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

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The one that nearly got away.....

On the morning of 25th September 2005, at my house in Lyons Gate, Dorset, after fairly uneventful nights trapping, I left the MV light still illuminated against the locked garage door, meaning to turn it off later.  Some hours later I had to retrieve something from the car on the drive, and noticed a large moth on the garage wall above the lamp that was still on.  Expecting it to be a Red Underwing, of which I had only ever seen one, I decided to go and get the camera to photograph it.  Of course, I got distracted, and it was another couple of hours before I went back outside with the camera.  I took a quick shot, then gently poked it so I could get the red underwing......it was elecric blue!  A Clifden Nonpareil, what a beaut!, and before I could photo it again it fluttered a few feet further on and landed on the garage door.  I quickly took a shot with its wings partly open to catch the hindwing. 
Before I could take any more shots....panic....it started to fly again.  Amazingly, the moth fluttered around and then landed on my chest;  I was wearing a bright blue shirt, and wonder whether it was the colour that attracted the moth.  Having gently cupped my hand over the moth on my chest I called to my youngest daughter to get one of my specimen boxes, which fortunately she found and I carefully boxed the moth.  

What to do now?  Well, I knew it was a good record, and one of those moths that most moth'ers dream about catching.  Someone else had to see it, so I drove down to Portland, just to get Martin Cade to confirm the record.  Suitably impressed I returned home and decided to try and get some more photographs, but on opening the box, the moth flew off strongly across the road never to be seen again.

This really was one of those wow! moments, setting the old ticker racing.  Being thoroughly elated I could only ponder on the fact that this moth so nearly got away...several times.  Having ignored scrutinising the moth all morning, it stayed long enough for me to photograph it, but even then I had nearly poked it before trying to get a record shot.  Big mistake.....and then when it flew again it had landed on me..how lucky was that.

It still ranks as one of my great natural history moments, and one that still makes me smile even now. 

Monday, 24 May 2010

Dorset moth retrospective - part 1

Now living in North Yorkshire, I actually started mothing in Dorset, and was lucky enough to live in a semi-detached cottage in a place called Lyons Gate, just north of Cerne Abbas in central north Dorset.  It is a very rural location with very little light pollution, and on the north facing slope of the chalk ridge, bordering the Blackmore vale.  As such, Lyons Gate was in the rain shadow of the hills, and was the wettest place in Dorset, having twice as much rain as Portland Bill on the coast.

The garden itself had a few flowering shrubs, but was surrounded by a mixture of managed woodland, some old stands of mature natural woodland, birch and sallow scrub, an old golfcourse that was managed as natural downland, and paddocks.  There were a number of small pools nearby, mainly managed for fishing.

I trapped in the garden from August 2003 to the end of October 2006, usually with a 125w MV Robinson trap, often supplemented by a 22w actinic Skinner trap, and when rain threatened sometimes just the actinic in the porch.  In those three years I amassed a garden lepidoptera list of 524 species, including a good selection of local, scarce and migrant species.

The real highlights had to be Clifden Nonpareil, a spectacular migrant (although possibly a tiny breeding population in Dorset), and two specimens of Spatalistis bifasciana, a tiny micro moth, which apart from a handfull of records on Cranborne Chase in 2003, was last seen in the county in 1890.
Spatalistis bifasciana
Clifden Nonpareil
Here are a list of the 'notable B' species caught in the garden.  Notable B species are those that are nationally scarce, occuring in between 31 and 100 ten km squares in the UK.
Code Taxon Vernacular Individuals
220   Nemapogon clematella 1
844   Syncopacma larseniella 1
1034 Spatalistis bifasciana 2
1292 Calamotropha paludella 1
1343 Eudonia delunella 14
1467 Ancylosis oblitella 1
1633 Eriogaster lanestris Small Eggar 1
1676 Cyclophora annularia Mocha 4
1751 Lampropteryx otregiata Devon Carpet 1
1793 Euphyia biangulata Cloaked Carpet 10
2045 Eilema caniola Hoary Footman 1
2260 Conistra rubiginea Dotted Chestnut 1

Other species which occur locally within Britain, and turned up in the garden included the following:

Code Taxon Vernacular Individuals 
1314 Catoptria margaritella Pearl-band Grass Veneer 1

