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, June 06, 2010

Awayday: Perivale Wood, June 5th 2010

Mullein Wave (Scopula marginepunctata) 05:06:2010.

Orange Footman (Eilema sororcula) 05:06;2010.

Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata) 05:06:2010.

Ingrailed Clay (Diarsia mendica) 05:06:2010.

Ingrailed Clay (Diarsia mendica) 05:06:2010.

A mini heatwave has descended on London making mothing at the station a very hit and miss affair, the Tuesday after the bank holiday (June 1st) produced 11 moths of eight species including four year ticks; Light Emerald, Cinnabar, Willow Beauty and Silver Y. The next day produced two new moths for the Station, Mottled Pug and Pebble-hook Tip which was also a lifer for me; on Thursday only five moths were recorded but two of these were year ticks, Dwarf Cream Wave and Waved Umber; by Friday things had really dried up and I struggled to find three moths, two of which had been in situ from at least the previous day; so on Saturday morning in glorious sunshine I headed for Perivale Wood in anticipation of some good mothing. London Transport did it's best to thwart my efforts to reach Perivale, terminating trains at North Acton and providing a replacement bus service, in the event this worked in my favour as I found a pristine Mullein Wave resting on the station wall at North Acton, only my third record of this somewhat patchily distributed scopula, two of which have been at stations. Also noted at North Acton was a Lesser Whitethroat incessantly singing from the shallow bramble covered embankment by the eastbound platform. So on to Perivale, several traps had been run through the night and one was about to be decanted as I arrived; Common White Wave seemed to be the most numerous species followed by a bewildering variety of Ingrailed Clays, two of which are shown here. the clay was a new moth for me as were Orange Footman, Silver-ground Carpet and Green Silver-lines, I couldn't count a dead Sandy Carpet which was probably the victim of a previous session, but I was more than happy with four new moths. Other moths noted were Common Swift, Willow Beauty, Buff Ermine, Setaceous Hebrew Character and Broken-barred Carpet. Amongst all the tounge-twisting Latin only micros noted, one stood out, the sublimely beautiful Nemophora degeerella, a gold-banded gem to brighten any morning.

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