Suffolk Moth Group Newsletter

Issue 23 - August 2001

In this issue

Editorial - Tony Prichard

I've taken over the task of producing the group's newsletter from Jon as personal commitments mean he has had to give up the newsletter after five years sterling service.

I'm still in the process of deciding what precise format the newsletter will take and it will probably be left until the winter to settle on an enduring format. To reduce the load on myself I'll be re-using some material from the Suffolk Moths website but hopefully there should be some items of interest for most people.

It is intended to produce the newsletter in both electronic and hard-copy formats. If you would like to subscribe then drop me a line (see contact details at end of newsletter). The email newsletter will be delivered free of charge but for hard-copies a subscription charge of £1 will be charged to cover operating costs for the remainder of the year - this will normally be £2 for a whole year. The advantages of the email version will be that it allows me to include some colour pictures. Please let me know if you would like email and/or hard-copy versions along with a suitable address(es).

At the moment I'm using an html (web browser) format for the newsletter. This format is fine for the electronic version, as long as you have a web browser, but those people reading this from a paper copy may find some gaps between sections of the newsletter. This is down to the web browser format I'm using. The pro's of using this format is that it is very easy for me to produce the newsletter and upload it to the Suffolk Moths web site. The downside is that I can't control the layout in the printed copy so much. I'm looking at trying to improve this so please bear with me. If you're viewing this newsletter from a web browser you may find that widening your web browser window improves the placement of this pictures.

I'm looking for volunteers to write any odd articles or updates on what they are recording locally for the newsletter. Readers are going to get tired of my ramblings reasonably quickly so a bit of variety will be useful. I'd also be interested to hear about any articles that people would like to read about in the newsletter along with any other ideas for improvements in the newsletter.

It is expected that 4 issues will be produced per year. These will be distributed in March, June, August and November. For contributions to the newsletter I would appreciate receiving any material by the end of the preceding month - e.g. the deadline for the March issue would be the end of February.

Directory of Suffolk mothers

I am interested in getting together a list of people who are interested in the moths of Suffolk, which will be only distributed between people on the list.

The intention is to give recorders an idea of who is out there and recording moths in Suffolk - there may be someone just down your street who you didn't know about. This may be particularly useful to people just becoming interested in mothing who find that there is an amenable more experienced mother living locally who can provide guidance.

If you would like to be added to the list then please let me know along with your contact details. Details for inclusion in the directory would include name, address, phone number, email address, web site address, areas of particular interest if any (eg macros, micros or both) and your willingness to identify specimens/provide guidance for other members on the list. Not all details need to be supplied, so if you don't want to give out your phone number, for example, then don't include it.

Influx of Red-necked Footman in East Anglia 2001

There have been some recent records of this species from East Anglia, which is resident in Wales, the Scilly Isles and the southern counties. In this part of the country records of this species are thought to be of migrants and rather infrequent. The last time this species was reported in the county was from Minsmere in 1995.

Red-necked Footman
Red-necked Footman (photo : J Higgott)

 On the rather warm night of the 26th June individuals of this species found there way into recorders' traps in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Sally and Tony Brown reported one in their trap at Holme Hale near Swaffham, Norfolk. Neil Sherman reported 2 individuals at his trap run on heathland at the Ipswich Golf Course, Suffolk, Darren Underwood, in Long Melford, reported another Suffolk record on the same night. Reg Arthur at St Osyth in Essex caught a further two (B Goodey pers. comm.).

Again courtesy of Brian Goodey, I have heard of a further Essex record on the 27th June from Lawford, Essex at Ian Rose's trap. The SMG meeting at Staverton Thicks on the 29th June also turned up at least a further two individuals. In the following week Jeff Higgott at Rushmere St Andrew, next door to the Ipswich Golf Course had a further one as did Landguard both on the 5th July 2001.

Colin Plant in Hertfordshire also reported an individual on 6th July, this being a new species for the Hertfordshire county moth list.

Over roughly the same period a number of migrant records of Silver Barred were reported from Essex and the SMG had a singleton of this species at their visit to Redgrave Fen.

My First Nights Moth Trapping - By Jon Clifton

Back in 1989 when I met a pretty young girl from Essex and eventually took her back 'home' to meet my parents the options of an evening out at a cinema, restaurant or night club seemed an easy decision to make...... not so for a budding naturalist, I had seen somewhere in a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust magazine that a Moth Evening was to commence at some Whitmore Hay near Lichfield some seven miles from Mum & Dad's. Well what about this I thought and without waiting for a reply rushed this sexy babe off to the local 'common' both dressed to dazzle each other rather than grovel about amongst bramble thickets looking for moths.

