Thursday, 21 July 2016

Butterflies and moths seen at Newhaven's Castle Hill LNR in mid-July

Week 16 of the 2016 transect-walking season

Rosebay Willowherb
It was my turn again this week to survey Castle Hill LNR for butterflies and moths - and the weather, for the first time this year, was perfect. Good weather allows for a more accurate picture of which species are present at the site and also their relative numbers. I saw a total of 34 species and over a thousand individuals (1013 in total). These included four species which had not previously been recorded at the reserve (one of these - the Dun-bar - flew into my car as I arrived!).
Despite the cliff-bottom slumps being used as a camp site, outdoor latrine, waste disposal area and bonfire and barbeque site, I was pleased to see that our small colony of Crescent Plume moths has survived another year.
If the weather remains good, the next few weeks should produce similar numbers, with Common blue numbers increasing through August. With such an abundance of insects and flowers in bloom, this is the best time of the year to visit the nature reserve. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Here's the list in full:

Moths (18 species)
Six-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae)  72
Ginger Button (Acleris aspersana)  1
Pale Lettuce Bell (Eucosma conterminana)  1
Orange-spot Piercer (Pammene aurana)  1 - first site record
Satin Grass-veneer (Crambus perlella)  1 - first site record
Straw Grass-veneer (Agriphila straminella)  3
Little Grass-veneer (Platytes cerussella)  3
Straw-barred Pearl (Pyrausta despicata) 1
Twin-barred Knot-horn (Homoeosoma sinuella)  1
Crescent Plume (Marasmarcha lunaedactyla)  4
Oak Eggar (Lasiocampa quercus)  1
Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata)  1
Green Pug (Pasiphila rectangulata)  1
Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae)  2
Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba)  1
Dun-bar (Cosmia trapezina)  1 - first site record
Cloaked Minor (Mesoligia furuncula)  1 - first site record
Silver Y (Autographa gamma)  15
Butterflies (16 species)
Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)  55
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)  16
Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus)  1
Large White (Pieris brassicae)  17
Small White (Pieris rapae)  69
Green-veined White (Pieris napi)  77
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria)  6
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)  129
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)  200
Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)  292
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)  22
Peacock (Aglais io)  1
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)  7
Comma (Polygonia c-album)  5
Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)  1
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)  4
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) growing on the cliff-bottom slumps
Rough mixed grasses and flowers by Barrow Head
Agrimony reaching up by Barrow Head

Hemp Agrimony on the north slope - an excellent nectar source for butterflies
Buddleia above Bickerstaff's Bend - a good nectar source for moths at twilight

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