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 .

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Awayday: Dungeness, August 27th 2011

Frosted Orange, Dungeness RSPB, August 27th 2011

Convolvulus Hawkmoth, Dungeness RSPB, August 27th 2011

Red Underwing, Dungeness RSPB, August 27th 2011

Webb's Wainscot, Dungeness RSPB, August 27th 2011
Archer's Dart, Dungeness RSPB, August 27th 2011

Sharp-angled Peacock, Dungeness RSPB, August 27th 2011

Back to Dungeness with Steve Spooner today for my second (Steve's third) installment of coastal mothing. After the first visit it was always going to be a game of diminishing returns but there were enough new moths to keep me interested. The star of the show for most people was a Convovulus Hawkmoth, a true giant of British lepidoptery, but I've seen five or six before at Portland in Dorset; my personal favourite was Frosted Orange, a relatively common moth but a new one for me and as the photo shows, a stunning piece of wildlife. Other firsts were Bordered Beauty, Sharp-angled Peacock. Tawny Shears, White-line Dart, Grass Emerald, Yellow Belle, Webb's Wainscot, Cream-bordered Green Pea, Angle-barred Pug, Rosy Rustic, Small Mottled Willow and the stunning black & white micro Ethmia bipunctella, a real Dungeness speciallity. On the bird front we saw Garganey, Common Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Hobby and Whinchat; both Great and Cattle Egrets were on the reserve today but we failed to connect with either. On the way back Steve dropped me off at Denbies Hillside, just outside Dorking, where I managed to clear up a pair of embarrassingly overdue butterflies; the first a pristine male Adonis Blue, the second a rather tatty male Chalk-hill Blue; I was also hoping to see Silver-spotted Skipper but it was not to be, all in all another good excursion in the excellent company of Steve.

1 comment:

  1. That Frosted Orange is lovely, Nick - and what an amazing list of other delights. Much envy from the North...

    warm wishes, Martin W

    (v much enjoyed your Two-tailed Pasha anecdote, just discovered in scrolling back on my blog. Oh for more time...