James Lowen 


15 September 2019 Fisher's friend

On Monday we saw our first Fisher's Estuarine Moth, but failed to find any ourselves in the field at the main Kent site. I was keen to encounter them in the wild, as it were, so last night took advantage of Justin Farthing's offer to drive down for the surveys near Hamford Water in Essex. Justin, Dave Holman, Chris Balchin and I were among 16 volunteers helping conservationists Zoe Ringwood and Leon Woodrow count this rare moth on a Hog Fennel-fringed seawall, and beneath a golden harvest moon. In total, ten individuals were located - split roughly equally between egg-laying females and patiently waiting males. All were close to Hog Fennel (within 5 metres) but most, interestingly, were on grass (particularly couch grass) rather than the larval food plant itself. Perhaps that was where we went wrong in Kent; personally, I was certainly focusing more attention on the Hog Fennel than surrounding rank grass. 

Garden moths have been impressive in numbers (just shy of 300 moths of 41 species, one muggy night). But the quality hasn't been great. Very few migrants - though the first Rusty-dot Pearl of the garden year was welcome. Triangle Plume and Spindle Knothorn Nephopterix angustella were for the garden, and Old Lady continues its fine run. 

Last week I did a cheeky moth-pot twitch to Cley, as it coincided with the weekly opening of the traps and Mark Golley had found a Citrine Wagtail there the previous day. The Cypress Pug was most pleasant, and was complemented by a Convolvulus Hawk-moth. Moths caught at Cley included Large Wainscot and there were a couple of other new moths for the year (in as far as that matters).