It was a slow build from just before the spring to the peak moth count and diversity where I was seeing almost 300 moths of 60 or so species in the scientific trap. At this point in the year there are many fewer moths arriving, just a few dozen this morning of 20 or so species. Still picking up an occasional NFM (new for me) and some NFY (new for year).
Among the recent highlights Oak Eggar, White-spotted Pinion, Red Underwing. But long gone are the days of several Hawk-moths to tally each morning and a range of beauties such as the Peppered Moth, Swallow-tailed Moth, Old Lady, Buff-tip, Buff Arches, and Buff-footman.
I’ve not seen any “Tigers” other than the Ruby Tiger, and even the grey and beige brigade numbers have fallen off significantly, just one or two Dark Arches from a high of more than 60 of that species one morning. It’s to be expected, although there are still migrants around and the autumnal moths are yet to arrive (Rosy Rustic aside).
There is always a chance of a Merveille du Jour, which never arrived last year, but there are other oak eaters that have come to the light during the summer, so who knows. Mervs usually fly in September and the December Moth another one to look out for often comes in November. We’ll see.
Favourite moth of the year so far? Hard to pin it down. Eyed Hawk-moth, Lime Hawk-moth, Privet Hawk-moth, Oak Eggar, Swallow-tailed, Buff Arches, Buff-tip, all beautiful, Peppered Moth is astonishing especially its industrial evolution, but I think the one that gave me the biggest surprise seeing it just perched roosting on the outside of the trap on the morning of the 15th May this year was the enormous Puss Moth with its beautiful markings.
Some of the micros deserve a mention too though like the Brassy Long-horn Moths I saw on the Field Scabious along the Cottenham Lode, the Common Yellow Conch, Small China-mark, Small Magpie, Mother of Pearl, Orange Pine Twist, and the Orange Spotted Shoot. And, of course, there was also the Red Underwing