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.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Pyrausta despicata and 10,000 other moths

I went birding at Burnham Overy yesterday morning.  I always keep an eye out for day-flying moths and other wildlife when looking for birds but yesterday was too windy to be much good.  I did disturb one moth though as I knelt down to photograph a flower.  Fortunately it didn't go far and I was able to see that it was a Straw-barred Pearl Pyrausta despicata.  It's an early date for that species - there aren't many April records.

Straw-barred Pearl Pyrausta despicata, Burnham Overy dunes, 12th April

Only 2 other species of lepidoptera were noted - a Peacock butterfly and Brown-tail moth caterpillars.  As usual for the time of year the clump of sea buckthorn near Gun Hill was covered in webs and each web was filled with larvae.  I counted about 100 larvae in one web, and that seemed quite typical of most of them, but I've no idea how many more were out of sight inside the web.  At least 150 webs (in a not very thorough count) and allowing for the possibility that the one I counted was above average I came up with a conservative estimate of 10,000 caterpillars.  There were also a few on Hawthorns scattered around the site, but the majority were in the one clump of sea buckthorn.

Brown-tail caterpillars, Burnham Overy dunes, 12th April

This Eristalis pertinax was the first Hoverfly I've recorded this year.

Eristalis pertinax, Burnham Overy dunes, 12th April

Every now and then I try and have a stab at identifying some wildflowers.  Tell me if I'm wrong but I think I put the right name to these ones.  The first was noticeably smaller than violets I've previously identified as Common Dog Violet and Sweet Violet, but it's the yellow-green spur that I think makes it Heath.

Heath Dog Violet, Burnham Overy dunes, 12th April

There are lots of very low-lying Forget-me-nots in the dunes.  They always seem smaller than they should, but I think they're Early.

Early Forget-me-not, Burnham Overy dunes, 12th April

The weekend was rubbish for moths at home: Saturday got just 2 Small Quakers, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character and Early Grey while Sunday was no better with Small Quaker, Clouded Drab, Hebrew Character and 3 Early Greys.

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