Friday, 30 May 2014

Norfolk moths: Rockland St. Peter garden, 29 May 2014

Dark Brocade Blepharita adusta, a UK BAP species
After three days of moderate E winds, the prospect of a mild, overcast night with a light E breeze was too much to resist. It was not dark enough to turn on the trap until 21h25, by which time it was still 12.4°C, with the sky masked by white cloud. I took the opportunity of a 02h30 start the next day to stay up and daub some sugar around as well. The sugar itself attracted only slugs and woodlice, and while checking it at regular intervals I trod squarely on a hedgehog! But the trap was abuzz with activity from 22h00 onwards. It was interesting to watch the different moths come in, circle and then disappear again into the dark; very few seems to fall into the trap. At exactly 23h00 pm, we heard something crashing through the pear tree and watched as an Eyed Hawk-moth came in to rest in the shade of long grass near the trap, where it remained until dawn. I turned off the trap at 04h25, when the thermometer showed a mild 10.5°C.

Scorched Wing Plagodis dolabraria
We ended up with 42 species of which 16 were new and 7 new for the year – all this from only 99 moths, which is a pretty good ratio. I was able to identify only two micros; a lovely bright pink and yellow micro that was not obviously illustrated in Lewington almost made me want to learn dissection. The highlight was perhaps BAP species Dark Brocade, which is common and widespread, but rapidly declining. It was lovely to see Scorched Wing (local in Norfolk) and Beautiful Golden Y.

Beautiful Golden Y Autographa pulchrina

There was a first Peppered Moth, last seen with 27 years ago with Mike Majerus!

Peppered Moth Biston betularia

       May Highflyer Hydriomena impluviata
Other new ones were Broken-barred Carpet (these with intact bar), May Highflyer (an alder carr species which should find sufficient habitat in this area), Freyer's Pug, Clouded Border, Pale Prominent, Common Footman, Flame, Ingrailed Clay, Shears, Brown Rustic, Dark Arches and Clouded-bordered Brindle. Of course, Eyed Hawk and
Poplar Hawk-moths are always welcome.

As ever, I am grateful to Andy Mackay for casting his experienced eye over some of the moths I found puzzling and either confirming my identifications or – more usually setting me straight.

Freyer's Pug Eupithecia intricata

Macro-moths (99 moths of 42 spp.):-

Hepialus lupulinus Common Swift 3
Timandra comae Blood-vein 2
Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet 4
Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet 4
Electrophaes corylata Broken-barred Carpet 2
Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 1
Hydriomena impluviata May Highflyer 1
Eupithecia exiguata Mottled Pug 1
Eupithecia intricata Freyer's Pug 2
Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border 1
Plagodis dolabraria Scorched Wing 1
Biston betularia Peppered Moth 1
Hypomecis punctinalis Pale Oak Beauty 1
Campaea margaritata Light Emerald 1
Smerinthus ocellata Eyed Hawk-moth 1
Laothoe populi Poplar Hawk-moth 1
Pterostoma palpina Pale Prominent 1
Drymonia dodonaea Marbled Brown 1
Eilema lurideola Common Footman 4
Spilosoma lubricipeda White Ermine 2
Agrotis segetum Turnip Moth 1
Agrotis exclamationis Heart and Dart 6
Agrotis puta Shuttle-shaped Dart 1
Axylia putris Flame 2
Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 3
Diarsia mendica Ingrailed Clay 3
Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot 1
Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Character 3
Hada plebeja Shears 1
Lacanobia oleracea Bright-line Brown-eye 2
Mythimna pallens Common Wainscot 1
Blepharita adusta Dark Brocade 1
Rusina ferruginea Brown Rustic 2
Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches 1
Apamea crenata Clouded-bordered Brindle 2
Apamea sordens Rustic Shoulder-knot 4
Oligia strigilis agg. Marbled Minor agg. 10
Charanyca trigrammica Treble Lines 16
Paradrina clavipalpis Pale Mottled Willow 1
Diachrysia chrysitis Burnished Brass 1
Autographa pulchrina Beautiful Golden Y 1
Abrostola tripartita Spectacle 1

Micro-moths (6 moths identified, of 2 spp.):-

Evergestis forficalis Garden Pebble 2
Eurrhypara hortulata Small Magpie 4


Sterling, P., Parsons, M. & Lewington, R. (2012) Field guide to the micro-moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing: Gillingham, Dorset. 416 pp.

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