1316 Catoptria falsella 3
1361 Pyrausta aurata 2
1365 Pyrausta despicata 7
1425 Galleria mellonella Wax Moth 1
1470 Euzophera pinguis 26
1474 Ephestia parasitella unicolorella 1
1485 Phycitodes maritima 1
1647 Watsonalla cultraria Barred Hook-tip 2
1660 Polyploca ridens Frosted Green 2
1673 Hemistola chrysoprasaria Small Emerald 15
1680 Cyclophora punctaria Maiden's Blush 18
1681 Cyclophora linearia Clay Triple-lines 8
1692 Scopula immutata Lesser Cream Wave 2
1705 Idaea fuscovenosa Dwarf Cream Wave 4
1739 Epirrhoe rivata Wood Carpet 1
1794 Euphyia unangulata Sharp-angled Carpet 11
1835 Eupithecia tripunctaria White-spotted Pug 1
1874 Euchoeca nebulata Dingy Shell 3
1879 Lobophora halterata Seraphim 1
1882 Pterapherapteryx sexalata Small Seraphim 7
1883 Acasis viretata Yellow-barred Brindle 7
1888 Ligdia adustata Scorched Carpet 17
1890 Macaria alternata Sharp-angled Peacock 54
1903 Plagodis pulveraria Barred Umber 9
1904 Plagodis dolabraria Scorched Wing 41
1910 Apeira syringaria Lilac Beauty 3
1918 Selenia lunularia Lunar Thorn 4
1945 Cleorodes lichenaria Brussels Lace 50
1949 Paradarisa consonaria Square Spot 4
1978 Hyloicus pinastri Pine Hawkmoth 1
1992 Deilephila porcellus Small Elephant Hawkmoth 7
2005 Peridea anceps Great Prominent 20
2015 Drymonia ruficornis Lunar Marbled Brown 13
2019 Clostera curtula Chocolate-tip 1
2029 Euproctis chrysorrhoea Brown-tail
1033 Lymantria monacha Black Arches 37
2037 Miltochrista miniata Rosy Footman 68
2038 Nudaria mundana Muslin Footman 1
2039 Atolmis rubricollis Red-necked Footman 43
2040 Cybosia mesomella Four-dotted Footman 4
2043 Eilema sororcula Orange Footman 13
2049 Eilema depressa Buff Footman 105
2068 Callimorpha dominula Scarlet Tiger 3
2078 Nola confusalis Least Black Arches 7
2135 Xestia agathina Heath Rustic 2
2136 Naenia typica Gothic 8
2157 Lacanobia w-latinum Light Brocade 2
2196 Mythimna pudorina Striped Wainscot 1
2214 Cucullia chamomillae Chamomile Shark 1
2235 Lithophane semibrunnea Tawny Pinion 2
2236 Lithophane hepatica Pale Pinion 2
2268 Parastichtis suspecta Suspected 1
2279 Acronicta aceris Sycamore 5
2281 Acronicta alni Alder Moth 5
2291 Craniophora ligustri Coronet 164
2301 Dypterygia scabriuscula Bird's Wing 1
2312 Ipimorpha subtusa Olive 1
2335 Apamea scolopacina Slender Brindle 1
2338 Oligia versicolor Rufous Minor 9
2370 Archanara geminipuncta Twin-spotted Wainscot 1
2377 Arenostola phragmitidis Fen Wainscot 1
2379 Coenobia rufa Small Rufous 8
2423 Nycteola revayana Oak Nycteoline 4
2466 Lygephila pastinum Blackneck 1
2473 Laspeyria flexula Beautiful Hook-tip 32
2484 Schrankia costaestrigalis Pinion-streaked Snout 4

And finally, migrant moths turned up from time to time and although nowhere as many as the coastal trappers caught, they did add a bit of spice to nightly hauls.

Code Taxon Vernacular Individuals

464   Plutella xylostella Diamond-back Moth 15
1262 Cydia amplana 11395 Udea ferrugalis Rusty-dot Pearl 7
1398 Nomophila noctuella Rush Veneer 112
1408 Palpita vitrealis 1
1716 Rhodometra sacraria Vestal 14
1720 Orthonama obstipata Gem 1
1972 Agrius convolvuli Convolvulus Hawkmoth 1
1984 Macroglossum stellatarum Hummingbird Hawkmoth 1
2051 Lithosia quadra Four-spotted Footman 6
2091 Agrotis ipsilon Dark Swordgrass 6
2119 Peridroma saucia Pearly Underwing 3
2194 Mythimna albipuncta White-point 3
2195 Mythimna vitellina Delicate 1
2385 Spodoptera exigua Small Mottled Willow 1
2400 Helicoverpa armigera Scarce Bordered Straw 5
2403 Heliothis peltigera Bordered Straw 1
2441 Autographa gamma Silver Y 65
2451 Catocala fraxini Clifden Nonpareil 1

Further selected photos to follow...

