The lack of blog entry's in the next few weeks does not represent a lack of leps or a lack of interest but purely recovery time from an operation taking place tomorrow.Have a great season all and I will catch up with you when I'm fit and able.
With rain,fog & cold the moths are definitely lacklustre with only four moths in the trap last night following two nights when the trap didn't go out at all.Although its disappointing I did have three NFY moths which were Lime Hawk-moth 1, Flame Shoulder 1, Lesser Swallow Prominent 1 and the almost mandatory Hebrew Character 1.
For those that dont know The Lesser Swallow Prominent is identified by the tornal white streak (thats the white tapered streak in the photo below)which is not on the Swallow Prominent.
The continual cold evenings are definitely the major reason why catches at the moth trap are poor at the moment and with a frost tonight and rain in the forecast this week I dont imagine too much is going to change.And so it was with me this morning with a measley total of seven moths,much the same as being recorded elsewhere. I did however get a more reasonable Lunar Marbled Brown and that was the highlight until in the house an hour ago I recorded my FFY Red Twin-spot Carpet whose eyes became a predominant feature when taking a few shots ,so as many times before, I'm showing close-ups of that area as well. A very friendly moth that posed well for the camera before flying off into a shoe which he wouldn't have done had I just removed it!!!
Totals : Hebrew Character 3, Common Quaker 1, Double-striped Pug 1,Lunar Marbled Brown 2,Red Twin-spot Carpet 1
It a happy Easter to you all and with that comes the mandatory clouds, which were rolling in by lunchtime.
At least it was well forecast and so I had already decided to go to the vast swathes of heather and gorse at Beacon Hill just outside Church Crookham. I wasn't expecting much so I wasn't disappointed that's about what I managed but at least I had fun trying.
Peacock were in good numbers but that about it as far as butterflies were concerned,they know when its changing,so I concentrated on a small micro known as a CYDIA ulicetana with a common name Grey Gorse Piercer and that's where you find them in amongst the Gorse. I have seen hundreds before but they are clearly just emerging so I only saw 8.
Another even smaller micro also appeared on the gorse and this was extremely difficult to photo so you will just have to settle for effort only.
Very active,flying forwards of the walk direction were the voracious Green Tiger Beetles in quite high numbers and saw one trying to sort out an ant but it ended Ant 1-Green Tiger Beetle 0
Well, once again all the best to you all.
Now just imagine the size of this micro PHYLLONORYCTER harrisella which is sitting on Gorse blossom,that's small!!
It is with great appreciation from a man who knows,thanks Tim,that I am informed the wasp below is in fact one of the spider-hunting wasps Anoplius viaticus.A very interesting article on this species can be found at http://www.bwars.com/index.php?q=wasp/pompilidae/pompilinae/anoplius-viaticus
We may just see Gorse as something to avoid but the early spring insects depend on it and one I think might be the Early bumblebee BOMBUS pratorum
Following the excitement of yesterday it was my intention to put my feet up today but at the last minute changed my mind and decided to visit a site in Hampshire to catch up on the butterflies that are being recorded at the different Butterfly Conservation counties.
Having not been climbing hills for a while following health problems last year I was delighted to find that the winters excesses were not heeding progress and so it was I enjoyed a few hours of butterfly heaven which by chance I was able to enjoy in the company of a good friend who had also chosen to enjoy the butterflies and weather.
Even though the sun felt warm the wind was taking the edge off the warmth so that the butterflies didnt appear until about 11am.
One Duke of Burgundy was quickly followed by another three and time was spent trying to get that perfect shot when the butterflies were landing and partially closing their wings but soon the wind dropped and the butterflies became a little more amiable.
In the end we saw 10 Duke of Burgundy and my first Grizzled Skipper for the site,quickly followed by a Green Hairstreak and a Holly Blue which seemed to completely fill in the gaps of the missing butterflies so far.
Large Bee-fly's were everywhere and on more than one occasion were found nectaring on the Cowslips which adorn the site,naturally.
The final counts were Duke of Burgundy 10, Grizzled Skipper 1, Green Hairstreak 1 ,Holly Blue 1, Small Tortoiseshell 3, Peacock 3, Brimstone 4 - 2M/2FM, and a few Orange-tip males.
Having dedicated the Orange-tips to my sister Sue in Cornwall earlier I am duty bound to dedicate the Duke of Burgundy photos to her husband and my brother in law Brian who will know why!!! Keep smiling!!
"Would seem I know just about as much about trees as I do about micro moths as the trees below are Junipers and not Yew,totally spoiling my caption" he says with a giggle. Thanks Lynn, will ask you about trees next time just in case I want to "Ramble in the Bramble" next time.
Why do they always hide in the shade when sitting on a perch and why is it they become another butterfly under certain lighting conditions? Who cares, just bring em on!!!
Large Bee-fly BOMBYLIUS major I have mentioned before and they are a scourge for the solitary bee but the sword like appendage at the front is only for nectar and today they were feeding quite well which always gives one respite from rollong around the ground trying to secure a decent shot - which I love by the way.
