Overall 2007 was a poor year for moth numbers compared with an average year, and especially poor when compared with the bumper year of 2006. A very warm spring, especially in April, meant good recording for that period at least but the summer was wet with field trapping difficult to plan without getting caught in heavy showers. Despite this, during the year we trapped at the following places – Dedmansey Wood, Flitton Moor, Harrold-Odell Country Park, Sandhouse Lane NR (three times), and Stockgrove Country Park (twice).
A National Moth Night (NMN) event was held at Barton Hills NR where Tree-lichen Beauty was new for the county. This was a BNHS event and 15 people attended. The RSPB also held a NMN event at The Lodge, Sandy which was well supported. A few of us visited Totternhoe during the day and found Chalk Carpet, one of the target species for NMN. The second new species for the county this year was Dotted Chestnut which came to Andy Darrington’s trap in Potton. These two additions bring the county list to 589 species.
We are assisted in recording by a network of people regularly running light traps in their gardens. These are at Ampthill, Bedford (two sites), Biggleswade, Bromham, Carlton, Clifton (two sites), Eaton Ford, Haynes, Kempston, Lower Stondon, Sandy, Stotfold, Studham, Turvey and Wilden. At least four individuals also run portable traps in good habitat in their own locality which adds to the coverage. In addition, with the kind assistance of Ian Woiwod, we have access to the records from the Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS) traps in the county. These are situated at Ampthill (only until 23rd April when the trap was removed), Cockayne Hatley and Eaton Bray.
We have continued working on checking and transcribing the records held at Bedford Museum, which are mostly from the 1980s and 1990s. This is a long job and will take some time to complete however, this will mean that we have a database of records for the county that is as complete as possible.
Of interest, the former owner of Col. S.H.Kershaw’s moth collection, Mr S.W.Humphrey, passed away in 2007 and the collection was passed onto Mr P.Tebbutt. This was mentioned in the obituary of Mr Humphrey which was published in 2008 (Simpson 2008) and is noted here in case future researchers of the moths of Bedfordshire wish to request access to Col. Kershaw’s collection.
A short note with respect to county boundaries and recording jurisdiction: County Moth Recorders around the United Kingdom use the Watsonian Vice-county boundaries to record, Bedfordshire being VC30. These boundaries remain static and will never change. With the digitisation of maps it is now much easier to ascertain where the VC30 boundary departs from the Bedfordshire administrative boundary than it was at the time that Arnold et al. (1997) was written. Hence as Recorders we will be concentrating on recording within the VC30 boundary though we will be very happy to receive all records from within Bedfordshire, passing on those that fall outside the VC30 boundary to the relevant Recorder, whilst retaining a copy on the county database.
Significant records from outside the VC30 boundary but within Bedfordshire administrative will be listed below separately from the other records.
The following list includes species recorded in Bedfordshire during 2007 with a UK status of Notable (Na or Nb), Red Data Book (RDB), UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Macro-moths, migrants, vagrants and accidentals, plus some noteworthy records.
A list of the macro-moths of VC30 with their current status is on the Beds Moth Group website www.vc30moths.org.uk or available from the Recorders on request.
16 Gold Swift Hepialus
Interestingly the only record of this species in 2007 was from Duck End NR, Maulden, on 4th July (DW).
18 Map-winged Swift Hepialus fusconebulosa (DeG.)
One came to light on a BNHS field meeting at Stockgrove CP on 2nd June (AMB & MGB). This is only the second record of this species since 1992.
Hornet Moth Sesia apiformis (Cl.) [Nb]
Recorded as emergence holes at Harrold-Odell CP 30th June (AMB), Howellbury Farm 18th June (AMB & MGB), Lower Gravenhurst 19th June (AMB) and Marston Vale CP 20th May (AMB & MGB); field observations at Lower Gravenhurst 18th June (1 adult) (SH), Marston Vale CP 19th June (3 adults, including a pair in cop) (AMB & MGB), and 24th June (1 adult) (JCh & GDe)
373 Currant Clearwing Synanthedon tipuliformis (Cl.) [Nb]
Records of adults at Bedford 31st July and 1st Aug (SWil), and Clifton 12th July (ARO).
382 Six-belted Clearwing Bembecia ichneumoniformis ([D. & S.]) [Nb]
To pheromone lure at Upper Sundon ChP 29th July (5), and Totternhoe Knolls (2) and Quarry (3) on 11th Aug (AMB & MGB).
Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris (L.) [Nb]
As larvae/larval webs at Harrold 29th May (10) (HAS), Odell 13th June (2) (PWar et al.), and Yelnow 8th May (2) and 15th May (3) (HAS).
1637 Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus (L.)
There were eight records of this species, and on two occasions females laid eggs either in the light traps or in the pots they were put in during the day. The eggs of this species are particularly interesting being mottled and resembling tiny birds eggs.
1643 Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia (L.)
This species is only ever recorded on odd occasions in the county, unless a virgin female is used for assembling males. This year was no exception with one on the wall of the gatehouse at The Lodge, Sandy on 25th Apr (GA et al.) and a female attracted to a lighted window at Bromham on 30th Apr (HY).
Least Carpet Idaea rusticata ([D. & S.]) ssp. atrosignaria (Lempke)
As expected, even in a poor year, this species is moving further across the county with the first record for SP95 at Turvey Abbey on 5th Aug (JM). Overall there were 78 records, with the majority as usual in the east and south of the county.
1731 Chalk Carpet Scotopteryx bipunctaria ([D. & S.]) ssp. cretata (Prout) [Nb]
This was a target species for National Moth Night on 11th Aug and so was searched for during that day at Totternhoe, with success in both the Quarry and the Knolls (AMB, MGB, JKn & SKn). There were several more records from Totternhoe Quarry this year: multiple sightings on 13th and 16th July (ET) with singletons on 21st July (CC) and 27th Aug (ET). There was only one record from another site with one at Upper Sundon ChP 7th Aug (PGl).
1749 Dark Spinach Pelurga comitata (L.)
A single record to light at Carlton on 6th Aug (HAS).
1757 Spinach Eulithis mellinata (Fabr.)
According to the recently published book ‘The Moths of Hertfordshire’ (Plant 2008), this species has become quite scarce in our neighbouring county. However, there were three records in Bedfordshire in 2007, all to light: Bedford 22nd June (TY & AY), Biggleswade 17th June (PMc) and Clifton 20th June (ARO).
1760 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata (Hufn.)
There were only four records this year, of which two were in the spring: Clifton 11th Apr (JE), Renhold 25th Apr (TY & AY), Clifton 27th Sept (ARO), and in the RIS trap at Cockayne Hatley between 22nd & 24th Oct (IW). Of the 72 records of this species in the database, only three are from the spring period.
1804 Barred Rivulet Perizoma bifaciata (Haw.)
This scarce species feeds on Red Bartsia, and in 2007 there were two records: Turvey Abbey 3rd Aug (JM), and two in the Cockayne Hatley RIS trap on 5th Sep (IW).
1841 Yarrow Pug Eupithecia millefoliata Rössler [Nb]
The fourth county record of this species was recorded at Haynes on 31st July (SKn). This female was confirmed by dissection (BGo).
1846 Narrow-winged Pug Eupithecia nanata (Hb.)
A single record of this species, whose larvae feed on heather, from The Lodge, Sandy on 8th Aug (NDW).
1865 Broom-tip Chesias rufata (Fabr.) [Nb]
This species is not common in the county and a single individual came to light at Potton on 16th Apr (ADar).
1915 September Thorn Ennomos erosaria ([D. & S.])
Formerly more common in the county there was only one record of this species in 2007, at Haynes on 13th Sept (SKn). There have only been four other records since the early 1990s: Turvey Abbey 1999 (JM), Maulden Wood 7th Aug 2002 and 9th July 2003 (CWP) and the Ampthill RIS trap on 9th Aug 2005 (DSm).
1940 Satin Beauty Deileptenia ribeata (Cl.)
The fifth county record of this species came to light at Poddington on 19th June (HAS, checked GEH). Unfortunately, this was not seen by the Recorders and highlights the need to alert us of any of the notifiable species on the county checklist.
Humming-bird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum (L.) [Migrant]
Compared with 2006 which was a good migrant year, we had only ten records of this species in the county. The first was a very early individual found in the indoor plant section at Frosts Garden Centre in Willington on 27th Feb (SWil). This may either have pupated indoors or the pupa arrived with plant material from abroad. The next was found nectaring on Rosemary in a Wrestlingworth garden on 25th Mar (NDW). Another remarkable record came on 19th Apr when one was seen in Sandy nectaring on Lilac at 5.30pm (DN). The observer was so surprised that he chased it down the road to confirm the identification! The other seven records were in the usual summer /early autumn period with the last at Bedford on 25th Sept (SWil).
