Dioryctria sylvestrella, Satin Wave, Hedge Rustic, Feathered Gothic, White-point, Centre-barred Sallow and Scarce Bordered Straw.

Reports from Recorders around the county

Records reported in this section have not been checked by the Suffolk Moth Panel. Many thanks go to the recorders who provide write-ups and records for this section.

Mendlesham Green, July to October - Steve Woolnough

As we all know, in marked contrast to the earlier part of the year, July was a scorcher, and moth records for the garden responded in a similar record-breaking manner. Two days saw records of over 100 species, and the total for the month was 220, the highest monthly total since I began recording here.

The first ‘bumper’ night was on 5th July, with a catch of 107. Of these, no less than nine were new records (Eana incanana, Endothenia gentianaeana, Lobesia abscisana, Peach Blossom, Pretty Chalk Carpet, Maple Prominent, Bird's Wing, Small Dotted Buff and Clouded-bordered Brindle). There was also 9 Buff Arches, which is one of my favourite moths in terms of pure aesthetic charm, and in excess of 40 Flame. Scarce Silver-lines and Green Silver-lines provided an attractive comparison.

Total species numbers in the high 80’s and 90’s continued through the month, with the next count in excess of 100 occurring on 25th July, when 105 were recorded with Perinephela lancealis, Lesser Wax Moth, Slender Pug and Reed Dagger all being new. There was also three Rush Veneer, seven Poplar Hawks and a Least Carpet. The night was also significant for the ‘One that Got Away’…

Going through the trap the following morning, I saw a Least Black Arches. I was not overly familiar with the species, but I had had them in the trap before, and this had the two black cross-lines with the top one fainter than the bottom one, and a small dark spot on the leading edge of the forewing. After about 30 seconds, it flew from the egg-tray, but I was not particularly concerned, being content with my identification. It was only later that morning when checking my books that I realised the flight time was completely wrong for Least, and from my memory of the moth, the description matched that of Scarce Black Arches. Once again, the maxim of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing appeared to have been proven.

Other new garden records for the month were Endothenia quadrimaculana (11th), Gypsonoma sociana, Eudonia truncicolella, Evergestis pallidata, Platyptilia gonodactyla and Beautiful Carpet (all on 18th), Perinephela lancealis, Slender Pug and Peacock (25th), Agonopterix ocellana, Birch Mocha and White-spotted Pug (28th). A total of 24 new species for the garden in the one month!

Other notable July records were the 10 Privet Hawks in the trap on 11 July and some 40 Silver Y on 28th July.

Of course, it could not last, and August brought rain, rain and more rain. Consequently, the trap was run on only four nights, with a peak count of only 59 species on 5th, and just two new species recorded, with Ypsolopha vittella and Cochylis hybridella both appearing on 27th. A miserable 95 species was recorded, the lowest monthly total for August since I started trapping. The month was chiefly notable for seeing a Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on the buddleias and honeysuckles on almost every day, even during quite heavy rain. The only other records of comment were three Dark Sword-grass on 27th and a Bordered Straw on 19th.

The trend was continued for September, with just 60 species, again the lowest number for the month I’ve ever had, and with no new garden records. Similarly, October, too, had the lowest ever total for that month with just 21 species, although Udea ferrugalis and Grey Shoulder-knot both on 13th were new to the garden. A Meal Moth was found in the shed on 22nd, and the final Silver Y of the year appeared on 27th.

In summary, apart from July, it has been a poor year. A total of just 304 species recorded from only 43 trapping nights, compared to annual averages of 364 species from 80 nights prior to this year, tends to tell its own story of how disappointing the weather, and hence the mothing, has been for 2006.

Redisham, July to September 2006 - Bob Reed

Bob Reed recording in Redisham reports the following species for July to September this year - Parapoynx stratiotata, Pleuroptya ruralis, Hypsopygia costalis, Chinese Character, Buff Arches, Blood-vein, Small Fan-footed Wave, Riband Wave, Common Carpet, Barred Straw, Lime-speck Pug, Magpie Moth, Clouded Border, Brimstone Moth, Dusky Thorn, Early Thorn, Scalloped Oak, Swallow-tailed Moth, Orange Moth, Peppered Moth, Clouded Silver, Light Emerald, Privet Hawk-moth, Pine Hawk-moth, Lime Hawk-moth, Eyed Hawk-moth, Poplar Hawk-moth, Humming-bird Hawk-moth, Elephant Hawk-moth, Buff-tip, Iron Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Pale Prominent, Yellow-tail, Black Arches, Dingy Footman, Common Footman, Ruby Tiger, Heart and Club, Heart and Dart, Flame, Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Small Square-spot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Double Square-spot, Cabbage Moth, Dot Moth, Bright-line Brown-eye, Lychnis, Hebrew Character, Brown-line Bright-eye, Clay, White-point, Smoky Wainscot, Common Wainscot, Brindled Green, Centre-barred Sallow, Lunar Underwing, Sallow, Poplar Grey, Sycamore, Grey Dagger, Copper Underwing, Angle Shades, Dark Arches, Light Arches, Marbled Minor, Common Rustic, Uncertain, Rustic, Green Silver-lines, Burnished Brass, Silver Y, Plain Golden Y, Spectacle, Red Underwing,
Beautiful Hook-tip, Straw Dot, Snout and Fan-foot.

