Sunday, 17 May 2015

Another Toadflax Brocade

A second Toadflax Brocade on the 15th in garden trap, this time a better marked individual.

Toadflax Brocade 15/05/15 Didcot

Also, trapped at Watlington Hill for 3 hours on the same night to look for Light Feathered Rustic joined by Martin Harvey for the first couple of hours. Pretty good conditions and certainly a much improved night compared to a week earlier at the same site. However, moth numbers were still very low and most species were only singletons. I therefore considered a pair of Light Feathered Rustics fairly late in the night, one to each of the lights I was running, a very good result. I ended the night at about 12:30 with 35 species of 96 individuals with only Green Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet and Light Brocade breaching double figures (just).

4 traps (2 Mv Robinsons and 2 Actinic Heaths) left overnight on the same night at Harcourt Arboretum for a show and tell style moth session at the Fascination of Plants public event there on Saturday was even more disappointing. Just 31 species most of which were single individuals and including a fairly fresh looking Lunar Marbled Brown  - thought this was over? A nice Peacock Moth was probably pick of the bunch with the two most abundant species being Orange Footman (8) and Poplar Hawkmoth (9), the latter saving the day in terms of public engagement (although the heap of 60+ Cockchafers were also a surprising crowd-pleaser). Daytime observations whilst doing butterfly walks included two species I haven't knowingly seen before - Micropterix calthella and Glyphipterix fuscoviridella. Whilst these weren't such hits with the audience they did at least give me a good chance to show the incredible variation in size of different moth species :). 

New for the year for me across all those traps were: Heart and Dart, Celypha lacunana, Tawny-barred Angle, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Barred Hook-tip, Peacock, Scoparia ambigualis, Rivulet, Pale Oak Beauty, Broken-barred Carpet, Shears, Grey Pine Carpet, Peach Blossom, Campion and Light Feathered Rustic - apologies for the order, just how they were written in my book.
Marc Botham, Didcot 

Broken-barred Carpet - Harcourt Arboretum 15/05/15


  1. Hi Marc, excellent that you found Light Feathered Rustic at Watlington Hill! I imagine that Shirburn Hill and Swyncombe Downs would be worth trying too. Had any luck with it at Aston Rowant? To me Rivulet seems a good find too (very uncommon in Bucks) - was that at Harcourt?

  2. Hi Dave,

    yes, I suspect it's all the way along the ridgeway. I haven't yet managed to get out to Aston Rowant at right time - last year I was too late and this year I didn't get permission in time hence I trapped at Watlington Hill instead. I'm still waiting for another semi decent night weather-wise and then i'll try AR, but that might not come before I head off to France with Nick to survey Violet Coppers looking ta the weather forecast. Martin Townsend had it last year at Bozedown if I remember correctly so the dots are slowly getting joined together.

    Rivulet: I didn't realise it was uncommon in Bucks. I've had it in various places over the years and at Harcourt a couple of times before as well, where yes, the most recent record was from. Looking at other records they're all in May as well. It's a very odd year - species out on early, species out late, very low numbers.....I've heard from our bird experts that tit broods are small and malnourished, with many already not surviving. The tits and robins in our garden have been frantically visiting the feeders and I have rarely seem them return with insect prey. Not good. It dawned on my this morning that I haven't seen a single Purple Thorn yet this year - there are loads of other species that I haven't seen yet that I normally would've but Purple Thorn is usually fairly common in most places I have trapped in fair numbers and I would have expected to have seen at least one by now. What a year, and the forecast shows little improvement.


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