Vapourer Orgyia antiqua (L.)
A member of the public (JI) contacted the Recorders regarding the identification of a caterpillar feeding on Weigela in her Clophill garden. We collected the larva from her on 17th July, identified it as this species and fed it on pyracantha until it pupated. A female emerged on 9th Aug and was placed in an assembling cage in our Lower Stondon garden at 11am on the following day. By 11.10am a male had been attracted, this was let into the cage to mate with the female and the cage resealed. By 11.25am a further two males had been attracted and were fluttering around the outside of the cage. The female commenced egg-laying and the process was photographed.
Brown Tail Euproctis chrysorrhoea (L.) [probable migrant]
Eight records this year, all to light: Beeston 7th July (JDa), Eaton Ford 13th July (AL), Potton 10th (2), 16th and 30th July (PD), Sandy 13th (2), 15th (6), 18th, 20th (2) and 25th (2) July (DD & ML) and The Lodge, Sandy 1st Aug (PD) and 5th Aug (DD & ML).
Orange Footman Eilema sororcula (Hufn.)
For the first time this species turned up at several sites in a year, and there were seven records of it. The first were at Clifton (JE), Lower Stondon (AMB & MGB) and Studham (CBa) on 23rd May. These were followed by further records on 24th May at Studham (3) (CBa) and a singleton at Potton (ADar). Two then came to light on a BNHS event at Stockgrove CP on 2nd June (AMB & MGB) and finally three more at Studham on 11th June (CBa).
Garden Tiger Arctia caja (L.)
Only three records this year: one under a security light near Stewartby Lake on 20th July (SKn); one found by a volunteer work party at Duck End NR on 31st July (DW); and a tattered individual found at Knotting Green on 13th Aug (SWil). This paucity contrasts with past times when, for example, at Cranfield Airfield in 1983 at least 50 came to light on 18th July, 30 on 19th and 20 the following night (TSH).
2081 White-line Dart Euxoa
Not surprisingly for a species usually found on heathland the only records this year came from The Lodge, RSPB Sandy with a maximum of 14 on 18th Aug (DD & ML).
2082 Garden Dart Euxoa
One to light at Clifton on 6th Sept (ARO) was the only one of the year.
2119 Pearly Underwing
Peridroma saucia (Hb.) [Migrant]
A singleton to light at Kempston on 10th Oct (MJP).
2131 Square-spotted Clay
Xestia rhomboidea (Esp.) [Nb]
Four records: Halsey Wood, Sharnbrook 23rd Aug (HAS); and near Turvey on 21st Aug and 6th and 10th Sept (HAS). This species has now had its BAP status withdrawn.
2137 Great Brocade Eurois
occulta (L.) [Nb] [Migrant in Beds]
One to light at Haynes on 23rd Aug (SKn).
2150 Grey Arches Polia
This species is recorded most years at The Lodge, Sandy and 2007 was no exception with three to light on 21st June (DD & ML) and one other on 27th June (PD). It has only occurred at one other site since the mid 1990s and this was at Clifton on 9th June 2003 (JE).
2195 Delicate Mythimna
vitellina (Hb.) [Migrant]
One to light at Haynes on 26th July (SKn), the third county record.
2197 Southern Wainscot
Mythimna straminea (Treit.)
One to light at Eaton Ford on 25th July (AL), the 11th record for the county and the third year running that it has been recorded at this site.
2225 Minor Shoulder-knot
Brachylomia viminalis (Fabr.)
Three to light at Sandhouse Lane NR on 13th July (AMB & MGB) were the only ones recorded in 2007.
2236 Pale Pinion
Lithophane hepatica (Cl.)
This species can now be considered as annual in the county having occurred in each of the last five years. There were three records this year: Clifton 5th Apr (JE), another April record at Renhold (TY & AY), and Sandy 22nd Sept (DD & ML).
2243 Early Grey Xylocampa
Even accounting for the warm spring this year a record at Stotfold on 28th January (GC) was incredibly early. The previous early records were 11th Feb 2005 and 8th Mar 1977.
2260 Dotted Chestnut
Conistra rubiginea ([D. & S.]) [Nb]
The first county record of this species was at Potton on 15th Apr (ADar). It is a species that was expected to be found soon and not a surprise addition to the county list.
