A greenhorn lepidopterist at large in suburban London

Berrylands Station is on the London Waterloo to Hampton Court line between New Malden and Surbiton, a 25 minute train journey from central London. I became aware of its potential for attracting moths in late August 2008. The station is situated on an embankment with the Hogsmill Sewage Farm directly to the north and a typical mix of suburban houses and gardens to the south. The elevated aspect of the station and the comparative lack of domestic and street lighting in the immediate area mean that it acts like a huge moth trap, there are white-painted covered waiting areas and staircases on both platforms, these are illuminated at night and most of the moths are found in these areas. What follows is my attempt as a novice lepidopterist to record and catalogue all the macro moths I encounter on my daily commute to work along with the occasional "awayday" in search of other British lepidoptera .

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Awayday: Bookham Common, May 8th 2010

Great Prominent (Peridea anceps) 08:05:2010

Lesser Swallow Prominent (Pheosia gnoma) 08:05:2010

Chocolate Tip (Clostera curtula) 08:05:2010

Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria) 08:05:2010

Lunar Marbled Brown (Drymonia ruficornis) 08:05:2010

The recent weather has not been too good for moths so as I headed to Bookham Common on Saturday morning I really did not know what to expect. On arrival at Bookham station, a quaint late Victorian redbrick edifice, I undertook an extensive search for moths but I only managed to find a single Waved Umber, so on to the London Natural History Society's hut on the common where the nights catch was to be examined. By all accounts it was not a good haul, some 37 moths of 18 species but no less than nine of these were new for me; Mottled and Oak Tree Pugs, Great and Lesser Swallow Prominents, Lunar Marbled Brown, Red Twin-spot and Water Carpets, Seraphim and Frosted Green. Three species of orthosia were also noted, Clouded Drab, Common Quaker and Hebrew Character, all of which should have been over by now. Bookham Common is usually a good place for warblers, but apart from a few low key Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs the scrub was quiet, this nagging north-easterly wind is holding up the birds as well as the moths, I hope it changes and warms up before National Moth Night next Saturday.

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