Recorder's remarks etc.
Well what a year so far. All the far too early occurences of so many species which makes a nonsence of trying to check species by the date seen. Then this weather which is so wet and cold even after a day of hot sun. But this is mothing where you never know what to expect in the trap or what the weather can do.
The reason for this entry is that I have had a change in my personal circumsatnces and I will be moving to Bournemouth in the new year. This will make my work for the Group difficult particularly the meetings. We do need to keep these going and need your vital support to get to those unknown areas.
I intend to plug on with the entry of the paper records from last year and earlier because these I can send to Mark, but the work as Secretary and more importantly Somerset Recorder are vital to be maintained.
The work of Secretary is very minimal apart from replying to the written records sent in and arranging the AGM and taking the notes of that meeting.
The work of the Somerset Recorder is of vital importance in vetting the submission of records for our database. Also it is of some national importance since the Butterfly Conservation's launch of their interest in moths. Help is always available from a number of sources to assist with identification of species, even the micros, so you will not be alone. I have also offered to our group to pick up and identify moths as part of the service and remember this resulted in the identification of our first moth for Europe found by Doug Miller on National Moth Night. So it can be very exciting as well.
The meeting of the 25th May 2007 for the SMGroup was held at Eastwater Valley, Horner Wood, Exmoor. A blustery wind on Dunkery Beacon was a bit daunting but the valley was much more sheltered. However the sky was very clear and the temperature plumeted as the night wore on. The Exmoor Stalwarts were present again, Mike Ridge, David Ayling, Pat Owen, and our new recruit Robon Clatworthy again my driver for the night. We were also joined by Martin and Judy Weston, new SMG members, all the way from Combe St. Nicholas.
Three lights were run along the track next to the stream and Mike went again into the open space to be bothered by exmoor ponies.
By 12 'o' Clock it was really cold and we packed up. No rarites but the great prominents and fox moth were interesting particulary to Martin and Judy who are new to mothing and made up for the distance travelled.
Thank you to all especially Robin who managed also to find my lost car keys the next morning.
- Eastwater Valley, Horner Wood, Exmoor, 25-05-07
- Code Taxon Vernacular Gridref Quantity
- 980 Archips xylosteana Variegated Golden Tortrix SS89824306 1
- 1638 Macrothylacia rubi Fox Moth SS89824306 1
- 1727 Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet SS898430 19
- 1750 Lampropteryx suffumata Water Carpet SS898430 3
- 1751 Lampropteryx otregiata Devon Carpet SS898430 2
- 1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet SS895430 1
- 1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet SS898430 10
- 1819 Eupithecia exiguata Mottled Pug SS895430 1
- 1834 Eupithecia vulgata Common Pug SS898430 2
- 1857 Eupithecia tantillaria Dwarf Pug SS895430 1
- 1902 Petrophora chlorosata Brown Silver-line SS898430 15
- 1903 Plagodis pulveraria Barred Umber SS895430 1
- 1917 Selenia dentaria Early Thorn SS898430 2
- 1920 Odontopera bidentata Scalloped Hazel SS898430 8
- 1947 Ectropis bistortata Engrailed SS895430 1
- 1949 Paradarisa consonaria Square Spot SS898430 2
- 1955 Cabera pusaria Common White Wave SS898430 1
- 1956 Cabera exanthemata Common Wave SS898430 1
- 2005 Peridea anceps Great Prominent SS898430 6
- 2011 Pterostoma palpina Pale Prominent SS898430 1
- 2014 Drymonia dodonaea Marbled Brown SS898430 2
- 2028 Calliteara pudibunda Pale Tussock SS898430 6
- 2060 Spilosoma lubricipeda White Ermine SS895430 1
- 2061 Spilosoma luteum Buff Ermine SS898430 15
- 2092 Agrotis puta Shuttle-shaped Dart SS898430 2
- 2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder SS898430 1
- 2160 Lacanobia oleracea Bright-line Brown-eye SS895430 1
- 2302 Rusina ferruginea Brown Rustic SS895430 1
- 2380 Charanyca trigrammica Treble Lines SS898430 4
- 2425 Colocasia coryli Nut-tree Tussock SS895430 1
Our next meeting will be at Cothelstone Hill, The Quantocks, where last year I saw more moths around a single light in flight than I had ever seen before. We need the right conditions, but I am sure it will be worth the efforts. We meet in the car park ST200328 to be met by the Ranger.
