30 May 2014

Moth numbers remain low

I've counted up the garden moth list for the first time, and suffice to say, it's shit! So, best get the total up a little before I publish it on the blog. Unfortunately this situation was not improved by another poor mothing session last night, with the best in the trap being:

1 The V-Pug Chloroclystis v-ata
1 Peacock Moth Macaria notata
1 Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria
1 Light Emerald Campaea margaritata
2 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata
1 Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis
1 male Willow Beauty Peribatodes rhomboidaria (very early?)
1 Pseudargyrotoza conwagana

Peacock Moth Macaria notata

Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria

Pseudargyrotoza conwagana

26 May 2014

Almost mothing

Low night time temperatures continue to keep the diversity and number of moths in the trap very low. Only 9 species last night, plus a few pugs that I haven't got around to identifying yet.

1 Knot Grass Acronicta rumicis
2 Treble Lines Charanyca trigrammica
1 Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis
1 Heart & Dart Agrotis exclamationis
1 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta
1m Clepsis consimilana
1f Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana
1 White-shouldered House-moth Endrosis sarcitrella
1 Brown House-moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella

Knot Grass Acronicta rumicis

25 May 2014

Oaken Wood, Surrey: 25 May

Spent the day with Pete Alfrey, Helen Cavilla and Rachel Walls searching for Wood Whites Leptidea sinapis at Oaken Wood - a small part of Chiddingfold Forest in Surrey managed by Butterfly Conservation for this rare species. A thorough search for several hours found no sign of any Wood Whites (bugger knows where these things were hanging out today?) but we still had an excellent invert-filled day.

Lepidoptera: 1m Nemophora degeerella, 1 Olethreutes arcuella, shed-loads of Speckled Yellows Pseudopanthera macularia, 1 Mother Shipton Callistege mi, 1 Four-dotted Footman Cybosia mesomella, 1 Peacock Moth Macaria notata, 1 The Cinnabar Tyria jacobaeae, 1 Straw Dot Rivula sericealis, 1 Brown Silver-line Petrophora chlorosata, 2(larva) The Lackey Malacosoma neustria, Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi, 2 Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, 1 Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni, and several Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria.

Odonata: 1m Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo, 1m Downy Emerald Cordulia aenea, and lots of Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula.

Male Nemophora degeerella - a fairly common but beautiful longhorn moth

Olethreutes arcuella

Speckled Yellow Pseudopanthera macularia - flying in force today, i.e. absolutely ******* everywhere!

Four-dotted Footman Cybosia mesomella

Peacock Moth Macaria notata

The Lackey Malacosoma neustria

Downy Emerald Cordulia aenea - note the dark frons (marked with yellow on Brilliant Emerald Somatochlora metallica).
Good identification article here.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula

Avifauna noted includes 5 Nightingale (1 seen), 1m Yellowhammer, 4 Common Buzzard, 1H Willow Warbler, 1 Common Cuckoo that refused to show itself and a female Mallard on eggs (one of us also suppressed a family flock of Marsh Tits, but enough said about that!). 1 very brief Adder and 2 Common Frog were also logged.

23 May 2014

Adverse conditions keep moth numbers down

A cool, breezy night with heavy showers last night (22nd/23rd) produced just 12 species of moth in the trap this morning:

1 Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi
3 Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis
2 Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata
2 Heart & Dart Agrotis exclamationis
3 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta
1 White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda
1 The Spectacle Abrostola tripartita
1 Marbled Minor agg. Oligia strigilis agg.
1 Small Dusty Wave Idaea seriata
1 Elachista argentella
1m Clepsis consimilana
2 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana

Small Square-spot Diarsia rubi

Pale Mottled Willow Caradrina clavipalpis - note the white spots around the kidney-mark and four black spots on the costa

Female Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta - a really dark individual

Common Marbled Carpet Chloroclysta truncata

Elachista argentella - about 100 x life size

Male Clepsis consimilana

The fantastic thing about moths is the enourmous diversity that is observable just in your own garden. I haven't got a garden moth list yet, but like many others in the blogosphere, I might have to create one. All this is good practice for the planned mothing sessions at the patch, and is ideal for birders that happen to live where there are no bloody birds.

19 May 2014

First moth trap session of 2014

I've been rather late starting the mothing this year, not helped by breaking the only bulb I had for the trap and then taking an age to get around to ordering a replacement. Anyway, I finally ran the trap at home last night (18th/19th). Things were very quiet, no doubt partly due to a fairly clear night with an almost full moon rising in the early hours. I've identified the following from last night's catch so far (photographed today):

1 Light Brocade Lacanobia w-latinum
1 Buttoned Snout Hypena rostralis
3 Treble Lines Charanyca trigrammica
1 White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda
1 The Spectacle Abrostola tripartita
1 Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta
3 Freyer's Pug Eupithecia intricata
1 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata
1 Agonopterix yeatiana

Light Brocade Lacanobia w-latinum

Treble Lines Charanyca trigrammica

Buttoned Snout Hypena rostralis

The Spectacle Abrostola tripartita

The Spectacle Abrostola tripartita - (same as above) showing the 'spectacles'

White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda

Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta

Freyer's Pug Eupithecia intricata

Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata - many thanks to Bill Dykes for identifying this one

Agonopterix yeatiana

17 May 2014

Where did spring migration go?

