Saturday, 9 July 2016

Away-trapping catch-up

Last Monday night (4th July) I ran three lights around a reed-filled lake at a local private wetland site here in mid-Bucks.  It would have been four lights but for the fact that one of my generators decided to expire soon after starting (something that had long been expected!).  Light rain for an hour or so didn't seem to stop the moths although the sheets under the traps soon became sodden and had to be removed to stop the insects becoming glued to them upside-down.  About 80 moth species were trapped, of which Clepsis spectrana, Donacaula forficella, Calamotropha paludella, Round-winged Muslin, Obscure Wainscot, Mere Wainscot & Silky Wainscot were typical of such damp habitat.  Small Scallop and Brown Scallop were new sightings for me this year but perhaps the best record of the evening was a fresh Twin-spot Carpet, a moth which these days seems to be restricted to the northern half of the county.

Twin-spot Carpet, 4th July

Round-winged Muslin, 4th July

On Wednesday night I visited Lodge Lake near Loughton in Milton Keynes.  I wasn't expecting much there due to the amount of light pollution present in that urban environment (including on the cycle-ways around the lake itself).  It took some considerable effort to find dark corners where there was sufficient room to place a trap or two adjacent to the  reed-beds, which are in any case nowhere near as extensive as those at nearby Walton Lake where I'd trapped a couple of weeks earlier.  I ended up so close to the water's edge at Lodge Lake that there wasn't room for a sheet and the water itself became a hazard to the moths!  Only 60 species were caught but thankfully they did include the reed-feeders Chilo phragmitella, Schoenobius gigantella and Silky Wainscot, so I may visit again next month by which time others of their ilk should be flying if they're present.

When the weather on Thursday evening proved to be rather better than forecast I decided on a change of scenery and went to a steep-sloped Chilterns chalk grassland site near Stokenchurch, Bucks which I've been visiting regularly this year.  The results were excellent, with getting on for 150 species identified so far from just two MV lights.  The biggest surprise was to get no less than 23 Kent Black Arches (it is fairly obviously established there!) while amongst the expected chalk species were Royal Mantle, Fern, Haworth's Pug, Shaded Pug & Reddish Light Arches.  Also seen were Satin Beauty, Purple Clay, Green Arches, Dot Moth, Double Lobed & Cloaked Minor.  Some interesting micros appeared too, including one of the tiniest silver Elachista species (probably triatomea in that habitat), either Agonopterix nanatella or Agonopterix carduella (the latter looks more likely to me but it would be the first adult record for Bucks in either case), likely singletons of Depressaria pulcherrimella & Acompsia cinerella, two examples of Ethmia dodecea along with further singletons of Acrobasis marmoreaAnania crocealis.  The recently-split Delplanqueia species was out in some numbers (17 seen), while half a dozen examples of Scoparia subfusca were caught, the most I've ever seen of that moth at one site.  Completely out of habitat, a Silky Wainscot also visited (I don't think I brought it with me!), but there did seem to be some migratory movement going on that night as my sheets were also invaded by young water-boatmen.

Possible Agonopterix carduella, 7th July

Royal Mantle, 7th July

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks



  1. I need to swap bulbs with you Dave. I trapped not so far away last night at Aston Rowant, southern side, with some friends from Glamorgan. While we managed a fairly decent list and got some of the species hoping to see (Royal Mantle, Hypochalcia ahenella for example) it was not nearly as impressive as yours and many common species I would have expected were absent altogether. Numbers wise most macros, with the exception of Shears and Smoky Wainscot, were in extremely small numbers and Kent Black Arches I think we got two (which was pleasing as not recorded it from there before personally but not in the numbers that you had just a few miles away only nights earlier). Micro diversity was not fantastic either with culmella, perlella and the dilutella agg the only species in number and again many common species missing altogether. Wind wasn't helpful but it was so warm I really had expected a much greater haul especially given we had 3 MV's and 5 actinics out until 4am. Never-the-less good to finally get out and see a nice selection of moths for once and moth of the night for me was a lovely fresh Dotted Rustic, a species I rarely see and haven't seen since being turfed out my old house on Lonesome Farm. Out of interest where do you get your bulbs as my recent batch seem to be a slightly different colour and brightness.

  2. Last night we thought was rather too breezy to be on the chalk so Martin, Peter and I went to Bernwood Forest (which was rather good - report 'in preparation'!).

    My traps all have Venture 125w MV bulbs in at the moment and they seem to be generally available still from most suppliers, but I find that they are rather too fragile and I've had to replace three or four over the past 18 months. Perhaps I'm not careful enough with them but I've never previously had a run of bulb failures like that. What make are your bulbs?

  3. various brands but think i mostly have phillips and osram in at the moment as got bulk stock of both a while back when there seemed to be a lot of scaremongering about mv bulbs no longer being available

    yep, wind was challenging on the chalk but was only night we could get out together and we did at least get the stuff we wanted. i could do with a visit to bernwood again, has been a long time.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.