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LEPIDOPTERA AT WESTON, 1965 ALASDAIR E .

ASTON

year, we visited Harmony Hall, Weston, rather earlier than usual and this, coupled with the lateness of the season, enabled us to observe from 27th July onwards several insects we had not seen there previously. Although we had decided against the use of blended mercury vapour light, some 120 species of lepidoptera were counted more or less casually at house lights. On the first night, such typical July moths as the Double Square-spot (.Amathes triangulum, Hufn.), the Barred Straw (Lygris pyraliata, Schiff.), Uddmann's Bell (Notocelia uddmanniana, L.), and the Yellow Satin Grass-veneer (Crambus perlellus, Scop.) kept Company with others usually to be seen in August ; the Brown-line Brighteye (Leucania conigera, Schiff.), the Straw-coloured Grass-veneer (Crambus culmellus, L.), the V-Pug (Chlor oclystis coronata, HĂźbn.), the Straight-barred Marble (Argyroploce striana, Schiff.) and the Beautiful Knot-horn (Dioryctria formosa, Haw.). Even a Ringlet Butterfly (Aphantopus hyperanthus, L.) attracted to night light, put us in mind that the season was late. THIS

The next day added the Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae, L.), the Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina, L.), and the Large Skipper (Ochlodes venata, Br. & Grey), to the list. We also saw an Oak Eggar (Lasiocampa quercus, L.) male at Frostenden but the most noticeable point was the continual calling of the turtle dove until 8th August, after which it was heard only briefly on 15th and 16th August. On 29th July the doves feil silent for a while as kestrels drove small birds through the bushes and at evening a heron passed over the house. Whitethroats were seen in nearby lanes on the 30th and males of the Gatekeeper Butterfly (Maniola tithonus, L.) began to appear in profusion. At light were single specimens of the Short-cloaked Moth (Nola cucullatella, L.) and of the Lesser-spotted Pinion (•Cosmia affinis, L.). On Ist August the Green-veined White Butterfly (Pieris napi, L.) was common in the lanes to the farms and the first of several Double Dart Moths (Graphiphora augur, Fab.) came to light ; in my experience this is a July insect and none too frequent. We saw the only bullfinch of the holiday at Sotterley on 2nd August, with linnets, chaffinches, and a hedge sparrow. The next day provided us with fine views of goldfinches rifling thistles in front of Harmony Hall. White-letter Hairstreaks (Strymonidia w-album, Knoch.) were Aying sparsely down the Elm Lane ; there were the first newly emerged Small Tortoiseshells (Aglais urticae, L.) the last of the Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris, Pod.) and the only Silver-Y Moth (Plusia gamma, L.) of the holiday.


172 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists',

Vol. 13, Part 3

Light produced two July moths ; the Small Dotted Buff (Petilampa minima, Haw.) and the Small Ochreous Pearl (Psammotis crocealis, H체bn.), a freshly emerged specimen of which appeared on 15th August. On 30th July three specimens of a scarce Pyrale, the Pale-streaked Grass-veneer (Crambus selasellus, H체bn.) had been observed at light ; it is a species deceptively similar to the Common Grass-veneer (Crambus tristellus, Fabr.) which did not emerge until 3rd August. A large and as yet unidentified longicorn beetle was Aying by the roach pond at noon on 4th August and a few minutes later a Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album, L.) took wing from the nettles. Greenfinches and coal tits were active in the garden during the morning. On the next day a family of swifts screeched around the car-park at Beccles, where report had it that an immature greater spotted woodpecker was making itself remarkable by sitting on the white line in the middle of the Norwich Road. At night there were two interesting Crambids ; the Garden Grass-veneer (Crambus hortuellus, H체bn.) common enough but usually to be seen in July and the Chequered Grass-veneer (Crambus falsellus, Schiff.) not a very common moth. On 6th August, a Chinese Character Moth (Cilix glaucata, Scop.) patronised light and the 7th brought a view of the first Large Garden White (Pieris brassicae, L.) on Walberswick sands. A rare moth appeared at home that night in the shape of the Stout Dart (Spaelotis ravida, Schilf.) an insect of uncertain status in Suffolk. A spotted flycatcher on our cricket stumps provided excitement on 8th August and later that day several were watched catching gnats from their perches on reeds in a pond where a swallow temporarily alighted, but thought better of immersing itself for the winter. A bird we could not place appeared in the bottom meadow on 9th August ; it was being scolded by the lesser creatures in the hedge and its general characteristics led me to think that it was a young cuckoo. We saw Six-spot Burnets (Zygaena filipendulae, L.) on field scabious flowers the same day and at light noted the Beautiful Marbled Bell (Eucosma nigromaculana, Haw.). Quite a strong wind rose on the lOth and it began to feel like August as the Dusky Sallow (Eremobia ochroleuca, Schiff.), the Pebble Prominent (Notodonta ziczac, L.) and Forster's Twist (Tortrix forsterana, Fabr.) came to light. It was str채nge for us city-dwellers to notice the comparative scarcity of starlings and thrushes in these agricultural parts. Starlings were seen only in residential Southwold on 13th and thrushes at Redisham on 16th. Skylarks were plentiful at Church Farm, Shadingfield, on 13th and the zigzag clover was found on an old parish path at Weston.