After a good start with a few good scarce birds, it seems that spring passage is over as soon as it began! It felt very much like summer is here already at the patch today.

Absolutely no sense of any movement today with just a single Common Swift N and 3+ Barn Swallow and a Common Tern loitering around the Colne. The local Hobbys are back with 2-3 seen throughout the day, and the second Grasshopper Warbler is still present, reeling away in short bursts and showing well. 2 Red-legged Partridge flew onto the NE corner of Staines Moor from Bonehead woodland (a good record here), and the Cetti's Warbler in the NE corner showed well for once.

48 cattle are now grazing along with 8 horses. No Yellow Wags yet but 28 Starling consisted of mainly juveniles. Also noted; 7 Sedge Warbler (1 Colne, rest Swamp), 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat, 4 Redshank, 6+ Northern Lapwing, 2 Little Egret, 1 Kingfisher, 2m Pied Wagtail, 2f Gadwall, 3 Grey Heron over NE, 6 Linnet, lots of Meadow Pipit, a few Skylark, 3(H) Chiffchaff, and 13+ Mute Swan (mainly over).

A few more butterflies have emerged. The first 2 Small Coppers of the year, 1+ Small Heath, 1 brief Common Blue and a probable Holly Blue were noted, along with lots of Green-veined Whites, a few Orange-tips, 2 Brimstones, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 few Peacocks. Also, Banded Demoiselle Calopteryx splendens have emerged in numbers, quite a few Ephemera danica mayflies today - much to the appreciation of the Hobbys, and Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus are now flowering everywhere.

Stanwell Moor added 1 juv Robin, 2 Shelduck, a Cuckoo heard distantly, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, and lots of Common Comfrey Symphytum officinale flowering by the boardwalk.

A very fresh Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas on Staines Moor today

Plenty of Green-veined Whites Pieris napi around today

Ephemera danica

3 May 2014

Noar Hill, Hampshire: 3 May

Had a fantastic invert session today at Noar Hill in north-east Hampshire. Spent a few hours photographing butterflies in perfect butterflying weather and found 14+ Duke of Burgundy, 9 Dingy Skipper, 2 Green Hairstreak, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Speckled Wood, 3 Peacock, lots of Orange-tips, and plenty of Brimstones. Lots of day-flying moths around, including 1+ Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica, and Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata, and disturbed a female Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica, and a few Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata as well.

Duke of Burgundy Hamearis lucina

Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages

Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi

Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica

Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata

Female Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica

I can't recall ever seeing such a high density of Cowslips Primula veris (the larval foodplant of the Duke of Burgundy), and there were lots of Early Purple Orchids Orchis mascula in flower amongst them. A few Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon are coming into flower, and it was good to see plenty of Juniper Juniperus communis here, with areas cleared by Plantlife to reintroduce this declining plant. Also 1 Large Bee-fly Bombylius major, and birds noted include 6 Common Swift, 2 Barn Swallow, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Common Whitethroat, 5(2H) Chiffchaff, 1m Blackcap, 1 Yellowhammer, 4(2m ,2f) Bullfinch, 1+ Common Buzzard and 1m Kestrel.

Early Purple Orchids Orchis mascula

Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon is now coming into flower

Noar Hill Nature Reserve - chalk grassland on the site of a medieval chalk working

Noar Hill Nature Reserve is surrounded by agricultural fields - this one with wide wild flower margins, a wild flower meadow
and Yellowhammers.

I ended up spending the whole day at this gem of a reserve and I can't wait to return. For more on Noar Hill see Bill Dykes excellent blog here.

1 May 2014

Migration at a trickle

A south-westerly wind, partially clear skies overnight and rain before dawn failed to produce any of the hoped for passage waders at the patch today (1 May), or many other migrants for that matter. On Staines Moor, 15 Common Swift, including a group of 14, and 1 Garden Warbler beside the Colne at the north end were my first of the year. A female Northern Wheatear at the north end was new in, as was a female Common Cuckoo at the north end that found itself being chased by a male, that was calling its head off trying to impress. There are also a lot more Common Tern around now, with 3+ fishing along the Colne for much of the day and several overhead.

The second Grasshopper Warbler is still present and showed extremely well (no sign of the first bird in the swamp), and also logged were 4 Tufted Duck NE (scarce here), 5 Sedge Warbler (swamp - including 3 singing males), 1+ House Martin, 7+ Barn Swallow, 3+ Redshank, 1 Shelduck W, 2 Little Egret, 1 Kingfisher along the Colne, 2 Common Buzzard, 2+ Gadwall, 3 Canada Goose NW, 1 Pied Wagtail and 1(H) Cetti's Warbler beside the Colne at the north end (with another heard Stanwell/Staines Moor along Bonehead Ditch).

13 cattle have now been put out to graze - a tiny number, but hopefully they will attract some passing wagtails.

This male Cuckoo Cuckoo was getting a bit frisky with the arrival of a female at Staines Moor today

Quite pleased with these pics considering the bad light today. The white patch on the left wing is not a digital artefact, its
on the same part of the wing all the photos?