My Yorkshire Garden list in just short of a similar timescale stands at ....37 species.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

At last!......my bogey moth!

Lime Hawkmoth
Having trapped 700-odd species over the last seven years, this was a species that had always eluded me, and finding one on the sheet under a 160w blended bulb at Kilburn Woods this morning was extremely exciting for me.  What a corker of a moth!
It was not a bad nights catch with 323 moths of 54 species, with plenty of new 10k square records. Highlights included seven Oak-tree Pug, six Barred Umber, a Lunar Marbled Brown, and an Alder Moth.

0006 Eriocrania subpurpurella 1

0986 Syndemis musculana 1
1015 Eulia ministrana 2
1120 Ancylis mitterbacheriana 1
1646 Oak Hook-tip (Watsonalla binaria) 1
1648 Pebble Hook-tip (Drepana falcataria) 1
1652 Peach Blossom (Thyatira batis) 1
1657 Common Lutestring (Ochropacha duplaris) 9
1722 Flame Carpet (Xanthorhoe designata) 4
1727 Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata) 1
1738 Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata) 3
1747 Streamer (Anticlea derivata) 1
1750 Water Carpet (Lampropteryx suffumata) 18
1759 Small Phoenix (Ecliptopera silaceata) 15
1778 May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata) 6
1802 Rivulet (Perizoma affinitata) 1
1819 Mottled Pug (Eupithecia exiguata) 2
1834 Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata) 15
1852 Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata) 5
1853 Oak-tree Pug (Eupithecia dodoneata) 7
1858 V-Pug (Chloroclystis v-ata) 2
1902 Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata) 53
1903 Barred Umber (Plagodis pulveraria) 6
1906 Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) 8
1919 Purple Thorn (Selenia tetralunaria) 1
1920 Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata) 24
1936 Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria) 7
1947x Engrailed/Small Engrailed (Ectropis bistortata/crepuscularia) 5
1951 Grey Birch (Aethalura punctulata) 8
1955 Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria) 2
1957 White-pinion Spotted (Lomographa bimaculata) 1
1958 Clouded Silver (Lomographa temerata) 27
1979 Lime Hawk-moth (Mimas tiliae) 1
1981 Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi) 6
2006 Lesser Swallow Prominent (Pheosia gnoma) 1
2008 Coxcomb Prominent (Ptilodon capucina) 1
2011 Pale Prominent (Pterostoma palpina) 1
2015 Lunar Marbled Brown (Drymonia ruficornis) 1
2028 Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda) 20
2060 White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda) 5
2061 Buff Ermine (Spilosoma luteum) 3
2064 Ruby Tiger (Phragmatobia fuliginosa) 2
2078 Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) 5
2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) 3
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 1
2160 Bright-line Brown-eye (Lacanobia oleracea) 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 4
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 2
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 17
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 2
2281 Alder Moth (Acronicta alni) 1
2305 Small Angle Shades (Euplexia lucipara) 1
2422 Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips prasinana britannica) 4

A 'flock' of Nut-tree Tussocks....

Nut-tree Tussock

Having caught loads of these down south, I was surprised to be congratulated for having a Nut-tree Tussock in VC62. To the probable incredulity of others, the next time I went 'square-bashing' in a new and under-recorded 10k square, I had 11 of them, and it was the commonest species of the session at Horse Coppice, Hovingham (SE67).

0006 Eriocrania subpurpurella 5

1747 Streamer (Anticlea derivata) 1
1759 Small Phoenix (Ecliptopera silaceata) 2
1773 Broken-barred Carpet (Electrophaes corylata) 1
1778 May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata) 2
1852 Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata) 4
1902 Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata) 1
1906 Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) 2
1920 Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata) 4
1947x Engrailed/Small Engrailed (Ectropis bistortata/crepuscularia) 2
1951 Grey Birch (Aethalura punctulata) 1
1956 Common Wave (Cabera exanthemata) 1
1958 Clouded Silver (Lomographa temerata) 1
1994 Buff-tip (Phalera bucephala) 1
2007 Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula) 1
2014 Marbled Brown (Drymonia dodonaea) 4
2028 Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda) 7
2043 Orange Footman (Eilema sororcula) 1
2060 White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda) 4
2078 Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) 4
2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) 1
2124 Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi) 6
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 3
2422 Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips prasinana britannica) 2
2425 Nut-tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli) 11

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Possible new VC62 record?

