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, July 30, 2011

Awayday: Dungeness, July 30th 2011

Bedstraw Hawkmoth, Dungeness RSPB, July 30th 2011

Elephant Hawkmoth, Berrylands Station, July 30th 2011

I spent a wonderful morning on the Kent coast today in the very agreeable company of Steve Spooner, at the Dungeness RSPB moth open day. I saw at least 24 new macro moths, pick of the bunch was easily the Bedstraw Hawkmoth in the photograph, my 10th sphingidae species in this country. Other highlights included Sussex Emerald, Scarce Chocolate Tip, Waved Black, White-banded Carpet, Pine Hawkmoth, Reed Dagger, Archer's Dart, Galium Carpet, Sallow Kitten and a bewildering array of wainscots including L-album, Twin-spotted, Shore and Brown-veined. After we left the RSPB reserve we headed for Dungeness Bird Observatory where we added Oak Eggar and the obsoleta form of Pale Grass Eggar to the list. On the way home I still had time to pay a visit to Berrylands where I found the Elephant Hawkmoth in the photo, the 150th species of macro moth for the station and a fitting end to a superb days mothing.


  1. Hi there!

    Goodness, ten hawk moths. That's really impressive and I much envy you seeing a Bedstraw Hawk. I get three regulars here in Leeds: Poplar (the most common), Lime (incl the brown variety once) and Elephant. I've had an Eyed once, but that's it, although a neighbour about a mile away was visited by a Humming-bird last month.

    All warm wishes

    Martin W

  2. Martin

    the three you get are the only ones I've recorded at Berrylands, the rest have mainly been seen at coastal bird observatiries, winderful places for moths, but I've never had an Eyed Hawkmoth!