2265 Flounced Chestnut
Agrochola helvola (L.)
There was a single record of this local and uncommon species in 2007. This was at The Lodge, Sandy on 13th Oct (DD & ML).
2292 Tree-lichen Beauty
Cryphia algae (Fabr.)
Another first county record and an excellent find on National Moth Night at Barton Hills NR on 11th Aug (AMB & MGB). This may have been a migrant or one moving north from the recently established populations in Kent and Middlesex. There were at least five records from Hertfordshire by the end of 2007 (Plant 2008 and CWP pers comm).
2349 Mere Wainscot
Chortodes fluxa (Hb.) [Nb]
Five came to light at Sandhouse Lane NR on 13th July (AMB & MGB), one to light at Carlton on 14th July (HAS), and singles in the Cockayne Hatley RIS trap on 11th, 24th and 31st July (IW).
2360 Ear Moth Amphipoea
A single record this year was dissected. This was from Haynes on 16th July (SKn, det AMB).
2360x Ear Moth agg.
Amphipoea oculea agg.
Three records from The Lodge, Sandy on 7th July, 1st Aug and 8th Aug (2) (PD). None were retained for dissection.
2370 Twin-spotted Wainscot
Archanara geminipuncta (Haw.)
The 14th record of this species for the county was at Eaton Ford on 9th Aug (AL). As with Southern Wainscot, this is a regular site for the species assisted no doubt by the proximity of the River Ouse where its food plant, Common Reed, can be found.
2373 Webb’s Wainscot
Archanara spargannii (Esp.) [Nb]
This species is appearing in traps dotted around the county now, something that has only happened since 2003. There were three records this year: Haynes 21st July (SKn), Lower Stondon 5th Aug (AMB & MGB) and Turvey Abbey 23rd Aug (JM). The latter prompted the observer to check back in his records and he found a previously unknown record from 8th August 2003 which was confirmed by the Recorders due to the excellent contemporaneous drawing that he made. Apart from a single record, these occurrences for the species are away from the main reedbeds of the county and are not reflected in the records from neighbouring Hertfordshire (Plant 2008).
2375 Large Wainscot
Rhizedra lutosa (Hb.)
This species often occurs in autumn away from reedbeds and this year was no exception with records at Clifton on 11th (2) and 29th Oct (ARO).
2379 Small Rufous Coenobia
At light at two expected sites this year, Flitton Moor 19th July (AMB & MGB) and Dedmansey Wood 27th July (AMB & MGB).
2418 Cream-bordered Green
Pea Earias clorana (L.) [Nb]
At light: Clifton 2nd June (JE) and 8th June (ARO), Eaton Ford 3rd June (AL), Turvey Abbey 13th June (JM) and the Cockayne Hatley RIS trap 16th July (IW).
2421 Scarce Silver-lines
Bena bicolorana (Fuess.)
There were four records of this attractive species in 2007 at the following sites: Sandhouse Lane NR 13th July (AMB & MGB), Dedmansey Wood 27th July (AMB & MGB), Studham 4th Aug (CBa) and The Lodge, Sandy on 11th Aug (MBo et al.).
2422 Green Silver-lines
Pseudoips prasinana (L.) ssp. britannica Warr.
Like the previous species this also brightens up a trap when found. There were four records: Kempston 23rd May (MJP), Potton 17th May and 17th June (PD), Studham 24th May and 11th June (3) (CBa) and at The Lodge, Sandy 24th May (PD) and 13th June (DD & ML).
2441 Silver Y Autographa
gamma (L.) [Migrant]
As expected there were fewer records of this migrant species than in 2006. The first was at The Lodge, Sandy on 12th Apr PD) and the last at Turvey (HAS) and Eaton Ford (AL) on 12th Oct.
2465 Four-spotted Tyta
luctuosa ([D.&S.]) [Na]
A great year for this rare moth at its one known Bedfordshire site near Odell, with one on 1st June (HAS), two on 2nd June (HAS), a brilliant 13 on 13th June on a Butterfly Conservation training day with Paul Waring, 11 on 17th June (AMB, MGB & DVM), two on 19th June (DVM) and a final singleton on 23rd June (HAS). There is every chance that there might be other isolated colonies surviving in north-Bedfordshire.
