East Lydford 29/9/09
Cold night, nearly full moon, ergo not many moths - when will I ever learn ? Only 8 in total - 5 Lunar Underwings and singleton Setaceous HC, Common Marbled Carpet & Brimstone. Oh well, try again in a few days' time.
Friday night Butleigh
Cows have gone from the orchard and so have the beetles. Didn't expect much last night but nice surprise- FFY Red Underwing.
Thanks John - your "probable" i.d. is almost certainly correct, as we are surrounded by fields with cattle therein, and therefore lots of dung available to be consumed. I appreciate that many beetles are like a lot of micromoths, and indeed some macros, only identifiable as to species by genitalia examination - far beyond my ability. "Black Beetle" will have to do !!
Black beetles, Large Ranunculus
Paul & Sue - the black beetles are probably Aphodius ater
which is a Dung Beetle from sheep & cattle droppings. However there are several species hard to tell apart.
Trapping has been dire here but after listening to discussion of what caused the severe weather this week, and hearing that subtropical air had contributed, I put the trap out on Wednesday night. There have been a few Convolvus Hawk-moths all along the south coast.
Very poor return but ffy were Black Rustic and Large Ranunculus, one of my favourite Noctuids and a master of camouflage.
Large Ranunculus (Polymixis flavicincta
) on house wall, Langport.
Wednesday Night Butleigh
Not much here either mainly Set Hebrew Characters and Lunar UW, one Garden Carpet, Angle shades and FFY a very fresh Canary-shouldered Thorn. Like Paul- lots of the small round black beetles.
East Lydford 26/9/12
Very Autumnal - low temperatures and a fresh breeze - still, numbers up on two nights ago. 22 moths of 8 species, of which Setaceous Hebrew Characters (7), Snouts (3), & Lunar Underwings (6) were the main contributors. FFY was a nice fresh Black Rustic, together with late-ish Garden Carpet & Angle Shades.
I regularly find small black roundish beetles in the traps, like miniature dor-beetles, just under half an inch long. I've had over 20 on a couple of occasions, so they're clearly not rare, but it would be nice to know who they are. Anyone got any ideas ? Any coleopterists out there ?
p.s. a Barred Sallow (FFY) which escaped this morning now to hand (7.00 p.m.)
East Lydford 24/9/12
I've been avoiding the wet & windy stuff, so haven't trapped for 5 nights. Last night produced only 16 moths, of 7 species. Nothing particularly unusual, but FFY were a Sallow & a Canary-shouldered Thorn, the first here for two years.
There were 5 Lunar Underwings - this compares with 40 on the same date last year, and even this pales into insignificance compared to 2006,when I had 275. Cold wet Summers do not agree with them !!
Norton Sub Hamdon
I hoped that the stormy weather may have blown something interesting in. If it did then I didn't record it . Last night I had just 15 moths of 6 species including 3 Frosted Oranges.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 9 degrees
A horrible wet and windy night with only 15 moths of 8 species but these included FFY - Black Rustic and Sallow.
Manor Road, Taunton, 21/9/12
Fairly cool at 5°C Friday night but 38 moths of 10 species not bad for my garden. Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing, Lunar Underwing and Large Ranunculus all firsts for the year.
Butleigh Thursday night
Fairly quiet, 23 moths 11 species, FFY Black Rustic, another Lunar UW, and my fire wood seems full of Agonopterix alstromeriana, very pretty.
Norton sub Hamdon
Very little happening here but firsts for the year last night were Lunar Underwing and Large Ranunculus.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min Temp 9 degrees
42 moths of 15 species with FFY - Brindled Green.
In my garden about 25 Buff Tip caterpillars are feeding on Cockspur Thorn, this is an American import, how do the insects know that this is safe to eat, seems they are not to fussy.
East Lydford 19/9/12
Another low count - only 14 moths of 10 species. The only Autumnal specialists were a second Lunar Underwing, and two Centre-barred Sallows. Since 2006, when I had a dozen records, these are only the fourth record of Centre-barred Sallows here. The last ones were a singleton in 2007 and two singletons in 2009. Good to see them back again.
