Moth night at berrow
Mike Ridge's next moth night is on September 3rd Berrow ST293524
20.00 Meet at Berrow Church
Death's Head hawkmoth pupa
I 'unearthed' the Death's head pupa today, a fortnight after the larva went down. Fortunately it appears healthy and has gone back into the airing cupboard! It is enormous - 6cm long.
Death's Head Hawkmoth pupa
Another Jersey Tiger Night
After the catches of Jersey Tigers diminished from 23 three weeks ago to one last week I got 21 on Friday night so they were certainly on the move compared to the last couple of weeks. New for my garden were Square Spot Rustic and Swallow Prominent.
A Jersey Tiger also turned up in my trap in Weston last night - maybe they were on the move.
After a pretty ordinary year trapping in my garden, a highlight in the form of a Jersey Tiger appeared last night.
Large numbers of moths in the trap over the last few nights with Setacious Hebrew Character dominating the egg boxes. Nearly half of 800 macros were this species and they appear to be disguising lower than normal numbers of other common moths like Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing and Common Wainscot. My highlight of last night was my first Mouse Moth for several years.
The warm cloudy conditions increased the moth numbers last, new for year August Thorn Copper Underwing and Scorched Carpet, Large Yellow Underwings increased from single figures to 34 also a late or early Cypress Carpet.
Sat 21st August - Weston-super-Mare
I received a text this morning from David Agassiz. He had trapped a Small Ranunculus in his Weston garden over night 20th/21st August. This species has recently been discovered in Bristol and looks to be continuing to spread into the region.
Atropos magazine - for those taking part in Garden Moth Scheme
The Atropos journal has a special first time subscription offer to GMS recorders of £17 per year (normal price £21 for 3 issues per year), open to new subscribers only and by cheque to 36 Tinker Lane, Meltham, Holmfirth HD9 4EX quoting Atro/Gms. The offer ends on the 30th August. The offer is not available on line. Information about the journal can be found on www.atropos.info .
An exciting moth in the trap this morning was a Jersey Tiger. I know that members in Taunton are sick to death of seeing these moths but down here in ST41 they are a very welcome sight. This is only the second example that I have ever seen in this country. I know that I am not alone in being excited by them as at least 50% of the casual records sent to me have been exclusively of Jersey Tiger.
I've just heard of a complaint from a landowner (actually Somerset Wildlife Trust) - apparently an SMG member trapped on a reserve without permission.
If you wish to trap on private land please ALWAYS ask permission - it will usually be granted. In the case of SWT reserves a permit is needed and Mike Ridge (01278 4507930) is our liaison member.
Please also remember to give records to the landowner afterwards!
Like several others I had my busiest moth nights of the year over the weekend. After a run of nights in the low one hundreds of individuals I was pleased to catch 712 individual macros from 57 different species on 16/08/10. I love this time of year when you can catch large numbers of a single species and was very pleased with 288 Setacious Hebrew Characters. I would normally have a similar number of Large Yellow Underwings but they are less common here at the moment and I only had 25. 35 Common Carpets is also easily the most I have ever had in one night. My best three moths over the weekend were Maiden's Blush, Gothic and Pretty Chalk Carpet, none of which are regular here.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 13 degrees
After 12 years trapping here it is always exciting to record new species in our garden trap and as reported we had four in July but nothing in August until yesterday when we had our first melanic Bulrush Wainscot ab fraterna also our third Oblique Carpet and, James may be interested to hear, only our second Antler Moth. We also had a Straw-underwing, our first since 2004. Autumn species are starting to appear including Frosted Orange and Canary-shouldered Thorn. I sympathise with you Dave about the number of Setaceous Hebrew Characters - when we reach 150 a night we stop counting !
Sunday 15th August - Blue Anchor
After a couple of months without being able to do much trapping I put my trap with the actinic light out on Sunday night more in hope than anything else. Imagine my surprise on Monday morning with nearly 400 moths in the trap, nearly twice as many as my best August night to date. Over 150 were Setaceous Hebrew Character and nearly 70 more Large Yellow Underwings. There were only about 55 species eventually, some still to be confirmed, but certainly not at all what I expected.
Following on John's comments about Hummingbird Hawkmoths I was lucky enough to get this shot in the garden last week.
