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.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Magpie Moth and Maple Pug

I jumped ahead to cover trips to Cranwich Heath and North Denes... now back to catching up on home trapping, starting back at 12th August.  The night delivered three new for the year.  Maple Pug was best, although so worn I would never have identified it positively without dissecting it.  Magpie Moth was far better looking and 2 Elbow-strip Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea.

Magpie Moth, North Elmham, 12th August

Maple Pug (male, gen det), North Elmham, 12th August

Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, North Elmham, 12th August

Other macros were Orange Swift, 2 Pebble Hook-tips, 4 Chinese Characters, 2 Least Carpets, Small Fan-footed Wave, 4 Single-dotted Waves, 6 Riband Waves, Flame Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, 2 Common Carpets, Lime-speck Pug, Yellow-barred Brindle, 2 Clouded Borders, Dusky Thorn, 2 Early Thorns, 2 Willow Beauties, Poplar Hawkmoth, Pebble Prominent, Swallow Prominent, Yellow-tail, Black Arches, 7 Dingy Footmen, 3 Scarce Footmen, 2 Common Footmen, Buff Ermine, 2 Ruby Tigers, 2 Shuttle-shaped Darts, 4 Flame Shoulders, 4 Large Yellow Underwings, 14 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 3 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Six-striped Rustics, Nutmeg, Dun-bar, 2 Dark Arches, Flounced Rustic, Ear Moth, Uncertain and Snout.

Flame Carpet, North Elmham, 12th August

Lime-speck Pug, North Elmham, 12th August

The other micros were 2 Carrion Moths Monopis weaverella, 2 Ribwort Slenders Aspilapteryx tringipennella, 6 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, Grey Ermine Yponomeuta sedella, 2 Woundwort Case-bearers Coleophora lineolea, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, Orange Crest Helcystogramma rufescens, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Garden Rose Tortrices Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana, 9 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 39 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella, 2 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, Little Grey Eudonia lacustrata, Small Grey Eudonia mercurella, 2 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, 2 Pale Straw Pearls Udea lutealis, 13 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Rosy Tabby Endotricha flammealis, 3 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella, Dotted Oak Knot-horn Phycita roborella and Chalk Knot-horn Phycitodes maritima.

Chalk Knot-horn Phycitodes maritima (male, gen det), North Elmham, 12th August

Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, North Elmham, 12th August

It pays to be careful emptying the trap - had a few Hornets and Wasps recently...

Common Wasp, North Elmham, 12th August

North Denes

Last Saturday saw a Norfolk Moth Survey event at the North Denes, Great Yarmouth.  With it being such a good year for migrants and reasonable condtions forecast this was an opportunity not to miss.  As it turned out, it wasn't so good for migrants as we'd hoped for.  Maybe we packed up too early (a bit before midnight), but the number of migrant species recorded were lower than hoped: Silver Y, Dark Sword-grass, Small Mottled Willow and, a first for me, Scarce Bordered Straw.  Stuck in one of Jim's famously semi-opaque pots photographing the latter was a challenge... Someone get him some new pots!

Scarce Bordered Straw, Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

Another victim of Jim's pots was this Coast Dart, another lifer for me.

Coast Dart, Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

A couple of micro species were good.  Agate Knot-horn Nyctegretis lineana is a proposed Red Data Book species, in Norfolk known only from the south-east of the county.

Agate Knot-horn Nyctegretis lineana, Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

The other interesting micro was Sea-holly Flat-body Agonopterix cnicella.  We found quite a few of these - I reckon there must have been at least 10 - which is remarkable for such a scarce species, especially as they're supposed to fly in June-July!  Most were quite worn so it's not entirely clear whether these represent a second generation or are set to over-winter as some other Agonopterix species do.