Interestingly, this is the third species this month to make a re-appearance here since 2009, after the Jersey Tiger on the 6th., and the Lilac Beauty on the 14th. Has anyone else had any similar experiences ? Has the wet Summer actually had a beneficial effect, or is this merely a coincidence ?
p.s. just caught a Garden Rose Tortrix (A.variegana) to add to the above (7.40 pm)
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 8 degrees
Only 32 moths of eight species with one FFY - Lunar Underwing.
We had a Dotted Rustic at the week-end. It took some time to be confident of the ID but after 14 years trapping here it is always exciting to get a first for the site
East Lydford 17/9/12
Cool night with some rain early this morning, and so not much to report. 22 moths, half of them Setaceous Hebrew Characters, and 8 species in all. FFY was a solitary Lunar Underwing. I have a feeling that these will not be very numerous this year following the wet Summer - we'll see.
Butleigh Garden Saturday Night
Well worth putting the trap out last night 53 moths of 19 species, mainly Snout, Silver Y, Lge and Lesser YUW, Brimstone, Light Emerald and Set. Hebrew Character. Another Lunar UW and Pale Eggar. Also a Diamond-back, Light Brown Apple Moths and Agonopterix astromeriana- FFY Small Square-spot and Dusky Thorn. An unwelcome addition to the garden fauna- a rather large venomous False Widow Spider, Steatoda nobilis on the kitchen window wrapping up a very dead Dusky Thorn!
Manor Road, Taunton, 14/9/12
Trapped for the GMS last night and considering it was a clear night with a minimum of 8.3°C I got a reasonable catch for my garden with 48 moths of 13 species. First for the year were Burnished Brass, Flounced Rustic and Setaceous Hebrew Character. Among the rest were a couple of Light Emerald and three Cypress Pugs.
So unpromising I didn't both putting the trap out - but very fresh Pale Eggar sitting on wall by kitchen light made up for it.
East Lydford 14/9/12
Another chilly night, and another poor return - only 9 moths of 6 species, plus a couple of Caddis Flies (which seem to be having a good year - the ponds are fuller !!). However one of my trappees was a Lilac Beauty, the first one here for 3 years, so not a total waste of time and electricity after all.
Norton Sub Hamdon
My first genuine moths of the Autumn were two Frosted Oranges last night. I also recorded a second brood Barred Hook Tip, the first time I have ever seen both broods in the same year. Overall though, the numbers of moths being caught here are very disappointing and I reckon that they are still less than a third of what they should be in a normal season.
Netherclay LNR 13/9/12
140 moths of 28 species last night almost half of which (67) were Snout. Amongst the others: Dark Sword Grass, Sallow, Barred Sallow, Dun-bar, Rosy Rustic, Light Emerald, Oak Nycteoline and Pyrausta despicata.
Bishop's Hull 12/9/12. Temperature was down to 7.3C and only 10 moths of six species were caught with Centre-barred Sallow FFY.
Butleigh Thursday night
Autumn is here, down to 16 species and much reduced numbers, second brood Light Emeralds, FFY Lunar Underwing and Centre-barred Sallow. Small Tortoiseshells still sneaking into Moth trap.
East Lydford 11/9/12
Definitely a chill in the air. Only 30 moths of 15 species, and no FFY. A couple of second brooders, Light Emerald and Blood-vein. As yet, no real Autumn specialists have appeared, but I'm quite hopeful the next week or two will put that right.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 10 degrees
Autumn has arrived! only 34 moths of 15 species - FFY Pink-barred Sallow and second brood firsts - Blood-vein and Double Striped Pug.
Farewell to the Lobster larvae, Red Underwings
My two Lobster Moth larvae have now 'gone down' but here are a couple more photos: one of them hanging, seen end on (a back view of the last abdominal segment, but a front view of the head) - an interesting posture.
Lobster Moth (Stauropus fagi
) 5th instar larva seen end on
Lobster Moth (Stauropus fagi
) 5th instar larva with birch catkins
Trapping has been very poor over the weekend but this morning there was a Red Underwing on the shed next to the trap. To my surprise I found two specimens resting on the wall of the house next door (nowhere near my trap) at lunchtime - they seem to be a male and a female which had presumably paired overnight. You can just see the red on the underwings of the larger female on the right.
Red Underwing (Catocala nupta
) male and female on wall.
Jersey Tiger f lutescens, Langport, VC6
Doug and Peter - I have had two of this form this year, first ever. They wouldn't cooperate for a photo!