We met at the appointed time near dusk and waited for our 'leader' to arrive but was soon told by one of the other four or five folk who had gathered that Mr so-and-so would not be along due to some other excusable thing he was up to that night. We were left with a second leader who only happened to have the remains of a Heath trap so we duly took what we had and arranged the bulb lying on a sheet amongst the thickets and grasses. Myself and the 'co-leader' had a torch so we reverted to hunting for moths by torch light and I remember catching this rather small greyish moth with a yellow leading edge to the wings, "ah, that's a common footman" we were told. This rather bizarre introduction to my mothing career lasted from only 10 to 11pm in the middle of July. We somehow managed to catch just ten species of which one was only acclaimed as an emerald sp.!!

I never did ask my young lady how she enjoyed the evening due to my ignorance and enjoyment of seeing such wonderful and oddly named species such as the bright-line brown eye and the yellow-tailed tussock!

Did she leave me for a more sane gentleman, no, I married her and she lets me keep moths in the fridge now!!!!!!

Reports from recorders around the county

Records reported here have not yet been checked by the Suffolk Moth Panel.

Moths at Ipswich Golf Club - June 2001 - by Neil Sherman

This month has seen both numbers of moths and the variety of species increasing rapidly. Looks like the season is finally underway after a slow start. Species, which have in the past put in an appearance in May e.g. the hawk-moths, have now been recorded this month.

The reason for this activity has been the much warmer nights, culminating on the 26th/27th when there were thunderstorms all around but very little rain actually falling on the site which resulted in the best night of the year so far with 115 species recorded (plus a few still to sort out) in 2 traps.

Best species among the list for that night were 2 Red-necked Footman, the first recorded in Suffolk for some years.

The total number of species recorded for the month was 236 (146 macros). Possible highlights on the micro front were: Opostega salaciella (regular), Tinea semifulvella (24th), Eidophasia messingiella (28th), Eucosma campoliliana (26th), Scoparia pyralella (25th). Other notables among the list were: Monopis obviella (26th second site record), Sitochroa verticalis(21st also the second recorded individual).

Macros of note included: Festoon (5 recorded on 2 dates), Fox (a female on the 11th), Orange Footman (15 recorded during the month), Grey Arches (second site record on 24th), Cream-bordered Green Pea (26th), Shaded Fan-foot (9 recorded so far) plus 2 more new macros: the Currant Pug on the 11th and a Mother Shipton seen on its daytime flight on the 14th. The first migrants have also been seen this month with 1 Silver Y and 1 White-point recorded.

A moth that has been notable as it seems to be having a good year is the Shoulder-striped Wainscot - many more than normal have been trapped.

Moths at Ipswich Golf Club - July 2001 - by Neil Sherman

July turned out to be an excellent month for moth recording, with warm sunny days and hot humid nights. Only the third week broke the mould with cold damp conditions. During the warm spells, 2 traps were run at the site most nights, being moved around each time so as not to capture the same moths again. The total species recorded reflects the good conditions and extra recording effort, with 343 species being noted during the month (195 macros).

Best night was the 30th/31st, when 156 species were recorded (the best night ever so far in my time at this site). There were 2 other good nights: the 22nd/23rd (151 sp.) and 29th/30th (149sp.).

Of possible interest on the micro front were: Morophaga choragella (24/7), Yponomeuta rorrella (5/7), Ypsolopha nemorella (31/7), Recurvaria leucatella (30/7), Cochylidia rupicola (a hemp agrimony feeder caught appropriately near the foodplant on 10/7), Olindia schumacheriana (4/7 + 10/7), Evergestis pallidata (24/7 + 29/7) all new site records. Other micros of interest included Yponomeuta evonymella (very common - there has apparently been a migration of this species), Aristotelia ericinella (more common flying round Heather than at light), Agriphila latistria (on 30/7), Sitochroa verticalis (2 records) and Nomophila noctuella (1 seen).

