It was a bit better on 28th with Diamond-back Plutella xylostella, Light Brown Apple-moth Epiphyas postvittana, Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana, 2 December Moths, Winter Moth, Mottled Umber, White-point, Chestnut, the caddisflies 3 Limnephilus lunatus and Limnephilus vittatus and the mirid bug Pinalitus cervinus.
Another Dark Sword-grass was the highlight on 29th November, my second in a few days but only my third here since moving in in 2014. The only other moths that night were Winter Moth and White-point. There was also the springtail 'Entomobrya intermedia' (in inverted commas because the Hopkin key seems to think this is just a form of Entomobrya nivalis rather than a distinct species).
Dark Sword-grass, North Elmham, 29th November
'Entomobrya intermedia', North Elmham, 29th November
Only one moth the following night, but a Scarce Umber is always nice.
There was a selection of bits and pieces in the trap to kick off December: Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, Light Brown Apple-moth Epiphyas postvittana, 2 December Moths, Winter Moth, 2 Mottled Umbers, 2 Chestnuts, the caddisfly Limnephilus lunatus, 8 of the mirid bugs Pinalitus cervinus and the barkfly Ectopsocus petersi. Potentially better than any of those was a psyllid that got away before I could examine it.
With a relatively mild night on 2nd December I had another torch-lit wander round the meadows and found a nice variety of things. I found at least 40 Winter Moths (including 3 mating pairs) but no other adult moths. A cluster of eggs was eventually identified (thanks to some help from people on Twitter) as belonging to Vapourer moth.
pair of Winter Moths, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 2nd December
Vapourer eggs, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 2nd December
Most of the above were on Oak tree trunks and this was also where I found a couple of bugs: Deraeocoris lutescens and my first Cardiastethus fasciiventris. There were also 3 Great Four-spot Treerunners (beetles) Dromius quadrimaculatus and 20 Oak Apple Gall Wasps Biorhiza pallida.
Cardiastethus fasciiventris, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 2nd December
I found 3 rove beetles including a mating pair. I left the latter to their business but examined the lone individual to identify it - it proved to be Tasgius ater, the first time I've identified this species.
Tasgius ater, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 2nd December
Other things I found included 2 Broom Psyllids Arytaina genistae, 7-spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata, 4 Lace-weave Spiders Amaurobius similis*, Irish Yellow Slug Limacus maculatus and at least 2 Common Rough Woodlice Porcellio scaber. *Theoretically these could have been Amaurobius fenestralis, but if I understand correctly the habitat was better for similis.
Broom Psyllid Arytaina genistae, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 2nd December
presumed Lace-weave Spider Amaurobius similis, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 2nd December
Irish Yellow Slug Limacus maculatus, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 2nd December
The moths at home that night were Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, 2 December Moths, Winter Moth, Scarce Umber, and Chestnut. There was also the caddisfly Limnephilus lunatus, Tarnished Plant Bug Lygus rugulipennis, the barkflies Ectopsocus briggsi and Valenzuela flavidus, an Edwardsiana leafhopper and a new leafhopper for the garden, Aphrodes makarovi.
Aphrodes makarovi, North Elmham, 2nd December
The following night there was just a Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea and then on 4th just a Common Earwig Forficula auricularia. On 5th there were 2 Diamond-backs Plutella xylostella, 3 Mottled Umbers and 5 of the mirid bug Pinalitus cervinus.
Next day there was -winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Winter Moth, the caddisfly Limnephilus auricula, 2 mirid bugs Pinalitus cervinus and 2 Common Heart-shields (beetles) Nebria brevicollis. There was also a female Acericerus leafhopper but I don't know of a reliable way of distinguishing females of this genus. Whichever it was, it would be new for the garden.
Acericerus sp., North Elmham, 6th December
Just 1 Winter Moth the following night and then things got really slow with nothing at all on many nights. There was a Dark Chestnut on 9th, another springtail Entomobrya intermedia-type on 12th, Mottled Umber on 13th and 4 Winter Moths on 14th.