Not having seen a single specimen of Hummingbird Hawkmoth in Somerset this year I was surprised to find two on the back wall of the house this evening - one already roosting, one searching for a suitable spot.
Hummingbird Hawkmoth roosting on house wall
Despite very heavy rain in the evening, I caught the first Antler for my garden on Saturday night. I guess it was a stray from the Quantocks.
Windblown - mainly micros!
Trapping has continued to be poor except that the strong winds (initially westerlies and latterly northerlies) have blown in several species new to my garden. The only 'macro' was 2373 Archanara sparganii
Webb's Wainscot; the micros (thanks again to James McGill for identification and confirmation) were 470 Orthotelia sparganella
, 642 Batia unitella
, 873 Blastobasis adustella
, 1451 Pyla fusca
and 1452 Phycita roborella
2373 Archanara sparganii
642 Batia unitella
873 Blastobasis adustella
1451 Pyla fusca
1452 Phycita roborella
A visit to Combe Hill near Somerton yielded 2 more 'micros'; a beautiful Scabious feeding longhorn 147 Nemophora metallica
and 730 Apodia bifractella
which feeds on Fleabane.
147 Nemophora metallica
730 Apodia bifractella
Although moth numbers have not been exceptional in recent weeks, my yearly total for the garden is already higher than 2007, 2008 or 2009.
I am noticing good numbers of Pyrausta aurata this year, both in the garden and in the wider countryside, with at least 20 around a couple of small clumps of marjoram on a road verge near Faulkland being the largest concentration.
4th August haul
Just caught up with IDs from last week's photos. Not bad, with new this year Brussels Lace, Grey Dagger and Dark Sword Grass.
With the cloud cover and some rain i did hope for some improvment in numbers and species, not so the only new for the year being Dusky Thorn, Magpie and Small Wainscot the weather forecast is not that promising.
It has been pretty poor mothing here as well in the last fortnight with small numbers of both species and individuals. Last night was better with two Maple Pugs in the trap which I have never caught before as well as year firsts of Gold Spot and Bulrush Wainscot.
Very dull though compared to the Deaths-head Hawk Moth. John, I presume you are going to try and hatch it out. If you do end up with an adult please let us know as I for one would love to see possibly the most charismatic of all moths and one that I have never seen before.
Death's Head hawkmoth larva
Trapping has been pretty dire here in Langport with the main interest being some new micros - details early next week. However some excitement came this morning - Doug Miller rang to say that a neighbour had found a Death's Head larva on her potatoes.
He brought it over and I took it to my allotment where it behaved perfectly, allowing me to get good photos and videos of it feeding.
There were no larvae on my potatoes - but I have alerted other allotment holders. Check your potato plants!
Death's Head Hawkmoth Acherontia atropos larva feeding, found in Westonzoyland.
After a run of poor catches the most numerous species being Shuttle-Shaped- Dart and Common Rustic, Rosy Rustic normally in ones and twos up to ten last night with the first Jersey two Dark Sword Grass and a Dark Spectacle, two Painted Lady butterflies in the garden this morning.
30th July - Langford Budville, nr Wellington
A good nght with 101 moths of 38 species (plus one or two I've not identified yet), with quite a few firsts this year for me including Light Arches, Slender Pug, Slender Brindle and Lychnis. Like other members, we've had several Humming-bird Hawks in the garden in the past week or so.
Jersey Tiger Night
We've had Jersey Tigers in our garden in Taunton for several years now and a few have been showing in the last week or so in the daytime but I was surprised to find that when I put my trap out on Friday night there were twenty three of them in there in the morning. I would never have dreamt that there were so many around. I think that's the biggest total of a single species I've caught in one night to date.
A suprisingly good night last night with lots of variety in the trap. I was pleased to find my first ever Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet. Looking at the distribution maps it appears to be one of the most common moths that I hadn't had in the garden. I also had a possible Crescent. I am not totally happy with the ID and will need a second opinion but looking at the distribution maps again it appears to have been caught a number of times in this area.
Two nights ago I put my trap out in a friend's field between Curry Rivel and Drayton. I was pleased to be able to show him a good number of interesting moths including a Cloaked Carpet which appears to be a first for his 10km square.