Having spent a couple of days trying to identify some of Thursday nights micros from photos taken, although there are a number of similar species, the closest match I can find for this one is Pammene obscurana. This would be a new moth for VC62 and is a scarce species with scattered records around the UK. This was caught among the bumper catch at Pilmoor woods, an area of mature birch woodland and damp scrub. Any thoughts would be appreciated as specimen not retained.

Update 27 May: This record has been accepted by Harry Beaumont, the County Recorder, who comments that he would have preferred a specimen, but the photograph seems to show enough of the characteristics.

19th May - A first since 1968.....

Ancylis laetana
A good night at Pilmoor with three traps spread out in the woodland, including one next to a small stand of Aspen. This one came up trumps with the first Yorkshire record of Ancylis laetana since 1968. In addition the earliest Yorkshire record of Clay Triple-lines, a new site for Orange Footman, and a selection of other interesting micros.

0006 Eriocrania subpurpurella 13
0130 Incurvaria masculella 1
0287 Caloptilia robustella 1
0315 Phyllonorycter harrisella 1
0436 Pseudoswammerdamia combinella 1
0437 Swammerdamia caesiella 1
0770 Carpatolechia proximella 1
0883 Mompha raschkiella 1
1015 Eulia ministrana 6
1123 Ancylis laetana 1
1376 Small Magpie (Eurrhypara hortulata) 1
1645 Scalloped Hook-tip (Falcaria lacertinaria) 16
1648 Pebble Hook-tip (Drepana falcataria) 12
1651 Chinese Character (Cilix glaucata) 3
1681 Clay Triple-lines (Cyclophora linearia) 1
1713 Riband Wave [non-banded form] (Idaea aversata ab. remutata) 1
1759 Small Phoenix (Ecliptopera silaceata) 11
1773 Broken-barred Carpet (Electrophaes corylata) 4
1776 Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria) 2
1778 May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata) 3
1817 Foxglove Pug (Eupithecia pulchellata) 2
1834 Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata) 3
1852 Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata) 2
1904 Scorched Wing (Plagodis dolabraria) 2
1906 Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) 4
1920 Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata) 3
1936 Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria) 6
1947x Engrailed/Small Engrailed (Ectropis bistortata/crepuscularia) 6
1951 Grey Birch (Aethalura punctulata) 6
1955 Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria) 3
1956 Common Wave (Cabera exanthemata) 2
1958 Clouded Silver (Lomographa temerata) 2
1981 Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi) 3
1997 Sallow Kitten (Furcula furcula) 1
2003 Pebble Prominent (Notodonta ziczac) 3
2006 Lesser Swallow Prominent (Pheosia gnoma) 18
2008 Coxcomb Prominent (Ptilodon capucina) 1
2011 Pale Prominent (Pterostoma palpina) 3
2028 Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda) 10
2043 Orange Footman (Eilema sororcula) 1
2060 White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda) 3
2061 Buff Ermine (Spilosoma luteum) 2
2063 Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica) 1
2078 Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) 4
2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) 1
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 1
2158 Pale-shouldered Brocade (Lacanobia thalassina) 3
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 3
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 3
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 4
2302 Brown Rustic (Rusina ferruginea) 1
2422 Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips prasinana britannica) 2
2469 Herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix) 1
Mompha raschkiella
Phyllonorycter harrisiella
Clay Triple-lines

18th May - moths at Cross Dyke wood, Oulston, VC62

A new site for Orange Footman, another Marbled Brown from the same site at in 2008, and a Nut-tree Tussock which was my first Yorkshire one, and rather scarce.

Marbled Brown

0986 Syndemis musculana 3
1725 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet (Xanthorhoe ferrugata) 1
1817 Foxglove Pug (Eupithecia pulchellata) 2
1852 Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata) 10
1902 Brown Silver-line (Petrophora chlorosata) 2
1920 Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata) 1
1936 Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria) 3
1947x Engrailed/Small Engrailed (Ectropis bistortata/crepuscularia) 1
1951 Grey Birch (Aethalura punctulata) 1
2003 Pebble Prominent (Notodonta ziczac) 1
2006 Lesser Swallow Prominent (Pheosia gnoma) 3
2014 Marbled Brown (Drymonia dodonaea) 1
2028 Pale Tussock (Calliteara pudibunda) 2
2043 Orange Footman (Eilema sororcula) 1
2078 Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) 1
2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) 1
2158 Pale-shouldered Brocade (Lacanobia thalassina) 1
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 1
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 6
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 5
2425 Nut-tree Tussock (Colocasia coryli) 1