Friday, 11 July 2014


There was a bumper haul of moths at the country park during the night of Tuesday 8th after I joined Chris Williams for the second night running on the Island. Together we put out seven traps dotted from the car park, across the park, along the saltmarsh and one positioned at the Point.

The most striking moths were these two garden tigers found at dawn at 4am, one was at the trap on the beach and the other just inside the seawall. Garden tigers used to be very common but their numbers have declined in many areas of southern Britain by 90% in the last 40 years. It's therefore good news to see them still in evidence at the park.

A pair of traps operated almost in the middle of the park by generator. In total about 2000 macro moths were observed in the seven traps involving about 100 species. The most commonest were dark arches, dusky sallow, common footman and scarce footman.

One of the scarcest moths caught was the crescent striped, one pictured above. Five individuals were noted, most of them being seen in the trap placed on the saltmarsh at the Point. The moth is found around the English and Welsh coasts with the larvae feeding on saltmarsh grasses. This is the first record for the park.

The small festoon moth seems to be continuing its spread for the second summer running. Considering it is supposed to be restricted to woodlands in southern England, this is the second night running it has been found outside the seawall on the saltmarsh.

The biggest moth noted was the privet hawkmoth, one pictured on the side of the moth trap the following morning. A couple of privets were noted, as their season draws to a close.

Just one lime hawkmoth was seen, again close to the seawall, while the two other species of hawkmoth noted were a handful of elephant hawkmoths and a couple of poplar hawkmoths.

Very few prominent moths were seen that night, although this maple prominent pictured above was one of them. Only one or two are seen each year at the park.

The nut-tree tussock moth is a widespread moth on the mainland of Essex, but this individual is only the second sighting at the park. The moth larvae feed on a variety of different broadleaved trees.

This very plain wainscot is the fen wainscot, a moth found mainly in the southern half of Britain where there are marshy and reedy areas. Several have generally been seen previously each year at the park.

Another coastal speciality moth is this distinctive starwort with its brownish tinge to the wings. It's mainly found along the southern and eastern coastlines where one of its foodplants the sea aster is found on the saltmarshes.

Other moths of interest on the night were leopard, oak eggar, peach blossom, least carpet, V-pug, green pug, swallow-tailed, pebble prominent, white satin, brown-tail, yellow-tail, dingy footman, ruby tiger, white-lined dart, archers dart, sand dart, least yellow underwing, nutmeg, dot moth, white-point, shark, satellite, poplar grey, copper underwing, birds wing, crescent, rosy rustic, silver-Y and dotted fanfoot.

No comments: