A few years ago I was at Strumpshaw Fen photographing the Swallowtail butterflies. When we arrive that morning they had just emptied their mothtrap and there was an Elephant Hawkmoth, Eyed Hawkmoth and a couple of Poplar Hawkmoths sitting on the fence waiting to be photographed, see my blog of 9th June 2016 for the pictures.
Although I had long considered getting involved with "mothing", the realisation that I would not see such impressive specimens in my urban Worthing garden was a little off putting. All I did, over the next few years, was to record the odd, mostly day flying moth, that I saw when on my travels. However, last week I took the plunge and and purchased a cheap trap to see what was about.
It is a low powered bulb and given the location I hadn't expected big catches. However, I have to say that after a slow start, it was better than I had expected. The slow start being just one moth on the first night that I tried it out. My fault really, it was a cold night and very windy. I new it would not be good for moths but I couldn't wait to play with my new toy.
Two subsequent evenings gave better returns with between twenty and thirty moths each night. I ended up with a total of thirty three new moths for my rather modest list and I still have half a dozen species to be identified. I'm hooked!
|Plumed Fan-foot - Pechipogo plumigeralis|
Plumed Fan-foot. This is the moth responsible for my new purchase. I found it in the garage and after taking a particularly poor picture of it, forgot all about it. A couple of days later I looked it up in my moth book, to be told that it that it was a rare immigrant from across the channel, first recorded in 1995 and with reports in the low tens in subsequent years. False News! or at least old news. Checking with the county recorder Colin Pratt I find that it is now classed as "locally commonplace along parts of the Sussex coast" Global warming has a lot to answer for.
Anyway, having tried out my new mothtrap, here are a few photographs of the moths I have seen. As with my occasional forays into hoverflies, bees and flies, all identifications come with a health warning. I am new to moths and I will get some wrong. Please let me know if you see anything obvious.
The two most common moths have been the Marbled Green and the Light Brown Apple Moth. The Marbled Green coming in many different shades.
|Marbled Green - Cryphia muralis|
|Marbled Green - Cryphia muralis|
|Light Brown Apple Moth - Epiphyas positvittana|
So lets have a look at some of the more interesting moths that have put in an appearance at the trap.
The next picture could be a Dark Dagger or a Grey Dagger. The moths of the two species cannot be told apart without examination of genitalia which is not really my thing. I caught two of them in the trap and they are probably both Dark Dagger as that appears to be more common in Sussex. However, the caterpillars of each species are different and I realised that about six weeks ago I took a picture of a Grey Dagger caterpillar in the garden.
|Dark Dagger or Grey Dagger Moth?|
|Grey Dagger Caterpillar 23/6/2020|
The Grey Dagger is reported to double brood in the south of England so could this moth be from the same batch as the caterpillar I found. I will never know, but at least having found the caterpillar I can put the Grey on my garden list.
The Brimstone Moth is one that I see a lot when I am out butterflying. It is easily disturbed during the day and being such a vivid colour always catches the eye when it flies. Lovely moth and much easier to photograph when it is straight out of the moth trap.
|Brimstone - Opisthograptis luteolata|
Brimstone - Opisthograptis luteolata
|Common Wainscot - Mythimna pallens|
|Coronet - Craniophora ligustri|
|Ribband Wave - Idaea aversata|
|Dusky Thorn - Ennomos fuscantaria|
|Garden Tiger - Arctia caja|
|Least Carpet - Idaea rusticata|
Pale Prominent - Pterostoma palpina
|Rustic - Hoplodrina blanda|
|Rusty-dot Pearl - Udea ferrugalis|
|Setaceous Hebrew Character - Xestia c-nigrum|
|Shuttle-shaped Dart - Agrotis puta|
|Silver Y - Autographa gamma|
|Willow Beauty - Peribatodes rhomboidaria|
Probably all routine stuff to the dedicated mothing community but it is all new to me.
Although this started as a birding blog my interests have expanded over the years. Birding will always be the main theme but there seems little point in just churning out the same old thing year after year. Bees and Flies are interesting but identification is getting a little too technical for me. I am interested in looking at the wildlife not in dissecting it. Orchids were interesting but not enough to get me going back this year. There are still a few I would like to see in Scotland and the North of England but that will be on an as and when basis.
Moths I like. I have a feeling that this blog will be showing a lot more "from my mothtrap" pages.