A more sedate walk was required today so I went three miles from home to check if Grayling were evident on the heath at Beacon Hill near Church Crookham. As I had expected they were and I counted 11 in a small area called Bricksbury Hill at SU829496. Along the rides female Common Blues were at regular intervals with the odd male just being a male.A Small Copper was busy on Ragwort along with many Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers.In the company of Chiff-chaff,Whitethroat and many Emperor Dragonflies I was able to come back to earth after yesterdays excitement.
The moth trap was very quiet last night (thank goodness) and the only moth i was pleased about was a male Ringed China-mark so now i have had male and female. The couple of Pine Hawks and Elephant Hawk-moth were rather nice too.
No,the moth have not been forgotten so little wonder why I feel a little jaded or other expletive at the moment so the ones I know will be listed or corrected and the rest filled in after a bit of research or help.
Hint- two points for the avid butterfly and moth photographer is dont rush your shots or you get what i just gave you and image stabilisers dont work well in heat. All the best Colin
Today I thought was right time to try and bury the three years of drought trying to locate a Brown Hairstreak at Shipton Bellinger. I soon knew I was in the countryside as I walked up the incline from the Village Hall to see a Sparrow Hawk dispatch a Blackbird. As I turned left into the first ride in front of me was a Drinker Moth looking like he needed one and it made me laugh as the 3 Common Blue males that were scrapping were always bombed by Small Skippers as they tried to feed on the Alfafa. This is a good site for the Udea lutealis moth and it wasn’t long before one was nearly on my lens.The wind was blowing, so a sheltered spot seemed obvious to find my quarry, so I entered the ride that runs along the field away from the Ash master tree and located a spot with Spear Thistle at the base,the vegetation scalloped to form an opening and in dappled light with Blackberry blossom and just sat and waited. It took precisely two minutes before a male came down, as usual in an awkward position but in the next 4 times he came down it was on the Bramble I wanted. Drought over!! I decided I was happy with that so cut through to the field and walked towards the master tree. Another whizzed past me before I turned round to see a pristine female sheltering from the wind on ivy. In all I saw what was about 8 Brown Hairstreak of which two were females.
Everything else was on view from Common Blue, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown but the plethora of these summer butterflies was reduced due to ride clearing of the nectar flowers but it was an idyllic day, unless you were a Blackbird.
I came home absolutely buzzing with the most enjoyable two hours behind me, had a sandwich and looked into the garden to see a Purple Hairstreak feeding on the Buddleia. Talk about all or nothing!!!
Due to a major change by my website supplier I was finding the "Lepi-plants " section, which was made up of five columns, hard to keep in line and as such have changed to a plants list which shows every butterfly and moth that uses a particular plant.
This has been completed up to the letter F and the photo at the top has been replaced by a slideshow of all the plants photos I have so far for that particular plant family.
In order to try and produce consistency I have also changed the way the larval food plants are shown on the species pages of which Drepanidae have been completed where possible.
The plant family name is linked to that family in "Lepi-plants" and the bold red hyperlinks on the actual plants are hyperlnked to "Plants for a future" website where considerable information on that plant is described.Also instead of a series of larval food plants photos I have changed this to a slideshow as above but for this particular species. I think its provides a neater appearance and still provides the visitor with flexibility.
I hope this change is agreeable to the user and of course the change is considerable so will take time to complete. Winter jobs!!
All the best
Having harvested last nights catch at the moth trap I had arranged to meet a friend at the Straits Inclosure today and being a little early I had time to check on the moths at Odiham and it came up with a not so common Small Scallop and my first for the website.It would appear winters write-ups will keep me busy the ways things are going.I met my friend who lives in Cornwall and we searched what I thought might by now be a luck-lustre visit but how wrong can you be,we me often.There were still about 7 White Admirals on view with loads of Silver-washed Fritillary and also good numbers of Peacock which is also nice to see. Apparently there is a pond on site and the number of Dragonflies said they also are having a good season even only they would stop and give me a chance to see what they are.The total catch at Odiham was Small Scallop Black Arches Dingy Footman Common Footman Common Wave Riband Wave Yellow-tail all 1 off ecept the Yellow-tail which was 2.At home this was the count:- Shuttle-shaped Dart 2, Oak Hook-tip 1, Pine Hawk-moth 1, Poplar Hawk-moth 1, Swallow-tailed Moth 1,Dark Arches 3, Brimstone Moth 2,Large Yellow Underwing 3,Broad-bordered Yellow U'wing 2,Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow U'wing 1,Mother of Pearl 1,Black Arches 2,The Dun-bar 1, Riband Wave 2,Peppered Moth 2, Sallow Kitten 1, Ruby Tiger 2,Shaded Broad-bar 1,September Thorn 3,Yellow-tail 1,Miller 1, Light Brown Apple moth 1, Nut-tree Tussock 1,Common Rustic1, CYDIA splendana12, ANCYLIS achatana1,GYPSONOMA dealbana 1
As usual the micros are my best shot and are subject to my usual corrections.
