East Lydford 30/10/11
A nice mild, damp night with a new moon - the perfect recipe for moths. Well, not bad anyway - 25 moths of 11 species. These included my first two less common migrants of the year, a female Gem (only my third record here, and the first since 2006) and a Delicate (kindly confirmed by John B - my first record). Well worth the effort. I was beginning to think that all the migrants were going elsewhere !!
Also half a dozen Ichneumon Wasps and a couple of Caddis Flies (species i.d. beyond my expertise, I'm afraid.
LAngport, weekend 28-30 October
After a dire Garden Moth Survey night on Friday (4 moths of 3 species) I set the trap out last night with high hopes; warm, humid, gentle southerly breeze. A better catch last night including a Silver Y and a Gem along with Beaded Chestnut, Dark Chestnut, Angle-shades, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Black Rustic, Red-green Carpet, November/Pale November and a pristine out-of-season Dark Arches.
I also did a round of the local Ivy blossom at about 2100 GMT but it was very unproductive - one Dark Chestnut, one Emmelina monodactyla, two snails, two woodlice and an earwig!
Not long after switching on the trap this evening a freshly emerged Hebrew Character was perched on the wall. The books state that this species will occasionally emerge in exceptionally warm weather during autumn. A couple of days ago I heard that this is the 7th warmest October on record.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 9 degrees
Despite very heavy rain we had a record 18 Green-brindled Crescent in the trap and on a window sill, caught by the rain, the first Streak we have had since 2003. As Paul Newman has reported Large Wainscots are having a good year. We have had 11 here, half the total we have had in 13 years. We also had a White Ermine larva in the grass by the trap.
East Lydford 23/10/11
I thought it might be a good night, as it was mild with very little moon, but it was in the event too breezy, and I only had 8 moths of 5 species. The only ones of note were two more Figure of Eights, and a Cypress Carpet, my first for 2 years. They have been regulars here every year to 2009, although 2006 was the only year to show both broods - it's nice to know they're still around.
Brean Down 22nd/23rd October
Reasonable expectations last night with the recent southerly winds gave better than expected results. Highlights included Cosmopolitan, Gem, Mecyna asinalis, Dusky-lemon Sallow and 6 Pearly Underwing. Most of the migrants were seen spiraling out of the sky during the passing overhead of a weak front between 3am and 4am. Not one of them went in the trap instead choosing to drop into the surrounding grass where I quickly netted them. If I had left the trap overnight and returned in the morning it would have been a completely different story. I also had my 3rd Crescent Dart of the month and what looked a good candidate for Autumnal Moth (TBC). I'm grateful to the National Trust for their kind permission to trap on the site.
Edit: Forgot to mention a Delicate trapped overnight at Burnham-on-Sea.
Fri 21st Oct Butleigh, Sue Davies
Warmed up a bit last night, wind dropped and clouded over so put trap out. Small numbers, but first Autumnal-1, Merveille du Jour-2,Green-brindled Cresc-1,large Wainscot-1.Sallow-1,Beaded Chestnut-9
Bishop's Hull 21/22 Oct. 60w Actinic Robinson
Overcast and quite chilly last night. Seven moths of five species: Silver Y, Red-line Quaker, Common Marbled Carpet, Spruce Carpet and Beaded Chestnut.
East Lydford 21/10/11
Chilly & breezy, so only 9 moths of 6 species, but these included firsts for the year Figure of Eight, Green-brindled Crescent(2) & Feathered Thorn, so all in all quite pleasing. Also another Large Wainscot, making three records this year, as many as I have had in the previous 6 Autumns here together.
Crescent Dart on Steep Holm
I had lent an actinic trap to the warden of Steep Holm for occasional use there. Yesterday he brought me the catch from 20th October which was 8 A. trux
Crescent Dart and 2 E. lichenea
Feathered Ranunculus. Skinner states of Crescent Dart that "a rare and very partial second generation has occurred in October". In Weston I get several specimens in late July but have never had the second generation. This population on Steep Holm must be very strong to produce such a result.
Bishop's Hull, Taunton.
A single Rusty Dot Pearl at the bedroom window 20th Oct.