New macros for the site seen during this period were: Barred Yellow (on 10/7 - not much of the foodplant, dog rose on site), Small Waved Umber (30/7 - no foodplant, clematis on site or in the area - must have come from a garden where cultivated varieties could be used), Lunar-spotted Pinion (29/7 - have only recorded lots of the Lesser-spotted Pinion in the past), Small Rufous (5 caught on the 29/7 trapping close to the foodplant Jointed rush), Scarce Silver-lines (2 recorded - been looking for this one for some time!) and a Bedstraw Hawk-moth on the 22/7.

Bedstraw Hawk-moth caught at Ipswich Golf Course

Other interesting macros seen were: female Goat moth (5/7 first time seen at light here (or anywhere!), caterpillars have been recorded in the past), Leopard (2 on 22/7), Festoon (13 recorded during the month), Blue-bordered Carpet (rare here and not seen for a few years so good to record it on 2 occasions), Poplar Hawk-moth (11 in one trap on 29th!), Lobster (second record on the 2/7), Chocolate-tip (a return to previous numbers of a few years ago), Southern Wainscot (2 recorded - has only appeared here in the last 2 years), Suspected (30/7), Olive (3 recorded on 29/7) and Brown-veined Wainscot (30/7).

Along with the Bedstraw Hawk-moth and large numbers of Yponomeuta evonymella, other migrants seen were Silver Y (4) and Dark Sword-grass (2). As always more Silver Y have been flushed out of the Heather during the day than at light. Hopefully the good weather will continue - a good year is due after the last few poor seasons.

Moths at Rendham during January - July 2001 - by Matthew Deans

Most readers will already know that I run a mercury vapour lamp with Skinner trap regularly in my garden of Milltoft, Rendham. The garden comprises a third of an acre of mainly mature Oak with Elm, Hawthorn, Hazel, Silver Birch and Walnut mixed in; along with several Apple and Pear trees. Bordering the garden is a set-a-side field, redundant churchyard (with Pine and Yew) and other gardens. The River Alde meanders through the village about 600 yards to the south of the garden, hence a few wetland species occasionally turn up to light.

The start of the year was very quiet with Winter Moth added in the opening days, regularly appearing on the kitchen windows. The only other species recorded was an Early Moth on January 26th. No extra species were recorded in February (mainly due to poor weather) and little recording was done during March as I was away on an expedition to Thailand and the U.A.E. from 10th. However four March Moths and a single Pale Brindled Beauty came to light on March 7th.

The trap was run on four occasions during April with just five species recorded: Red Chestnut, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Hebrew Character and Early Grey. Eleven moths of four of the above species were recorded on 23rd, the best night of the year so far!

An early Pebble Prominent appeared on May 3rd with three Hebrew Characters. Four days later a Brindled Pug appeared on the kitchen window. May 8th saw five species at light including two Swallow Prominents, Chocolate-tip, two Muslin Moths and a Powdered Quaker - the same night a year ago produced 28 species, illustrating just how slow a start to the season it has been. A single Great Prominent was recorded on May 13th.

Always exciting is the first Hawk-moth of the year - this year it was a Poplar on May 18th; with Spruce Carpet, Waved Umber and Least Black Arches also noted that night. Cool and clear conditions on May 23rd resulted in only 16 species - another Chocolate-tip along with Epiblema scutulana, two Clouded-bordered Brindle, eight Rustic Shoulder-knot, two Treble Lines and a Pale Mottled Willow. The 13 Cockchafers on this date almost outnumbered the moths! Sallow Kitten and Light Brocade graced the trap on May 25th and five days later was notable for Hawk-moths with one Eyed, three Poplar and two Elephant recorded.

A female Ghost Moth alighted on the lounge window on June 11th, followed by a male in the trap on June 28th. For some reason the Leopard Moth only appears in the garden once every year - this year was no exception with the sole record on July 5th!

Good numbers of micros appeared during June and July. There was a notable influx of Yponomeuta evonymella peaking at c20 on July 5th. Coleophora frischella came to light on June 11th. Others of interest included Metzneria lappella, Dichomeris marginella (Juniper Webber), Helcystogramma rufescens, Acleris holmiana and Celypha striana. Amongst the more interesting pyralidae were Calamotropha paludella, Nymphula stagnata (Beautiful China-mark), Ostrinia nubilalis (European Corn Borer) (one on July 4th, two on 5th and one on 29th), Phlyctaenia perlucidalis, Pyralis farinalis (Meal Moth), Trachycera suavella, Pempelia formosa and Phycitodes maritima. P. formosa is a particularly attractive pyralid and one not often recorded on SMG moth nights, so the regular occurrence of this Elm feeder was welcomed.

