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, 11 April 2015

Red Chestnut: first field session of the year

The moth trap still isn't delivering despite the warm weather.  Sure temperatures are dipping at night but it's still as mild just after dusk as it has been all year and a far wider variety of moths should be on the wing by now (as evidenced by the impressive tallies some other recorders are notching up at the moment).  Thursday night's total of 23 moths felt busier but they consisted of just 7 species, all macros and all very common.  This Shoulder Stripe was best.

Shoulder Stripe, North Elmham, 9th April

The others were 9 Small Quakers, 2 Common Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs, 4 Hebrew Characters, 3 Early Greys and 2 Chestnuts. 

I'm trying placing the trap on a white sheet over the lawn rather than directly on the lawn.  Not sure if it will make much difference but will at least be easier to see any moths round the trap.  As I put it out this afternoon there were two critters on it straight away - a tiny black Rove Beetle that as yet I've not been able to name and a new bug for me: Peritrechus geniculatus.

Rove Beetle sp., North Elmham, 9th April

Peritrechus geniculatus, North Elmham, 9th April

I then headed off to the patch where dusking and tree-trunking failed to produce any moths at all.  Dave and I set up the MV at Creaking Gate Lake for our first proper field session of the year.  Things started slowly - very slowly in fact.  I'm sure I've seen groundhoppers before and overlooked them as baby grasshoppers or just ignored them, but Thursday's Slender Groundhopper was the first time I'd identified one.  First thing to the sheet this evening was the other species - Common Groundhopper.  

Common Groundhopper, Creaking Gate Lake, 10th April


Next up were some tiny beetles.  Quite a few all looking similar except some were tiny and the rest were so small they made the tiny ones look big.  Males and females perhaps, or different species - not sure.  Nearest I can get is Anaspis maculata but not sure the spots that give that species its name were clearly visible enough.

Beetles, Creaking Gate Lake, 10th April - what species?

Eventually some moths did appear.  All macros and not much variety - mostly species that are abundant at this time of year.  Engrailed and 2 Brindled Pugs were new for the year for me and by far the best was a nice Red Chestnut.

Red Chestnut, Creaking Gate Lake, 10th April

Others were 16 Small Quakers, 18 Common Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs, 6 Hebrew Characters, 7 Chestnuts and 2 Nut-tree Tussocks.

These amorous toads spent most of the night wandering round seeing what was going on.  Not sure if they were very impressed.

 Common Toads, Creaking Gate Lake, 10th April

The 7 Chestnuts was the most I've ever seen together - my previous best being 4, also at Creaking Gate Lake, last year.  I've now seen 51 at North Elmham, but never more than 3 in a night - it was a similar story at Bawdeswell where despite being common I never had more than 2 together.

Back at home this Shoulder Stripe was in the same place as yesterday's but from the markings clearly a different individual.

Shoulder Stripe, North Elmham, 10th April


There was a Brindled Pug here too.

Brindled Pug, North Elmham, 10th April

The rest of last night's moths were Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 3 Small Quakers, 5 Common Quakers, 5 Clouded Drabs, 9 Hebrew Characters and 2 Early Greys.

Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, North Elmham, 10th April

This Common Green Shieldbug was the only other thing of note.

Common Green Shieldbug, North Elmham, 10th April

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