Sea-holly Flat-bodies Agonopterix cnicella (males, gen det), Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

Looking through a hand-lens in the field we could see the diffuse dark area adjacent to the white spots but it wasn't until I looked through the microscope that I detected another external feature that appears to be distinctive.  All four individuals that I retained showed a few rusty-red scales adjacent to the white ones, and also in a diagonal line extending back from the base of the wing.  Never seen that on heracliana so maybe a useful ID pointer?  Not sure if it's consistent though - I can't detect it in some of the photos online.

Sea-holly Flat-body Agonopterix cnicella (close-up of discal region of top individual above), Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

Other notable micros were Large Groundling Teleiopsis diffinis, Desert Groundling Bryotropha desertella and 8 White-streak Grass-veneers Agriphila latistria.

Large Groundling Teleiopsis diffinis, Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

 Desert Groundling Bryotropha desertella (female, gen det), Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

The best of the other macros were 2 Yellow Belles and 3 Archer's Darts.  The other moths I saw were 4 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 3 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Common Carpet, 8 Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwing, 2 Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 4 Square-spot Rustics, Straw Underwing, 2 Cloaked Minors and Snout.

Straw Underwing, Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana (male), Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

A couple of bug lifers for me too: Chorosoma schillingi and Lucerne Bug Adelphocoris lineolatus.

Lucerne Bug Adelphocoris lineolatus, Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

Chorosoma schillingi, Great Yarmouth North Denes, 12th September

Friday, 11 September 2015

Royal Mantle and a second for Norfolk

Dave recently obtained permission from the NWT to trap at a number of their sites in the Brecks and Saturday before last we headed off to Cranwich Heath.  Although getting late in the season it turned out to be another excellent evening.

Before turning the light on we had a quick wander round with the net to see what we could find flying at dusk - quite a bit including 20 Barred Grass-veneers Agriphila inquinatella, 2 Breckland Plumes Crombrugghia distans and Citron Plume Hellinsia carphodactyla. The latter was really interesting after the tricky Plume I had at home recently (see here).  This was almost identical save for two things - the outer and inner fringes of the first lobe of the forewing contrasted, suggesting carphodactlya over microdactyla (the previous one had the fringe too worn to call either way) and this one was slightly smaller.  The previous one had been in the overlap zone so fitted either species, this one had a wing-span of around 16mm, marginally under the quoted range for carphodactyla so pointing more towards microdactyla.  Unlike the previous one that proved (surprisingly) to be microdactyla, upon dissection I was able to confirm this one as female carphodactyla.

Citron Plume Hellinsia carphodactyla (female, gen det), Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Breckland Plumes Crombrugghia distans (upper female, lower male; gen det), Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Barred Grass-veneer Agriphila inquinatella, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

We identified 2 macros in the field that I thought I had not seen before: Royal Mantle and 4 Feathered Gothics.  As it happened I'd have seen Feathered Gothic that night anyway as I trapped one at home too.  Royal Mantle was a very nice surprise - not only was it a new moth for both of us, a very attractive moth, a scarce moth and a Breckland speciality, but it was also unusually late.  They normally fly in June and July and so far as I can tell from the Norfolk moths data the previous latest record was 2nd August, nearly 4 weeks earlier than this.  It was a little worn but not as much as I would expect for such a late record, so I wonder if it was a second-generation?  They're not supposed to have one but several species have started to have partial second generations in recent years that never used to.

Royal Mantle, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Feathered Gothic, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

At the time I thought this Satin Wave was new too, but checking my records I find I had seen one before.

Satin Wave, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

The best of the micros weren't identified until after we got home.  First was Vetch Sober Aproaerema anthyllidella, another new one for me.  I had high hopes for a Depressaria species I retained, sure it was a species I had not seen often and suspecting it would prove to be a species that I had not seen at all before.  On keying it out it appeared to be one of two species which would be second or third for Norfolk, but I needed to dissect it to be sure which one.  Finally got to that yesterday evening and am pleased to say it proved to be Carrot Flat-body Depressaria douglasella - the second for Norfolk.  The previous county record was from Dereham in 1997.