Bungay, Summer and Autumn 2006 - Leigh Davis

Although not able to do much recording in late summer and autumn, Leigh Davis recording in Bungay reports the following species for the summer and autumn months - Chrysoteuchia culmella, Elophila nymphaeata, Parapoynx stratiotata, Nymphula stagnata, Phlyctaenia coronata, Pleuroptya ruralis, Endotricha flammealis, Drinker Moth, Blood-vein, Small Blood-vein, Single-dotted Wave, Riband Wave, Silver-ground Carpet, Yellow Shell, Barred Straw, Barred Yellow, Small Rivulet, Scorched Carpet, Scalloped Oak, Swallow-tailed Moth, Willow Beauty, Bordered White, Light Emerald, Iron Prominent, Vapourer Common Footman, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Cabbage Moth, Dot Moth, Brown-line Bright Eye, Smoky Wainscot, Dark Arches, Double Lobed and Vine's Rustic.

Eye Moths, July to October 2006 - Paul Kitchener


From famine to feast is probably the only way to describe the amazing change in moth numbers from the first six months of the year. The long hot spell produced many first records for the garden and many species had their best year out of the five that I’ve been recording here.

The month got off to a good start and just got better, the 123 species on the 1st included first site records for Acrocercops brongniardella and Phtheochroa inopiana (eight more of the latter were seen before the month’s end). Also that night were Epermenia chaerophyllella (eight this year having been recorded for the first time only last year), Ancylis achatana (three), Schoenobius gigantella (two), Ostrinia nubilalis (the first of three this month), Phlyctaenia perlucidalis (five), Sciota adelphella (two; eight in all this year), Peach Blossom, Blue-bordered Carpet, Small Yellow Wave (two), Maple Prominent, Dingy Shears (two), Clouded Brindle and Double Lobed.

The 15W actinic was put out for a change on the 2nd and turned up the first site record for Silky Wainscot, two more Sciota adelphella and only the second site record for Scoparia subfusca.

The other first site records in a very busy month were for Cedestis gysseleniella on the 4th, Dichrorampha vancouverana (the first of two) and Rosy Footman on the 5th, Ruddy Carpet on the 8th, Marasmarcha lunaedactyla on the 9th, Monochroa lucidella on the 10th (with two more later in the month), Dichrorampha petiverella and Large Emerald (a second just a week later) on the 12th, Epinotia abbreviana on the 17th, Stathmopoda pedella (the first of two), Limnaecia phragmitella (the first of five), Argyrotaenia ljungiana, Acleris kochiella and Dotted Fan-foot all on the 19th, Rosy Minor (surprisingly a first) on the 20th, Birch Mocha (another a week later) on the 21st, Apotomis lineana (the first of five in a couple of weeks) and Platytes alpinella on the 22nd, Epinotia brunnichana and Yarrow Pug on the 23rd, Endothenia ericetana (the first of two) and Pima boisduvaliella (probably the biggest surprise of the month, this pyralid apparently being restricted to the coast) on the 26th and Agriphila selasella (the first of four), Sitochroa palealis and Small Mottled Willow (the first of ten) on the 27th.

Cedstis gysseleniella
Monochroa lucidella
Cedestis gysseleniella © Paul Kitchener
Monochroa lucidella © Paul Kitchener

The night of the 19th was a record breaker, not just for producing five garden firsts, but for the total of 142 species. Apart from the new ones already mentioned this total included twenty Plutella xylostella (it has easily been the best year for this species), Monochroa palustrella (eight this year), Chilo phragmitella (one of four this month and the first since 2003), Calamotropha paludella, Nephopterix angustella (it has been the best year for this pyralid with a total of twenty four compared to the previous best of ten), Least Carpet (one of the nine seen this year, having been seen for the first time in 2004), Dark Umber (fourth garden record), Bordered Beauty (five recorded this year, none at all in 2005), Orange Moth (one of three this month), Olive (of nine this year, none last year), six Dingy Shears (best year since 2003), two Fen Wainscots (a total of ten this month after one previous record, last year), three Scarce Silver-lines (of eight this year, only four being seen over previous four years) and an Oak Nycteoline.

