Friday 26th June 2009 Bossington Beach
A good night with 64 species caught. Mike Ridge and Robin Clatworthy were up on the hill above us and also apparently had a good night. The highlight for me was my first Lime Hawkmoth. Other species of note were Brussels Lace, Fox Moth, Dusky Brocade, Dog's Tooth, Ghost Moth, July Belle, Lime-speck Pug, Map-winged Swift, Pale shouldered Brocade, Pebble Prominent, Ruby Tiger, Sandy Carpet and Shoulder-striped Wainscot. We also had two very nice micros: Platytes cerussela and Trachycera marmorea. Jame McGill tells me the former is only known from this area. Thanks to Pat Owen for her invaluable help in catching them all and to James for doing the micros for me.
Yesterday morning provided an almost overwhelming number of moths in the trap. In pouring rain I counted 495 Macros from 63 species with half as many again flying away before I could identify them. New moths for the year included Cypress Carpet and Common Emerald. I also had my first Plain Wave since 2001. This is another moth that I doubted my original record for and wondered how I was able to identify back then as the literature only describes a different texture to the wings. However the moth I caught yesterday was like a smaller Riband Wave but its resting posture was strikingly different with its wings more closely held to its body. If that is a characteristic pose it is a very obvious identification feature.
Although day flying Scarlet Tigers are quite common here it is more unusual to get them in the trap so to have 11 at one time was exciting.
Good numbers of moths over the last few nights with my garden highlights being my first Clouded Brindle and Dusky Brocade since 2004. This was in the time before digital photography arrived here and without a photo I was beginning to doubt my own records. There are still very few migrant moth records from around the country that I can see. Can someone explain how we can have huge numbers of Painted Ladys come over apparently on their own. It is only today that I saw my first Red Admiral of the year apart from a couple much earlier that I guessed had over wintered here.
Recently the warmer nights with minimum temperatures ranging from 11 to 14 degrees have attracted over 50 species per night to the trap. Those new for the year include Beautiful Snout, Buff Arches, Sandy Carpet, Fan-foot, Brussels Lace, Small Yellow Wave, Green Silver-lines, Heart & Club, Plain Golden Y and Lackey.
I reared this adult Agonopterix atomella from the larva at Merryfield on 31st May. This is the first record of the species in VC5 since Turner's book was published. I am pleased it is still with us as the foodplant, dyer's greenweed, is quite scarce now.
A series of reasonable catches here over the past few nights with a whole list of new species for the year. Still nothing remarkable in the trap with the best moth probably being my first Green Silver Lines since 2004.
We trapped in the nearby wood last night and not in the garden and attracted 40 species. New for the year were Drinker, Maple Prominent, Double Square-spot and Small Fan-foot. Otherwise the highlight was the astonishing bright green of six fresh Green Arches.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 10 degrees
A much quieter night with only 20 species in the trap, one another beautiful fresh Eyed Hawkmoth. New for the year were Barred Yellow and a Garden Tiger. The last is a most striking variety with white forewings which I have never seen in the wild before. It reminds me that about eight years ago Mike Bryan showed a moth group meeting a range of Garden Tiger varieties he had bred at Bishops Lydeard where he was then living. Many had white forewings.
MONDAY 15 JUNE - change of venue for moth night
Change of venue
Mike Ridge has changed the venue for Monday night. Meet at the Fox & Badger Public House at 2115 sharp and drive in convoy to a private woodland. Any queries contact Mike on 01278 450793 tonight or tomorrow.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - min temp 13 degrees
A much warmer night with over 50 species in the trap including new for the year - Brussels Lace, Ghost Moth, Dark Arches, Purple Clay, Oak Hook-tip, Snout, Small Seraphim, Sharp-Angled Peacock also two micros C. culmella and L. forsterana which I always feel is too big to be called a micro !
doug miller westonzoyland
Humming-bird Hawk Moth feeding on Valerian 2130 in garden
BC Goat Moth and Forester Moth survey
I have just had an email from Caroline Kelly at BC asking me to pass on recording forms for Goat and Forester moths to anyone who is likely to be working in areas where they occur / might occur. Text as follows:
Dear County moth recorder,
Please find attached the proposed site survey forms for the Goat and Forester moth that have been sent out to the relevant VC’s these species have occurred in recently (from 1980). We are asking volunteers and staff to add some extra detail to their survey notes this year to try to establish a clearer picture of their ecology, as to date, there is very little information available.
