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, January 11, 2014

The Mothing Year at Berrylands: 2013

Five of the 11 new species recorded in 2013: Oak Beauty,  Ghost Moth, 
Rosy Footman, Buff Arches and Buff Tip.

Exactly 100 Species of macro moths were recorded during 2013, the fifth complete year of surveying at the station. The first two months of the year produced no moths at all with only one species recorded during March, Double-striped Pug on the 6th. Two station firsts were recorded in April, Oak Beauty on the 9th and Dark Chestnut on the 15th, the month as a whole was rather poor with just five other species noted,  Common Quaker on the 10th, Herald on the 23rd, Early Grey and Oak Nycteoline on the 24th and Early Thorn on the 30th. May was also a little quiet with only ten species recorded; Oak-tree Pug on the 3rd, Brindled Pug on the 7th, Brimstone Moth and Toadflax Brocade on the 13th, Waved Umber on the 17th, Green Carpet and Angle Shades on the 20th, Yellow-barred Brindle and Swallow Prominent on the 21st, the latter the third station first of the year, and Common Carpet on the 22nd. Although no station firsts were recorded during June it was an excellent month for variety with 23  new species recorded; Buff Ermine on the 3rd, Poplar Hawkmoth and Heart & Dart on the 5th, Light Emerald on the 7th, Common Marbled Carpet on the 10th, Small Dusty Wave and Pale Prominent on the 11th, Pale Tussock and Miller on the 13th, White Ermine on the 14th, Riband Wave, Pale Mottled Willow and Silver Y on the 18th, Spectacle on the 20th, Figure of Eighty, Willow Beauty and Snout on the 21st, Treble Brown-spot, Garden Carpet and Bright-line Brown-eye on the 25th, Cinnabar and Small Fan-foot on the 26th and Freyer's Pug  on the 27th. Six station firsts were recorded during July; Ghost Moth  on the 4th, Fan-foot on the 15th, Buff-tip on the 16th, Buff Arches on the 23rd, Vapourer on the 25th and Rosy Footman on the 31st. In addition another 30 species were recorded making July 2013 the best month for species diversity during the entire recording period; Burnished Brass on the 1st, Straw Dot on the 2nd, Common Emerald and Least Carpet on the 3rd, Small Blood-vein, Dwarf Cream Wave, Brown Silver-line and Common Wainscot on the 5th, Common Footman and Elephant Hawkmoth on the 9th, Common Wave, Small Ranunculus and Smoky Wainscot on the 10th, Blue-bordered Carpet and Cypress Carpet on the 12th, Single-dotted Wave and Swallow-tailed Moth on the 15th, Scalloped Oak and Marbled Beauty on the 16th, Dingy Footman and Scarce Footman on the 19th, Cabbage Moth on the 22nd, Tree-lichen Beauty on the 23rd, Ruby Tiger and Broad-barred White  on the 24th, Small Fan-footed Wave and Clay on the 25th, Plain Pug on the 26th, Red Underwing on the 29th and Dun-bar on the 31st. August saw a return to normality after the welcome excess of July with 14 new species recorded including just one station first, Small Square-spot on the 23rd; fittingly the first species recorded was August Thorn on the 1st  with Yellow-tail on the same date, other August moths were Yellow Shell on the 6th,  Lime-speck Pug and Black Arches on the 7th, Common Rustic agg. on the 8th, Cloaked Minor on the 15th, Knot Grass on the 19th, Square-spot Rustic on the 20th, Garden Tiger on the 21st, Shuttle-shaped Dart on the 22nd and Large Yellow Underwing and Copper Underwing on the 28th. Seven species were recorded in September; Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing on the 2nd, Flounced Rustic on the 12th, vine's Rustic on the 13th, Lunar Underwing on the 18th, Lesser Yellow Underwing on the 20th, Dark Sword-grass on the 26th and Large Ranunculus on the 30th. Two species were recorded in October, Seteceous Hebrew Character, the last station first of the year on the 14th and Feathered Thorn, the last moth of the year on the 22nd.

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