Olive © Paul Kitchener

Some of the other notable species/numbers this month were eight Leopard Moth, two Plutella porrectella (fifth and sixth records), two Orthotelia sparganella (second and third records), Acleris hastiana, three Hedya salicella, Clavigesta purdeyi (sixth record), six Enarmonia formosana, very good numbers of Pammene aurita and regiana (the year totals were, by far, the best ever, 136 and 224 respectively), eight Nomophila noctuella (the year total is the best since 2003), exceptional numbers of Pleuroptya ruralis (over two hundred trapped on several nights), second site record of Aglossa pinguinalis, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (seven recorded this year, only two previously), Vestal (second record, on the 30th), Scallop Shell (fourth record), sixteen White Satin, Black Arches (only the second garden record, the first in 2001), Four-dotted Footman (second record), Dark Sword-grass (the first of the year on the 30th), True Lover’s Knot (third record), three Gothic (I have never trapped more than one in a year before), two Dark Brocade, two Small Rufous (second and third records), up to thirty Silver Y a night (it has had the best ever year at this site), Buttoned Snout (my first July record) and Pinion-streaked Snout (third record).

Plutella porrectella
Orthotelia sparganella
Plutella porrectella © Paul Kitchener
Orthotelia sparganella © Paul Kitchener

Many species were more numerous this year, the following are just some of them (that occurred this month) and for those of you who are interested, if there is anyone, I’ve included their totals for this and the preceding four years (2002 -2006). Yponomeuta evonymella (0/61/8/8/72), Phlyctaenia perlucidalis (1/7/9/12/24), Riband Wave (119/216/266/150/441), Eyed Hawk-moth (1/3/1/3/10), Common Footman (76/204/201/240/528), Turnip (4/41/27/44/360), Heart and Club (1/10/0/2/18), Flame Shoulder (796/1923/299/729/2024), Lesser Yellow Underwing (86/119/198/176/486), Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (11/30/15/32/95), Setaceous Hebrew Character (606/2985/505/468/4098), Cabbage (39/380/7/37/373), Common Wainscot (80/382/75/113/610), Angle Shades (28/90/17/43/100), Dark Arches (57/94/151/121/214), Common Rustic (252/336/246/380/610), Vine’s Rustic (18/130/128/71/611), Pale Mottled Willow (57/130/59/86/296), Cream-bordered Green Pea (11/23/18/25/34), Straw Dot (102/262/116/144/440) and Snout (67/179/109/297/468).


The media hype of an even hotter month to come proved to be nothing more than that and although it had it’s moments August was never going to match July for prolonged mothing excitement.

Six new species were recorded: Twin-spotted Wainscot on the 8th, Adoxophyes orana on the 11th, Acleris laterana (a second the next day) and Bordered Straw on the 17th, Crescent (a second four days later) on the 18th and a Scarce Bordered Straw (others to follow in September and October) on the 26th.

Twin-spotted Wainscot
Twin-spotted Wainscot © Paul Kitchener

The night of the 6th August was one of the warmest and was probably one of the better nights in terms of variety with Yponomeuta plumbella (the only one of the year), Apotomis lineana (the last one of the five this year), Chilo phragmitella, Calamotropha paludella, Agriphila selasella (two), Udea ferrugalis (two), Nomophila noctuella, Nephopterix angustella (four), Oak Hook-tip (still an uncommon moth here though apparently on the increase), Currant Pug (two, of the fourteen this year, the most ever), Yellow-barred Brindle, White-line Dart (only the second record, the first in 2003), Dark Sword-grass, White-point (the first of the “autumn”) and Silver Y (eight).

Scarce Bordered Straw
Apotomis lineana
Scarce Bordered Straw © Paul Kitchener
Apotomis lineana with red mite © Paul Kitchener

The best of the rest, for these parts, included Ypsolopha sequella (fifth record), a total of ten Udea ferrugalis (there were only two in the whole of last year), eight Nomophila noctuella (only one last year), Galleria mellonella (one of three this year; there had been only two in the previous four years), Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (six), Small Waved Umber (the last of the best ever seven this year), Dark Sword-grass (ten this month, only two last year), White-point (maximum of thirteen on the 17th), Old Lady (second site record on the 24th, to MV), Straw Underwing (an uncommon moth here, only one this year, as in 2005), Bulrush Wainscot (sixth and seventh records), Small Mottled Willow (five this month between the 8th and 13th) and Dark Spectacle.

Of the more frequently occurring moths seen this month the following appear to have had a very good year (numbers are ‘02 -’06): Clepsis consimilana (4/64/43/78/203), Ditula angustiorana (14/39/51/33/230), Hypsopygia costalis (50/76/53/61/180), Orthopygia glaucinalis (2/0/9/8/20), Small Dusty Wave (17/21/25/38/98), Small Square-spot (223/48/7/24/292) and Six-striped Rustic (7/26/19/39/140).

Strangely Flounced Rustic remains uncommon here although it’s fortunes may be on the up as this year’s total of twenty is better than the six last year and also above average for the last six years. Not many species have had an obvious poor year but mention must be made of the carpets Common, Garden and Green which have all appeared in their lowest numbers for four years.