As, I am sure you are aware, the Forester and Goat Moth became UK BAP Priority species in 2007, we are currently endeavoring to collate as much information about their current habitat, larval foodplant and nectar requirements to create a clearer understanding of their ecology. This information will be compiled with the intention of being used to inform management decisions and to produce locations maps.
I am writing to ask if it would be possible for you to pass on the attached site survey form to recorders that you know will be going to sites in your area where the Forester or Goat moth occur.
We understand and appreciate the time that volunteers spend recording and do not wish to ask that site survey forms are completed by every recorder. The information being requested is envisaged to not take too much time to complete as they are mainly visual observations. We would appreciate if you could send us any records of Forester/Goat moth that you receive (with or without the additional information we are requesting). If we receive any records of these species directly from recorders we will ensure that you will be sent the records.
On the survey form the field ‘Grid ref of negative searches’ is mainly for sites that are visited where the species has previously been recorded but signs or sightings of the species were not recorded on that particular visit.
We would appreciate any information if you (or other recorders) are on sites that they occur in, this year or in the future.
Thank you for your time
Anyone requiring forms please email me and I will send them
doug miller westonzoyland
Over the last few nights catches have been mediocre to say the least apart from Silver Y last night 16 Tues just 5 and Monday 14 has this moth arrived in numbers is it a sign of better things to come.
Brussels Lace larvae
David Agassiz and James McGill came over this evening to look for Acleris umbrana
larvae on the unflailed sloe arond here. Although they found a couple of larvae which may turn out to be A. umbrana
and some other interesting micros the higlights for me were two larvae of the Brusssels Lace Cleorodes lichenaria
which David found. I've looked for this caterpillar in vain over the last 4 years.
Larva in habitat
close-up of larva.
Langport 9 June 2009
A Striped Hawkmoth nectaring on Red Campion in the garden this evening but by the time I had fetched camera and net it had gone! I staked the honeysuckle bushes out for the next hour but nothing at all came in.
Langport 9 June 2009
Only one migrant so far this week - a single Diamond-back. New for the year over the last 2 nights have been Phlyctaenia coronata
, Privet Hawk, Common & Buff Footman, Ingrailed Clay and Shoulder-striped Wainscot.
This rather beautiful specimen of 143 Nematopogon metaxella
was by my pond yesterday evening. The larva feeds on detritus in damp places.
143 Nematopogon metaxella
Juliet Cryer sent me this image of a pair of Eyed Hawkmoths in her greenhouse.
Eyed Hawkmoths mating (Juliet Cryer)
Firsts for the year last night were Purple Bar, Privet Hawk Moth and Miller. On Sunday I walked through clouds of Painted Ladies here which I guess were part of another wave of migration but apart from the occasional Silver Y I am not seeing any sign of moth migration in my trap.
The Bournmouth Echo
Hello Somerset Moth Group from the Bournmouth Echo(name cribed from the local paper down here)
All is well down in Bournmouth but the weather for moths has been dire. Whilst you have all been getting good stuff, down here has been very poor and slow. However I have at last made it out and with the help of eleven actinic traps had a fair haul of moths at a prime site called Merritown Heath just north of Bournmouth Airport. The site is very important for many things mainly reptiles and amphibians but also has the biggest alder wood I have seen in many a year. As for moths they are very under recorded so Phil Sterling has procured me a key and allowed me full access.
On the 27th May 2009 the moths included Sloe Pug
Rosy Marbled looking and settling just like weird Chinese character
Pinion Streaked Snout which I have rarely seen
And much to my surprised over 30 Lesser Treble Bar which I had never seen before twenty of which were in one trap
Other moths included Fox moth, Birch Mocha in double figures, Cream Spot Tigers, Brindled White Spot, May Highflyer, and Narrow winged Pugs.
A few Micros added to the list included a variety of Scoparias mainly S. ambigualis but with a few S. angustea, also others micros including B. lacticolella and P. bicostella.
Finally and keeping what Phil considers was the best till last a Small Grass Emerald. The picture has a horrible orange glow but it still records a fine moth.
That's all for now my best wishes to the group
Here Saturday was wet all day from dawn and sorting the catch indoors for the previous night (GMS night) was difficult - we had 40 species including firsts for the year - Common Swift, and Small Clouded Brindle. With the heavy rain continuing we did not trap last night.