On the 17th May with the kind invitation of Bob Boyce the Exmoor Stalwarts visted Parsonage Farm, Hawkridge. It was a bit cold and clear but after a slow start using four traps we got to the total of 80species which is no mean feat for such a night. My thanks to David & Ginny Ayling, Pat Owen, Mike Ridge and Robin Clatworthy who has been my driver and support having been on crutches for the last 6 weeks. Also Bob made our task much better with frequent glasses of wine. Bob runs a four star restaurant and B& B at the farm and his hospitality was wonderful and very welcome as the cold seeped into our bones. Latest news plus this very under recorded moth
- Parsonage Farm, Hawkridge, 17-05-07
- Code Taxon Vernacular Quantity Stage
- 1293 Chrysoteuchia culmella Garden Grass-veneer 1 Adult
- 1651 Cilix glaucata Chinese Character 1 Adult
- 1652 Thyatira batis Peach Blossom 2 Adult
- 1657 Ochropacha duplaris Common Lutestring 3 Adult
- 1681 Cyclophora linearia Clay Triple-lines 6 Adult
- 1682 Timandra comae Blood-vein 1 Adult
- 1722 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet 4 Adult
- 1724 Xanthorhoe spadicearia Red Twin-spot Carpet 22 Adult
- 1727 Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet 10 Adult
- 1738 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet 3 Adult
- 1750 Lampropteryx suffumata Water Carpet 17 Adult
- 1751 Lampropteryx otregiata Devon Carpet 16 Adult
- 1752 Cosmorhoe ocellata Purple Bar 1 Adult
- 1759 Ecliptopera silaceata Small Phoenix 6 Adult
- 1760 Chloroclysta siterata Red-green Carpet 1 Adult
- 1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet 8 Adult
- 1769 Thera britannica Spruce Carpet 3 Adult
- 1773 Electrophaes corylata Broken-barred Carpet 3 Adult
- 1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 13 Adult
- 1802 Perizoma affinitata Rivulet 1 Adult
- 1803 Perizoma alchemillata Small Rivulet 2 Adult
- 1817 Eupithecia pulchellata Foxglove Pug 4 Adult
- 1819 Eupithecia exiguata Mottled Pug 2 Adult
- 1834 Eupithecia vulgata Common Pug 8 Adult
- 1837 Eupithecia subfuscata Grey Pug 6 Adult
- 1852 Eupithecia abbreviata Brindled Pug 4 Adult
- 1856 Eupithecia lariciata Larch Pug 1 Adult
- 1857 Eupithecia tantillaria Dwarf Pug 1 Adult
- 1858 Chloroclystis v-ata V-Pug 3 Adult
- 1862 Gymnoscelis rufifasciata Double-striped Pug 4 Adult
- 1890 Macaria alternata Sharp-angled Peacock 3 Adult
- 1902 Petrophora chlorosata Brown Silver-line 20 Adult
- 1904 Plagodis dolabraria Scorched Wing 2 Adult
- 1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 6 Adult
- 1917 Selenia dentaria Early Thorn 1 Adult
- 1920 Odontopera bidentata Scalloped Hazel 24 Adult
- 1931 Biston betularia Peppered Moth 5 Adult
- 1931 Biston betularia f. insularia Peppered Moth [melanic form] 1 Adult
- 1947 Ectropis bistortata Engrailed 11 Adult
- 1948 Ectropis crepuscularia Small Engrailed 1 Adult
- 1949 Paradarisa consonaria Square Spot 10 Adult
- 1950 Parectropis similaria Brindled White Spot 1 Adult
- 1955 Cabera pusaria Common White Wave 1 Adult
- 1956 Cabera exanthemata Common Wave 3 Adult
- 1957 Lomographa bimaculata White-pinion Spotted 3 Adult
- 1958 Lomographa temerata Clouded Silver 4 Adult
- 1961 Campaea margaritata Light Emerald 1 Adult
- 1991 Deilephila elpenor Elephant Hawk-moth 3 Adult
- 1992 Deilephila porcellus Small Elephant Hawk-moth 1 Adult
- 1994 Phalera bucephala Buff-tip 2 Adult
- 1999 Stauropus fagi Lobster Moth 2 Adult
- 2000 Notodonta dromedarius Iron Prominent 3 Adult
- 2003 Notodonta ziczac Pebble Prominent 5 Adult
- 2005 Peridea anceps Great Prominent 1 Adult
- 2008 Ptilodon capucina Coxcomb Prominent 1 Adult
- 2011 Pterostoma palpina Pale Prominent 7 Adult
- 2014 Drymonia dodonaea Marbled Brown 18 Adult
- 2028 Calliteara pudibunda Pale Tussock 27 Adult
- 2060 Spilosoma lubricipeda White Ermine 24 Adult
