A diary of my mothing activity covering highlights and photos from my moth trapping activities. Mainly Norfolk (UK), occasionally beyond. I may mention other wildlife sightings here, especially insects, but for birds see my birding diary.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

More Frits and a Dark Fleabane Neb

Flounced Rustic was new for the year on Sunday 13th August, the first of many of this common and not terribly exciting species.

Flounced Rustic, North Elmham, 13th August

It was a fairly quiet night - the other moths were Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, 9 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Clouded Border, Willow Beauty, 3 Flame Shoulders, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 5 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, Burnished Brass, Spectacle and Straw Dot. A Limnephilus lunatus was the only caddis.

Next day I took my parents round Foxley Wood where Silver-washed Fritillaries were abounding.  I put down 6+ in my notes but I've got 6 different individuals among my photos and I'm pretty sure I didn't photograph anywhere near all of them.

Silver-washed Fritillaries, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Another dozen species of butterfly included Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, Brimstone, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Peacock (at least 30), Painted Lady, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood.

Brimstone, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Peacock, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Painted Lady, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Comma, Foxley Wood, 14th August

There were some good moths too.  There was masses of Fleabane flowering here and I looked hard to find a gelechiid that flies in the day and can often be found on Fleabane flowers, but which I'd never seen.  This was successful - I ended up finding 2 Dark Fleabane Nebs Apodia bifractella.  Perhaps surprisingly since this is a fairly well-covered site there don't appear to be any previous records for the 10k square.

Dark Fleabane Neb Apodia bifractella, Foxley Wood, 14th August

A patch of Goldenrod had a Bordered Beauty feeding on it, a moth I don't see very often.  Other moths recorded were Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Shaded Broad-bar, 2 Common Carpets, Small Phoenix and 2 Straw Dots.

A Viburnum Beetle Pyrrhalta viburni was another insect feeding on the Fleabane and a new species for me.

Viburnum Beetle Pyrrhalta viburni, Foxley Wood, 14th August

My second ever Damsel Bug was a new species for me too, Marsh Damsel Bug Nabis limbatus.  The only Damsel Bug I had seen previosuly was one I trapped in  Cornwall in 2014 - and it proved to be a first for Britain (Nabis capsiformis) so it's high time I found one of the common species in this family! A green mirid bug proved to be Neolygus contaminatus.

Marsh Damsel Bug Nabis limbatus, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Dragonflies included several Migrant Hawkers, a Southern Hawker and a few Common Darters.  These Dark Bush-crickets were nice to see - not one I find very often.

Dark Bush-crickets, Foxley Wood, 14th August

As usual I had little success identifying fungi.  I think these are Orange Oak Boletes though Orange Birch Bolete seems to be very similar (and perhaps other species too?).  I didn't notice what species of tree they were under but there were certainly plenty of oaks in the area (and there are oak leaves visible around the mushrooms in some of the photos).

probable Orange Oak Boletes, Foxley Wood, 14th August

I think this one may possibly be an older specimen of the same species.

possible Orange Oak Boletes, Foxley Wood, 14th August

And I think this one may perhaps be a younger specimen of the same species.

possible Orange Oak Boletes, Foxley Wood, 14th August

This one looks quite distinctive but I'm not sure.  I'm leaning towards Blusher but there are one or two similar species that I'm not entirely sure about.

possible Blusher, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Pretty sure I've seen these before.  I wondered if they were Sulphur Tuft but I've a feeling there was another species that I have mistaken for Sulphur Tuft before and maybe I've done the same again?

possible Sulphur Tufts, Foxley Wood, 14th August

I'm not sure what these are, though possibly one of the milkcaps?

unidentified fungi, perhaps Mikcap sp.?, Foxley Wood, 14th August

With its reticulated cap I thought this one might be easy to identify but if it is I haven't found it yet.

And these I'm not sure about either (the first two photos are the same fungus).

unidentified fungi, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Friday, 22 September 2017

Silver-washed Fritillaries, Bog Bush-crickets and Small Red Damsels

There wasn't much of note in the moth trap on Wednesday 9th August: Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 17 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 4 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Blood-vein, Riband Wave, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, Double-striped Pug, Magpie Moth, Brimstone Moth, Early Thorn, Willow Beauty, 2 Dingy Footmen, Ruby Tiger, 2 Flame Shoulders, 4 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, Ear Moth, Vine's Rustic and 10 Straw Dots. Also 4 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum and Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita (mayflies) and Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus and Limnephilus marmoratus (caddisflies).

