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 .

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Purple Hairstreak

Purple Hairstreak
As usual I'd given the station a good going over early morning with a nice Dark Spinach the pick of a rather meagre haul. I wasn't expecting much this evening, but it was overcast and muggy so I thought I'd give it another go and with just a minute until my train arrived I found what I thought was a carpet with it's wings up. I had no time to examine it so I potted it and took it home where I was amazed to see that it was a Purple Hairstreak. I have actively searched for White-letter Hairstreak as there are a lot of small elms just outside the station, but I've not had any luck; Purple Hairstreak is a station tick and I shall release this one into the oaks adjacent to the downline platform  tomorrow morning. It's been a very slow year at the station so far with just 74 species of macro recorded but this total does include five new species, Cypress Carpet, September Thorn, Barred Red, Broad-barred White and the latest addition, August Thorn.

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