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

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Three new moths and loads of plants

Two days in Lancashire, the first on Thursday for a botany walk at Warton Crag, and evening trapping at Gait Barrows, followed on Friday by some instruction on finding Barred Tooth-striped larvae.  First of all the three new moths which were all at Gait Barrows: neither of the pyralids were on my radar but proved a welcome surprise, three Anania funebris and a single Pyrausta cingulata which evaded the camera.
Anania funebris
On Friday, three of us joined Paul from Butterfly Conservation who proceeded to give background on the Barred Tooth-striped moth for which this area is a stronghold.  He went on to give the distribution and apparent habitat requirements and survey methods before taking us to suitable areas nearby.  The preferred foodplant here is young ash saplings especially on woodland edge and adjacent to mature trees,   There seemed to be plenty of feeding signs and frass but the larvae were few and far between, possibly moved well down into cover or predated?  Fortunately two larvae were already staked out and a speculative search produced three more.  The tiny caterpillars not much more than 10-15mm were green in colour with a yellow lateral stripe and had a distinctive posture with its rear pair of legs grasping and the body head up at anything between 30-75 degrees, especially when disturbed.
Barred Tooth-striped larvae, note the feeding signs and posture
The botany walk at Warton Crag was organised by the Wild Flower Society and attended by about 15 eager botanists.  The walk started in the quarry area, up through the woodland to the top of the quarry.  There were numerous plants in flower, some so small that at times most of the group were on their knees or prostrate.  I managed 70 odd species noted of which over 40 were new to me and probably the scarcest plant Squinancywort is one I have seen before (at Berry Head I think, many years ago),  On the walk back down the sun came out waking up several Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries .
Orange-tip, female having just laid an orange coloured egg

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
On leaving the group at Warton I went to Arnside nearby to see a roadside Star-of-Bethlehem flower.
In preparation for the meeting on Friday I went to Gait Barrows and had a pleasent evening walk on the 'limestone trail'.  Close to the beginning of the trail I found Spindle in flower and some Herb Paris that was just over.  
limestone pavement

Herb Paris

Dingy Skippers
The commonest grassland butterfly was Dingy Skipper and these two played hard to get....

Thursday night was spent moth trapping in the main carpark and adjacent track and a total of 73 moths of 28 species.  Nothing really of note but Triple Lines and Coronet were good to see, the first since moving north and scarce east of the Pennines. 

A great couple of days with some fantastic scenary and habitat, nearly 50 new plants in total, three new moths, and several more moths re-aquainted with.

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