I.EPIDOPTERA AT WESTON

173

Newly emerged Peacock Butterflies (Nymphalis io, L.) were out at Weston by 1 Ith and a Tabby Moth (Aglossa pinguinalis, L.) was seen at rest in Weston church. On the same day we watched the beautiful solitary Ruby-tailed wasp (Chrysis ignitä) working an ancient gate-post. The green woodpecker dipped away at Hall Farm, Shadingfield, on the 14th, when we discovered the sea pea still in bloom at Walberswick, further testimony to the lateness of the season. Sunshine on the 15th brought out the second brood of the Wall Butterfly (Pararge megera, L.) a brief return of the turtle doves, the first autumnal Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta, L.) and a grass snake basking in late hay-harvest. It hissed considerably when followed by the children and seemed a yard in length ; its head was held erect with its minute black forkflickeringwhile it made straight for the ditch. The farmer told us that eggs are frequently found under his old stacks, where the heat of the decomposing organic matter incubates them. At light, we took the Small Scallop (Sterrha emarginata, L.) and the White-foot Bell (Eucosma foenella, L.) insects both associated with marshes. The 16th was our last füll day and was notable for the sole blue butterfly, a female Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus, Rott.) at Redisham and for a dead hedgehog at Weston. We had seen extraordinarily few animals during the three weeks but foxes had attempted an earth on a bracken covered sandy outcrop at Weston. Myxomatosis persists and yet we saw rabbits at Sotterley and Shadingfield. Hares seemed unalarmed along the roads at Ellough and moles prevalent on our lawn. The only deer we heard of locally was a solitaire of a small species that passed this way at speed several years ago. The farmer's son, whose dog could not keep pace, suggested that it had strayed from Henham Park. Our observations this year are not designed to present as detailed an account of the insect life as in previous years but to show the lateness of the season. Apart from some of those noted above, one further addition was made to the local list—-the Läppet (Gastropacha quercifolia, L.), but almost as interesting was the relative abundance of the Drinker moth (Philudoria potatoria, L.) possibly on account of some climatic factor. It will be important to note what effect this year's weather will have on the future status of insects in the Weston area. The wild honey-bee (Apis mellificus) has only just recovered from the setbacks it experienced in the cold weather of four years ago : aflourishingcolony now exists in a hollow elm above the pond. We have been told that when such a tree is felled, the honeyflowsout in plenty but, as it is discoloured with the dye from the bark, it is not in great demand.


174 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists', Vol. 13, Part 3 The annual conversazione of the South London Entomological Society, held in the rooms of the Royal Society at Burlington House in October, 1964, provided a surprise with some specimens of the Speckled Wood Butterfly taken in Suffolk. A few questions revealed that one or two collectors had seen it in Suffolk and not only in the north near Thetford but also in the centre at Barking Woods. I once asked Claude Morley about Pararge aegeria, L., in Suffolk, as I had come by some very ancient Suffolk specimens in an old cottage collection ; I had not seen the Speckled Wood in Suffolk in the years 1940 to 1950. Mr. Morley was of the opinion that the species became extinct in Suffolk during the sixties of last Century and its reappearance here a hundred years later is a great surprise.

Lepidoptera at Weston, 1965  
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