I made a trip back to Ashwell Quarry following the warmest weekend of the year so far with highs of 23 degrees on Sunday, Saturday wasn't bad either at around 20 degrees.
Sunday night was planned and I arrived at the reserve in good time to try and find some Rock-rose as a scarce Mompha species uses it as it's foodplant.
Unfortunately there was none to be found anywhere and I came to the conclusion that I surely couldn't have been over-looking it (Later on Chris confirmed to me that there wasn't any here afterall).
All was not lost as I was there to light trap all evening until it was too cold.
I went about setting up 4 traps spread out across the reserve, some in the grass fields and one on the edge of the chalk pit, the wind wasn't too bad but it was there and coming from the West so I decided to site the traps out of the wind as best as I could do...this paid off as by 10pm the wind was very gusty and cooler as well.
The temperature was 21 degrees at 7pm and dropped to 11c at midnight at leaving time.
The moths were varied and pretty fantastic to say the least with good amounts of late spring/early summer species turning up.
Most numerous were Common Quaker (15), Double-striped Pug (12) and Agonopterix alstromeriana (8).
Early species on the wing included Yellow-barred Brindle, Least Black Arches and Small Waved Umber.
Now I wasn't expecting to see anything too exciting given how early on in the season it is, but my luck was in and I got to see species such as Semioscopsis steinkellneriana, Depressaria chaerophylli and Agonopterix purpurea, moths that I don't see very often with just a few records to each of these species.
Even better I recorded two moths completely new to me, Depressaria radiella (the Parsnip Moth, yes it really is scarce in Hertfordshire with no more than 10 records since records began!) and the best moth of the night and 3rd County record Phaneta pauperana, a Dog-rose feeding chalk speciality Tortrix moth confined to the South.
Thanks again go to Chris and Trevor for allowing me to come back here again.
Catch Report - 09/04/17 - Ashwell Quarry - North-west Herts - 2x 125w MV Robinson Trap 1x 160w MBT Robinson Trap & 1x 40w Actinic Trap - Warm, clear then cloudy with a full moon, stiffening Westerly breeze by 10pm - minimum of 11c
1x Brindled Pug
1x Common Carpet
15x Common Quaker
12x Double-striped Pug
1x Early Thorn
6x Hebrew Character
1x Knot Grass
1x Least Black Arches
1x March Moth
6x Nut-tree Tussock
1x Purple Thorn
3x Red Chestnut
1x Red-green Carpet
5x Red Twin-spot Carpet
1x Small Waved Umber
5x Yellow-barred Brindle
1x Depressaria radiella [NEW!]
1x Phaneta pauperana [NEW!]
1x Acleris cristana
8x Agonopterix alstromeriana
1x Agonopterix arenella
2x Agonopterix heracliana
1x Agonopteris purpurea
1x Depressaria chaerophylli
1x Semioscopsis steinkellneriana
|The most successful trap position|
|Small Waved Umber|
|Least Black Arches|