Friday, 19 August 2016

Wetland moths again

The past two nights saw me target wetland moths in Bucks once again, first at BBOWT's flagship College Lake reserve on the Bucks/Herts border and then at Walton Lake, a balancing lake near the Open University campus in Milton Keynes which was excavated in the early 1970s and which now boasts probably the most substantial reed-beds in the county.

College Lake didn't produce all that much although Phalonidia manniana, Calamotropha paludella, Chilo phragmitella, Southern Wainscot, Bulrush Wainscot, Twin-spotted Wainscot and Webb's Wainscot did put in appearances, mostly as singletons.  The great thing here, though, is that even lights in the reeds bring in chalk grassland species and it was good to record things like Oncocera semirubella, Annulet & Tree-lichen Beauty in the same traps.

Despite having far more extensive reed-beds, Walton Lake last night was also fairly slow going but in the end produced the goods with Orthotelia sparganella (1), Chilo phragmitella (10+), Calamotropha paludella (3), Southern Wainscot (3), Bulrush Wainscot (2), Twin-spotted Wainscot (3), Brown-veined Wainscot (3), Webb's Wainscot (1) and a single rather worn Crescent.  It was nice to find Orthotelia sparganella, a wetland micro I haven't seen anywhere for three or four years and for which there are only 16 previous records for VC24.  All of the wainscots mentioned here are able to colonise reed-beds quite quickly and easily but Crescent seems to be a bit more fussy about the sites it occupies.  It hadn't been recorded at Walton Lake since a singleton trapped by Martin Townsend during site surveys around MK at the end of the 1990s and the moth seems to be absent from some of the decent wetland sites which there are in Bucks.  

Orthotelia sparganella, Walton Lake 18th August

Crescent, Walton Lake 18th August
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks  


  1. Nice catch Dave and good to see someone is still catching moths. Odd what you say about Crescent in Bucks because round here if its wetland habitat of some type there's probably Crescent. They seem to turn up most places I'd expect them, especially by waterways. sparganella is lovely.

  2. Re Crescent, there are 50+ records for Bucks but post-millennium they've come from very few sites, notably Linford Lakes, MK (which is adjacent to the Ouse) and Weston Turville Reservoir (which isn't really adjacent to moving water although is very close to the Grand Union Canal). That may just result from a lack of recent trapping adjacent to the Thames which is where a lot of the pre-millennium records seem to have come from.


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