Last night was a night of mixed fortunes. After watching England snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in 20-20 against Holland, I went out to trap with Paul Chapman, forgetting to put on my moth trap at home before I left. Once set up at Walton Common, it started to rain and in using my net to protect the 400Watt bulb from explosion by thermal shock, I managed to partially melt the net on the bulb :-)
On returning home, I saw that my ever thoughtful wife had compensated for my stupidity by putting on the moth trap so my spirits lifted slightly. This morning, my spirits were given an enormous boost by discovering that I'd caught Portland Ribbon Wave, only the second Somerset record. My wife is a star :-)
Portland Ribbon Wave
The last few nights in Langport
The last few nights have shown a dramatic improvement in trap catches with 758 individuals of 107 species since last Sunday. This is despite the attentions of families of Robins, Blackbirds, Great Tits and Blue Tits, and next-door-but-one's cat sitting by the trap at night catching moths! The frogs have also started to search through the undergrowth around the trap. There was a pristine set of Bordered Straw wings by the trap on Monday morning.
Some interesting micros on the night of 2nd - thanks (again) to James McGill for determination.
1212 Rhyacionia pinivorana (Tortricidae)
954 Eupoecilia angustana (Tortricidae)
1133 Epinotia bilunana (Tortricidae)
1485 Phycitodes maritima (Pyralidae)
Also a nice Figure of 80 - not common in my trap.
Figure of 80 male
The Elephant and Small Elephant Hawks have started to nectar on our Honeysuckle - I'm hoping that one of the influx of Striped Hawks might join them!
Large Elephant Hawk nectaring on Honeysuckle
Moth meeting at Cleaves Wood (nr Bath)
Mike Ridge will be holding a trapping evening at Cleeves Wood near Norton St Philip (ST758576) on Monday 14th June. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Mike on 01278 450793 before
Monday 14th for details of meeting place.
New moths last night, a nice Eyed Hawkmoth and a Puss Moth.
Good numbers of Chimney Sweeper and a few Grass Rivulet at Edford Meadows SWT reserve in the east Mendips on 1 June.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 14 degrees
An excellent night with 50 species in the trap. Highlights were the firsts for the year Eyed Hawk-moth, Lunar Thorn (2), Knotgrass, and, for me a lifetime first, Silver Hook.
An excellent night here again with 347 macros from 44 species. Nothing unusual and no migrants at all. The totals included 48 Small Square Spot which appears to be continuing the good year it had last year. This total is as many as I caught in total all year between 2003 and 2007. I also had 55 Heart and Darts which also appears to be recovering from the two previous poor years. Although they are not as exciting to find in the trap as many of the migrants I guess that good numbers of common moths are more beneficial to the ecosystem as a whole.
I also saw the first of hopefully many Scarlet Tigers in the churchyard here at Norton Sub Hamdon.
Despite the cooler conditions as the cold front came through last night, I still managed over forty species. Three Diamondbacks and a Silver Y provided the migrant interest. New species for the year included Coronet, Poplar Hawkmoth, Large Yellow Underwing and Caloptilia robustella.
A better night last night, with forty-four species. Highlights included my first Elephant Hawkmoth for this year, Figure of Eighty, Treble Brown Spot, Orange Footman and Poplar Kitten. I spent today wandering around the Shapwick and Catcott area with Robin Clatworthy looking at Argent and Sable sites. We saw several, including females ovipositing on Bog Myrtle and nectaring on Bramble. At Catcott, we also found a really fresh Four Dotted Footman.
Treble Brown Spot
Four Dotted Footman
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 14 degrees
Firsts for the year included Blood-vein, Shears, Burnished Brass and, no doubt the first of many, a Large Yellow Underwing.
A much quieter night with the highlight being my first Oblique Carpet since 2004.
Robin Clatworthy and I went to Exmoor today to see if the Small Argent and Sable was on the wing yet. Unfortunately it was not, neither did we come across any Wood Tigers. Robin saved the day by producing this beautiful Small Marbled that he had caught in his trap last night. I also managed to get a photograph of a very flighty Green Hairstreak that was on gorse near Wimbleball Lake.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 12 degrees
Another good night with 50+ species. New for the year included Barred Umber, Figure of Eighty, Pebble Hook-tip. Green Arches, Buff Tip, Middle-barred Minor and Thistle Ermine. Recent migrants include Silver Y, Rush Veneer and I have never seen so many Diamond Back moths.
An excellent night last night with162 Macros of 43 species. I find that there are some moths I find more exciting than others and two of these, Scorched Wing and Shoulder Striped Wainscot, were caught last night for the first time this year. Other first timers were Small Rivulet, Cinnabar, Clouded Silver, Chocolate Tip, Coronet and Light Emerald.
I suffer from House Sparrows here who chase any moths that fly away whilst I'm checking the trap. This morning one was perched on the plastic Sparrowhawk I hang up to frighten them off. Several nights ago I came across a newt waiting patiently by my trap for its supper.