Of the “autumn” moths Dusky Thorn first appeared over a week later than usual, but it may now be holding it’s own after a slide in numbers over the previous ten years (at my two trap sites in Eye). The numbers for this and the previous two years have been much the same so things look hopeful.


The month was notable for it’s very mild nights, only on five occasions did the minimum temperature drop to single figures and on ten nights the minimum was 15° C or above.

Only one new species was recorded however, Calybites phasianipennella on the 25th, but it nevertheless was a very interesting month in which several species were still on the wing on their latest dates ever recorded. Some of these were Prays fraxinella on the 12th and 17th, Brachmia blandella on the 22nd, six Archips podana (I have recorded it once in October), Enarmonia formosana on the 26th, Phlyctaenia coronata on the 23rd, Galleria mellonella on the 5th, Nephopterix angustella on the 20th, Maiden’s Blush on the 23rd, Willow Beauty on the 30th, Eyed Hawk-moth on the 1st and Heart and Dart on the 24th.

Light Emerald had an exceptional second generation, fifty two being recorded between 15th August and 21st September and Mottled Rustic, a species that is rarely seen beyond the end of July, was recorded eight times (ten individuals) between 14th September and 11th October.

Other notable bits and pieces this month were Ypsolopha sequella (sixth record so soon after the fifth), only three Plutella xylostella, three Epiphyas postvittana (first recorded in May and by all accounts this will probably be the last report in which I consider it’s occurrence as notable), Acleris emargana (third record), only one Udea ferrugalis, nine Nomophila noctuella, six Pyralis farinalis (eighteen seen this year which equals the total for the preceding four years), Dioryctria abietella (second record, the first was in 2001), four Dark Sword-grass, fifty White-point (maximum fifteen on the 3rd), Feathered Ranunculus (one of only two this year, this is still a scarce moth around here, though it has been seen every year since 2002), four Orange Sallow, Old Lady (third record and second this year, this one also came to the MV), Small Mottled Willow (the last of the ten this year on the 25th), three Scarce Bordered Straw (one, 6th and two, 24th), Oak Nycteoline (my first September record), Silver Y (no more than three in a night however), seven Dark Spectacle (none were seen in the summer at all, the ten this year have been between 30th August and 10th October) and three Red Underwing.

The regular late autumn species appeared pretty much on cue, though the first Yellow-line Quaker was ten days earlier (17th) than my previous earliest, Brown-spot Pinion (3rd) was eight days earlier and Beaded Chestnut (7th) was ten days earlier. There was Mallow on the 16th, Merveille du Jour on the 26th (sixteen being seen by the 27th October, my best ever total at this site), Large Wainscot on the 24th (the totals for this moth have increased year on year since 2002 - 1/2/9/17/45) and Blair’s Shoulder-knot also on the 24th (this also had it’s best ever year at this site). One moth that remains inexplicably scarce here is Brindled Green, two were trapped this year but it has only been recorded in four years out of the last six and Frosted Orange was seen in the lowest numbers since 2001.


The mild conditions continued with minimum night time temperatures remaining in double figures for seventeen nights and winds were predominantly from the south and east.

Four new species were recorded and not surprisingly, given the weather, three of these were migrants. A Black Rustic on the 10th was one I had expected to get at some time as was Pearly Underwing (singles on the 14th and 23rd). The latter I had recorded six times in five years at my previous site in Eye so the gap of six years until the next was surprising. The other two new species were far more unexpected. A Red Sword-grass on the 16th was a moth I had always wanted to see (and has to be my “moth of the year”) but a rather worn Clancy’s Rustic on the 20th was not quite so attractive but was just as welcome. Although it has been the best year on record in Suffolk for this moth and it seems to be on the increase nationally I thought my chances of getting one here, 30 miles from the coast, were pretty slim.

Red Sword-grass
Red Sword-grass © Paul Kitchener

The other migrants(?) this month have been Plutella xylostella (ten), Udea ferrugalis (eighteen, maximum of four on the 26th), Nomophila noctuella (five between 14th and 23rd), Gem (the fifth to seventh records on 9th, 10th and 20th), Dark Sword-grass on the 17th, White-point on the 11th (the previous and probably “resident” one was on the 23rd September), Scarce Bordered Straw (the fifth this year) on the 14th and Silver Y (seven).

A year ago I reported that White-point was likely to be a local resident and this year’s figures add further evidence. Since 2001 the totals have been 1/0/8/5/46/150 and this year’s monthly totals are June (2), August (97), September (50) and October (1). If I were getting only migrants it seems odd that I didn’t see any at all in July, the hottest month of the year when plenty of other stuff was on the move.

