Welcome to my world..............

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Brimham Rocks

With a period of unseasonably warm temperatures,  and with newly granted permission to trap in the restricted areas of Brimham, I gave it a go last night.  I ran three traps among the rocks about 100m east of the Information centre, packing up about 2 in the morning due a slight breeze picking up and not too many moths.
Brimham Rocks
Of about 50 moths trapped of just 15 species, there was most definitely an autumnal flavour, with my first epirrita moth of the winter, and three Frosted Orange.
Autumnal Moth

Autumnal Rustic

Red-line Quaker

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Yes it is a Svensson's!

I had a go at my first gen.det. today on the Copper Underwing featured in my post of 17th September on:

All of the external features had suggested a Svensson's rather than the regular Copper Underwing, and this was confirmed by a detailed dissection of the genitalia.  It was a male, and the features clearly matched those in the photos in British and Irish moths: an illustrated guide to selected difficult species (covering the use of genitalia characters and other features) by Townsend, Clifton and Goodey. 

I had a go in preparing a couple of other macromoths just for practice, and can honestly say I am more than pleased with the microscope I purchased.  It is all very well doing these bigger ones, but I can see doing the little jobbies as a bit of a challenge.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Another try for Devon Carpets

A brief respite in this weeks weather, so set up three traps in Kilburn woods in the area where I have caught Devon Carpet before, about 100m away from where I trapped last week.  No luck with the carpets, and the numbers were generally low.  The bright moon was evident up to around midnight with cloud quickly increasing, but even by 0300 with a temperature of +11, it was obvious that the summer numbers were now but a distant memory.
As an interesting aside, on Calderdale Moths blog, there is interesting habitat shot from Hardcastle Crags, the other Yorkshire Devon Carpet site, and an excellent photo of one of the moths.  There is only a small patch of this type of habitat in Kilburn woods, and perhaps a more targeted siting of the traps may be more effective. 

14 Ypsolopha parenthesella, a Blastobasis adustella, Acleris emargana, Epinotia ramella, two Red-green Carpet, two Common Marbled Carpet, a Pine Carpet, a very worn Double-striped Pug, two Canary-shouldered Thorn, a Large Yellow Underwing, Brown-spot Pinion, four Pink-barred Sallow, Dark Arches, Small Wainscot, two Rosy Rustic and a Frosted Orange.

at 22mm wingspan, very worn, but considered to be Double-striped Pug

Pine Carpet

Brown-spot Pinion

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The first night mothing for a week.

With such a poor week weather-wise, the chance of a warm night and no rain was too good to miss.  Kilburn woods was the choice, with the chance of a Devon Carpet for the third year running.  Managed over 100 moths of 31 species, a Vine's Rustic probably the only highlight, and the first Frosted Orange of the year, but unfortunately no Devon Carpets.
Frosted Orange

Pink-barred Sallow and Centre-barred Sallow

In addition, a Copper Underwing which showed all of the features one would expect of Svensson's Copper Underwing.  Not only was it drab (Svensson's used to be known as Drab Copper Underwing), the black and white checkering on the sides of the abodomen was subdued, the palps were dark with pale tips, and the copper on the underwing was extensive and up as far as the base of the wing.  Why aren't they all this easy?
Svensson's Copper Underwing - topside - drab and lacking contrast.
Svensson's Copper Underwing - showing dark palps with pale tips

Svensson's Copper Underwing - underside, lack of contrast with black and white checkering on sides of abdomen, and large extent of copper on underwing.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

A new bird ....

One of the benefits (the only?) of being part of the great unwashed, is that a one-day bird that turns up less than an hour away from home is worth a go for as soon as you hear about it.  So, within an hour of notification, there we are on the A19, off to see the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on Teesside.  What a cracker it was, close views, performing well, showing off all the distinctive features.  
There were two big plusses here.  The first is that there has been one close to my Mothers house in Ireland for over a week, arriving with loads of American waders the week after I was there....and secondly, it was one of Pog's VIT's...one he had seen in the 1970's at Frodsham, and was a blocker for me.

Great photos of the bird on Surfbirds website 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A date with some Swedish birds....

Just going through some old photos, and came across some birds of prey photographed on a two-day visit to Falsterbo in southern Sweden in early October 2006.  I had been in Copenhagen on a work assignment and took an extra couple of days to cross the bridge into Sweden, and drove down to Falsterbo, in the south-west corner of the country.
Falsterbo peninsula, with the bridge in the background connecting Sweden to Denmark
What a place.  Sand dunes and slacks almost surrounded by a turbulent sea, wisps of waders skirting the shoreline, the iconic lighthouse, interesting copses and bushy areas for migrant passerines, and the nearby heathy open area which was best for watching thousands of migrating raptors.

There has been a Bird Observatory at Falsterbo since 1947 and over a million birds have been ringed there.  Follow link to see more about the Obs http://www.falsterbofagelstation.se/index_e.html 

And now for some of those birds of prey, starting with the most numerous, which were Sparrowhawks, which were passing over in their hundreds.  

Smaller numbers of Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Kestrel and Osprey, a few Rough-legged Buzzards and a good record of Spotted Eagle.

A great place, and would love to spend a bit more time there at peak migration time.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

I've got one Ear.....

....and yes Andy before you say anything it is a Large one.  Having caught an Ear agg. in south-west Ireland, I collected the specimen to bring back home for the Yorkshire county moth Recorder to do a gen.det. (genitalia dissection) on it.  Charlie had requested Yorkshire specimens to be sent to him to get a better idea of which Ear species are here in the county - Yorkshire has all four British species.  So, after 10 minutes preparation the genitalia were exposed to show a male Large Ear; a new site record according to the Moths of Ireland.  A couple of other specimens sent through the post turned out to be another Large Ear, and the other a male Crinan Ear.  I attach a photo of the live moth out of interest.
Large Ear

A touch of Autumn....

As it is now September, a visit to Brimham Rocks was on the cards, to get some of those autumnal moorland species; and not a bad night it was, with a new moth for me, an Anomalous, and a first Yorkshire record for me of Vine's Rustic.  A total of 218 moths of 42 species, the highlights being a Welsh Wave, three Barred Chestnut, 18 Neglected Rustic, 13 Heath Rustic, four Golden-rod Brindle, two Angle-striped Sallow, a Vine's Rustic and an Anomalous. 
Pine Carpet

Welsh Wave

Neglected Rustic

Golden-rod Brindle

Flounced Chestnut

Vine's Rustic