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

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Update 2 on the Kilburn micros

Harry Beaumont has gen.det. the four micros I sent and offered a speedy response.  The good news is that the Ancylis upupana is confirmed and two others were identified as Epinotia tetraquetrana and Bactra lancealana both males.  

The slight disappointment and one I thought would be less of a problem was the Pammene populana. Harry kindly commented "The Pammene turned out to be more of a problem. The moth looks OK for P. populana but the male genitalia were not entirely consistent with that species. These small dark Pammene species are not easy and both Charlie and I struggle with them sometimes. I have slide mounted the gen. and will compare it with my slides of other species as I get time. One of the problems is that the characteristics between species appear to vary depending which book one uses." Oh well...still hope then.  Many thanks as always to Harry!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Update on the Kilburn micros...

The good number of rarities caught at Kilburn on 31st May and 1st June have certainly caused some interest.  In order to get some records accepted, photos are just not enough and several moths were collected and have been sent for dissection and confirmation.  I do struggle with the concept of having to retain some species but reconcile the fact that in proving a rare species does occur that undoubtedly there are others present and adds weight to conservation requirements for a given site. One species I trapped on both nights and have only just put a name to it and the photos have been accepted: this is Ancylis upupana which is another Yorkshire rarity and of great interest as being right on the northern edge of distribution on what is a rare moth nationally.
Ancylis upupana
Of the other rarities trapped the photos of Phylloporia bistrigella and Epermenia falciformis were both considered acceptable, and although the photos certainly suggested Blastodacma atra and Pammene populana both needed genitalia determination for confirmation.  Unfortunately the B. atra was released but the other is winging its way to H.E.B. for determination and hopefully acceptance.  

Saturday, 3 June 2017

A rare beetle today...

With the minimum of preparation I set off on a vague search for the very rare and endangered Tansy Beetle Chrysolina graminis on the River Ouse around York.  It didn't help that I was searching for a plant with which I was not familiar, looking for a ragwort type plant with tight yellow flowers not even realising they do not flower until late summer....  Based on all that it was amazing that I did actually find the plant and some 30+ beetles.  What a cracking little beastie, a beautiful iridescent green and only c.10mm long!

River Ouse, near Fulford

Tansy plant in foreground

Tansy Beetle Chrysolina graminis 

mating pair

The Tansy Beetle was once widespread in the UK living in wetland areas, they are now found along the banks of a 30km stretch of the River Ouse around York, with a much smaller population recently discovered in Cambridgeshire.  In 2016 the York population was found to be c.40,000 individuals which sounds a lot, but when you consider how vulnerable the population is all in one small area that frequently floods this is a precarious situation.

Orange-tip butterfly

Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa serraticornis 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Two nights in Kilburn woods, VC62

Having a week off and choosing the best midweek nights for trapping I chose a new location on an existing site in Kilburn woods not far from the White Horse.  Wednesday night was dry but breezy and turned out to be a night of exceptional quality micros, and this success prompted a return visit last night some 200m away in slightly different habitat on a calm and biting midge-filled night.

Night of 31st May, just over 300 moths of 70 species, but what quality!  The comments on rarity underneath are using not quite up-to-date information but certainly a reflection on their scarcity.
0128 Phylloporia bistrigella = 1st since 1883 in VC62

0481 Epermarnia falciformis - 3rd VC62 record (the other two are mine too)

0906 Blastodacna atra - only 3 Yorkshire records, the first in VC62 since 1921

as above

1132 Epinotia subocellana - I had two, 5th and 6th VC62 records

1242 Pammene populana - only 6 Yorkshire records - the first in VC62 since 1954

as above

Night of 1st June, over 470 of 68 species, the highlight being four Clouded Magpie which are simply stunning and I have only had a couple before.
0968 Cochylis nana

1885 Clouded Magpie

1887 Clouded Magpie ab. - a variable species but I have never seen one like this

2043 Orange Footman

2150 Grey Arches
In addition to all the moths I was lucky enough to have some Glowworms totalling 12 females and one male over the 200m stretch over the two nights.  Always a pleasure to see and duly reported to the recording scheme.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A new butterfly and a good moth

Having worked out where to see the Duke of Burgundy butterflies I made the effort yesterday despite rather unpromising weather: although short-sleeved shirt weather there was a breeze and the cloud did offer slight drizzle on occasions.  On arriving at Hawnby Hill had close views of Red Grouse including a number of small chicks.  Overhead were three raptors, one a third larger than the other two which were buzzards; the bowed wing shape, white head with brown eye-stripe and very pale underparts all pointed to Osprey - what on earth was it doing there!

A walk along the north-western flank provided a very small number of butterflies, Red Admirals, Small Heath, Wall Brown and Small Copper, and then at last a Duke of Burgundy.  I managed a handful of shots of the Duke despite the breeze and poor light keeping the shutter speeds slow.

In addition I had at least three Mother Shipton moths which were my first in Yorkshire and only seen previously in Dorset, a few evasive crambid moths the one of which potted was lathionellus, several Brown Silver-lines and an interesting large pale Carpet which was just too quick but was probably a well-marked Silver-ground Carpet.

The other highlight (?) was me losing my footing and staggering at gathering speed hurtling down a steep slope before crashing to the ground.  I am sure if caught on camera it would have been worth seeing again but just brings it home how vulnerable us old codgers can be especially somewhere off the beaten track and alone.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Hood Hill, Kilburn, VC62, night of 26 May

Things starting to pick up a bit and a good night at Kilburn with 397 moths of 61 species.  By far the most numerous was Common Lutestring with 130, and there were an interesting selection of scarce micros including Denisia similella, Ancylis mitterbacheriana, Epinotia rubiginosana and Eucosmomorpha albersana each of which with very few VC62 records.
Denisia similella

Carpatolechia proximella

Capua vulgana

Ancylis mitterbacheriana
Epinotia rubiginosana

Eucosmomorpha albersana

Grey Pine Carpet

Foxglove Pug

Welsh Wave

Grey Birch

A rather belated catch-up...

Night of 8th April, Pilmoor, VC62 - 83 of 23 species:  the highlights being a Phyllonorycter sp, probably ulmifoliella, and the earliest Yorkshire record of Scarce Prominent.
Scalloped Hook-tip

Double-striped Pug

Scarce Prominent

Red Swordgrass

Red Swordgrass

Night of 6th May, Pilmoor, VC62 – 13 of five species, a shortened night due to being rather cool and non-productive.
Lunar Marbled Brown

Night of 12th May, Hag Wood, Kilburn, VC62 – 107 of 39 species, the highlights included the spectacular micromoth Ethmia quadrillella.
Zelleria hepariella

Ethmia quadrillella

Ethmia quadrillella

Acleris hastiana

Brindled Pug