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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Toadflax Brocades at Berrylands

Toadflax Brocade, Berrylands Station, May 29th 2012
On May 29th 2009 I found a pristine Toadflax Brocade at Berrylands Station; it was a searingly hot windless day and I presumed that the moth had flown north from the coastal shingle of Romney Marsh and logged it in my notebook as a "probable migrant", then on a rather unsettled day in early August I found another one and  had to think again about the status of this moth at Berrylands. The following year I found two moths in May and three on July 25th. In 2011 I found one on May 17th and on Tuesday (May 29th) I found the moth in the photograph. A total of nine moths in four years suggests to me that this moth is now resident in suburban Surrey, albeit in small numbers; I have searched the area around the station for Toadflax but so far I haven't found any, but this moth will feed on cultivated forms of the plant so the station specimens could have their provenance in a local garden. Toadflax Brocade flies in two overlapping generations in late May/June and July/August and all the sightings at the station fit neatly into this pattern. So far it's been quite a disappointing year at the station, things got off to a good start with an exceptionally early Small Dusty Wave on March 21st but up to and including the TB the station macro list for 2012 stands at just 21 species; hopefully the floodgates will open now and I'll have a sew more moths to talk about.   

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