Following the completion of the blog below and a bit of food I decided to stretch the old legs and take a short trip to Silchester Common SU620624 for an hour in search of the Emperor Moth but it was windy and if any were about they certainly knew how to avoid me.It was rather quiet with just a male and female Brimstone and a couple of Peacocks. The trip started rather opportunistic as a micro decided to land on my finger just as I was checking if i had a tube with me so that was that, but alas at this very moment with me being tired I have been unable to identify it.
Just as I was coming back to the entrance a small moth caught my eye as I had seen it in the moth book but never in the field.
Its a lovely little moth called a Small Purple-barred and completes my 5th new moth for the day so I have more than enough to write about now.Hope you like it as much as me.
Once again I appreciate the help from Tim on the identification of this micro as EPINOTIA immundana (Fischer von Röslererstamm, 1840) which is a common moth found throughout Great Britain,double brooded between April-September(single brooded for Scotland) and is found in woodland,heathland & streams
Last night was rather like "Del boy" and his "Only Fools & Horses" in as much as it was a repeat of the last week,rather mild in the evening and the opposite by the morning,so imagine my surprise when I found 11 moths in the trap this morning including,wait for it, 3 new species for the website.
That was brilliant and certainly cheered me up at 6am this morning. The first of the new species is a cracker the delightful Chocolate-tip quickly followed by a Brindled Beauty and finally a Muslin Moth.Totals for the session is Chocolate-tip 1, Brindled Beauty 1, Muslin Moth 1, Hebrew Character 1, Brindled Pug 4, Early Grey 1, Common Quaker 1, and NFY Shuttle-shaped Dart 1.
Not bad for a cold evening I would say.
The cold evenings still prevail which seems misplaced by such beautiful days at the moment but then one has to remember this is still April and not July. As such moth the moth catch was minimal with just one Purple Thorn showing a bit more of the "purple"and two truly worn Hebrew Characters.
I was cheered up a little when on the front window today I found my 4th micro of the year,this being Epinotia immundana which is common in heathland, woodland and marshes throughout the British Isles. The larvae feed of the catkins of Alder and Birch.
Having made the boo boo of the day by leaving the CF card in the reader instead of replacing it in the camera after loading the micro I was perplexed why the shutter button wouldnt release and accordingly had to come back home.
As such I returned to Odiham Common in the afternoon to take a few Orange-tip shots which I dedicate to my lovely sister Sue in Cornwall. I nearly achieved a good pair,but we have all done one of those,havnt we?
Count for the visit was 7 Orange-tip male & 3 Female plus 2 Peacock
Yes, the numbers are still not managing to reach any dizzy heights but still provide with the odd new for year species which makes it fine.
I said another Lunar Marbled Brown might come along and I'm nearly true because it was actually two individuals, a male and a female but now I'm convinced there is not such a things as a perfect specimen as both were less than pristine.
Totals for the night were as follows:- Lunar Marbled Brown 2,Pale Tussock 1,Frosted Green 2, Hebrew Character 2, Clouded Drab 1,Common Quaker 1 & Brindled Pug 1I think one of the Frosted Greens were from previous day.
This afternoon,after a nice lunch out, I was perusing the garden looking for my first larvae of the year and low and behold I actually found two,one which I know to be an Angle Shades larva which I didnt disturbe but the second I feel like i should know but alas I dont so if anybody can help me out then please email me on email@example.com.The larva was about 25mm long
I also found my third micro species of the year with a couple of Tachystola acroxantha, the micro a native to Australia which has ended up on our shores in early stages on plants.
Although the weather seemed much warmer this morning than the previous nights I was surprised to only find six moths in the trap.
If nothing else I,m not a quitter and as such keep persevering on the off chance of adding species to my website and this morning it paid of with a lacklustre looking Early Tooth-stripe but at least its a new moth for the garden,new for year and new species for the website so it does pay to be obstinate. Besides I like an excuse to show everyone something new to try and provide interest for the viewer.
The Early Tooth-stripe is a moth of the broadleaved woodland where the larvae feed on Birches,Sallows,Alder and Honeysuckle.
It has a single brood normally between April and May.
Also in the trap were a couple of Frosted Green moths ,one which is a cracker,also Hebrew Character 1 & good old Common Quaker 1 and my second micro moth of the year the Light Brown Apple Moth 1 no doubt as a result of my Strawberry plants last year (See larva on species page)
Following the photo session above I decided to make a short visit to the heathland at Beacon Hill just outside Church Crookham but alas being up high it was very windy and chilly for someone wearing summer clothes but I did see a couple of micros, a Peacock sheltering in amongst the Reindeer Moss as well as a Small Tortoiseshell.
Clearly an unsuccessful visit I decided to look at the Orange-tips at Odiham Common again but the weather was not ideal for butterfly photography as they settled on the Lady's Smock with their wings shut. I did find 3 females and a couple of males including another mating pair which tickled me pink as the female was busy imbibing on Ladys Smock during the cop. No, I will refrain was saying it!!!!