Lasiocampidae (except Drinker) are rarely recorded in the garden, although the Lackey appeared on July 12th and a big furry female Oak Eggar on July 22nd - the latter the first garden record.

The Chinese Character appeared a few times and the Figure of Eighty was often present. Interesting geometers included Small Emerald, Treble Brown Spot, Wood Carpet (July 12th), the attractive Blue-bordered Carpet (on July 4th and 22nd), Foxglove and White-spotted Pugs, Treble Bar, Lilac Beauty and White-pinion Spotted. Particulary pleasing was the regular occurrence of the Magpie Moth, Orange Moth (maximum three on July 5th including a female) and the Barred Red. The sole record of Garden Carpet was one of the form thules on July 4th.

A single Pine Hawk-moth on July 8th was the first garden record and was part of a movement of this species (with many other recorders noting their first records). Privet Hawk-moths appeared on eight nights - maximum three on July 12th, Eyed-Hawk on July 4th (first since end of May) and the only two Lime-Hawks were on the night of June 5th. Poplar and Elephant Hawk-moths were trapped almost nightly with the maximum trapped in any one night five and six respectively.

Numbers of Prominents were generally low although did include a Maple Prominent on July 5th - the first record for two years. The first record of Brown-tail was on July 12th and the White Satin was again recorded this year - two on July 22nd.

Amongst the Arctiidae recorded were the first garden records of Round-winged Muslin and Water Ermine. The latter was discovered amongst a haul of five White Ermine and 27 Buff Ermine on June 22nd. Sadly there have been no records of Garden Tiger yet this year - I will keep looking. The Short-cloaked Moth has had a good year here with frequent records.

Noctuids of note included Pale-shouldered Brocade, Campion, Bird's Wing (June 24th), Small Angle Shades, Olive (one on July 22nd with three on 29th), Lunar-spotted Pinion - regularly recorded, Clouded Brindle (two on July 8th), Large Nutmeg, Ear Moth (July 29th and thankfully not in my ear!), Fen Wainscot (July 22nd), Marbled White Spot and Scarce Silver Lines (July 22nd). One of the highlights has been the good numbers of Golden Y's trapped this season. Both Plain and Beautiful Golden Y's have been particularly obvious this year with an impressive seven Plain Golden Y caught on July 2nd.

As the migrant season draws closer it is perhaps appropriate to end on this subject. So far this year they have been in short supply with Plutella xylostella, Ostrinia nubilalis (European Corn Borer), White-point (only one on June 5th), Bordered Straw (one on 29th July), Turnip (June 5th and 11th) and Silver Y recorded.

Recent records from Eye - Recorder Paul Kitchener

Paul has recently moved house, although he says he's only moved half a mile from his old house. Paul reports the following recent records of interest; Epiblema foenella, Evergestis pallidata, Aethes rubigana, Cnephasia stephensiana, Chilo phragmitella, Nymphula stagnata, Dioryctria abietella, Pyrausta purpuralis, Loxostege sticticalis (the last named on 29 July). Double Lobed (several), Grass Emerald (Paul's first Eye record), Dingy Shears (several), White-spotted Pug, Dog's Tooth (Paul's first Eye record, 29 July), Gothic, Plain Pug, Wood Carpet (Paul's first Eye record, 30 July).

Field reports - Tony Prichard

SMG MV - Carlton Marshes - 15th June

As I drove up the A12 to this SWT reserve there was always a bank of dark thunderclouds to the west and in places evidence of heavy downpours on the road. Hopes that the site might avoid any of the rain were dashed when the heavens opened just as I arrived at the reserve. After a short while the rain stopped but with the vegetation now wet prospects for a good moth night were not excellent. Jon Clifton from Norfolk joined the group for the evening and in the end after carrying two generators some way into the reserve we set up 6 lights covering grazing meadow and fen/reed-bed habitats.

Numbers of moths around the light were rather low, but we did manage to attract some interesting species for the habitat; Epermenia falciformis, Nascia cilialis, Eyed Hawk-moth (x4), Flame Wainscot, Reed Dagger, good numbers of Clouded-bordered Brindle and Small Clouded Brindle.

MV - Bromeswell Green - 20th June

With the start of some decent weather a few of the more rash recorders decided to hold a mid-week meeting at the SWT Bromeswell Green reserve. 6 lights were set up covering the woodland and meadow habitats. This reserve has been well recorded in the past but it is interesting to note whether species are still present or if any new species have moved into the area. A rather late finish to the night meant that those of us going into work the following day wished we'd booked the day off.