2469 Herald Scoliopteryx
Most of the recent records come from winter hibernacula and we are grateful to members of Bedfordshire Bat Group who look for this species on their monthly checks of winter bat roosts. The species was found in 13 sites this year, mostly in ones and twos, but 23 were in a Woburn icehouse on 13th Jan and 22 in a Turvey cellar on 10th Feb (BBG).
2480 Buttoned Snout Hypena
rostralis (L.) [Nb]
This species has now been removed from the BAP listing as it is doing better that previously thought. It was proved to breed on the Recorders’ Golden Hop plant growing on an east facing wall in Lower Stondon. Larvae were collected and bred through to adult to prove the identification. Adults came to light here on 15th April, 23rd May, 12th Aug and 5th Sept. A single adult also came to light at Kempston on 11th Oct (MJP).
2484 Pinion-streaked Snout
Schrankia costaestrigalis (Steph.)
The seventh county record of this species came to light at The Lodge, Sandy on National Moth Night, 11th Aug (MBo et al.). This was the first record since one at Duck End NR, Maulden on 4th September 2004 (AMB & MGB) following one at Potton on 26th June 2003 (JCh), the only other record since 1988.
BEDFORDSHIRE RECORDS FROM OUTSIDE VC30
The following significant record was recorded from a site in Bedfordshire administrative but in the Vice-county of Hertfordshire (VC20).
Small Ranunculus Hecatera dysodea ([D. & S.]) [RDB]
One to light at Caddington on 9th June (IR).
Migrant records are forwarded to the appropriate editor for inclusion in the Immigration of Lepidoptera to the British Isles Report for the Entomologists Record and Journal of Variation. All records are held by the Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity Recording and Monitoring Centre and updated regularly.
Records and support gratefully acknowledged from the following : P.Almond (PA), G.Anderson (GA), V.W.Arnold, C.R.B.Baker (CBa), K.Balmer, K.Banham, A.M.Banthorpe (AMB), M.G.Banthorpe (MGB), Bedfordshire Bat Group (BBG), M.Boyd (MBo), P.Burfield (PBu), G.Buss (GBu), C.Carpenter (CC), G.Castle (GC), J.Chapman, J.E.Childs (JCh), J.Clifton, J.Comont, P.Cook, A.Culshaw, A.Darrington (ADar), G.Dawes, J.Day (JDa), D.Dench (DD), G.Dennis (GDe), B.Dickerson (BD), P.Donald (PD), B.Ellis, V.Ellis, J.England (JE), H.Ewings, M.Ewings, P.Glenister (PGl), B.Goodey (BGo), P.Gould (PGo), H.J.Griffiths, R.Grundy, S.Halton (SH), G.E.Higgs (GEH), L.J.Hill, T.S.Hollingworth (TSH), D.Howdon, J.Icough (JI), G.Johnson, J.Knight (JKn), S.Knight (SKn), A.A.Lawrence (AL), R.Lawrence, M.Lloyd (ML), D.V.Manning (DVM), Br.J.Mayhead (JM), P.McMullen (PMc), D.Niemann (DN), D.J.Odell, A.R.Outen (ARO), M.J.Palmer (MJP), J.Pitts, C.W.Plant (CWP), RSPB, I.Russell (IR), M.Russell, J.T.R.Sharrock, D.Smith (DSm), H.A.Smith (HAS), B.Squires, C.Stewart, A.Strutt, J.Trew, E.Turner (ET), P.Waring (PWar), S.Williams (SWil), N.D.Willits (NDW), D.T.Withers (DW), I.P.Woiwod (IW), A.Yates (AY), T.Yates (TY) and H.Young (HY).
Arnold, V.W., Baker, C.R.B.,
Manning, D.V. and Woiwod, I.P., 1997. The Butterflies and Moths of Bedfordshire
Bedfordshire Natural History Society.
Bradley, J.D., 2000. Checklist of Lepidoptera recorded from the British Isles. Second Edition (revised).
Plant, C. W., 2008. The Moths of Hertfordshire Hertfordshire Natural History Society.
Simpson, M., 2008, Obituary of Sydney Wilfred Humphrey 1921–2007. The British Journal of Entomology and Natural History Vol. 21 Pt. 2 123, June 2008.
Andy and Melissa Banthorpe are the Society’s joint Recorders of Macro-moths, a position they have held in an honorary capacity since late 2006.