- 2061 Spilosoma luteum Buff Ermine 2 Adult
- 2064 Phragmatobia fuliginosa fuliginosa Ruby Tiger 2 Adult
- 2078 Nola confusalis Least Black Arches 7 Adult
- 2089 Agrotis exclamationis Heart and Dart 3 Adult
- 2098 Axylia putris Flame 7 Adult
- 2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 17 Adult
- 2158 Lacanobia thalassina Pale-shouldered Brocade 1 Adult
- 2187 Orthosia cerasi Common Quaker 1 Adult
- 2190 Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character 9 Adult
- 2289 Acronicta rumicis Knot Grass 1 Adult
- 2305 Euplexia lucipara Small Angle Shades 2 Adult
- 2337 Oligia strigilis Marbled Minor 1 Adult
- 2380 Charanyca trigrammica Treble Lines 2 Adult
- 2410 Protodeltote pygarga Marbled White Spot 1 Adult
- 2422 Pseudoips prasinana Green Silver-lines 2 Adult
- 2425 Colocasia coryli Nut-tree Tussock 12 Adult
- 2474 Rivula sericealis Straw Dot 1 Adult
- 2476 Hypena crassalis Beautiful Snout 1 Adult
- 2492 Herminia grisealis Small Fan-foot 1 Adult
My thanks to Bob and we are back again on the 12th July so if you want to join us please let me know.
Finally thank you to Robin without whose help I wouild not have been able to be there, not least his help in indentifying the moths.
24 May, Goosard batch, near Paulton (ST656575):
Marbled Minor agg.,
Agapeta hamana (3)
29 May, Edford Meadows SWT reserve (ST674489), Chimney Sweeper, 40+, and accounting for over 90% of the macrolepidoptera on the reserve. One burnet moth cocoon also noted. In a nearby meadow at ST668488 were 2 Burnet Companions, and a little way beyond I found the larva of the Drinker moth.
22nd May 2007 - Blue Anchor
First Common Swift, Common Wainscot, Heart & Dart, Light Emerald, Yellow-barred Brindle and Ruddy Carpets of 2007.
Also Shears which is a new record for the garden.
Continuing the Small Eggar saga ..
Our next-door-but-one neighbour called me into his garden to show me 'a web on a tree'. It turned out to be Small Eggar larvae, about 3m off the ground, on ornamental cherry. All the other webs in the area are on blackthorn or hawthorn.
23 May - Whitefield, Wiveliscombe
I agree with Amanda that mothing has been very slow on the Brendon Hills this month. However last night I caught only my second Mompha leucopletella which appears to be the sixth Somerset record. This is odd as it is an easily recognised brightly-marked micro and the foodplant Willowherb is not scarce!
Things still very slow up on the hill top here. Must be all the rain. Had our first Cream spot tiger, along with possibly a mocha (still checking). I did get a good picture of breeding buff ermines though.
I recorded 20 Argent & Sable at Shapwick Heath on 21st May. Shapwick Heath is considered a key site for the moth in Southern England. I would appreciate it if you can let me know if you see this day-flying moth (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Thanks, Kelly Thomas (Butterfly Conservation).
Hunting Small Eggar webs - Update
I finally got round to searching Merryfield airfield this weekend and it was well worth the visit. I searched there for Small Eggar larval webs about four years ago and found none. This year, I found a grand total of eighteen webs. Interestingly they were often in very similar situations. Almost always on south to south west facing edges, and almost always on edges where recent management had led to regrowth so that the main hedge had a smaller newer growth area in front of it (This kind of management is common at Merryfield where clearings are kept open to allow helicopters to practice landings in confined wooded areas). Most were at a height from the ground of one metre or less, with only one web being higher than two metres above the ground. Caterpillar development was mainly near pupation but some webs still had small caterpillars.
