Friday, 28 July 2017

July 27th Mousehold Heath

The Moon
Its moth night at Mousehold once again. There was a concern that it wasn't going ahead as less than an hour before the gear was set up, a thunderstorm appeared out of nowhere. The rain fell so heavily that I was sure the event was going to be cancelled. Thankfully, it passed over as quickly as it arrived, which meant the event was given the go ahead. It turned out to be a clear night after the storm and the moths were soon arriving as if the storm never happened. Here's a few we've caught before in previous moth evenings this year before I talk you through the new ones as part of my attempt in improving my moth ID skills.

Rosy Footman
Spectacled Moth

Canary-shouldered Thorn
Perhaps the most colourful moth of the night, without a doubt, was this canary-shouldered thorn. Only the thorax and 'shoulders' are bright yellow. The wings are more of an orange-brown with a wavy edging and are always held in the manner you can see here when at rest. This a common species that you can find in gardens, parks and woodlands from late July to October.

Black Arches

Another rather beautiful moth that we caught tonight is this black arches. Its easier enough to identify as it is white with black markings. Most of these markings form little arches.

Grey Daggers

  My next moth is also named after it's appearance and markings. This is either a grey dagger or a dark dagger. Both are virtually identical to one another as they are both grey with black markings that look like little daggers. If I have to say which one this individual is, then I would go with grey daggers as it is slightly pale in colour. But in truth, I am just guessing. I am sure an expert will correct me.

Scalloped Oak

This striking species is a scalloped oak. It is similar to the scalloped hazel moth, but it is smaller and it is much brighter in colour. It is orange-brown with a chestnut brown stripe across the middle that has a black spot within it on each wing. This moth also emerges later on in the year compared to the scalloped hazel, emerging from July to August.

Lesser Yellow Underwing

There are several species of yellow underwing moth in the UK. Each vary in size and markings in their underwings. This one is a lesser yellow underwing. It is brown with kidney-shaped markings and a wavy line on it's upper wings, which you can see when it is at rest. However, if this moth was to open it's wings, you would see those bright yellow lower wings which has a small black line and a black dot.

Scarce Footman

Now we are getting into the moths I am not 100% sure on. This is apparently a scarce footman, a slimmer version of it's relative the common footman. Many of the footman species are silvery grey with creamy-orange underwings and look very similar to one another. They look much bigger when they are flying, but when they land, they all look small and thin.

Coxcomb Prominent

This next one is also baffling me a bit. The shape and it's humpy appearance suggests it is a member of the prominent family. The lack of striking markings does make me think that it is a coxcomb prominent. But if it is, it would mean it is an early specimen of the second brood that emerges from August to September. That is why I am doubting myself. [Edit: I was correct, it was a coxcomb prominent.]

Pearl Grass Veneer
If these macro moths (biggish-sized moths) are causing me a few headaches as an amateur moth person, I can not begin to imagine tackling the micro moths (the really small ones). There's a few in the trap that some of the more enthusiastic members of our group were mulling over with and thumbing through the pages of the ID books and sheets. They've narrowed some of them down as veneers of some description. I can't really remember the exact names off the top of my head, but at least one stood out, the pearl grass veneer, and was rather beautiful with tiny white markings on it's wings like minute pearls. [Edit: I have now got all of them identified now.]

Dingy Dowd

Common Grass-veneer

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