Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Chalk and Reeds

The best thing about BBOWT's College Lake reserve in Bucks is the variety of habitats.  I ran four MV lights there last night, two on the chalk grassland and two in amongst the youthful reed-beds.  There weren't all that many moths on offer thanks to the 'brisk northerly breeze' (...more like a gale where I was!) and as usual the Met Office prediction of solid cloud cover soon proved false, but there were still a few things of interest.  Amongst about 40 species seen on the chalk it was nice to get Light Feathered Rustic at both traps (six individuals altogether), backing up my feeling that this moth has had a bit of a renaissance in the Chilterns over the past few years and is now quite widespread in the right kind of habitat.  Species such as Hypochalcia ahenella and Shaded Pug were expected, but a rather late Pale Pinion was a bit of an oddity.  There was also a noticeable 'fall' of Plutella xylostella with a double-digit count of this migrant species (unusual considering the wind direction but something apparently echoed at other sites further east).

Light Feathered Rustic, College Lake 30th May

By the reeds there were far fewer species (about 25 in all), but here the habitat specialists Phalonidia manniana, Eudonia pallida & Obscure Wainscot were found.  Of more than passing interest was another very late Pine Beauty, the second I've seen in the last few days.

Phalonidia manniana, College Lake 30th May

Pine Beauty, College Lake 30th May

Obscure Wainscot, College Lake 30th May

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  


  1. Hi Dave, you are definitely correct about a "fall" of Plutella xylostella. I had 24 (a record number for me) in my garden trap last night - and that's a micro-leaky Skinner trap!

  2. Indeed! There were many more yesterday brought in with all that rain and they seem to have been reported from everywhere except Devon & Cornwall and West Wales. I'm sure anyone locally who trapped last night will have seen the moth and quite possibly in some numbers. Could be problems later for anyone with a vegetable patch...!

  3. Hi Dave - i also had at least 17 Plutella in my garden trap last night - my most ever in one night.


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