As has been the case for the previous two years, two new species of moths were added to the local list during 1999. On May 5th a regular moth recorder found an Alder Kitten (Furcula bicuspis) in his trap. It had not been recorded in South Lancashire for over a century until recently. In the last couple of years it has been recorded several times but never in the Chorley area (ref Stephen Palmer, County Moth Recorder). It is a beautiful insect, quite similar in appearance to the more common Sallow Kitten (Furcula furcula).
The second newcomer was a Thistle Ermine (Myelosis cribrella) found at Lead Mines Clough on June 9th. It is much larger than the superficially similar Yponomeuta species (eg Orchard Ermine and Apple Ermine). It is not closely related to these species - the only links being the English names and the wing colouration and patterning. It has been expanding its range northwards in recent years, being confined to the South of England as recently as 1986 (ref B Goater "British Pyralid Moths").
The following butterfly species were recorded in 1999:
Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)
Recorded between 16th June and 4th August, this species is now much more often recorded than the Large Skipper. It is widely distributed within the area.
Large Skipper (Ochlodes venata)
Records for this species, in contrast to the previous one, are becoming fewer each year. Only four records were received for 1999, from Cuerden, Brinscall and Euxton. I hope we are not going to lose this species, but it seems a distinct possibility at present.
Brimstone (Goepteryx rhamni)
Firstly I will correct an error from the 1998 report. I stated that the Brimstone had not been recorded for four years. In fact it was seen twice in 1997. I obviously had not read my own 1997 report! I can, however, happily report that it was recorded at 2 sites is 1999, on a total of 5 separate occasions. It favoured a garden near Rivington in May and in August, when it was also seen at Cuerden Park.
Large White (Pieris brassica)
Widely distributed and represented by many records. It was seen until 24th September.
Small White (Pieris rapae)
As with the last species, I received many records for the Small White. It seems to be present more or less throughout the area and was last seen on 21st September.
Green Veined White (Artogeia napi)
This species has two generations each year. The first flew between 27th April and 27th May. Its second generation was far more often reported, between 10th July and 21st September.
Orange Tip (Anthrocharis cardamines)
The first sighting in 1999 was on the amazingly early date of April 1st, by far the earliest date we have for the species. It was not reported again until the much more sensible date of 24th April, but was then common until 27th May. It was the first time since 1990 that we had no June records for the species.
Green Hairstreak (Callophris rubi)
Frequent at the end of April and beginning of May in its usual haunts around White Coppice and at Healey Nab.
Small Copper (Lacaena phlaeas)
Recorded reasonably often between 24th July and 2nd September. After two really good seasons in 1996 and 1997, numbers have returned to normal in the last two years.
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Recorded in small numbers at 5 sites between 18th June and 28th August. It is my annual task to lament the dearth of records for this species which really ought to be more frequent locally.
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
As 1998 marked the return of this species after a 4 year absence, it was especially pleasing to receive so many records in 1999. The spring generation was reported from 4 sites between 28th April and 19th May. The second generation was more widely distributed, with records coming from 9 sites between 12th July and 21st September.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
The first record for the species was on 29th June - the latest since 1991. Usually we manage a handful of sightings in May and sometimes even April. It was, however, plentiful in late summer and was reported on the wing until 18th October.
Painted Lady (Cynthia cardui)
Only five sightings in 1999. One at Withnell on 10th June and one at Belmont were the only early summer sightings. It was seen at two sites around Rivington in August.
Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
Not a bumper year for the species, but still commonly reported from all parts of the area. It flew between 1st April and 5th May then again from 10th July until the 11th October. No large numbers were reported.
The Peacock (Inachis io)
This species is now recorded more often in Spring than either the Small Tortoiseshell or the Red Admiral. It was first seen flying on 27th March and was reasonably common until mid-May. The late summer generation was frequent and widespread. It flew until 28th September.
Comma (Polygonia c-album)
Only three sightings in Spring - at Heather-lea-Woods on 5th April and at Rivington and Withnell Fold nature reserve on 9th April. It was recorded from many different sites between 17th July and 19th October. It is now a common insect locally.
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria tircis)
Undoubtedly the success story of 1999, the Speckled Wood seems to have expanded rapidly into the area. It was seen only on odd occasions until 1998, when it was seen four times. In 1999 I received 21 records from a dozen sites. It flew from 16th June until 28th September. Let us hope this rate of expansion can be maintained.
Wall Brown (Lassiommata megera)
Another butterfly having two generations per year, the Wall was reported throughout May and into early June then again from mid July until the 9th of September. A reasonably good number of records for the species this year.
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)
The Gatekeeper is now found in all parts of the area. It was seen, sometimes in large numbers, throughout July and August. Birkacre is an especially good site to see this species.
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Seen from late June until the end of August, this species is widespread and possibly the most numerous local species.
Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)
Only two records for 1999. It was seen at Lead Mines Clough on 15th May, and at Belmont on 12th August. Hopefully this is under-recorded rather than a genuine decline. We shall see.
There were three highlights in the year for Odonata. On 12th August the Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) was observed laying eggs at Hic Bibi. This was the first time it has been seen to breed locally. Also, it was recorded more often than ever before, being seen at three separate sites.
Also during August, larvae of the Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa) were found in a pond at Cuerden. As well as this, a single imago was seen there on 1st August. The finding of larvae implies breeding success last year - again a first for the area.
Finally on 12th August a single Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta) was observed at close quarters, resting in a Chorley garden. This was again a first for the area.
Species recorded this year were:
Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
3 records only. All at Cuerden 24th & 25th June and 8th July.
Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)
1 sighting at Cuerden on 1st August. Larvae also found at Cuerden.
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
5 sites from 6/6/99 to 3/9/99.
Blue Tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
7 sites from 3/6/99 to 10/9/99
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
4 sites from 15/6/99 to 23/8/99
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
5 sites from 16/6/99 to 23/8/99
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)
6 sites from 24/7/99 to 10/10/99
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
20 sites from 25/6/99 to 25/9/99
Common Hawker (Aeshna juncea)
10 sites from 11/7/99 to 21/9/99
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
3 sites from 24/6/99 to 27/7/99. Breeding proved.
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
3 sites. from 15/6/99 to 10/8/99.
Black Darter (Sympetrum danae)
5 sites from 30/7/99 to 14/9/99.
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
Single record at Brinscall on 29/7/99.
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)
11 sites from 12/7/99 to 10/10/99.
My thanks as always to the following members and friends who have contributed records used in compiling this report:
D Beattie, D Downing, R Harding, R Hoyle, C Johnson, D Lumb, S Martin, J Riley, C Smith, P Smith, N Southworth, D Tucker, D Weir, N West, and J Whiteside.
My apologies to anyone I may have missed.
Insect Flight Patterns 1999
Back to Home