Carrot Flat-body Depressaria douglasella (male, and its genitalia), Cranwich Heath, 29th August - the SECOND FOR NORFOLK

Vetch Sober Aproaerema anthyllidella, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Two other micros were species I'd only seen once before: Body-marked Case-bearer Coleophora clypeiferella and Gorse Groundling Mirificarma mulinella. The Coleophora is interesting as although it's not easy to positively identify from its external features it has a curious set of spines on the base of the abdomen which is quite unlike any of the other Coleophora species.  Apparently it is possible to see these without a full dissection if you brush away a few scales (though I didn't try that - I went the whole hog).

Body-marked Case-bearer Coleophora clypeiferella (female) and its abdomen plus contents, Cranwich Heath, 29th August - the distinctive spines are clearly visible at the base (right hand end in the photo) of the abdomen

Gorse Groundling Mirificana mulinella, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

We saw Tawny Wave here last time we were here but even so seeing 2 Tawny Waves tonight was a nice surprise.

Tawny Waves, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

The remainder of the macros were Maiden's Blush, 2 Clay Triple-lines, Shaded Broad-bar, 4 Yellow Shells, 3 Purple Bars, Common Marbled Carpet, Grey Pine Carpet, 2 Spruce Carpets, 10 Green Carpets, Dark Umber, Sharp-angled Carpet, Small Rivulet, Lime-speck Pug, White-spotted Pug, 6 Tawny Speckled Pugs, Double-striped Pug, Tawny-barred Angle, 2 Brimstone Moths, 2 Light Emeralds, 2 Pine Hawkmoths, Lesser Swallow Prominent, 2 Black Arches, Dingy Footman, 2 Buff Footmen, Ruby Tiger, 6 Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwing, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Character, 2 Square-spotted Clays, 3 Square-spot Rustics, Antler Moth, Common Wainscot, 2 Dun-bars, Cloaked Minor, Lesser Common Rustic, Flounced Rustic and Straw Dot.

Clay Triple-lines, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Tawny-barred Angle, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Purple Bar, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Pine Hawkmoth, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Black Arches, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

White-spotted Pug, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Among the micros were 2 Common Purple-and-Golds Pyrausta purpuralis - which I saw for the first time in the UK only this year - and 10 Straw-barred Pearls Pyrausta despicata.

 Common Purple-and-Golds Pyrausta purpuralis, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Straw-bnarred Pearl Pyrausta despicata, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

The other micros were Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner Cameraria ohridella, Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, Hawthorn Argent Argyresthia bonnetella, Purple Argent Argyresthia albistria, Wainscot Smudge Ypsolopha scabrella, White-shouldered Smudge Ypsolopha parenthesella, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Brown-spot Flat-body Agonopterix alstromeriana, Dusky Groundling Aroga velocella, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, Knapweed Conch Agapeta zoegana, 3 Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrices Pandemis corylana, 4 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Birch Marble Apotomis betuletana, 2 Rush Marbles Bactra lancealana, Grey Poplar Bell Epinotia nisella, Large Birch Bell Epinotia brunnchana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, Round-winged Drill Dichrorampha simpliciana, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, Brown China-mark Elophila nymphaeata, 8 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Rosy Tabby Endotricha flammealis and Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella.

Hawthorn Argent Argyresthia bonnetella, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Purple Argent Argyresthia albistria, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

White-shouldered Smudge Ypsolopha parenthesella, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Brown-spot Flat-body Agonopterix alstromeriana, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana (female above, 2 males below; gen det), Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Grey Poplar Bell Epinotia nisella (female, gen det), Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Birch Marble Apotomis betuletana, Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Didn't get much in the way of non-lepidopteran interest but a couple of bugs here...

Forest Bug (aka Red-legged Shieldbug), Cranwich Heath, 29th August

Phytocoris varipes, Cranwich Heath, 29th August