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.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Scotland moths (well, an Earwig anyway)

I didn't do a post covering my last night before heading off on hols, but that was because there were hardly any moths: White-shouldered House-moth Endrosis sarcitrella, Common Swift, 2 Green Carpets, Small Square-spot and Hebrew Character.

Saturday night was spent at my parents' in Keswick.  On arrival I hand-caught a Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla in their front garden but it was a cold wet night so I didn't expect much in the trap.  On the other hand it was cloudy, and there were breaks in the rain, so I did hope for more than big fat zero.  But that's exactly what I found in the trap at dawn.  The night was saved by a nice Small Phoenix on the wall along with a Nut-tree Tussock.

I chose a holiday cottage in Braemar partly because the garden looked good for moths.  Sadly I couldn't choose weather that was good for moths and after a night with temperatures that had already dropped to 4 degrees a couple of hours before dusk it wasn't a huge surprise to find absolutely no moths in the trap on Sunday night.

The rest of the four-night stay was dominated by wind, rain and very cold night-time temperatures - on the last morning at dawn my car thermometer recorded minus 2.5 degrees!  Tuesday night produced the only moth in the trap - a single Garden Carpet.  Potentially more interesting was an earwig in the trap... all the earwigs I have ever attempted to identify in the past have proven to be Common Earwigs but this one was much smaller.  A Lesser Earwig perhaps, but most pictures show males and I think this one is a female.  If it is a Lesser Earwig then it would appear to be a noteworthy record - the distribution map in the new insects book doesn't show them extending up anywhere near so far north though the National Biodiversity Network map shows a few dots on the map for Scotland including up the Aberdeenshire coast, so it doesn't seem unfeasible that the species is present here too.  However, I would like to know for sure if this is the correct ID or not - does anyone know how to do Earwigs?  I have the specimen if it helps!

unidentified Earwig, Braemar, 2nd June

Garden Carpet, Braemar, 2nd June

Wednesday afternoon was relatively warm and sunny (between the heavy showers and despite the brisk breeze) and Vitty and I had a walk up from Linn of Dee.  I managed to find a few moths including 2-3 Common Heaths.  

Common Heath, Linn of Dee, 3rd June

Quite a few largish moths which seemed to have a bit of colour on them whizzed around the heather but I couldn't get near them with the net and they remained unidentified.  Vitty saw one moth land and I managed to catch it - whether it was the same as the others or not I have no idea, but this one was an Early Thorn.  I could conceive that the others were too, but odd to see them flying in the daytime like this if they were.  

Early Thorn, Linn of Dee, 3rd June

I also netted a Narrow-winged Pug and a Heather Tortrix Argyrotaenia ljungiana.

Narrow-winged Pug, Linn of Dee, 3rd June

Heather Tortrix Argyrotaenia ljungiana, Linn of Dee, 3rd June

Back in the car park at dusk I netted another Early Thorn, which turned out to be my last moth of the holiday.

The only other insect-news from the holiday were Stoneflies... a whole order of insects that I had not previously encountered.  One or two species do occur in Norfolk but most like fast-running rivers with rocky banks which isn't really the sort of habitat one comes across in Norfolk very often.  In Scotland I found two (probably a whole load more in flight, but two that I got a good look at).  One at Linn of Dee and the other at Balmoral, which appear to be Common Small Yellow Sally Siphonoperla torrentium.  There are a couple of other similar species apparently, and I've no idea how similar, so perhaps this ID should be regarded as tentative.

probable Common Small Yellow Sally Siphonoperla torrentium, Braemar, 2nd June

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