Radcliffe Conservation Group have continued (predominantly macro/larger) moth surveys in 2022, having started in 2019. In 2022 there were fifteen overnight sessions between 28th January and 22nd October interspersed with daytime and dayflying moth surveys.
The survey methods comprise night running mains operated Robinson 125W UV light traps at largely fixed locations, supplemented by randomly located Skinner 8W actinic traps and also with targeted and occasional daytime deployment of pheromone lures.
The species list for the period 2019 – 2022 now comprises 218 species of macro moth and 46 micro moth species. Perhaps more importantly and reflecting the exceptional value of Dewberry Hill as a wildlife site, a number of notable species have been recorded. With reference to County Recorder Dr Sheila Wright’s ‘Conservation Status of Nottinghamshire Macro Moths 4th Edition 2020 twenty-two are ranked Grade 3, two species Grade 2 and one species Grade 1, plus fifteen further species deemed ‘notable’ in the County. Here Grade 1 includes the County’s rarest resident moth species.
Grade 1: Red-belted Clearwing (Apple)
Grade 2: Pinion-streaked Snout (Uncertain, food plants may include sallows, Labiates/mints and associated species), Currant Clearwing (Black and Red currants)
The wide range of species reflects the characteristic flora of Dewberry Hill flora and, in particular, the Red-belted Clearwing has been shown to be resident on older apple trees throughout the site rather than simply being lured ‘tourists’. Furthermore the capture of two specimens of the rare migrant Clifton Nonpareil (Poplar species and or hybrids) is considered to strongly support expectations that this impressive and highly valued moth may be or will shortly be categorised as resident in Nottinghamshire.
Other notable migrant moths were the Tree-lichen Beauty (in 2021, a lichen feeder, a former rare migrant now establishing breeding populations in the UK, including Nottinghamshire) and the Dark Swordgrass (near extinct in the UK but a regular but occasional migrant, which it is hoped will re-establish itself).
Through further surveys in 2022, as well as monitoring general populations of moths, it is hoped that year on year records for these highlighted species will indicate resident breeding populations at Dewberry Hill.
Of the 218 macro moth species, in addition to those highlighted above, a further three species at Dewberry Hill are categorised as ‘Vulnerable’ and seven species as ‘Near Threatened’ in the UK (Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths, Randle et al 2019).
Plans are in place for further surveys in 2023. It is envisaged that the list of both common and significant macro moth species resident in Dewberry Hill will grow and serve to emphasise the significance of this highly valuable habitat and Local Wildlife Site in south Nottinghamshire’.
Author: Paul Dulwich 20/11/2022