Next day I went up to Holt Lowes with my parents who were staying nearby.  Mum's been interested in butterflies (well, caterpillars more) since she was a girl working for the then-renowned butterfly farmer L H Newman, and I hoped to show her Silver-washed Fritillaries among other things.  Success in this department - there were at least 2 Silver-washed Fritillaries attending the buddleias in the country park car park.  They'd been on the wing for a while now so they were pretty tatty but we were pleased to see them nonetheless.

Silver-washed Fritillary, Holt CP, 10th August

There were a couple of Painted Ladies here among lots of Red Admirals and the odd Peacock - plus a Hornet.  On the Lowes Gatekeepers were the most prominent species, with plenty of Meadow Browns too, plus Speckled Wood and Common Blue.  There were moths everywhere, but only one species in the main - I reckon we must have seen at least and probably much over 200 Grey Gorse Piercers Cydia ulicetana.  A single Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella was the only other moth I noted.  Dragonflies included this Ruddy Darter.

Ruddy Darter, Holt Lowes, 10th August

We saw quite a few Orthoptera too and I photographed one or two to identify later.  Not sure if they were all the same species but the two photos I came away with proved to be Bog Bush-cricket - a new species for me with quite a local distribution in Norfolk.

Bog Bush-cricket, Holt Lowes, 10th August

That night was dire for moths at home with just 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 9 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Brimstone Moth, 2 Ruby Tigers, Common Rustic and Straw Dot.

Next morning at Burnham Overy butterflies included 5 Brown Arguses, Common Blues, Small Copper, Wall Brown and Small Heaths.  The only moths noted were 3 Shaded Broad-bars.  A rover beetle proved to be a Devil's Coach-horse Ocypus olens, technically a lifer though a species I'm sure I've seen before without fully identifying them (I think other Ocypus spp. are rather similar; I don't have a key to these but from the snippets of info I've found on the web I think the size of this beast pretty much ruled out the other similar species).

Devil's Coach-horse Ocypus olens, Burnham Overy, 11th August

That night was much better at home with a new species for the garden (perhaps surprisingly as it's quite common), Common Slender Gracillaria syringella .

Common Slender Gracillaria syringella, North Elmham, 11th August

This Dark Pine Knot-horn Dioryctria abietela was only my second here, the first being just after I moved in in 2014.

Dark Pine Knot-horn Dioryctria abietella, North Elmham, 11th August

Other moths trapped were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, Cinereous Groundling Bryotropha terrella, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, 4 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Red Piercer Lathronympha strigana, 5 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 22 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 8 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, 3 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, 3 Single-dotted Waves, Red Twin-spot Carpet, 2 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, 5 Common Carpets, 6 Brimstone Moths, 5 Willow Beauties, Common Wave, Pale Prominent, 2 Ruby Tigers, Flame Shoulder, 3 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 5 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, White-point, Common Wainscot, Copper Underwing, Vine's Rustic, 2 Burnished Brasses, Spectacle and 12 Straw Dots.

White-point, North Elmham, 11th August

A good variety of other insects too, including a new caddisfly for the garden, Ceraclea albimacula.  Other caddisflies were Hydropsyche siltalai, 2 Hydropsyche pellucidula and Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus.

Ceraclea albimacula (female), North Elmham, 11th August

Other insects included Chrysoperla carnea (a green lacewing), Micromus variegatus (a brown lacewing), 4 Nicrophorus investigator and Aphodius rufipes (beetles) and 2 Forest Bugs. I don't usually do flies but this one was so distinctive I thought I'd see if I could ID it - turned out to be a Splayed Deerfly Chrysops caecutiens.

Spalyed Deerfly Chrysops caecutiens, North Elmham, 11th August

Next day I took may parents to Scarning Fen where we met up with my brother who was up for the weekend.  On arrival we met a couple of ladies who'd been botanising and they told us about a Grass of Parnassus which we later found.

Grass of Parnassus, Scarning Fen, 12th August

It didn't take us long to find our main target, Small Red Damselfly.  We found a copulating pair and a second male in the same area.

Small Red Damselfly, Scarning Fen, 12th August

In Norfolk this species is, I think, only found at this location.  I remember coming here to see them in the 90s (I'm not sure exactly when - I wasn't keeping very good records of dragonflies then) but haven't seen this species since then.

