Friday, 21 April 2017

Night of Prominents

With permission from the site management, Martin Albertini, Andy King and I ran traps on Stoke Common, Bucks last night and we ended up with just over 40 species after the usual three hours.  The Prominents were out in force, with Iron, Pebble, Lesser Swallow, Coxcomb, Pale and Great all recorded.  Close relatives Lunar Marbled Brown and Chocolate-tip were also seen but unfortunately there was no sign of Small Chocolate-tip which was our target for the night.  This is a moth which hasn't been recorded at Stoke Common since 2011.  Its main food-plant is the very low-growing Salix repens (Creeping Willow), a "tree" I hadn't really noticed before - not surprising really as we saw none of it taller than a couple of feet above ground level!  However, with the catkins currently present to make it obvious, it does seem to be quite widespread on Stoke Common even though decidedly uncommon in the county, so there's hope yet for the moth.

Most numerous species of the night was Narrow-winged Pug with more than 100 coming to the lights (64 to mine alone), while other species in the traps included a female Emperor Moth, Scalloped Hook-tip, Oak Hook-tip, Pebble Hook-tip, Birch Mocha, Maiden's Blush, Peacock Moth, Tawny-barred Angle, Grey Birch, Lime Hawk-moth and Shuttle-shaped Dart, many of which were on the wing rather earlier than normal.  Half a dozen micro species were recorded, of which Neofaculta ericetella was the only one to reach a double-digit count.  Others included Ancylis uncella, Epinotia immundana and, off the abundant gorse, the inevitable Cydia ulicetana.

Birch Mocha, Stoke Common 20th April

Narrow-winged Pug, Stoke Common 20th April

A rather dark Grey Birch, Stoke Common 20th April

Cydia ulicetana, Stoke Common 20th April
Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks    

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