Thursday, 27 June 2013


An impressive array of hawkmoths graced the moth trap by dawn on Thursday 27th at the country park. This is the first time six species of hawkmoth have turned up together on the same night here. Having been carefully removed from the trap, they were photographed and then tucked away in nearby bushes.
The top four in the picture show from the left, small elephant hawk, poplar hawk, privet hawk and the elephant hawk on the right. The lower two show lime hawk with an eyed hawk to its right.

The last good hawkmoth season was during the balmy summer of 2006 when eight species were recorded at the park during the last week of June. Still waiting this year to be seen is the pine hawkmoth and the hummingbird hawkmoth.

This lime hawkmoth was the first one of the summer and a freshly marked individual it appears to be too. The camouflage markings make is a striking moth to look at - if you can find it in the foliage! This moth was the first moth to drop into the trap just after it was switched on at 10.30pm on Wednesday.
The privet hawkmoth was also the first one of the summer.

Couldn't resist taking another photo of the elephant hawkmoth, this time resting on a flower of the purple flowered rock-rose, perfect colour match! This was the only hawkmoth which turned up with a second individual, as all the other hawkmoths were singles.

At last a striking cream spot tiger moth graced the trap, the first one to do so this year. The poor weather in the spring last year and repeated again this year have hit numbers of this moth badly. None were caught last year, so this individual is the first for two years to visit the trap. Three springs ago twelve were noted in the trap one night.

The Skinner trap photographed at 4.30am on Thursday morning just as it was starting to get light. The trap had already been checked in the half-hour prior to this, so that any early birds didn't enjoy easy pickings and also so that I could check the moths before any flew off before the daylight set in.

Just over 150 individuals were counted with two thirds of these inside the actual trap. Fifty species were represented which made it a rewarding night. It appeared to stay cloudy throughout the night with some light drizzle to start with and it also stayed warm too. A couple of pipistrelle bats circled above the trap as some of the moths were heading to the light.

Some of the other moths noted were figure of eighty, latticed heath, marbled brown, clouded silver, clouded border, brindled pug, coxcomb prominent, lychnis, white-point, dark arches, light arches, grey dagger, birds wing, common rustic, treble lines, mottled rustic, vines rustic and silver-Y.

Spent an hour in the early evening on Thursday along the Reeveshall seawall to check the pool here. Eight avocet, green sandpiper, 4 black-tailed godwit, 8 curlew, pair of tufted duck, mallard, little egret, grey heron and a pair of mute swans were all seen here.

Along the nearby Pyefleet 5 bar-tailed godwit, 20 curlew, little tern, common tern, Mediterranean gull, 3 avocet were of interest. There was also a very young brood of 10 shelducks along the near mud which would be nice to think they were the ones dodging the traffic the East Mersea road the previous day. Four marsh harriers flew around over Langenhoe while 20 swifts and a pair of linnets was seen over Reeveshall.

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