Moths of interest included; Nemophora degeerella, Alabonia geoffrella, Prays fraxinella, Apotomis capreana, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Bird's Wing and Sharp-angled Carpet. The first two species are ones that I would normally class as day-flying so it was interesting to record them at light.

Meadow at Bromeswell Green

SMG MV - Icknield Way, Kings Forest - 22nd June

A moth night intended to look for species associated with Breckland habitats, which still remain between the blocks of conifers, although Rafe Eley has commented that the habitat has apparently degraded in recent years. While we were setting up the traps good views of a Nightjar were seen flying over one of the cleared areas of the forest, clapping its wings as it flew.

A clear sky meant that temperatures dropped through the evening, which no doubt had an impact on the numbers of species recorded. We spread our traps along the Icknield Way trying to select places which would not involve walking through the long grass, which no doubt had plenty of deer ticks just waiting to latch onto us.

A reasonably fair night of recording with 79 species recorded with those of note including; Sitochroa verticalis, Clay Triple-lines, Cream Wave, Wood Carpet, Four-dotted Footman, Cream-spot Tiger, Clouded Buff and Marbled White-spot.

SMG MV - Staverton Thicks - 29th June

This was the group's second visit to this privately owned ancient woodland site - well known for the large number of ancient pollarded oaks and hollies in the wood. The venue obviously attracted people's interest with 13 people turning up for the meeting, including John Chainey, Jenny Spence and Jon Clifton from out of the county. After some debate about who was going to trap where we ended up trapping in the Thicks with 11 lights running in various parts of the wood. Weather conditions were very good with temperatures staying above 15ºC and the numbers of moths were correspondingly high.

Ancient oak pollards at Staverton Thicks

The main intention of this meeting was to see if any Scarce Merveille du Jour could be recorded from the wood as the habitat looked suitable and there have been historic records of the species in the county. However, with the number of lights run and given the good weather conditions the fact that none were recorded would seem to suggest that the species if present is not present in good numbers.

During the week Red-necked Footman had appeared in several recorders' traps in East Anglia and thoughts that the migration wave may have finished were proved unfounded when at least a couple were recorded at the lights. The Grey Arches and Marbled White-spot seem to have been having a good year with several recorders picking up the species as new to their site and were again recorded on the night.

Other species of interest included; Schoenobius gigantella, Ostrinia nubilalis, Anania verbascalis, Cryptoblabes bistriga, Capperia britanniodactyla, Blotched Emerald, Tawny Wave, Large Twin-spot Carpet, Oak-tree Pug, Dwarf Pug, Brindled White-spot, Orange Footman, Cream-spot Tiger, Broom Moth, White-point, Alder Moth, Rosy Marbled, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Water Ermine and Rufous Minor (gen. det.).

MV - Walberswick NNR - 30th June

The intention of this meeting was to record an area of the reserve not normally covered, as most recording at the site has been targeted at the famous reed-beds on the site looking for White-mantled Wainscot. With 5 MV lights we managed to cover fen and heathland habitats in the area south of Westwood Lodge. This night will be remembered mostly for the overwhelming numbers of biting midges which plagued us from the moment we arrived until almost the end of the night.

As we cleared up the traps we were found 3 Oblique Carpet had found their way into the traps - this species appears to be rather localised in Suffolk and was a new species to all those present.

97 species were recorded in all with the more interesting species including; Brachmia inornatella, Monochroa palustrella, Chilo phragmitella, Phlyctaenia perlucidalis, Nascia cilialis, Oblique Carpet, Rosy Footman, Four-dotted Footman, Cream-spot Tiger, Broom Moth, Striped Wainscot, Flame Wainscot, Silky Wainscot, Marbled White-spot and Pinion-streaked Snout.

SMG MV - Redgrave Fen - 6th July

This meeting was held at the SWT Reserve of Redgrave and Lopham Fen with the intention of recording in those parts of the reserve lying within the county of Suffolk - Redgrave Fen. Weather conditions on the night were good with warm temperatures, little or no wind and the threatened rain holding off for the night. One amusing (in hindsight) incident was when one member of the group tried to light their new tilley lamp, which didn't go as planned and resulted in the outside of the tilley being covered in flames. Thoughts entered my head of exploding tilley lamps, how do you turn a flame-covered tilley off and it looked a bit close to my car. Fortunately the flames were doused with a car rug but the soot-covered lamp didn't look very new afterwards.

