Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Late summer & Early autumn mothing

Catches in my usual trapping garden at my friends house continued on being pretty good, with quality and quantity, which made going to empty the trap each morning quite a drawn out affair, which was nice on the warm late summer mornings that came during the end of august and beginning of september.

Large yellow underwings continued to dominate the numbers up until the beginning of september, by which time over 250 had been caught in the garden, in the space of a few weeks. Lesser yellow underwings, square-spot rustics and copper underwing agg. were all common visitors over these weeks too, but some new and interesting moths also appeared to test my ID skills. More Old Ladies were caught on 2 more sessions but then suddenly stopped appearing.

Typical late august underwing filled egg-box
5 new macros graced my trap on the 28th august, including a colourfull Yellow Shell, an incredibly patterned Lychnis, as well as a Flounced Rustic, Mouse and Vine's Rustic. Only the latter two have returned in later sessions, the others not being seen again. One single Burnished Brass appeared that night too, a stunning moth and only the 2nd i've caught. The last session in august 2 nights later on the 30th produced a little less inspiring trap, with only 2 Common Pug being new.

Burnished Brass
September started very well with some wonderful weather in the first few days of the month, still providing some excellent trapping conditions. I ran my trap twice in the first week of the month and caught well on both occasions, although the evening of the 4th was the best of the two. 22 species were caught which is fantastic for me, and included 3 colourful new macros, Flame Shoulder, Gold Spot and Orange Sallow. I'd been hoping for some of the colourful sallow moths, and the Gold Spot was truly stunning too. I also got 5 new Micros which caused an ID nightmare, but still interesting to find new micros and add to the tally.

Flame Shoulder

Orange Sallow

I had a little break of 10 days before running the trap again, when I had moved into my Girlfriend's parents house for a month to house-sit and look after the dogs. Not great being away from home for that long but the plus point was that we had a garden that I could trap in. I took full advantage and ran the trap 12 times during our time there. The weather at the start of our stay was pretty rubbish so I was getting poor catches, but they increased slightly whenever nights were slightly milder, but it was never a busy trap in the mornings.
The species tally never got very high and there were only ever one or two of each species, but I did catch some new moths for me, including some nice autumn specialities.

Not surprisingly, Large Yellow Underwing was a common inhabitant of the trap, along with Garden Carpet and Lesser Yellow Underwing. Lunar Underwing was new for me on the 16th, but soon became a familiar sight with several in the trap most days. Other new ones for me included Brimstone (new in the garden at least, seen them before) and Common Marbled Carpet.


One of many Lunar underwings

Fresh looking Lesser Yellow Underwing

On the 25th, 3 excellent autumnal moths were in the trap, 2 Blair's Shoulder Knot, a Barred Sallow and a Pink-barred Sallow, following another stunning moth which was found 3 nights earlier, the awesome Dusky Thorn.

Dusky Thorn

Barred Sallow

Pink-barred Sallow

Pair of Blairs

Towards the end of the trapping period, things dropped off a fair bit, but a couple of Silver-Y's kept things interesting. My penultimate evening trapping before leaving for home once again, on the 2nd of October, was successful however, with 11 species found, and moths both inside, outside underneath and around the trap, even under the chair the trap was sat on. In fact most were found outside the trap which was weird. Only two new ones. a Light Emerald and a Gold Triangle, but another Blair's Shoulder Knot, and my first Willow Beauty in a while were nice.

Light Emerald

Gold Triangle

Common Marbled Carpet

Having moved back home, without a garden, I've decided to put an end to my Mothing activities for the year. The possibility of some more nice autumnal species and some winter moths is attractive, but having to trap in my friends garden makes it logistically difficult. Worthwhile in the spring and summer, but if the trap is only likely to have a handful of moths at best, then I don't think its worth it. Its been a good first year as a moth-trapper, I've caught 111 species in my garden trap and have learned loads. I'm looking forward to the spring already.

Dusky Thorn. Nice.