Wednesday, 21 July 2010


The annual visit by members of the Essex Moth Group took place on Tuesday 2oth on a warm and partially cloudy night. The conditions were ideal for moth activity and there was a lot to admire amongst the six traps that were operated up until just after midnight. Two of the traps continued through to dawn and were checked at 4am.
Although the final list of moths trapped by participants is still being collected, it would appear that nearly 100 species were noted, this including 20 - 25 micro moth species in the tally.

The most striking moth of the night, the garden tiger moth, made an appearance again on this annual EMG visit, and true to form as with the two previous years, waited till everyone had gone home before it dropped into the trap. The only two previous park records over the last two years have coincided with the date for the EMG visit.

Numbers of this once common and widespread moth have dropped sharply in the south-east of England over the last 20 years. It's nice to see it is still surviving at the park, although it's obviously a late night flier as all the three individuals have appeared between 1 am and 4 am.

The side-on view of the garden tiger the next day, shows the bright red body, as it flaps its wings and thinks about taking flight. It soon settled down and I left it resting under a picnic table where it was still present as darkness fell.

Another highlight was this diminutive tree lichen beauty, usually regarded as a scarce migrant from the continent. In recent years there have been lots more records from a number of locations that would suggest the moth is probably now resident. This is about the fifth record for the park in the last four years. This individual is a nice fresh specimen with bright green markings, whereas ones in previous years have been duller green.

One of the chunkiest and furriest moths of the night was this oak eggar, a regular visitor to the traps in mid summer.

It was a good night for the other big moths -the hawkmoths, with 14 poplar hawks just in my two traps, also 3 pine hawks, privet hawk, lime hawk and an elephant hawkmoth noted by morning.

Probably the scarcest moth of the night was this starwort, which although it is frequent around the Essex coast, is listed as a nationally scarce moth. Several usually turn up at the trap here each summer.

Moths that were noted in good numbers were latticed heath, clouded silver, brown-tail, common footman, scarce footman, dingy footman, lesser broad bordered yellow underwing, brown-line bright eye, smoky wainscot, oak hooktip, lunar-spotted pinion, dark arches, light arches, dun-bar, cloaked minor, dusky sallow, uncertain and silver-Y.

Some of the other moths noted included lackey, small emerald, common emerald, maidens blush, least carpet, July highflier, early thorn, swallow-tailed, bordered white, pebble prominent, swallow prominent, coxcomb prominent, iron prominent, least yellow underwing, green silver lines, scarce silver lines, knotgrass, poplar grey, fen wainscot, sycamore, small scallop and dot moth.

Other bits of wildlife interest were several pipistrelle bats flying above the moth traps and the house cricket was heard chirping again. A green sandpiper and whimbrel flew over the park calling on the Tuesday afternoon while a golden plover called out on Wednesday morning.


Wildlife tours said...

Great post, i love moths and its so good to see so many other people with a similar interest. Great pictures too.

Dougal Urquhart said...

As you say, it's good to see more people getting interested in moths.
- Dougal