Given the exceptionally mild conditions the resident moths also provided a few surprises this month and the following were all notable October records: Carcina quercana (three, the last on the 28th), Clepsis consimilana (two, the last on the 10th), Hypsopygia costalis on the 16th (I have recorded it in Eye in November one year), Orthopygia glaucinalis (regularly seen in October but more this year, a maximum of four on the 9th), Pyralis farinalis (first October record on the 16th), Blood-vein (the most in October ever, maximum of four on the 9th), Small Dusty Wave on the 14th, Brimstone on the 9th, Waved Umber on the 20th, Dingy Footman (one of the form stramineola) on the 10th and and 15th, Dark Spectacle (two, 1st and 10th) and Straw Dot (seven records of ten individuals included the latest ever on the 20th).

More typical of October were Acleris emargana (fourth and fifth records), Red-green Carpet (third record and third consecutive year), Vapourer, Grey Shoulder-knot, Satellite and Brick. More Angle Shades were seen than usual and some at least may have been migrants (five on the 14th accompanied the Pearly Underwing and Scarce Bordered Straw).

A few moths are still about but the first frost of the autumn cannot be long coming, especially here in Eye, so it will soon be time to return indoors and reacquaint myself with the wife (if she‘s still about).

Post-Plusia Blues ... the autumn run-in at Woolpit - Paul Bryant

How was I going to follow the Plusia caught in mid June? Given that I consider my garden to be anything but a prime migrant hot-spot the answer would appear to be with difficulty. However, regular trapping continued to produce surprises until at least month end. Amongst the highlights were Lilac Beauty (singles on 16th & 23rd), female Ghost Moth (16th & 29th), Broad-barred White (16th), Phtheochroa rugosana (16th), Shoulder-striped Wainscot (16th), Bordered White (17th), Shark (21st), Varied Coronet (23rd), Small Clouded Brindle (24th) and Peach Blossom (24th). Additionally, Ann found ‘a creature’ (her words not mine) chomping away on our buddleia which turned out to be a Mullein caterpillar. Amazingly, we found three more the following day. Just as impressive, on the 26th June I found a White-point on my office window at Flempton!

Lilac Beauty
Peach Blossom
Lilac Beauty © Paul Bryant
Peach Blossom © Paul Bryant

Early July was still busy with trap counts hovering around the 65sp mark. Three Orange Moth, a Cream-bordered Green Pea, Lilac Beauty and two Short-cloaked Moths were caught on the 1st. The next day there was a Scarce Silver-lines and another rugosana. The 5th produced Scorched Wing, Orthopygia glaucinalis, yet another female Ghost Moth (or is it the same one having a ground-hog day?) and yet another Cream-bordered Green Pea. On the 11th I had Herald, Bordered Pug, 2 Early Thorn and a Beautiful Golden Y.

Mid-July saw period of incredibly warm, often hot and humid weather, with night time temperatures hovering around the mid-teens. Not surprisingly a lot of people were catching a lot of moths. The night of the 19th was particularly warm and, after returning from Shingle Street where we had been sitting in jeans and t-shirt, I got home to find my trap alive with flies, beetles and a motley selection of Underwing’s, the most numerous of which were 30 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings in all there various shades from dark to light. Amongst the 70 odd species noted were 2 Latticed Heath, a Magpie Moth, Lunar-spotted Pinion, Poplar Kitten, Slender Brindle and a Beautiful China-mark. Just a few days earlier I had notched up the first garden Olive and a Meal Moth. The latter, no doubt attracted by the trap light, had somehow wandered in through a bedroom window as I found it indoors the following morning.

Late July saw me in Scotland where I was taking part in a Northern Dart survey. Feeling a bit moth’d out it wasn’t until the 5th August that I felt any inclination to run the garden trap. My reward was 37 species, including 3 Silver Y, Coxcomb Prominent and a Rush Veneer. The remainder of August continued on a cooler and fresher note. The garden continued to produce reasonable catches, although little of any real note until mid-month when I started picking up single White-point on most trap nights. Other highlights included Bordered Pug (7th), Small Waved Umber (10th), Lychnis (2 on 8th), Dusky Thorn (1 on 16th & 2 on 25th) and my first Rosy Rustic of the year (10th). I also started paying a bit more attention to our buddleia, which by now was Mullein free and in flower. Searching by torch light revealed several Silver Y, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Nutmeg, Cabbage Moth and Vine's Rustic amongst others. A much anticipated garden first was Humming-bird Hawk-moth, first seen on the evening of the 22nd and then on-and-off over much of the following week. Best of all however was a Pale Mottled Willow, seen on the evening of the 28th. It kind of made me feel like on of those old Victorian collectors, minus the gas lamp! I also tried sugaring in the back garden, with less success, the only visitor seen being an Old Lady (29th) which refused to have its photo taken.