On 15th I joined the Norfolk Fungus Study Group at Bawdeswell Heath for a very interesting fungus foray. 54 species of fungi were recorded, though I didn't attempt to see all of them, preferring to take notes on the ones I did see and photograph as I figured I would learn more that way. I still managed around 33 species. Here are a few of them:
fungus on fungus: Ochre Cushion (the dark bits) growing on Birch Polypore (the bracket fungus), Bawdeswell Heath, 15th December
Candlesnuff Fungus, Bawdeswell Heath, 15th December
Conifercone Cap - growing on a conifer cone, Bawdeswell Heath, 15th December
Olive Oysterling, Bawdeswell Heath, 15th December
Phacidium multivalve (the bigger spots on the LH leaf) and Holly Speckle (the finer spots on the RH leaf), Bawdeswell Heath, 15th December
Signs of moths included a Mottled Umber, the mine of Bordered Carl Coptotriche marginea and feeding signs of Shaded Case-bearers Coleophora potentillae (a species I have never seen).
There were 3 Winter Moths in the trap on 16th along with this springtail, a new species for me, Vertagopus arboreus.
Vertagopus arboreus, North Elmham, 16th December
I found the leafmine of Golden Pigmy Stigmella aurella, and a 7-spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata, at the meadows on 17th.
leafmine of Golden Pigmy Stigmella aurella, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 17th December
I was a little bit surprised to find what I believe is Sweet Violet flowering, quite unseasonal I think.
Sweet Violet, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 17th December
There were a few more moths at home that night, with Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana, 7 Winter Moths and 3 Mottled Umbers.
Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 17th December
Mottled Umber, North Elmham, 17th December
The following night saw a return to normal for this time of year, one moth, a Mottled Umber. There were 2 Winter Moths and a 7-spot Ladybird on 19th, 3 Winter Moths and 4 Mottled Umbers on 20th, single Winter Moth and Mottled Umber on 21st and 2 Winter Moths on 22nd.
Fungi at the meadows on 22nd included Yellow Brain and both the species that produce speckling on Holly leaves, Phacidium multivalve and Holly Speckle Trochila ilicina.
Yellow Brain, North Elmham, 22nd December
I was away for a few days over Christmas and the days I was here there wasn't much happening. But there was something in the moth trap on 28th December - an aphid. I tentatively identified it as Hellebore Aphid Macrosiphum hellebori, an ID that seemed fairly likely in view of the proximity of my moth-trap to some Hellebores. This was confirmed later on 29th when I found a colony of them on the underside of the Hellebore leaves.
Hellebore Aphid Macrosiphum hellebori, North Elmham, 28th December
Hellebore Aphid Macrosiphum hellebori, North Elmham, 29th December
There was a Mottled Umber in the trap on 29th and then on 30th there were 2 Viburnum Buttons Acleris schalleriana, Winter Moth, Mottled Umber and Dark Chestnut. The Acleris were the finale of a fantastic year for this species - I ended up with 11 individuals which isn't bad considering there haven't been that many seen in the entire county in any previous year.
A 7-spot Ladybird was the only insect noted at the meadows on New Year's Eve but there was a nice bit of Dog's Sick Slime Mould...
Dog's Sick Slime Mould, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 31st December
Also some Mint Mildew Neoerysiphe galeopsidis. As usual, thanks to James Emerson for assistance with these.
Mint Mildew Neoerysiphe galeopsidis, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 31st December
Finally, for 2018 at least, that night the garden moth trap delivered Ashy Button Acleris sparsana and 3 Winter Moths.
I finished the year with 614 moth species trapped in the garden, higher than 2017 (598 in the end, a bit more than I reported at the time as I had missed some off) but not as high as in 2016 (627). They consisted of 310 micros and 304 macros.