Keeping up with todays catch is not easy especially when you have a micro like Cydia splendana that produced 22 individuals is a typical example.
Among the new moths which are three there is the Scalloped Oak & Scalloped Hook-tip as well as a micro that may be a Brown-dotted Clothes moth.
My first July Highflyer this year only just made it with a week to go, and my first for garden Diamond-back moth was also seen.
Even checking the moth trap at 5am doesn't stop the moths escaping the trap the minute I switch off the light so recording all visitors to the light trap is virtually impossible.The hot evenings are providing good numbers of moths and last night a couple of new moths for the website. Recording moths on another site in Odiham is also proving to be interesting and lucrative,proving me with another couple of new moths so keeping up with events is very difficult at the moment, but of course exciting.The new moths along with one or two others follow.
Checking the moths the other day I was asked by am elderly lady if I was doing graffiti and when I explained that I wasn't she was very upset. I explained to her I was recording moths and when I showed her some moths like Swallow-tailed Moth and Ruby Tiger she quickly went back into a state of equilibrium.Isn't life grand?
I forgot to mention whilst at Odiham Common looking for White-letter Hairstreaks that I did encounter at least a dozon Shaded Broad-bar which is on the NERC S.41 : 2008 (England) & NERC S.42 : 2009 (Wales) - Species "of principle importance for the purpose of conserving biodiversity. They clearly like the long grass and in some circumstances damp conditions.
The trap last nigh again produce a varied array of species the best being a sadly damaged Lunar Thorn which fell off the wood I put it on so forgive me for taking a photo of the verso which clearly shows the"lunars".The second new moth for the website was the strange looking Pale Prominent which is fascinating to watch when it converts itself into a real moth,temporarily.
The total catch was as follows:- Lunar Thorn 1-new for website, Pale Prominent 1-new for website ,Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix 1, Double square-spot 1, Bird-cherry Ermine 1, Peppered Moth 4, Lesser Swallow Prominent 1, Dot Moth 2, Iron Prominent 2, Light Brown Apple moth 1, Buff-tip 3, Common Footman 2, Dark Arches 1 Buff Ermine 2, Black Arches 1, Coronet 3, Heart & Dart 1, Flame 1, Ear Moth agg 1, Flame Shoulder 1, Marbled Beauty1, CYDIA splendana 1 - note-this is the brown form ,EUDONIA mercurella 2.
Sorry everyone but my flock is increasing, as along came a perfect Swallow-tailed Moth last night which was part of a fairly balanced catch with variety if not large numbers. Included in amongst the moths is a new moth for the website a Slender Brindle.I decided to place the trap on top of the patio table and it seems to have worked possibly because the growth is now taking over the garden so that a minimum of lawn is available for the trap and I'm sure a great deal of light is lost.
The catch for the night is as follows:-Swallow-tailed Moth 1, Slender Brindle 1 - NFW, Agapeta hamana 1, Pammene fasciana 1,V Pug 1, The Spectacle 1, Riband Wave 2, Ear Moth agg. Black Arches 1, Small Magpie 1,Peppered Moth 5, Buff Ermine 2, Buff-tip 1, September Thorn 1, Dot Moth 3, Heart & Club 1, Common Footman 2, Elephant Hawk-moth 1, Flame 1, Coronet 1.
The moth trap has not been performing very well of late possibly giving a true reading of what I should expect in my little concrete jungle,not that I will give up and so with this situation in mind I decided to go where the butterflies would at least be plentiful and that’s Stockbridge Down.
It was sunny early on with a steady breeze blowing but this only gave relief in the hot conditions. I had hoped to see the Chalk Hill Blues and although numbers were not as high as encountered this year it was still a wonderful sight although I only saw two females telling me its still early for this species.
Marbled Whites must have been in the hundreds and the Dark Green Fritillary, although most were worn, were showing considerable numbers, up in the teens.
Nyphalids were of course on show demolishing the Bramble blossom with Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma all seen.
The white family were quite low with the odd singleton of Green-veined White and male and female freshly emerged Brimstone.
As pointed out by Pete Eeles on UK Butterflies the female Small Skipper were busily laying on Yorkshire Fog and I saw at least 7 or 8 individuals showing the technique of getting her ovipositor into the outer sheath of the stem.Wondeful to watch.
Moths were low although there were plenty of Six-spot Burnet flying and the Grass Moths of course. A couple of micros were also recorded making the trip enjoyable only to be finished in the best way ever when bumping into a couple of good friends. Now what was I saying about the moth trap? Its all repeats although I did have my first Red-barred Totrix and Seraphim, so lets hope for better this week.
You couldnt stage manage this is you tried. P just came home from work,went upstairs and shouted we have a large moth upstairs that is yellow. Yes,you guessed it, my second Swallow-tailed moth and another worn individual with two good tails.If I keep this up I will soon have a flock of them.
57.006 - Small Skipper - THYMELICUS sylvestris (Poda, 1761) the female would alight the grass stem and go up or down before turning round the stem to find where the outer sheath was visible before working her ovipositor into the sheath to deposit eggs. You can see the sheath line in this photo which has turned brown.