Dusky Thorns
Dusky Thorns © Paul Bryant

A week in France with Neil, Graham and Matthew in early September mean that little trapping took place until 11th. I wasn’t expecting much but was surprised to find a good selection of moths in the trap the following morning. The major highlight was a Small Ranunculus (subject to confirmation, the first VC26 record since 1898) and a Dusky-lemon Sallow. That same night I also recorded 2 Pale Mottled Willow, a Dusky Thorn (there was also 1 on 15th) and a Scarce-bordered Straw, which I found the following morning in our bedroom whilst opening up the curtains. The following week (16th) I added Buttoned Snout and Black Rustic to garden list. Another Black Rustic appeared on 27th as well as three more Scarce Bordered Straw (24th, 26th and 27th). The latter were but a fraction of the hundreds that most have been around the country as recorders seemed to be picking these up everywhere. Try as I might though, I failed to attract a Convolvulus Hawk-moth to either the trap or the nicotiana planted out front.

Small Ranunculus
Scarce Bordered Straw
Small Ranunculus © Paul Bryant
Scarce Bordered Straw © Paul Bryant

Other September highlights included Meal Moth (1st), Rush Veneer (5 on odd dates though the month), Oak Hook-tip and White-point (both on the 12th) Frosted Orange (17th), Merveille du Jour (22nd), Mallow (23rd) and Brown-spot Pinion (22nd & 30th). However, by the end of the month things had a much more distinct autumnal feel with cooler nights and damper mornings. Trap numbers have already started to decline quite considerably and for the most part all I’m catching are a handful of Lunar Underwings, Beaded Chestnuts and the odd Blair’s-shoulder Knot, Yellow-line Quaker, Angle Shades or Sallow spp. But that’s one of the great things about mothing; you just never quite know what will turn up next!

As always, happy trapping.

Moths at Ipswich Golf Course, July to September 2006 - Neil Sherman


July 2006 will be remembered as one of the best periods for moth recording in many years. Hot, humid conditions dominated the month, with daytime temperatures regularly over 30 degrees while at night it stayed in the high teens/early twenties. Traps were run on 18 nights during the month, trying many different areas of habitat around the site as well as the garden and work shed areas. This produced a total of 484 species (233 macros, 251 micros) for July, by far the best species count for a month since recording began here in 1994. On most nights, the average number of moth species trapped was 130+, but 2 nights stood out as being exceptional. On the 19th, with 2 traps running on a heathland area, 220 species were recorded, beating the previous best species count of 182 (set in 2004) by quite a long margin! The following night, a single trap run in the garden caught 178 species, an incredible number considering we run up to 8 traps on most SMG moth nights and rarely get above 150!

As it was such a good month, there was at lot of interest seen, not just good species but large numbers of certain moths. I will try to cover all of this the best I can, there’s a lot to write about!

Macros of possible interest included the following, starting with new site records. L-Album wainscot was recorded on 2 occasions – on the 4th and 6th, both times in the garden trap, possibly wanderers from the coastal population. These were followed by a Triple-spotted Clay on the 16th – this was a species that was expected to turn up at some point. Many Double Square-spot had been checked looking for it! The night of the 20th produced 2 new macros – a Marbled Green (again another moth from the coast) and more surprisingly a White-mantled Wainscot. Whether this moth had wandered from one of the known populations or had come from a more local unknown site is anyone’s guess. I did try trapping reedbed areas around the site (as I have done many times before) after this capture but no other records were forthcoming. Lastly, on the 23rd, a Langmaid’s Yellow Underwing was picked out from the numerous Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings. A number of these moths had turned up on the coast at around the same time. This record was only confirmed once the moth was set, revealing the relevant features for identification.

L-album Wainscot
Marbled Green
L-album Wainscot © Neil Sherman
Marbled Green © Neil Sherman

