Saturday, 13 July 2013


The recent warm weather has been good for moths and so the moth trap has been running at the park on several nights over the last week. There have been good numbers of moths as well as a good number of species too.
This privet hawkmoth was the largest moth in the trap overnight on the 9th and 10th, showing the striking pink and banded body when the wings open up.

The first pine hawkmoth of the summer showed up on the night of the 12th - the seventh hawkmoth species of the week here.

The good showing of elephant hawkmoths this summer continued with this record haul of ten on the 9th. The small elephant hawk was also seen again during the week. Other hawkmoths noted in the last few nights were lime hawk, eyed hawk, and the poplar hawkmoth.

The only new species to be recorded over the last week at the park was this beautiful hook-tip, pictured above. In poor light it seemed just another brown moth with a couple of lines across the wings. In better light close-up there's a nice red edge to the corner of the wings. Although recorded across Essex, it appears to be a very local species.

The first swallow-tailed moths made their appearance of the summer, one or two of them freshly marked with a pale yellow colouration. This one flew up from the trap to a tree where it then rested under this leaf in the picture above.

The green coloured common emerald brightened up the trap during the week as several of these moths were noted each evening.

The broad-barred white is a common moth in grasslands with this individual standing out with its bright markings.

The distinctive magpie moth is well named with its black and white markings. This caterpillars of this common moth feed on hawthorn and blackthorn.

The miller moth isn't noted every year so it was nice to see this fresh individual, pictured above.

Being restricted to the coast, the nationally scarce starwort is a regular moth at the country park. The caterpillars feed on the sea aster plants on the saltmarshes.

The burnished brass really does seem to have brass colouration on the wings, as the picture above shows with the light reflecting off the golden sheen. This is a common moth whose caterpillars feed on nettles.

The most rewarding evening for trapping was Wednesday 10th when two traps pulled in nearly 250 moths of about 60 species of macro-moth. Some of the moths noted over the last week have included buff arches, single dotted wave, riband wave, figure of eighty, least carpet, common marbled carpet, barred straw, barred yellow, scalloped oak, peppered, clouded border, clouded silver, common footman, short-cloaked moth, broad-bordered yellow underwing, lesser yellow underwing, large yellow underwing, heart and club, heart and dart.L-album wainscot, striped wainscot, common wainscot, poplar grey, birds wing, dark arches, light arches, silver-Y, shark, nutmeg, green pug, double-square spot and latticed heath.

David Nicholls found this mullein caterpillar in his West Mersea garden several days ago. I believe he found it in a buddleia bush rather than the more usual mullein plants.

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