Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Shades of Grey

The last three nights here at Westcott, Bucks have been rather chilly but the catches have still been reasonable (for example 166 moths of 37 species last night when the temperature fell to 8C under mostly clear skies with a full moon), even though there has been not a single migrant on offer.  As is only to be expected, Agriphila tristella, Large Yellow Underwing & Square-spot Rustic are proving the most numerous but numbers of Feathered Gothic and Centre-barred Sallow are increasing.  Both Canary-shouldered Thorn and Dusky Thorn seem to be doing well here, while second brood geometers such as Flame Carpet, Garden Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet and Light Emerald are now starting to appear.  Pale Eggar was new for the year list last night and on 31st August it was nice to see another Black Arches, a species I don't get here every year and I don't recall having previously trapped a female in the garden.

The little Water Veneer Acentria ephemerella has had a very good year and they were still venturing out in numbers last night.  I assume that they have rather short adult lives.  It is certainly true that they rarely survive the experience of entering the moth trap and it made a pleasant change to find one or two live specimens this morning.  It always amazes me that they can appear anywhere, sometimes on hill-tops well away from water, so despite their weak-looking flight they must be really good at dispersal.  

Black Arches, Westcott 31st August

Pale Eggar, Westcott 1st September

Acentria ephemerella, Westcott 1st September

Dave Wilton


  1. Dave, I don't know how many Black Arches I've caught, but I have thought in the past that I don't remember ever having caught a female (Black Arches, that is).

  2. I catch about 2 or 3 a year, but then I get a lot of them both here and in my previous life.

  3. A few weeks ago I had a male Black Arches on the outside of the trap where it was very obvious. It was well within the striking range of the frogs which habitually surround the trap but they took no notice of it. I assume the black and white dazzle pattern sends out a message on the lines of 'eating me is not a good idea'.


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