Lucky you! I have only seen two in my lifetime - one in Lyme Regis in 1946 and another near Cullompton, Devon in 1994,
On Saturday i had a Jersey Tiger moth ab lutescens Stdgr, has anyone else recorded these, are they unusual in Somerset
East Lydford 6/9/12
Quite a chilly night, so only 19 moths of 11 species. However, there were two FFY - Pale Eggar, and Jersey Tiger. The former is the first here since 2010, the latter is the first here since 2009 - very nice to see them again. Gorgeous, aren't they ?
East Lydford 4/9/12 addendum
This evening's round-up of strays produced a further 9 moths, (total now 51), plus 2 new species records for this site - Rhomboid Tortrix (Acleris rhombana) and 2 (very unwelcome) Leek Moths (Acrolepiopsis assectella). (I did have a few chewed leeks last year, but for some reason didn't record them at the time) - now I've had the adults !! It seems they are spreading quite widely in recent years, as several of my neighbours have complained about the damage done to their crops.
NORTON SUB HAMDON
A few more moths last night but it is still very quiet. However there were some good ones amongst the few. Last night I had Oblique Carpet and Feathered Gothic and 2 nights ago I had Tawny-barred Angle.For all three of these moths they were only about the third record in 10 years.
Free iPhone app for wildlife recording
I've had the following email message fro Neil Gregory:
Dear Moth Recorder,
We've launched a new iphone app to help people with biological recording in the UK. This app is called Record Wildlife and is free to download and use. It combines a GPS locator, notepad and camera to help generate biological records. I would be grateful if you were able to distribute this message amongst your wildlife recorders.
East Lydford 4/9/12
My first trapping for a month - weather & eye problems making for a very frustrating time. A cool night, so not much to report & nothing particularly interesting - only 42 moths of 17 species so far, including FFY Dusky Thorn. Still, small numbers equals shorter recording time, and therefore earlier breakfast !! Will try again soon.
On the butterfly front, I saw only my second Common Blue of the year this morning - last year they were very common, up to 20 at a time nectaring on Marjoram and Fleabane etc - presumably they are having one of their cyclical poor years. As with other observers, I'm seeing lots of Small Tortoiseshells, many more than for a while, and quite a lot of Peacocks, but only a few Red Admirals and Commas. No Painted Ladies or Clouded Yellows at all this year, and only one each Small Copper & Small Skipper, but there's still time.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Min temp 12 degrees
86 moths of 24 species including FFY - Frosted Orange, Centre-barred Sallow, Pale Mottled Willow and Cypress Pug. We also had another Jersey Tiger at a lighted window. The autumn butterflies have been interesting. So far we have only seen singles of Red Admiral, Comma and Painted Lady, the usual great hatch of Peacocks and the best numbers of Small Tortoiseshells that we have seen in the last fourteen years.
Lobster moth larvae again
We've been away working at the Eden Project over the weekend and the Lobster Moth larvae have grown apace. Although I knew that the larva waves its true legs around in its 'threat' display I have never seen reference to the two false eyespots which appear - they are tucked away when the larva is at rest.
Lobster Moth 5th instar larva at rest - false eyespots hidden
Lobster Moth 5th instar larva threat display - false eyespots visible
Minehead 26 June
My first Four-spotted wainscot. This is again to see if I can add photos..if it doesn't work this time I shall give up as I'm following your instructions John!
Butleigh Friday Night
Pretty poor last night- small numbers and only 12 moth species, but had 52 very fresh Small Tortoiseshells in the garden yesterday and even 2 in the trap! First for year- Orange Swift, Gold Spot and Svensson's Copper UW. A Little Owl has also discovered my tap and sits on the fence nearby eying it!
Netherclay LNR (ST205252) 31/8/12
Last night I trapped at Netherclay LNR for the first time, packing up at 01.30h this morning. 225 moths of 40 species with a few micros still to sort out. Green Carpet contributed a third of the total number with 76 caught.
Manor Road, Taunton
Fortunately the temperature for the GMS last night picked up to 13.8°C and I got 99 moths of 31 species which is not bad for my Skinner actinic in my garden considering that there weren't huge numbers of any individual species.
New for year were Ringed China-mark, Magpie, Orange Swift (2) and Cypress Pug (2).