Other notable moths included  Festoon (47 recorded during the month). Blotched Emerald continued to fly at the start of the month, with 3 on the 2nd and 2 on the 3rd, but none after this. 4 second brood Birch Mocha were seen, after being non-existent earlier in the year. There were 2 records of Tawny Wave, on the 27th and 28th. Least Carpet had a good month with 39 noted, as did Flame Carpet with 5 records. Chevron appeared twice (4 on 19th with another 25th). There were 9 records of Scallop Shell, this being a very good number here. Pugs seen included Slender (12 records), White-spotted (2), Shaded (4th), Yarrow (26th), and Sloe (2nd). The only record of Broom-tip for 2006 was on the 19th. 4 Clouded Magpie were seen, mainly in the garden. This leads me to believe there is a small breeding colony nearby. Scorched Carpet, a scarce moth at the site, was seen twice (26th and 27th). The Sharp-angled Peacock was noted 13 times, this must now be established – it was even more common than the Peacock on a few nights. Both Bordered Beauty (6 records), Early Thorn (5) and Purple Thorn (7) appeared in good numbers, especially nice to see the thorns after their poor first brood showing.  Of the hawks, it is always good to get Privet. One was seen in the garden trap on the 26th – this seems quite scarce at the site for whatever reason. Commonest species was the Pine, with 42 noted, the best total for this species in a month. There has only been 1 Chocolate-tip so far in 2006, on the 17th. This again reflects on the poor early season. The 2 White Satin seen on the 25th were only the second and third records for the site so were greatly received. Its relative, the Black Arches, was abundant with 136 noted in July. The Kent Black Arches was also around in good numbers – 9 were recorded. This leads me to believe that it may be established with regular records in the last few years. There were records of Gothic on the 17th and 25th (the second and third site records). Grey Arches appeared 4 times, good to see after a poor showing last year.  The Mathew’s Wainscot trapped on the 2nd was the second for the site, another wanderer due to the warm weather.  The only record of Svensson’s Copper Underwing was on the 6th, a typical date. This species in my experience does come out before the Copper at this site. Webb’s Wainscot put on a good showing, with 6 seen on the 25th trapping in a reedbed area with another on the 24th in the garden. Also seen in the reedbed on the 25th was the second site record of Silky Wainscot. The Small Rufous was seen a few days later in another wetland area, with 3 on the 27th. Continuing the wetland theme, there were 3 records of Dotted Fan-foot. However, its relative the Shaded Fan-foot continued to have a poor year with only 6 noted following on from the one seen in June. Finally there were 4 Small Mottled Willows seen, showing some immigration was occurring, with one on the 25th and 3 in the garden trap on the 26th.

The number of micros seen during the month was enormous, so I’ll pick out the notables for the site and list them below – there were too many to cover in much detail! New site records included: Agonopterix ciliella (19th, confirmed once set so the 5 lines on the hindwing could be seen), Carpatolechia alburnella (4 records), Scrobipalpa instabilella (2 on the 19th wandering in from the coast on a hot night), Sciota adelphella (20th in the garden trap), Pima boisduvaliella (2 on the 27th, again another coastal wanderer) and Nephopterix angustella (2nd). Others of note: Leucoptera spartifoliella (second record on the 9th), Cameraria ohridella (34 seen during the month, as well as loads of mining activity), Yponomeuta rorrella (first since 2001 on 26th), Zelleria hepariella (second record 20th), Thiotricha subocellea (third record 25th after first 2 last year), Blastobasis adustella (lignea) (5195 noted, with 500+ on some nights – now IGC’s commonest moth), Blastodacna hellerella (3rd, new only last month), Dystebenna stephensi (17th, second record), Bactra furfurana (27th, second record), Ostrinia nubilalis (4), Trachycera marmorea (9th – first since 1998), Pempelia genistella (4, new only 2005), Dioryctria sylvestrella (20, very good number), Agdistis bennetii (28th) and Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (17th, new only 2005).

Daytime sightings included a female Hornet moth on the 7th, egg laying at the base of some poplar trees, the first for a few years. Another clearwing, the Yello- legged, was seen on the 15th when 2 were drawn to the pheromone lure. The Poplar Kitten eggs that were kept last month duly hatched and reared during the month, the caterpillars looking quite similar to those of the Puss moth, albeit much smaller.

Poplar Kitten larva
Sciota adelphella
Poplar Kitten larva © Neil Sherman
Sciota adelphella © Neil Sherman


The warm weather finally broke in early August. In fact one word could sum up the month – wet! Lots of rain and cooler temperatures caused a large drop in numbers of moths present in the traps, a shame after such a good July. Traps were run on 14 nights, producing a total of 213 species(104 macros, 109 micros), down on last year’s 278 species. On a lot of mornings I woke to find that it was either raining or had rained overnight resulting in lots of soggy egg trays – I even had a cracked a bulb one night. Best night was the 6th, before it cooled down – 119 species were seen then. Most nights after that only around 50 species were trapped.

The highlight for the month was the small period of immigration that occurred, this bringing in 2 new macros for the site. After hearing that a number of Great Brocade and Scarce Silver Y moths had been noted in both Suffolk and Norfolk, I was on the look out for them. I was rewarded on the 16th when 2 Great Brocade graced the traps. Both were slightly worn, but were welcome all the same. On the following night, a trap placed in the garden caught another Great Brocade (this one was very worn with few scales left!) as well as a Scarce Bordered Straw, another new species for the site.

Great Brocade
Scarce Bordered Straw
Great Brocade © Neil Sherman
Scarce Bordered Straw © Neil Sherman

Other macros of note here included the following. First a Crescent on the 16th was another new site record – that was 3 new macros in the space of 2 days! Another new macro for the site appeared on the 31st in the garden trap – a Gold Spot. A Satin Wave was seen on the 17th, a presumed second brood individual. After 5 records last month, another Flame Carpet was seen on the 5th. Another Clouded Magpie was noted in the garden on the 7th, the 5th record for 2006. The only Square-spotted Clay for the year so far was noted on the 17th in the garden trap. Also in the garden trap were 2 Broad-barred White on the 19th, these being the first seen since 2004. The first sallows appeared at the end of the month, with Centre-barred on the 27th followed by an Orange Sallow on the 30th. A Streak was caught on the 30th, this being a very early sighting for this species. The Poplar Hawk-moth caught on the 31st was the latest ever record for that moth here. Finally, Hedge Rustic appeared for the first time in 2006 on the 16th and was then regular in the traps for the rest of the month.

