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Pyrausta despicata
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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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The weblog below is for naturalists to use to report interesting sightings, ask questions, report on field meetings and generally post pictures and any information or questions generally relevant in some way to the wildlife and geology of Essex. You will need to register and be logged-on to post to the forum, and you need to upload pictures first, for use in posts. Find out more


Sun 25th July 2010 16:58 by Graham Smith
Blue House Moths
Reading Ben's account of his moth night at Canvey Wick and his description of the site reminded be of a friend, the late Bob Glover, who in the 1970s wrote an article entitled "All Waste and Lonely Places" for Birds Magazine, extolling the virtues of brownfield sites long before their value to wildlife became widely known. Being a country boy I scoffed at him at the time but see things differently now, having spent the past thirty years helping to monitor the rapid decline in farmland birds and other wildlife hereabouts. Anyway, Ben might be interested in the results of the past two years moth trapping at Blue House EWT Reserve, North Fambridge. Nick and Tim, warden and assistant warden, kindly set the trap for me once a week and this is gradually building up a picture of the reserve's moth population. Around 225 macro species have been trapped to date and as you would expect of a farmland/wetland reserve, grassland and reedbed species figure prominently in this list, Viz :

Grassland/Scrub : Cream Spot Tiger, Six Spot Burnet, Narrow-bordered Five Spot Burnet, Mother Shipton, Latticed Heath, Burnet Companion, Small Yellow Underwing, Yellow Belle, Plain Pug, Mullein Wave, Antler Moth, Hedge Rustic, Northern Drab, White Point, Shark, Chamomile Shark, Star Wort, Black Rustic, Feathered Gothic, Dusky Lemon Sallow, Lesser Spotted Pinion, Crescent Striped and Small, Large & Feathered Ranunculus.

Wetland : Brown-veined, Bulrush, Fen, Large, Matthew's, Obscure, Shoulder-striped, Silky, Southern, Striped, Twin Spotted and Webb's Wainscots, Reed Dagger, Small Rufous and Pinion Streaked Snout.

There are also a surprising number of woodland species, the most unexpected of which was a Festoon; perhaps a wanderer from Hockley Woods across the river.

The latest catch, on July 20th, consisted of 198 Dark Arches, 49 Rustic/Uncertain, 45 Common/Lesser Common Rustic, 40 Smoky Wainscot, 19 Silver Y, 16 Scarce Footman, 16 Cloaked Minor, 15 Dusky Sallow, 9 Bright-line Brown Eye, 6 Light Arches, 5 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, 4 Crescent Striped, Common Footman, Common Wainscot and Clay; 3 Lesser Yellow Underwing, Drinker and Lunar Spotted Pinion; 2 Shuttle-shaped Dart, Silky Wainscot, Svennson's Copper Underwing and Yarrow Pug; and single Brown-veined Wainscot, Buff Arches, Buff Footman, Chinese Character, Common White Wave, Dark/Grey Dagger, Dingy Footman, Dot Moth, Double Square Spot, Dusky Brocade, Early Thorn, Elephant Hawk Moth, Fen Wainscot, Flame Shoulder, Heart & Dart, Herald, Latticed Heath, Lime Hawk Moth, Mouse, Nutmeg, Oak Eggar, Paerly Underwing. Peppered Moth, Riband Wave, Small Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Small Scallop, White Point and White Satin.

479 macros of 50 species (I think!) - too many for one trap; they tend to batter themselves in these numbers and the object of the exercise is to survey the reserve's moths not beat them up! One curiosity of the site is the disparity between Noctuid and related moths and Geomtrids; and I mean disparity - 80 or 90 to 1 overall, which is difficult to explain. Apart from common species the only migrant of note has been a Ni Moth in August last year.

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