Friday, 14 August 2015

Two rather different nights

Interesting the variation between the catches here at Westcott, Bucks over the past two nights.  On Wednesday I had 55 species (32 macros) and it was the usual noctuid subjects for this time of year which appeared in double figures, with counts of 20 or more for Flame Shoulder, Dark Arches and Common Rustic agg.  There was just a single migrant - yet another Small Mottled Willow - and moths new for the year's garden list were confined to Argyrotaenia ljungiana and Tawny Speckled Pug.  Last night, when it rained all night long, I got considerably more species (83, 47 of them macros) but the noctuids only appeared in ones and twos.  The double digit counts all fell to the less powerful geometers and micros, in particular Riband Wave, Brimstone, Straw Dot and the grass moths, but Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis topped the bill with 124 individuals.  Despite good potential for migrants I managed only a single Silver Y and that was probably a home-bred example.  New for the year's garden list were Acleris emargana, Orange Swift & Six-striped Rustic, while amongst the other moths caught were Swallow-tailed (last seen 23rd July) and Buff Ermine (last seen 31st July).  I've never had Swallow-tailed before in August, although I have seen it as a second brood in the autumn.

Orange Swift, Westcott 13th August

Acleris emargana, Westcott 13th August

Acleris emargana, Westcott 13th August

While I'm reasonably sure it will prove to be emargana because of its sizeable costal scallop, this particular Acleris will be retained because the colouration and its small groups of raised scales suggest that the recently separated Acleris effractana might perhaps be a possibility.  The species has yet to be confirmed by dissection in Bucks.

Dave Wilton

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