Thorns, Quakers and Crescents

Feathered Thorn
Feathered Thorn

The night began with a pleasant walk to Planation close just south of Millennium wood. Technical difficulties with the generator required the assistance of Simon Taylor who solved this problem instantly. Vocally active Tawney Owl’s (Strix aluco) made themselves heard throughout the night. The present weather conditions was in our favour with a relatively warm southerly breeze coupled with light cloud cover. The first moth attracted to the light was a November Moth (Epirrita dilutata), a worn individual easily confused with either Pale November Moth (Epirrita christyi) and Autumnal Moth (Epirrita autumnata). The males November Moths have 3 separate morphs being different in colour, markings, shape and size. So, jumping to conclusions is not an option as there many aspects to consider when identifying a species of the Genus Epirrita. As the night progressively turned cooler I opted for a hat and gloves. Another moth was spotted around the trap, a Snout (Hypena proboscidalis) was the second moth of night though at first quite difficult to separate from other Hypena genus and species in the Herminiinae sub-family. The worn appearance didn’t help, but, evidence of dark and light sub-terminal spots, recurved tip of the leading edge and distinctive proboscis reassured us that it was a Snout (Hypena proboscidalis).

Green-brindled Crescent
Green-brindled Crescent

After a brief blight in moth occurrence a little gem appeared from the night fluttering purposefully towards us. The general impression of size and shape (jizz) funnelled our identification to the family Geometridae. It turned out to be a stunning moth, a Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata) of the sub-family Larentiinae with distinctive protruding palps, glossy green waved cross lines and a cross band running on the forewing running through the upper abdomen segments. The cold breeze was becoming uncomfortable for some members so a walk to the bus shelter proved to be fruitful in terms of moths. Initially, a further three November moths (Epirrita dilutata) caught our eye all of which were male and of several structural and colour morphs. But we narrowed our attention to the metallic gloss and bulbous kidney marks of two Green-brindled Crescents (Allophyes oxyacanthae).

Re-green Carpet
Red-green Carpet

It seemed the moth gods were rewarding us with some great species. Two micro’s appeared unsurprisingly unidentifiable at first. The first one was easy to identify as a Light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) which is the only moth I have been able to identify as they fly all year round. However, the other micro was difficult to place a name on it, so the Identification of Micro moths of Britain and Ireland book was required in combination with the Facebook UK micro-moth identification page leading me straight to Eudonia augustea (Narrow-winged Grey). As the night got colder and mothless, member started to disappear. And to the sad part when we have to pack away the moth trap, but excitingly the egg trays produced at beautiful moth known as a Yellow-line Quaker (Agrochlora macilenta) which was a fitting end to a great night mothing.

Yellow-line Quaker
Yellow-line Quaker

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