Monday, 16 June 2014

Small Elephant stampede

Like Peter, David and Martin I braved Friday nights storms with David Roy and also trapped on some good quality chalk grassland at Aston Rowant. We only had two traps out and took one down fairly early (after no more than an hour) and packed up completely shortly after midnight because of the impressive storms we were watching from up high coming our way - the storm seemed to go round us but we still got pretty wet. However, moth numbers were stupendous and uncountable especially as the rains started. As a bench mark we did have a go at counting the number of Small Elephant Hawkmoths which started pouring in before it had even got dark - and we had over 120! Reddish Light Arches and Shears were the two most numerous species with well over 200 of each and Shaded Pug was extremely numerous as well. Every egg carton was absolutely covered in moths. The species list wasn't as impressive as Peter et al's (still haven't counted it up yet but about 80-90 species I would guess) and we inevitably missed a lot of micros, but one moth we saw in fair number, over 10, that I only saw for the first time last year was Royal Mantle. Was also nice to see 3 different Swift species with Common, Ghost and Map-winged. Marc Botham


  1. No Royal Mantle for us, I'm afraid (that would have been very nice). However, one was caught on nearby Steps Hill last year so it could turn up at Pitstone. We did get a Blomer's Rivulet but, more's the pity, had to disregard it as a hidden stowaway in Peter's trap. It was apparently the commonest moth where he trapped in Herefordshire the previous night!

  2. haha, Blomer's Rivulet as commonest moth, still never seen one. That night of the storm was incredible. Had thought it would be which is why I was so desperate to ignore the threat of a storm. My garden trap was suitably rewarded with a moth bonanza too with 3 Small Elephant, 2 Elephant and a Privet Hawkmoth amongst a long list of the usual suspects (including 3 pristine Marbled Coronets). I can't remember already but either the same night or Saturday night I also had Ruddy Carpet in the garden trap suggesting there is a local population after my pair last year as well. On the theme of things coming out early this year David Roy just showed me a photo of a moth that flew past him in Crowmarsh the other night - Old Lady!! Mid-June, that is by far the earliest I've ever come across.

  3. Last week I counted (yes...I counted) 76 Blomer's Rivulet, some days later on a cooler night it was around 30 - same location - and last night in a different area I had 3.


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