The YEAR. 2003
January and February. 18 days in January when the minimum overnight temperature, measured in Lydd, was -5 to 3 degrees. Minimum reached 10 on 18th and 11 on 19th. The odd Chestnut and Dark Chestnut recorded. First Pale Brindled Beauty on 26th. 19 days in February -4 to 3 degrees. Minimum reached 8 on 7th. Occassional Chestnuts and Satelite, early Clouded Drab on 17th. Quakers starting to emerge from 22nd. March. 17 days when 0 to 3 degrees. Minimum 10 on 1st. Sprinkling of usual Quakers 1st to 8th. Productive period 20th to 29th with nightly maximum of upto 50 Hebrew Character, 9 Clouded Drab, 6 Lead-coloured Drab and 48 Common Quaker. Brindled Beauty (23rd) and Oak Beauty (24th,27th) at New Romney are species not often recorded. Also, Brimstone at New Romney on 23rd is the earliest recorded date. April. A very dry month with the wind mostly from the east. Minimum overnight temperatures regularly 7 to 10 degrees from the 13th. Cold spell of northerlies 7th-11th when temperatures dropped to the zero mark. Period of wet south westerlies from 25th to the end of the month. Quakers seem to have had a comparatively early season this year, occurring throughout april but in small numbers. A few Twin-spot Quakers and Northern Drabs which are not seen every year. Several records of Pine Beauty which seems to be increasing here. March Moth (4th,16th), Purple Thorn (15th), Brindled Beauty (23rd) and Pale Pinion (14th) are species which have been recorded on less than twenty dates in the past. Early records of V-Pug (from 25th), Chocolate-tip (from 14th) and Reed Dagger (17th). May. Wind from the south west up to the 11th, except for southerlies 2nd to 4th. Minimum temperatures between 6 and 10 degrees depending on overnight cloud cover. The southerlies produced a small arrival of Silver Y and Dark Sword-grass with Gems on 4th and 5th and Delicate on 5th. Speckled Yellow at dusk in garden at Greatstone (KA) on 10th was a new moth for the area. Weather continued to be dominated by Atlantic depressions with wet and windy south westerlies to 24th, then light east or north easterly to end of month. A few noctuella and ferrugalis with Silver Y and Dark Sword- grass hinted at immigration from 28th. There was also good numbers of White-point but these were all in excellant condition and thought to be local bred. Night time minimum temperatures hovering around 10 degrees, up to 14 degrees 29th to 31st which produced the best nights of the month. Maximum number of species in one night 47 at Greatstone (BB). Moths of note, Grass Rivulet, Narrow-winged Pug, Orange Footman, Ingrailed Clay, Pale Pinion and the pyral Obsibotys fuscalis. The first record of Ingrailed Clay since 1998, a moth formerly more common in the area. Grass Rivulet is the fourth recorded, all from Dungeness, feeding on the seeds of Yellow Rattle which doesnt occur locally. One of those hard to classify species which 'must' breed but because of the lack of food plant has been ascribed a vagrant. A mundane month, all the usual species at the usual time recorded, albeit in reduced numbers. June. The easterly airflow back to south westerlies from 3rd to 11th, unsettled with gales on 6th and 7th. Veering north on 12th, north east on 13th. As in May night time minimum temperatures around 10 degrees, 14 on 1st, 6th and 7th. Sprinkling of migrants with increased numbers of Silver Y (upto 20), noctuella (upto 6), ferrugalis and single Bordered Straw. The pyral Donacaula mucronellus on 12th at Greatstone (BB) was new to the area. Cypress Carpet at Greatstone on same date (BB) is the second area and county record. (See 'Workshop' and 'Pictures' for photos). Wind continuing from north, veering south east for a short time 15th/16th, before return to frontal weather with south westerlies 17th. 15th. Noticeable increase in Silver Y and noctuella with Bordered Straw and a few moths not seen regularly. Scorched -wing (17th area record), Small Seraphim (1st area record) and Red-necked Footman (6th area record). Min 14. 16th. Striped Wainscot at New Romney is only the fourth record. 17th. (Min. temp 14) Peach Blossom, Striped Hawk-moth and Dusky Marbled Brown, the first British record since 1853 (see 'pics'). Silver Y and noctuella widespread, Bordered Straw. 18th. Fresh winds overnight, min.temp 15. Twin-spot carpet (2nd area record). Small Mottled Willow and Bordered Straw. First biviella of year to appear. From 18th the weather was a struggle between the Atlantic and the Azores high, mostly south westerly with spells of north easterly or east wind 25th, 26th, 29th and 30th. Minimum overnight temperatures either 10 or 15 reflecting the amount of cloud cover. Always a hint of migrant activity, thinly and widely distributed over the whole area. Sprinkling of Bordered Straws and Pearly Underwing and about six single Small Mottled Willows (compared with upto 50 on some nights in Dorset and further west). Vestal, Striped Hawk-moth on 26th and 28th and Humming-bird Hawk-moths apparent. The migrant pyral noctuella recorded daily with a few ferrugalis. 