Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Small numbers, and a Dark Chestnut for confirmation

I haven't had a "nil return" yet, but 22nd October was the last occasion on which I had more than four species or more than five individual moths - I've run the trap six times since then.  Despite those small "hauls" (only sixteen individuals across those six occasions), I have managed to get 11 different species, of which the most interesting was probably Diurnea lipsiella: no sign of Sprawler or Oak Rustic, let alone Black-spotted Chestnut.  Interestingly, very few of the moths - probably only three - have come into the trap.  All of the others were on the outside of the trap or nearby, and all but one of them were found within 3 hours of sunset.  Apart from that one occasion, getting up before sunrise has not been rewarded with anything that I didn't see before bedtime!

Last night I got one Winter Moth and one individual of another species:
Dark Chestnut(?)
Newton Longville, 3rd December
I think it's a Dark Chestnut (Conistra ligula), and not a Chestnut (C. vaccinii), because of the pointed forewing tip and the straight outer edge, but I'd appreciate confirmation of this.  I've had others that were extremely similar to this on two previous occasions (in mid- and late-November), but it seems that I've had no Chestnuts in my garden at all so far this year - the only one I've had was over the border in Northants.

I'm running the trap in the garden again tonight, and if the weather permits I'll probably run it on two more occasions next week, which will be the last for 2019.

Tim Arnold
Newton Longville, Bucks


  1. Hi Tim,

    Yes, that's a Dark Chestnut. I had one the same night along with Winter Moth (10), Scarce Umber (1) & Mottled Umber (2), an unexpected double-digit count although it was noticeable that the temperature rose by two or three degrees after dusk before falling away again for a frost later on. The moths were all in by 10pm and nothing further had been added by dawn.

  2. Thanks, Dave.

    Last night turned out to be my first entirely blank night. The night before last it was clear and warmer (4-5°C) initially, only falling to a frost after the moths had been caught, whereas last night the frost arrived quite quickly before being replaced by fog (which was dripping heavily from the trees when I got up).

    I see that the weather forecast for much of next week looks quite wet, but this coming Sunday and Monday nights look good.


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