We ran six lamps scattered amongst the reed-bed and birch and oak scrub on the verge of the fen. Unfortunately we managed to place one trap in what we realised later must have been the ponies' toilet - if the smell was anything to go by. However, this did not seem to put the moths off from going into the traps.

This was the best night ever for the group with 190 species recorded - there were hopes of reaching the 200 mark near the end. Highlights were a Fen Square-spot and two Lempke's Gold Spot which have been previously recorded at the site. We have been trying to track down Lempke's Gold Spot for quite a while amongst the Gold Spots we have been seeing elsewhere around the county. The impression one gets on seeing Lempke's Gold Spot is that it is a much redder moth than the Gold Spot which may help in the future in picking out further Lempke's.

Another highlight was a Silver Barred which was recorded from one of the traps amongst the reeds. This species is localised as a resident to the fens of Cambridgeshire but is occasionally recorded as a migrant elsewhere and this individual is a presumed migrant, other migrant individuals having been recorded in Essex around this time. A small grey pug was taken away by Neil Sherman and proved to be the rather localised Valerian Pug.

Not surprisingly with such a high number of species recorded there were quite a few other species of interest. These included; Morophaga choragella, Parachronistis albiceps, Brachmia blandella, Anacampsis blattariella, Teleiodes alburnella, Eidophasia messingiella, Pseudosciaphila branderiana, Endothenia ericetana, Eucosma campoliliana, Chilo phragmitella, Schoenobius gigantella, Nymphula stagnata, Ostrinia nubilalis, Phlyctaenia perlucidalis, Nascia cilialis, Pyralis farinalis, Cryptoblabes bistriga, Small Emerald, Lesser Cream Wave, Lilac Beauty, Four-dotted Footman, Minor Shoulder-knot, Miller, Double Lobed, Fen Wainscot, Marbled White-spot, Cream-bordered Green Pea and Dotted Fan-foot.

MV - Aldeburgh-Thorpeness - 7th July

A rather wet day with heavy showers preceded this moth night. Arriving at the meeting site I thought the chances were slim as the rain continued to fall. After a while with some signs of the rain easing we decided to relocate to a local hostelry to give the rain a chance to clear before we made a final decision on whether we would go ahead or not. In the end during a lull in the rain we decided to put a couple of lights out near the deserted cottage next to the shoreline. It was not long before the rain started and gradually increased in intensity calling an end to a rather brief recording session.

The vegetated shingle beach between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness

With two lights we did manage to record 48 species, with some species of note including; Chilo phragmitella, Schoenobius gigantella, Satin Wave, Dog's Tooth, Striped Wainscot and Cream-bordered Green Pea.

SMG MV - Lineage Wood - 13th July

Lineage Wood is an ancient wood which has suffered from extensive coniferisation in the past. The site lies on a chalky soil and chalk-loving species are recorded from the site, including Roman snails.

For this visit we were concentrating on the south-westerly end of the wood with 5 MV lamps amongst the more mixed woodland areas of the wood. Even though conditions were rather damp following a day of rain the moths were quite active and turned up in good numbers.

Pretty Chalk Carpet

Moth of the night was probably Pretty Chalk Carpet that turned up in good numbers at most of the lights. Although a single Scarce Silver-lines which arrived early on was a nice moth to see at the sheet.

Other species of interest included; Yponomeuta plumbella, Anacampsis blattariella, Agapeta zoegana, Hedya ochroleucana, Eucosma obumbratana, Small Emerald, The Fern, Scallop Shell, Barred Rivulet, Magpie Moth, White Satin, Clouded Brindle, Slender Brindle and Marbled White-spot.

MV - Benacre Broad - 14th July

This was a visit to areas of the broad not accessible to the general public, covering woodland and reed-bed habitats. Heavy showers during the day along with falling temperatures meant that hopes of a good species list to match those at Lineage Wood were unlikely. 4 traps were placed to cover the reed-bed while one light was placed in the largely sycamore dominated woodland. Moths were particularly slow to come to light and meant that we closed up rather early.

Amongst the 42 species recorded were a few species of note including; Chilo phragmitella, Plain Wave, Rosy Footman, Water Ermine, Grey Arches and Crescent.

