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, 8 June 2015

A day at Burnham Overy

I spent much of Friday birding Burnham Overy but as always kept an eye out for moths and other insects, especially when more of them become active towards dusk.

There has been a noticeable immigration of Painted Ladies - hard to know how many but I reckon I saw at least 25-30.  Other butterflies included Wall Brown, Holly Blue and my first Red Admiral of the year.

Painted Lady, Burnham Overy, 5th June

Holly Blue, Burnham Overy, 5th June

I suspect this Azure Damselfly in the dunes had been blown there from inland rather than being an immigrant.

Azure Damselfly, Burnham Overy, 5th June

The dusking for moths wasn't as successful as I'd hoped, largely due to the wind.  A couple of things got away and I recorded Bordered Carl Coptotriche marginea, 2 Hook-streaked Grass-Veneers Crambus lathoniellus and Yellow Shell. This next moth really had me stumped though.  A small greyish-brown Tortrix with big pale spots... what on earth was it?

At an impasse I started to question whether it reall was a Tortrix, after all it was quite small.  I checked various options from other families and wondered for a while if it might be a very worn example of a larger Incurvaria species, or even Lampronia.  Some of them shared some of the pale spots, most prominent on the dorsum and along the costa, though most lacked the pale spot in the middle of the wing.  Eventually I found a picture of Lampronia splendidella that seemed to show a similar pattern - but that's not a British species (though not from very far east of Britain, so perhaps not completely inconceivable).  Under the microscope it didn't seem to have much of a tongue which I think is good for these families but I wasn't convinced by the antennae which were simple, lacking any hint of pectinations.  Then after it had expired it stuck its tongue out - it did have a long proboscis after all, so I was back with the Tortricidae.  Only then did I notice through the microscope that it had just a very few yellow and orangey coloured scales on its wings.  Not many, but enough to make me think that when fresh this would perhaps have been a yellow and orange species.  And then at last the penny dropped - it was just another Downland Conch Aethes tesserana.  Compare this picture from Lepiforum with mine below:

Downland Conch Aethes tesserana, Burnham Overy, 5th June

Beetle action included a few Catharis rustica...

Catharis rustica, Burnham Overy, 5th June

This fly is quite distinctive and quite attractive as flies go - Coastal Silver-stiletto apparently, although the abdomen wasn't quite as stiletto-shaped as it is in most pics...

Coastal Silver-stiletto, Burnham Overy, 5th June

There were loads of these Turnip Sawflies on the Alexanders - don't recall seeing this species before.

Turnip Sawfly, Burnham Overy, 5th June

Here's another beetle I can't identify - let me know if you recognise it.

unidentified Beetle, Burnham Overy, 5th June

Some nice plants here too, like these.

Houndstongue, Burnham Overy, 5th June

Yellow Horned-poppy, Burnham Overy, 5th June

Not all the plants were doing so well... these Spindle trees were covered in green leaves last visit with just a few small tents of Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella larvae visible.  Now they are completely stripped.

Spindle trees stripped by Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella caterpillars, Burnham Overy, 5th June

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