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Monday, 26 June 2017

Trapping at Pilmoor, VC62, night of 24th June

Pilmoor at his time of the year is always hard work due to the insects...the biting type!  Armed with my full-strength insect repellent I gave it a go.  There was a stiff breeze from the west so at least the trees either side of the old railway track would offer some protection from the wind.  I had three traps set, the 160w MVB over a white sheet on the main track under the aspen trees, the 125w MV Robinson in the woods and a 2 x 22w Gladiator trap again on the main track.  As it turned out, not a bad night with over 550 moths of at least 86 species being a fairly respectable haul including two new moths for me: a Beautiful Carpet and a Willow Tortrix Epinotia cruciana  The micro barely resembled the illustration in Sterling and Parsons and had me stumped all day but with the powers of the internet within minutes had a reply identifying it.  A trawl of photos of that species confirmed it and it is a very scarce moth in Yorkshire as a whole with possibly just a couple of previous records in VC62. Also of note were my first Four-dotted Footman for five years, just two recorded, but bearing in mind I have had them just into three figures and certainly many dozens on previous occasions in the same area.

This species Ancylis laetana is a real rarity in Yorkshire with only a couple of recent sites and with three trapped there I have now had 12 of them under the aspen trees at Pilmoor.
Ancylis laetana
 This is the Willow Tortrix, again with very few recent records in Yorkshire.
Epinotia cruciana
 For what is just a 'brown' moth this has to be one of the most beautiful.
Scallop Shell

Wormwood Pug

Grey Arches


Rustic Shoulder-knot
This next photo is either lancealana or lacteana which would require gen.det. to be really sure; a shame as a well marked specimen.
A Bactra sp.
And finally just a record shot of the Beautiful Carpet which made a dash for freedom while trying to photograph it.  I don't often get new macros these days so this was a welcome find, and certainly lives up to its name.
Beautiful Carpet
And finally, I had three female glow-worms trying to compete with my rather bright lights, and indeed attracted at least three flying male glow-worms who must have been highly disappointed on arrival....  I did not get a photo of any of the males but it gives me an opportunity to show a previous female from the same site.
Glow-worm, female

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 Border 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.