The following night Elasticha cannapennella and a difficult to identify micro. Looked to be heading towards Depressaria douglasella, an extinct Herts moth, recorded once in 1917. Upon dissection it turned out to be the less rare D. chaerophylli, with 5 county records, most quite recently. Still a pleasing moth to take.
On the 6th another Coleophora sp, this time C. saxicolella before a rustic the following night became the 4000th moth record for the year and this was followed the next evening (8th) by a flame carpet being the 350th species for the year. Records were now beginning to build up. However, a netting with headtorch session along quiet village lanes came up with a small micro, showing 2 distinctive dots. Initial identification led me to Acompsia schmidtiellus. This was OK until I noted it was another Herts extinct, recorded once in 1953 from Welwyn. Another for Graeme to dissect and create a slide for Colin the county recorder to approve. This turned out to be a correct identification and my second Herts extinct of the year. Most gratifying. Interestingly, the foodplant is wild majoram, which grows in abundance just 200 yards from where I netted it, so worth noting the date and checking the banks of River Ash where the plant grows next August.
September and a few days birding in The Camargue for my annual trip meant no new moths were taken until 12th, whilst a copper underwing on the 8th became the 5000th record for the year. New target: could I pass 6000 records and 400 species in a year?
On the 12th a 2nd visit to Millennium Wood with locals in attendance and a good haul of moths including Paraswammerdamia albicapitella, Acleris emargana and Epinotia nisella.
On the 18th, another expected macro was recorded, White point and this became the 300th macro for my parish records. On the 23rd another tricky moth of the Dioryctria species. My studies with hand held lens had me thinking D. sylvestrella. My only concern on my id was that this would be a new moth for Herts. A female, so no value in dissection, so off to Graeme. He thought the same, so off to Colin, who confirmed my original id. Another good record for the year.
Finally, September finished with another macro species, Pale pinion on the 28th taking the growing totals to 180 micros and 196 macros: 376 species since 01.iii.15. Not too bad at all.
Lots of new for year records, as expected in October, but the only new for parish records was a Plutella porrectella on the 12th. A feathered thorn in the garden on the 10th was my 200th macro for the year. This helped move my records to 212 macros and 182 micros; 394 species.
And so to November and on 1st of the month a meeting in Millennium Wood with Graeme, Colin and 11 local residents and 12 children. A leaf mining day. Children were dispatched with bags, having been shown what to look for and within half an hour we had 20+ bags of leaves to wade through. A fascinating morning and in total, once Colin came back with his identifications, 24 new micros for the parish records. Excellent time and one I hope to repeat next year in a different wood within the parish. Millennium Wood, by the name, is only 15 years old so few mature trees around the boundary, the rest just establishing themselves, but all native ones.
on the 18th another netting session with Graeme and Steve in Millennium Wood gave up Acleris logiana, Acleris ferrugana and a dotted chestnut as new for parish records. Stigmella salicis became the 400th moth species of the year and on the 26th, a winter moth became the 6000th record for the year. Targets achieved!
In all, with putting the Skinner away on 02.xii.15 the annual records stood at 6066 moth records made up of 217 macro species and 211 micro species. This constitutes a most pleasing total of 428 species for the year.
The additions to the parish records mean that they presently stand at 304 macros and 269 micros, 573 species, so certainly should pass 600 during next year.
The plans for 2016 include the purchase of a heath actinic battery powered trap which I plan to use outside in a variety of habitats every evening as well as to continue to use the Skinner in the garden. There are several good looking sites within the parish that I have earmarked for trapping. I have received full permission to run traps in most woods, with a few sites still pending. Should be an exciting year.
Finally, a huge thank you to Graeme J Smith for his help with tricky identifications and dissections. Without this valuable support, I would be none the wiser on the trickier identifications of micros. Great stuff.
|lesser spotted pinion|
|Millennium Wood moth night: nets, head torches, specimen tubes and beer.|
|Flame carpet: 350th moth species for the year|
|Pale mottled willow with Cheletomorpha lepidopterum mites: planning a study next year.|
See Vol 127, Part 6, pages 265 -266 of Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.