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

Monday, 22 April 2019

Up and running again

Following the usual early part of the year hiatus it only takes a few decent days weather and the first flush of Spring growth to get me going again! 

Despite my best intentions to look at other things besides moths in the last few years I have only scratched the surface.  In an effort to broaden my experience I have spent the last few months looking into and planning which species to look for and places to visit.  To start with as a frivolous attempt of setting goals I created my British Pan list (not cooking implements...but a list of all living species identified.).  The bulk of the list was made up by moths and birds, a modest list of plants and small numbers of other species and came up with just over 2000 species in the UK.  This is a small number compared with the top Pan listers who claim well in excess of 10000 species.

To kick-start my efforts I booked a number of themed walks, botanical visits to Arnside, Silverdale and N Y Moors, and an insect course at Ainsdale.  The first of these was just over a week ago at Arnside in Lancashire, fantastic scenery, welcoming attendees, great weather and a reasonable list of plants.  It was a pleasure to have the experience of various experts and a lack of pretentious one-upmanship.  The only downside was one of the target rarities Teesdale Violet was not in flower, but many of the other more common species more than made up for it.

Arnside promenade
Looking over towards Lake District from Arnside Knott

Looking for Teesdale Violets and Rare Spring Sedge
Even though some of the species were common I still amassed over 40 new species to me.  The list included lichens, ferns, mosses as well as flowering plants and shrubs.

Caloplaca flavescens (Golden Crustose lichen), Arnside, 13 Apr 2019

Carex ericetorum (Rare Spring-sedge), Arnside, 13 Apr 2019

Erica carnea (Winter Heath), Arnside, 13 Apr 2019

Lathraea squamaria (Common Toothwort), Arnside, 13 Apr 2019

Petasites hybridus (Butterbur), Arnside, 13 Apr 2019
It was such an enjoyable day that I am really looking forward to the next trips, and a casual look over the last few days has added several more common species.

Back to the last few days and the fantastic weather has got me out and about....at night, three on the trot.  Two nights at the private site at Brafferton Spring followed by last night under the aspens at Pilmoor.  Modest numbers and up to 23 species with several new for site at Brafferton: Red Chestnut, Grey Shoulder-knot, and a cracking micro which at first glance looked fairly indistinct.  However, once photographed its subtle pale green colouring and markings revealed it as Acleris literana which is a rare oak-feeding moth in North Yorkshire.  The awful modern common names given to micro moths names it as Lichen Button, not a reference to its food plant but more to its appearance.  Don't get me started on common names....
Acleris literana, Brafferton Spring, 20 Apr 2019