James Lowen 


25 March 2019  March moths

I've been moth-ing regularly this month (with a brand-new trap custom-made by the stellar Ben Lewis, to whom many thanks - ask him to make you​ one!), and with the arrival of milder nights, have topped 100 moths in a night for the first time this year. Diversity remains low - 11 species is a typical catch. It seems to be a good year for Twin-spotted Quaker and Early Grey; I have had record (if still single-figure) counts of both species. I've also done a couple of twitches of other folks' gardens, and some surveying in the Brecks (which included c20 Lunar Yellow Underwing caterpillars to an acoustic backdrop of breeding Stone-curlew and migrating Wigeon; thanks Sharon Hearle and James Symonds): highlights have included Barred Tooth-striped (a target for my book), Small Eggar, Dotted Chestnut and Scarce Tissue. (My grateful thanks to Keith Kerr, Ian Robinson and Nick Watmough for making the Eggar, plus Lead-coloured Drab, available to enjoy.) 

Finally, a special shout-out for one of the most remarkable moths there is. In the UK Virgin Bagworm Luffia lapidellaoccurs only as a parthenogenic flightless female, that lives in a whitish case and wanders around, nibbling algae. Late one night, Matt Casey kindly showed us a Hethersett wall with several hundred of the mad things crawling around everywhere like demented grains of rice. Utter nuts. A future star for the book, clearly. 

And then, two days ago - alleviating the general brownness - the first Emperor Moth of spring, in the garden to boot. My earliest ever.