A decent night, with several moths new for the year - yellow and red line quakers, vestal, green brindled crescent and November Moth, as well as a couple of nice Merveille Du Jours.
Manor Road, Taunton
A cool, clear night at just 8°C with a big bright moon. Just six moths of six species in my 40W actinic Skinner trap. Figure of Eight and Red-line Quaker being new for the year.
Bishop's Hull. 13/14 October. Robinson 60w Actinic
I recently moved to Taunton from Barnstaple and have only been trapping since the beginning of this year. 13 moths of 11 species in the trap this morning including my first ever Merveille du Jour - what a cracking insect!
It has been very frustrating having my moth trap out of action due to electrical problems for the last 10 days during the most lively migrant activity for 6 years. However it is back working now and last night I had a Gem and a Vestal. Not the Clifden Nonpareil, the Crimson Speckled or even Clancy's Rustic that I was hoping for but it is good to be back trapping.
Clancy's Rustic, Langport 12 Oct 11
This fine specimen, my first ever and apparently the first record for VC6, was in my trap this morning - ID confirmed by James McGill. James has has individuals in Taunton (2007, 2010) and Robin Clatworthy has taken two in Merriott (all VC5).
2387a Platypterigia kadenii
Clancy's Rustic, male, Langport 11 October 2011.
The 2011 Somerset Moth Group AGM will be held at Ruishton Village Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday 3rd November.
Following the (brief) AGM and refreshments we have a visiting speaker: Dr. Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation will speak on "The National Moth Recording Scheme: achievements and the future".
Please come along and support us!
Moths nectaring on Ivy blossom
Another look at Ivy blossom last night - nothing out of the ordinary and only a few individuals as it was rather windy.Emmelina monodactyla
- very long proboscis!
East Lydford 9/10/11
An improvement on 3 nights ago - 60 moths of 14 species, including 26 Beaded Chestnuts, which are having a very good year here. No firsts for the year, but second records this year for Large Ranunculus, Large Wainscot & Mallow, which have never been common here. The only other item of mild interest was a pair of Gold Triangles - a bit late in the year I think.
Dewick's Plusia in Wells
Col. Peter Smith took a Dewick's Plusia in Wells on the night of 7th October - only the second record for VC6 (David Agassiz reoroted the first earlier in the month) and the fourth County record. The first two, both in VC6, were taken by James McGill and Robin Clatworthy in 2008. ID has been confirmed by Robin Clatworthy.
Langport, VC6, week of 4 October
This last week, since the weather broke, has seen fairly dire trapping results (it was little better in the warm spell!) - the only unusual catch has been a Feathered Ranunculus - thanks to Robin Clatworthy for the ID, as it is a new species for me and rather to the south-east of the other Somerset records. It was probably blown inland by the strong winds.
2255 Feathered Ranunculus Polymixis lichenea
Since the trap has been performing so badly I decided to go out with a red torch last night and have a look at the Ivy blossom in the local hedgerows. Plenty of moths nectaring, but nothing out of the ordinary - several Emmelina monodactyla
, numerous Angle-shades, a couple of Lunar Underwing and one Beaded Chestnut. I need to find a more sheltered location - Ivy blossom is a real hit with Autumn moths (and Red Admiral butterflies).
When I returned home there was a large Catocalid on the kitchen window - sadly the underwings were red!
Manor Road, Taunton
Cool, clear and windy conditions last night produced the lowest catch to my 40W actinic skinner trap since early spring. Eight moths of six species and the only real interst was my first Vestal of the year.
East Lydford 6/10/11
It was chilly & windy last night, and I didn't expect much, so I wasn't too surprised that I only had 16 Beaded Chestnuts, 2 Lunar Underwings & 2 Black Rustics and nowt else. Maybe better luck next time.
Crimson Speckled in Taunton
Gary Moore found this superb moth in his bathroom on Tuesday night and has given me permission to use his photo on the website. This is the sixth Somerset record.
Crimson Speckled Utetheisa pulchella
from Taunton ©Gary Moore
My first migrant of recent times was a Vestal this morning. However it pales besides a beautiful photo of a Crimson Speckled that I was sent from someone in Taunton who found it yesterday in his bathroom. I have forwarded the message to John who I hope will be able to download the picture and further details onto the website.
