Wednesday, 24 July 2013


Muggy conditions on the night of Tuesday 23rd was perfect for the annual visit by members of the Essex Moth Group to the country park. Although the threat of rain that night didn't materialise, the five lamps that operated, were buzzing with moths late into the night. At least 135 species were noted by dawn which is a record tally for one night for the site. Over 100 species of macro moth and 35+ of micro moth made it a very active night for moths. Clearing away the traps at dawn took an hour and half and luckily I was helped by Richard, up from Havering.

Pictured above was this striking orange moth, which had turned up in the early hours of the morning. Although it is a common moth, mainly in woodlands in Essex, this is the first record for the park.

 The most notable record was this small festoon pictured above, a nationally scarce moth occurring across southern England and in Essex in the woods of central and north of the county. It was a lively little fellow and luckily it stayed still for a moment for a few pictures to be taken, before fluttering rapidly high and away.

The first ruby tigers of the season were admired on the night. Usually a common moth here in small numbers through the late July to mid August period, they always add some colour to the traps.

One of the biggest moths on the night was the oak eggar, a big brown furry moth, that was one of the early moths at the trap. Four were noted by the end of the night.

This green silver lines was the first one of the season here and it was handy having the scarce silver lines as well in the same trap for comparison.

The small rosy footman with its fresh salmon-pink colouration was one of the prettiest moths of the evening. Although a widespread moth, its not always seen each year here.

This purple thorn holding its wings in its distinctive fashion of partially open, was in the trap along with several early thorns.

Other moths of note included 2 privet hawks, 6 poplar hawks, 12 elephant hawks, 12 drinkers, maidens blush, small blood vein, July highflyer, least carpet, currant pug, V-pug, peacock, latticed heath, swallow-tailed, peppered, willow beauty, mottled beauty, engrailed, brown-tail, white-satin, dingy footman, common footman, scarce footman, kent black arches, maple prominent, white-line dart, turnip, lesser broad-bordered yellow underwing, double-square spot, nutmeg, cabbage, dot, broad-barred white, lychnis, clay, white-point, striped wainscot, smoky wainscot, fen wainscot, L-album wainscot, shark, poplar grey, miller, lunar-spotted pinion, rosy minor, ear sp, oak nycteoline, silver-Y and fanfoot.
Amongst the micro moths several diamond-backs and a european corn borer were noted.

Earlier that Tuesday a number of waders were seen about the park during late afternoon. An avocet was feeding on the pools in the fields along with 8 black-tailed godwits, 4 lapwing and a green sandpiper which flew away calling. Seven little egrets had been roosting on the willows by the pond. The four young kestrels were sitting on a branch in the oak tree waiting for parents to come back with food. Yellow wagtail flew over the park calling.

On the mudflats one knot, greenshank, 200+ black-tailed godwit, one golden plover, one grey plover, 100 dunlin, 4 turnstone, 50 curlew and 50 oystercatcher were seen at the low tide.

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