The reed-bed habitat looks promising for later in the year when more of the reed-bed species are on the wing and hopefully weather conditions are better.

SMG MV - Orfordness - 20th July

This meeting was quite an expedition with the group meeting up at Orford quay prior to transferring all the equipment onto the ferry and then onto transport when we reached the other side. The weather conditions may have seemed reasonable on the mainland but in the exposed habitat of the reserve there was a strong wind blowing the whole time we were there,  with some rain thrown in overnight. The sites trapped offered very little in the way of shelter which was certainly required on this night - so not surprisingly moths numbers recorded were low although there was the odd species of interest.

Hopefully we'll be returning to record some of the more vegetated, sheltered sites in the future when the weather must be better.

The Suffolk Moth Group at Orfordness - cold, windy and wet

MV - Thorpeness Golf Course - 21st July

After a windy night at Orfordness the night before the plan to visit another coastal site was changed when the winds seemed a bit strong on the coast. Moving slightly inland to the nearby golf course at Thorpeness seemed to offer a more sheltered site. We ran 5 MV lights and a single actinic light.

Weather conditions were quite warm and the traps, positioned in more sheltered areas, were certainly filled with plenty of moths - a bit of a contrast with the previous night with over 165 species recorded.

Species of possible interest included; Grass Emerald; Small Scallop, Magpie, Garden Tiger, Triple-spotted Clay, Gothic, Suspected, Scarce Bordered Straw, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Marbled White-spot (again) and Shaded Fan-foot (2nd site record).

The Miller

MV - Shingle Street - 25th July

A mid-week visit by 3 of the group to this well-known vegetated shingle bank on the coast of Suffolk, with nearby meadows, saltmarsh and areas of reed. Moths were a bit slow to come in to the lights but we did manage to record some interesting species before the mist rolled in. 4 MV lights were operated and did not produce a big count of species at 49 - but quality rather than quantity.

Vegetated shingle bank at Shingle Street

Species of possible interest included; Pima boisduvaliella, Straw Underwing (first for the year), Phycitodes binaevella, Dog's Tooth, Crescent-striped, Reed Dagger, Evergestis extimalis (migrants?), Garden Tiger, Ground Lackey and Agdistis bennetii.


SMG MV - Dingle/Westwood Marshes - 27th July

The SMG's meeting at this reserve with mainly reed-bed habitat succeeded in recording its target of White-mantled Wainscot. Its probably not too surprising that the species is present on the site as the Walberswick reed-beds are not too far away.

This was a site which obviously attracted quite a bit of attention or at least the possibility of seeing White-mantled Wainscot did - either way people turning up weren't disappointed. Apart from the White-mantled Wainscot one of the memorable features of this night were the large number of Yellow Underwings in the traps - Large Yellow Underwings, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings and Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings.

Other species of interest included Monopis monachella (a pretty black and white tineid, whose main distribution in the country seems to be centred on this area of the Suffolk coast), Agriphila selasella, Phlyctaenia perlucidalis, Schoenobius gigantella, Four-dotted Footman, Kent Black Arches, Reed Dagger, Fenn's Wainscot, Crescent, Silky Wainscot, Blackneck and Dotted Fan-foot.
Westwood Marshes - at the bottom of the field
White-mantled Wainscot


MV - Barnhamcross Common - 28th July

This Breckland site, south of Thetford, is under development pressure with a proposal for a new bypass to cut through the southern half of this common so we're keen on gaining more records for this site.

Weather conditions appeared very favourable and 5 MV lights and 1 actinic light were placed around the southern part of the common. The continuing trend of good July nights continued with over 170 species, although there were not many Breck specialities amongst the list.

Species of possible interest included; Anania verbascalis, Adaina microdactyla, Grass Emerald, Royal Mantle, Dark Umber, Yarrow Pug, August  Thorn, Purple Clay and Double Lobed

We were joined by Mark Telfer, a coleopterist from Cambridgeshire who was looking for a BAP species of beetle, Harpalus froelichi, which is found in the Brecks. He thought it might be a long shot but he joined us for the night and recorded 3 individuals of the beetle at the various lights we had set out. This is apparently the fifth site in the country for this species of beetle. Lee Gregory in Thetford subsequently recorded another individual at his moth trap, which was confirmed by Mark.
Barnhamcross Common
Nymphula stagnata (Beautiful China-mark)
Nut-tree Tussock
Black Arches

August Thorn

Contact details

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