Gold Spot
Gold Spot © Neil Sherman

Micros of possible interest included an Adoxophyes orana (the Summer fruit tortrix) on the 15th, new to the site. Also seen were Caloptilia syringella (15th, scarce here), Acrolepiopsis assectella (the Leek moth) on the 15th + 27th (2nd + 3rd records). Prays fraxinella (30th), Morophaga choragella (31st the latest record here), Carpatolechia alburnella (5th and 6th records on 17th and 22nd, new only last month), Acleris sparsana (22nd, a sign of approaching autumn), Agriphila selasella (singles on the 6th and 22nd), Platytes alpinella (22nd), Udea ferrugalis (17th and 22nd), Nomophila noctuella (6 records of singles) and Amblyptilia acanthadactyla (8 records, one last month, new only last year).

There were a few daytime observations of note. First, an Orange Footman larva was found on the 4th, the first time a larva has been noted at the site. On the same day, the first Red Underwing of the year was flushed while cutting up a fallen birch tree. A second one was seen on the 10th, sitting on the work shed wall at first light.


I was away on holiday for 2 weeks during September, so less trapping was undertaken than usual. Lights were operated on 9 nights, bringing
 in 137 moths (51 micros, 86 macros), surprisingly exactly the same total that was seen in 2005. Mild conditions were dominant for most of September, but some nights were disappointing, even though it was warm. This was possibly because of a full moon, and there are less species around at this time of year too. The best night was the 3rd, when 63 species were trapped in the garden.

The most notable event that occurred during the month was the capture of the site’s 1000th moth species. This happened on the 24th, when a Convolvulus Hawk-moth was seen beside the garden trap. No other new moths were seen during September, but there were some sightings of interest.

There were quite a few moths appearing that are not usually seen in the autumn, including the following. Satin Wave, Riband Wave and Plain Wave (all singles on the 12th). Lilac Beauty (11th), Yellow-tail (27th, this has been seen in previous years in September), Buff Footman (4 noted) and an Alder Moth (30th). This is possibly because it has been so mild. Other more typical species seen were Mallow (first for 2006 on the 30th). Red-green Carpet (10 noted, including 8 in the garden trap on the 27th). Heath Rustic (12th), Black Rustic (2 seen), Brindled Green (maximum of 20 seen on the 27th) and Blair’s Shoulder-knot (maximum of 9 in the garden on the 30th). The sallows put on quite a good showing, with Centre-barred (1 record), Orange (4 records), Barred (3 records), Pink-barred (3 records) and the Sallow (2 records) all trapped. Two species that were in poor numbers were the Feathered Gothic (3 only) and the Hedge Rustic (7 only), but these may have been flying at their peak while I was on holiday. There were 2 migrants of note as well as the Convolvulus Hawk-moth - a Small Mottled Willow on the 25th (wings only as it had been eaten by a hornet!) and the 3rd site record of L-Album Wainscot (30th).

Black Rustic
Black Rustic © Neil Sherman

There were a few micros of possible interest, most of these again being species that are not normally expected in September. The unseasonal records included Pandemis cerasana (2 - normally seen June/July), Archips podana (5 records), Lozotaeniodes formosanus (2) and Spilonota ocellana (28th). Others included Mirificarma mulinella (3rd + 11th), Eudonia angustea (27th) and Galleria mellonella (24th , first record since 2003).

Daytime observations included two pupae of the Bulrush Wainscot, found in stems of Reed-mace while hay cutting an area of fen on the site on the 11th, no adults have been seen at all so far this year. Later in the month on the 28th two fully grown caterpillars of the Pale Tussock were found underneath trees wandering around looking for pupation sites – the stood out with their bright gaudy yellow bodies!

Contact details

Please send any Suffolk moth records, moth articles or other queries to myself (preferably via email) at :

3 Powling Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP3 9JR
Email :

Suffolk Moths web site (home of the SMG): also

SMG Email Discussion Group:

Essex County Moth Recorder : Brian Goodey, 298 Ipswich Road, Colchester, Essex. CO4 0ET. E-mail:

The Newsletter

This is the newsletter for the Suffolk Moth Group. It is available for download from the Suffolk Moths website and subscribers can receive email notification when new issues are produced. Paper copy are available at a £2 per annum subscription. It is usually intended for three to four issues to be produced a year although the precise time of production varies. I am always on the look out for articles that will be of interest to moth recorders 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.


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