As usual, Merryfield was a wonder to behold. Nightingales sang from several locations and butterflies abounded, with Brimstone, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Common Blue, Grizzled Skipper, Small Skipper, Brown Argus, Green-veined White and Speckled Wood recorded. Interestingly I found two female Beautiful Demoiselle - Calopteryx virgo on bramble on one of the trackways through the scrub area.
Most interesting sighting was two army snipers on a field exercise dressed in full camouflage gear who came over to warn me that they were about, in case I stood on them later :-)
Larval web on flailed Blackthorn
Beautiful Demoiselle - Calopteryx virgo
Small Eggar caterpillars near pupation
Blackthorn edges with new growth near ground due to management work.
Combe Hill Woods (ST502332) Sunday 13 May
When the sun suddenly came out I took the dog for a walk. two interesting finds - a Vapourer cocoon with newly-emerged larvae and a single buttercup flower covered in Micropterygid moths. I think that they are Micropteryx calthella but would apreciate an ID from an expert! There were none on any of the hundreds of other buttercup flowers.
Langport, 12 May 2007
Although the wind and rain are continuing to affect catches I had a Netted Pug in the trap. There are plenty of chickweed plants in the immediate area.
Small Eggar larvae
A close up view for those out searching this weekend. Happy hunting. I hadn't noticed the colour of the feet until now.
The second meeting of the year at Langford Heathfield tonight has been Cancelled. Despite the bright start to the day here in Chard the weather for later looks dire with wind and rain.
Langport 9 May 2007
First Large Yellow Underwing of the year, plus an Orange Footman.
Lackey Larval Web for comparison
This picture is of the larval web of the Lackey. They are around at the same time and may cause confusion. The caterpillars look very different and have longitudinal stripes.
Small Eggar caterpillars look black when very small. They have long hairs all along the body with ginger tufts at the bases. Larger caterpillars show yellowish "U" shaped markings along the body.
Small Eggar Webs
This looks like being a phenomenal year for Small Eggar. I noticed 2 webs as I joined the A358 this morning on my way to work. I investigated further on my way home and after returning with a camera found at least seven webs and possibly nine. All were on the south facing hedge and the larvae were in various stages of development from the large ones pictured to some tiny thread like ones. The webs were all on low new growth Blackthorn. If you have any time this weekend and are near large Blackthorn concentrations it is well worth checking to see how many we can add to the total found this year. I am going to check out Merryfield. Happy hunting.
On Saturday 5th May I found 4 large larval webs of Small Eggar on the hedgerow on the east side of the road at Swallow Hill (A372 leaving Langport).
Yesterday (6th) larvae were basking on one of the webs on the weak morning sun.
May 5 - Whitefield, Wiveliscombe
My first records for 2007 for Herald, Common Wainscot and Treble Lines. Also a fresh Elephant Hawkmoth which, according to Mapmate, is the earliest Somerset record by about ten days.
Butterfly Conservation West Country branch recorded in the last previously unsurveyed (for butterflies) 1km square in Somerset today - ST7258, north-west of Wellow. Along with the butterflies a Silver-ground Carpet was seen, and another just outside the 1km square in ST7358.
On a visit to an embankment with small area of crumbling limestone cliff face on the edge of Peasedown (ST710582) afterwards I found two mating Ruby Tigers and a Burnet Companion, the second year I have recorded the latter at this site.
I found at least four Small Yellow Underwings at Sham Castle field, above Bath (ST767647) on 1 May.
2 May - Whitefield, Wiveliscombe
A lovely fresh Eyed Hawk and two Ruddy Highflyers.
A few immigrant have started to arrive in Berrow. A trickle of Silver Y in the last few days, Ni Moth on 29/4/07 and Pearly Underwing last night 1/5/07.
I'll post photos on my site when I've got a few moments http://www.somersetbirder.co.uk
An apology: The Ni Moth was an odd Silver Y, see the photo below.
May 1 - Whitefield Corner, Wiveliscombe
Alder Moth, Shears (3) and Oak Nycteoline