We then headed down to Hills and Holes near Hockham.  We found a variety of insects and other wildlife here including a bug which I initially thought was a froghopper.  In the end I think it has to be the leafhopper Aphrodes bicinctus, but I'm not 100% sure - please let me know what you think if you've any better idea.

probable Aphrodes bicinctus, Hills and Holes, 12th August

This bee was a new species for me, Black-thighed Epeolus Epeolus variegatus.

Black-thighed Epeolus Epeolus variegatus, Hills and Holes, 12th August

Moths recorded were Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, 2 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 3 Shaded Broad-bars, Dingy Footman and Straw Dot. Butterflies included Brimstone, 3 Common Blues and 15+ Speckled Woods. Dragonflies included Brown and Migrant Hawkers, Emperor, Ruddy and Common Darters and Common Blue Damselflies.  A green lacewing was Chrysoperla carnea agg.  There were lots of small frogs at least some of which were Common Frogs.

There was a reasonable variety of moths at home that night but nothing of any significance: Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 18 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, Dwarf Cream Wave, 3 Brimstone Moths, 2 Willow Beauties, Common Wave, Dingy Footman, 2 Ruby Tigers, 4 Flame Shoulders, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 4 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, White-point, 2 Common Wainscots, Copper Underwing, Burnished Brass, Spectacle and 11 Straw Dots. Other insects included 3 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum (mayflies), Chrysoperla carnea (green lacewing) and Hydropsyche pellucidula (caddisfly).

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Thompson Water mothing

Dave and I headed out to Thompson Water for some mothing again on Tuesday 8th August.  Conditions weren't perfect but we thought it worth a go.  There were a few nice moths but nothing espectially remarkable: Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, 20 Birch Marbles Apotomis betuletana, 3 Holly Tortrixes Rhopobota naevana, 4 Wainscot Veneers Chilo phragmitella, 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, Small Grey Eudonia mercurella, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, 4 Small China-marks Cataclysta lemnata, 6 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Double-striped Knot-horn Cryptoblabes bistriga, Pebble Hook-tip, 2 Clay Triple-lines, Small Fan-footed Wave, Single-dotted Wave, Small Scallop, 3 Common Carpets, 3 Small Phoenixes, 5 Small Rivulets, Triple-spotted Pug, Currant Pug, Double-striped Pug, Common Wave, Iron Prominent, 15 Black Arches, 6 Dingy Footmen, Flame Shoulder, Antler Moth, 2 Dun-bars, Spectacle, 3 Straw Dots and Snout.

Birch Marble Apotomis betuletana, Thompson Water, 8th August

Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, Thompson Water, 8th August

Double-striped Knot-horn Cryptoblabes bistriga, Thompson Water, 8th August

Clay Triple-lines, Thompson Water, 8th August

Triple-spotted Pug, Thompson Water, 8th August

Black Arches, Thompson Water, 8th August - a large female and a small male

We've had Scarce Emerald Damselfly come to light not far away from here before but this time it was the turn of its commoner congener, Emerald Damselfly.

Emerald Damselfly, Thompson Water, 8th August

There were a few beetles and I didn't attempt to identify all of them, though I did retain a few representatives to check which turned out to be 2 Ilybius fuliginosus, Pterostichus niger and Silpha atrata.  Similarly the caddisflies included 2 Agrypnia pagetana and Molanna angustata, the latter only my second and a species I don't get at home.

Molanna angustata, Thompson Water, 8th August

I had less luck identifying leafhoppers - another Kybos sp. was again a female which don't allow full identification but the shape of the projection on the back of the seventh abdominal sternum proved it was a different species to the one I had at home the previous week - this one was either betulicola or smaragdulus.  An Edwardsiana leafhopper was also a species that requires male genitalia to identify it - and this was a female too.

Kybos betulicola or Kybos smaragdulus, Thompson Water, 8th August

Edwardsiana sp., Thompson Water, 8th August

I'm not confident about the ID of this springtail but suspect it's Pogonognathellus longicornis.

probable Pogonognathellus longicornis, Thompson Water, 8th August

At home the hoverfly Eristalis tenax was the first I've noted this year but the moths were quite poor: 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Pale-streak Grass-veneers Agriphila selasella, 12 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 9 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 3 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, Blood-vein, Brimstone Moth, Pale Prominent, 3 Dingy Footmen, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Character and 5 Straw Dots.

Eristalis tenax, North Elmham, 8th August

There are often Frogs around the outside of my moth trap, presumably eating the moths that land round the outside (though I've not seen one successfully catch a moth yet).  Now they're getting smarter and hopping up to the top of the moth trap... next they'll be hopping in.

Common Frog, North Elmham, 8th August