30th saw Lilac Beauty (6th area record), Lobster Moth (10th area record) and Silver Barred (6th area record). The pyral fascelinella on 26th was the fourth area and sixth county record. Maximum number of macro species on one night 64 at Greatstone (BB) on 26th and 20 species of micro at Lydd also on 26th. July. Light south westerlies 1st and 2nd then light north westerlies to the 5th not the weather we usually expect to see migrants. Admitedly the odd Bordered Straw and Small Mottled Willows are distinctly worn and may have been around for some time, but fresh arrivals of Dark Sword-grass, a few Gems and ferrugalis. The Suspected at Greatstone on 2nd is only the fourth area record. After looking at the pictures on the Portland website of Laconobia splendens we have sent pictures of a specimen caught at Lydd on 24th June (see 'pics') to Martin Cade at Portland and Martin Honey at the Natural History Museum. Keith, who caught the moth, said that after deliberation the only thing it could be was an aberrant Crescent. Martin Cade said that this one and the Portland specimen were virtually identical, two others that he had seen taken at Weymouth were like 'washed out' Bright-line Brown-eye. Keith Arter flushed about 70 Blacknecks from fields behind his house at Greatstone on 3rd. (There is another record of about 40 flushed from the Open Pits at Dungeness on 4th July 1950 by F.A.Swain.) Also hundreds of Zygaena filipendulae with as many if not more lonicera. 4th. Gems, Scarce Black Arches (see 'pics') at Dungeness (they usually appears at times of migrant activity but could be breeding locally. Clancy's Rustic caught by Barry at Greatstone (see 'pics') was refreshing in that having seen pictures of the first specimen at New Romney last October it would be difficult to sort out. There was always the sneeking feeling that perhaps they had been overlooked but we've never seen anything quite like it, unless you go back to April and Lead- coloured Drab. 5th. Twin-spot Carpet (3rd area record) and Lesser Cream Wave (5th area record). White Satin Moth at Dungeness is the third this month, a species in steep decline since 1995, only one in 2001 and none in 2002. 6th. Bordered Straw at Dungeness and Pale Shining Brown (the grey continental form) at Greatstone (see 'pics'). Slender Brindle at New Romney (25th area record) and 3 Rosy Waves.. a species that has increased markedly in the last few years. 7th. Satin Lutestring at Dungeness (10th area record). Pale Oak Beauty at Greatstone, the fourth this year, only fourteen previous dates. 8th. Gem at Littlestone. Scallop Shell at Lydd (7th area record). The second Coronet of the year at Littlestone (18th area record) and the pyral suavella (14th area record) at Jill's trap in Lydd. News filtering through that the first British record of splendens was taken by John Owen (who lives outside our 'area' at Dymchurch) on 14th June (to date). 9th. Bordered Straw, Small Mottled Willow and ferrugalis (2). Second Ruddy Carpet of the year at Littlestone, Double Kidney at Lydd (8th area record), Dotted Footman (see pictures) at Dungeness (3th area record), Scorched Wing at Dungeness. Satin Lutestring at Dungeness and Greatstone. Nycteolene sp. (21st area record) at Greatstone (see pictures). 10th. Dotted Fan-foot at New Romney (6th area record). The pyral dilutella caught by Dave at Dungeness is the first area record (see pictures). 11th. Wind from 5th has continued mostly westerly, light or calm with very hot days. Some hot humid nights with minimum temperatures 15 degrees producing a good range of species. Maximum 87 species of macros at Barry's on 10th. 12th. Dark Umber in Lydd. Wind backing round to north east during the day. 13th. Peach Blossom (the fourth this year, 19 previous dates), Small Yellow Wave and Small Purple-barred (3rd area record) at Littlestone. Tawny Wave (10th area record) at Lydd. Nycteolene sp. at Dungeness (see pictures). 14th. Fresh north east wind keeping catches down at the exposed trap-sites. The pyral limbata caught by Barry at Greatstone (3rd area record). A Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (janthe) caught by Dave at Dungeness on 10th shows all the characteristics of the recent addition to the British list janthina. The last few days have continued to produce more remarkable moths in our area. The wind stayed in the east or north east 15th to 17th, light or calm with minimum overnight temperatures of 16 degrees. Veered to the south west during the 17th, increasing in strength with rain and temperature dipping to 11 degrees. 