I have just seen on the Atropos website that 3 Crimson Speckled were caught on The Lizard last night with singletons in Greater London and at Beachy Head.
Dark Mottled Willow
James had this species in his trap this morning. A superb record. It will be with me tomorrow evening. 07896920805 if you would like to visit.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 15 degrees
Another Vestal, six Rusty Dot Pearl, three (possible migrants ?) Silver Y and best of all a single Palpita vitrealis a moth we have not seen since 2006 when we caught two of the six reported on the SMG website. It is well named as apart from the brown leading edge the wings are a shining translucent white. Several have been reported from Portland in the last week.
East Lydford 3/10/11
A relatively quiet night - 62 moths of 20 species. Migrant activity not up to the standards set by others - 1 Silver Y and 1 Rusty-dot Pearl only. However I did have first for the year 2 Red-line Quakers & a Large Wainscot (fourth record only here) and also a nice Merveille du Jour. Lunar Underwings down to 11, Beaded Chestnuts 17, otherwise lots of singletons. This afternoon (4th) a Knot Grass larva on Apple.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 14 degrees
Some migrant activity here - 4 Vestal and 2 Rusty Dot Pearl and in the garden by day a Humming Bird Hawkmoth also new for the year Autumnal Moth and Mottled Umber.
Brean Down Migrants
During the recent week of southerly winds, a number of migrant moths have been turning up in the country so rather than rush down to the south coast I decided to have a go in the county instead. The only problem was finding where to go. Knowing that Berrow was good for migrants I decided on Brean Down. The list of captures is below:
- 2nd October: Pearly Underwing, 3 Vestal, 2 Dark Sword-grass, Scarce Brd Straw, 15 Udea ferrugalis, 5 Silver Y
- 1st October: 1 Delicate, 5 Udea ferrugalis, 2 Silver Y
- 30th September: 2 Scarce Bordered Straw, 3 Pearly Underwing, 12 Udea ferrugalis, 7 Silver Y
- 28th September: White-point, 3 Silver Y, 2 Udea ferrugalis
- 24th September: 1 Convolvulus Hawk-moth, 12 Silver Y, 4 Udea ferrugalis.
Scarce Bordered Straw
Clifden Nonpareil in Martock
Ian Elphick, who identified the Clifden Nonpareil which Ian mentioned yesterday, has kindly sent me a photograph.
Clifden Nonpareil Catocala fraxini
, Martock, VC5, 2 October 2011
Photograph ©Ian Elphick 2011
This appears to be the fifth record for VCs 5&6, but there have been several recorded from the Dorset coast, so more may turn up. Sugaring is said to be better than light-trapping!
A family visit to Ringstead Bay yesterday failed to uncover the Monarch that was seen there earlier in the week but I did see my first Clouded Yellow of the year amongst hundreds of Red Admirals. Further north in Dorset today I saw another Clouded Yellow along with a Painted Lady and 2 Hummingbird Hawk Moths. According to Atropos and other sites there has been the biggest influx of migrants since 2006 in the last few days. Nothing of interest seems to be stopping in my garden though I have heard today about another Clifden Nonpareil the other side of the A303 in Martock.
Moth numbers have been very disappointing here since the end of July. At about that time I broke an MV bulb and changed it with my last new one. I have since thought that it doesn't seem as bright as usual and I wonder if I have a duff bulb.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 13 degrees
84 moths of 19 species including FFY Feathered Thorn and Yellow-lined Quaker.
A Good night, with some nice moths in the trap, new for the year were Merveille Du Jour, Black Rustic (12 - a high count for my garden), Chestnut, Barred Sallow, Brindled Green and Large Wainscot. Peter - thank you for your advice, but unfortunately I trap with a skinner.
2247 Merveille Du Jour
2232 Black Rustic
Dewick's Plusia, Macdunnoughia confusa graced my trap in Weston last night.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 13 degrees
Our best catch for some weeks - a Red Sword-grass - only the fourth we have had in thirteen years of trapping here though they may be coming commoner as we did have one at an actinic light in a window back in February. We also had FFY - Large Wainscot and Red-line Quaker.