Friday, 17 July 2015


The moths at the country park came under a fair bit of scrutiny during the night of Thursday 16th. Amongst the large haul of about 2000 macro moths to nine traps, the most striking of all of them was this garden tiger. Although it's been recorded here each July, it feels as though the population is just clinging on as it has declined rapidly in recent years in southern England.

This garden tiger wasn't actually found inside the trap, but resting just a few metres from it on the ground and very nearly missed during the tidying up at dawn.After taking a few photos, it was then placed in a bush away from hungry birds, where-upon it repeatedly flicked its wings open, emphasizing the striking colours and patterning to protect itself.

Nine traps were set up at the park, six of which were set by Chris Williams making a return visit from Staffordshire to see some coastal moths. This perspex Gardiner trap was one of the traps to perform well and lured in about 440 moths, excluding the other hundred or so micro moths. The final species tally of macro moths was about 100, an impressive count.

Four of these small mottled willows were found, the first record for the park of this immigrant moth. There seems to have been an influx of them into southern England over the last month or so.

The small festoon has now been recorded for the third summer running, suggesting it has a local population here following its recent spread across the county. Its spread has even seen it expand to the coast where there's not so much woodland - its traditional haunt.

Not many large emeralds have been noted at the park, so it was nice to see this one in the trap.

Another notable moth was this crescent striped, a nationally scarce moth found along the south and east coasts of England.

A few lackey moths were seen with this nicely coloured male one of the smarter ones.
The scarcer cousin, the ground lackey was also noted with one faded individual in one of the traps.

The blood-vein moth is often noted at the park but not always in such pristine condition with the dark-red vein and the bright pink edging showing up so clearly.

One of the micro-moths to catch the eye was this orange-pine tortrix, a regular here in the summer where the caterpillars feed on Scots Pine. This individual was found just a few metres from some pine trees.

Some of the other moths noted included drinker, oak hook-tip, Chinese character, buff arches, common emerald, small scallop, barred yellow, least carpet, July high flyer, single dotted wave, green pug, bordered pug, latticed heath, early thorn, peppered, engrailed, pine hawkmoth, elephant hawkmoth, poplar hawkmoth, maple prominent, pebble prominent, rosy footman, ruby tiger, Kent black arches, fen wainscot, sycamore, miller, tree lichen beauty, marbled beauty, oak nycteoline, scarce silver lines, herald, beautiful hook-tip, silver-Y, bordered sallow, ear sp, shark and dotted rustic,

The moth trap was also operating at the country park on the night of Wednesday 15th, when this large oak eggar made an appearance,the first of the summer. During the following day an oak eggar was seen flying rapidly across the park.
Another large species that didn't show on Thursday night but did on Wednesday were a couple of privet hawkmoths. A sand dart also stayed away from the traps the next night.

The small Kent black arches has become a bit more frequent in the last couple of summers.

This is peak season for dusky sallows, here one feeding in the middle of the day on a knapweed flower, while nearby another was on a scabious flower. Some of the moth traps on Thursday night were over-run with dusky sallows, especially those beside the long grass.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have noticed how so many of the previously thought of as 'common' moths are now considerably scarcer than they used to be. Can't really offer an explanation for it but it is sad not to see them around so much - if at all.