Saturday, 29 March 2014

Norfolk moths: Rockland St. Peter garden, 28 March 2014

After a fairly warm, sunny day, the temperature fell rapidly once the sun had set, reaching 2.3°C at 21h45, but warming to 3.9°C by 05h15 when I turned off the trap. There was no detectable wind and a waning crescent moon. I turned the trap on at dusk (18h45) and an hour later activity peaked with half a dozen noctuids buzzing around the light and singles of March Moth, Shoulder Stripe, Early Thorn and Oak Beauty had landed on nearby walls.

By morning, new for the trap were Early Thorn, Red Chestnut and Powdered Quaker. Pale Pinion was new for the year, although not for the trap (the first was caught last October). This species is spreading in East Anglia. A hundred years ago, South (1908) notes that "it seems to be absent from the eastern counties, except Cambridge – where, however, it is scarce". Several decades later, both Skinner (1984) and Waring, Townsend & Lewington (2003) state that it is occasionally recorded from East Anglia; Norfolk recotrds date from 2002. 

Early Thorn Selenia dentaria, resting like a butterfly  
Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa   
Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilis
Pine Beauty Panolis flammea
Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica   

Macro-moths (63 moths of 13 spp.); no micros:-

Alsophila aescularia March Moth 1
Anticlea badiata Shoulder Stripe 1
Selenia dentaria Early Thorn 1
Biston strataria Oak Beauty 1
Cerastis rubricosa Red Chestnut 1
Panolis flammea Pine Beauty 1
Orthosia cruda Small Quaker 10
Orthosia gracilis Powdered Quaker 1
Orthosia cerasi Common Quaker 14
Orthosia incerta Clouded Drab 13
Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character 15
Lithophane hepatica Pale Pinion 1
Xylocampa areola Early Grey 3


Skinner, B. (1984) Colour identification guide to moths of the British Isles. Viking: Middlesex. x + 267 pp.

South, R. (1908) The moths of the British Isles, second series. Frederick Warne & Co.: London. 388 pp.

Waring, P., Townsend, M. & Lewington, R. (2003) Field guide to the moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing: Hook, Hampshire. 432 pp.


  1. Beautiful photos, especially the Thorn...

  2. Thanks Stage! Hand held £35 fully automatic point-and-shoot from Dixons! Blackcap belting out its song in the garden at dawn this morning. Trapping tonight...

  3. Trapping tonight too but for rodents and using the camera trap....