18th saw the wind decrease and swing round to the south late in the day and into the 19th. 15th. Barry had the second Lilac Beauty of the year amongst the 92 species in his trap. Small Ranunculus caught by Richard at Greatstone (3rd area record, see 'pics'). 25 species of pyral recorded at each of three trapsites. 16th. Tree-lichen Beauty caught by Barry at Greatstone (8th area record, see pics). Magnificent specimen of Ancylolomia tentaculella caught by Sean at KR's trap in Lydd (2nd area record, 3rd British, see 'pics') 17th. Four-spotted caught by Sean at New Romney (1st area record, see pics). 19th. Thunder storms rolling off the continent with some heavy rain early on morning of 20th, fresh southerly wind. The RSPB held a Moth night and morning with Adrian Wander of Anglian Lepidopterists. As well as the usual traps in the area, there were six at the Long Pits and eight at the RSPB reserve. Silver Y influx with 70 recorded in Lydd, a few Gems, Small Mottled Willow and Dark-sword Grass. Moth of the day was the pyral cicatricella caught on the reserve by Adrian (see pics). Also a second Dotted Footman of the year taken by Sarah Patton. 20th. Wind backing to the south west. The pyral ramburialis at New Romney (see pics). Two more janthina candidates in the last few days, another from Dungeness and one that Keith Arter picked out as different at Greatstone ( its his first full years trapping and didn't know about the existence of janthina). 21st. Tree-lichen Beauty at Littlestone. Nut-tree Tussocks (20 area records to 2002) have turned up at several traps over our area including Dungeness over the last few days. 22nd. Wind has remained in the south west, fresh, lighter overnight. Temp 15-16 degrees. Evidence of migration with up to 50 Silver Y's at Lydd which also had Small Mottled Willow. The pyral aridella at Dungeness (13th area record). 23rd. A second Scarce Black Arches of the year caught by Sean at New Romney. Weather continuing from the west with successions of fronts bringing fresh to strong south westerlies and rain, overnight temperatures hovering around 13-14 degrees. 28th. Dave caught the second Small Ranunculus of the year at Dungeness. 29th. Smattering of migrants, Gem and White-point at Lydd, ferrugalis at two sites. 30th. Black Arches at the back of New Romney site (16th area record). A second Double Kidney of the year and the pyral bistriga at Keith's site at Dungeness. Dusky Thorn at Dave's trap at Dungeness is the 12th area record. Andy Wraithmell, who has been the assistant warden at the Bird Observatory for the last three years and is 'well into moths', extracted the following from their logs for July: Migrants.. Humming-bird Hawk-moth on 20 days, max. 6 on 1st and on four dates to light. DarkSword-grass 15 on 1st, Silver Y 72 on 16th, Plutella xylostella 150 on 19th. Single Gem and Pearly Underwing, 5 Small Mottled Willow and 5 Bordered Straw during the month. Notable macro's... ie recorded at Dungeness on less than 10 dates.. Ruddy Carpet, Double-lobed, Dark Spectacle, Dotted Footman, Old Lady, Dark Umber, Plain Golden Y, Svenssons Copper Underwing, Reed Dagger, Nut-tree Tussock, Antler Moth, Small Ranunculus, Dusky Thorn and Langmaid's Yellow Underwing 11th, 19th, 25th. Notable pyrals.. semirubella, dilutella, oblitella, purpuralis, aurata, advenella, extimalis, verbascalis, and roborella. Best nights macro 74 on 4th, 79 on 19th and 83 on 20th... pyral 20 on 3rd, 28 on 19th. To date there have been six janthina taken. Apart from the three from Dungeness, there were two from Keith Arter at Greatstone on 19th and 24th and one from KR's trap in Lydd 27th. With apologies for repeating info, they do look very dusky underneath and not the pleasant orange colour. When the wings (still from below) are slightly open the black extends all the way to the leading edge in janthina and not a discrete line of orange colour between the black of the underwing and the leading edge. The final clincher is the complete island of orange on the upper surface of the hind-wing. Quite startling when buzzing around in a keeping pot! Other news is that two 'Nycteolines' taken by Keith at Lydd in 1993 and Barry at Greatstone in 1999 and set by Sean have been retrospectively identified at the Natural History Museum by Martin Honey, as asiatica. 31st. Although it had been calm and mild (15 degrees) overnight with no moon, was surprisingly quiet.