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, April 01, 2015

The Mothing Year at Berrylands: 2014

Five of the eight new species recorded in 2014; Pine Hawkmoth, 
Canary-shouldered Thorn, Nut-tree Tussock, Gypsy Moth
and Clay-triple Lines

Ninety nine species of macro moth were recorded at the station during 2014, one less than last year; there were eight station firsts bringing the station list to 181 species; two species that had up until last year been recorded annually, Toadflax Brocade and Large Ranunculus, were no shows in 2014, probably as a result of inclement weather during their respective flight periods. The first moth of the year was a Mottled Umber on January 10th, early season moths are something of a rarity at the station so it was no surprise that the second species, Hebrew Character, turned up just over two months later on March 12th; four other species turned up during March, Double-striped Pug on the 14th, Common Quaker on the 17th, Early Grey on the 24th and a very early Small Dusty Wave on the 31st. Six more species were added during April, Herald on the 1st, Clouded Drab and Chocolate Tip on the 11th, Brimstone Moth on the 15th, and Brindled Pug and Pale Mottled Willow on the 23rd. Things picked up during May with 21 species recorded; Pale Tussock on the 8th, Lime Hawkmoth on the 12th, Garden Carpet, Yellow-barred Brindle, Cinnabar and Poplar Hawkmoth on the 15th, Common Pug on the 16th, Waved Umber, White Ermine, Muslin Moth and Angle Shades on the 18th, Least Carpet on the 20th, Figure of Eighty and Buff Tip on the 22nd, Common Marbled Carpet on the 23rd, Small Blood-vein and Green Carpet on the 27th, Common Wave on the 28th, Snout and Small Fan-foot on the 29th and Pale Oak Beauty, a station first, on the 30th. June was the most prolific month of the year with 32 new species recorded including two station firsts; Maiden's Blush and Treble Brown-spot on the 2nd, Willow Beauty, Light Emerald and Straw Dot on the 3rd, Peach Blossom, Single-dotted Wave and Buff Ermine on the 5th, Dwarf Cream Wave and Riband Wave on the 9th, Common Swift on the 10th, Common Footman, Shuttle-shaped Dart and Bright-line Brown-eye on the 11th, Blue-bordered Carpet and Fan-foot on the 12th, Barred Straw on the 13th, Seraphim and Common Rustic agg. on the 14th, Buff Arches and Vine's Rustic on the 16th, Common Emerald on the 17th, Lime-speck Pug on the 20th, Small Ranunculus, Scarce Silver-lines, Dun-bar and Heart & Club, a station first on the 23rd, Small Emerald and Rosy Footman on the 25th, Poplar Grey, a station  first on the 27th with Pheonix and Dingy Footman bringing the month to an end on the 30th. Things started to slow down in July with only 17 new species recorded but four of these were station firsts; Clay on the 1st, Marbled Beauty, on the 3rd, August Thorn on the 4th, Canary-shouldered Thorn and Pine Hawkmoth, both station firsts on the 8th, Dusky Sallow on the 11th, Small Fan-footed Wave  and Spectacle on the 14th, Bordered Pug on the 16th, Old Lady on the 17th, Red Underwing and Nut-tree Tussock, a station first on the 18th, Plain Pug on the 21st, Gypsy Moth, a station first on the 22nd, Pale Prominent and Knot Grass on the 24th and Middle-barred Minor on the 31st. Wormwood Pug on August 1st was a station first and one of nine new species recorded during the month, the others being Oak Nycteoline on the 5th, Garden Tiger on the 9th, Blood-vein on the 16th, Square-spot Rustic on the 19th, Clay Triple-lines, a station first on the 19th, Yellow Shell on the 26th, Burnished Brass on the 27th and Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing on the 28th. September saw just five new species added, Flounced Rustic on the 3rd, Orange Swift and Large Yellow Underwing on the 4th, Cypress Pug on the 10th and Lunar Underwing on the 23rd. Three new species were recorded during October, Lesser Yellow Underwing on the 1st, Red-line Quaker on the 13th and the last moth of the year, Red-green Carpet on the 29th. Only three other species were recorded at other stations on the route, Light Brocade on June 17th, and Scalloped Oak on July 7th, both at Raynes Park and Toadflax Brocade at New Malden on August 16th.

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