Catching Up

/ in Field Trips by Marek
2x2 collage of shots from the woods of trees and paths
Stumped as to which way to go?

Following our success at Seaford Haven we turned our attention to another moth which had managed to elude us last year knowing it can be found at Mill Hill.

In 2017 we had recorded the Violet Cosmet for the first time and after research were sure that there was a possibility of recording the rarer Scarce Violet Cosmet but had been unsuccessful last year.

As these Micro moths are but max 7mm in length it makes them extremely difficult to tell apart unless you can get a clear shot with a macro lens.

Being a day flying moth doesn’t help much either as they do not want to sit around for a photo shoot as they have much more important things on their minds.

Our trip to Mill Hill was on a hot April morning and there were several old favourites on the wing such as the Little Roller and the Wavy-barred Sable and in such numbers as to cause distraction.

We tried the most likely places noted on previous visits but were disappointed and it was only during our walk back to the car along the lower slope that our quarry was spotted.

As we had now recorded our two targets planned for the year, we decided to expand our horizons and check out some new locations for next year with a view to recording maybe the Orange and Light Orange Underwing which reside in woodland containing Birch and Alder trees.

As we like to spend our time walking as oppose to travelling, we decided our first destination would be to a Birch wood near Southwater which had in the past reported sightings of the Orange Underwing.

Knowing Southwater reasonably well meant we could do a circular route from the Country Park taking in the wood on the way prior to lunching at a favourite hostelry during our walk back to the car.

We did not manage to record anything on the route planned as most of the time we were wallowing through mud, but there is scope, and with better planning, we might have more luck next year.

Our second destination would be The Mens Nature Reserve which, now visited, not only has potential for next year but has to date already produced several new records.

On our first visit we were rather unsure of what to expect as we had read that  this ancient woodland is not managed, and we found the track sometimes difficult to follow due to fallen trees and lack if signs, making the trail more like an army assault course.

We persevered however as it was on this first trip that we saw for the first-time male Green Long-horns in a swarm whirling around oak branches which is truly a remarkable sight.

We were not even sure they were moths, but we managed to detain one long enough to take pictures which proved rather taxing as their antennae are three times the body length.

A side shot of a Green Long-horn moth, it's antennae taking up more of the shot than the body
I sense these big boys will get in the way from time to time

We did not manage to record the swarm itself, but we will add that to our bucket list for next year.

Although most of our new species have been seen in the field, we have also been very lucky at home recording a Sainfoin Piercer which is not only a new record for us but also a first sighting in Sussex.

Blog posts have been few and far between to date as most of our spare time is taken with updates which we wanted in place prior to the release of our new website but there still are stories to tell and hopefully time to tell them.

We are also looking forward to our fourth trip to the Burren where, fingers crossed, we may even manage to record the Burren Green.

But if we don’t it doesn’t matter as it only means we can start planning our next visit.