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, 22 November 2015

Honeysuckle Midget (Phyllonorycter trifasciella) and Bindweed Bent-wing (Bedellia somnulentella)

20th October 2015 is a day that will be etched into my memory for years to come, a day when after years of effort my attempts to find a rare bird finally paid off.  And not just any old rare bird, but a Brown Shrike.  But you can read about that in my birding diary - this diary is about moths.  And there was a moth highlight that day too.  On my way to Porthgwarra (where I found the Shrike) I passed through Nanjizal Valley and caught a moth I'd never seen before.  I didn't see many day-flying moths during my week in Cornwall but as I walked through the bracken on the south side of the valley I glimpsed a moth flying across the path.  I managed to catch and pot it to examine later, and it turned out to be a Honeysuckle Midget Phyllonorycter trifasciella.  It's supposed to be a common moth, common enough even in my home county of Norfolk (where my old garden was rammed full of Honeysuckle), but for whatever reason it's one that had up to now eluded me.  So in terms of my pan-list, more valuable than the Brown Shrike.

Honeysuckle Midget Phyllonorycter trifasciella, Nanjizal, 20th October

The moths caught back at the cottage that night weren't very different from those caught the previous two nights: Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Garden Carpet, Large Yellow Underwing, 2 Autumnal Rustics, 10 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Square-spot Rustics, Black Rustic, 4 Green-brindled Crescents, 14 Feathered Ranunculus, 7 Red-line Quakers, 9 Beaded Chestnuts, 55 Lunar Underwings and Angle Shades.

Among non-avian wildlife seen the next day this Stoat was the best.

Stoat, Hayle, 21st October

With poor weather overnight the moths caught were fewer than previous nights: 6 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 5 Feathered Ranunculus, 3 Red-line Quakers, 6 Beaded Chestnuts, 35 Lunar Underwings and Rosy Rustic.

Some bigger numbers on the night of 22nd October: Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 7 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea, Common Marbled Carpet, Large Yellow Underwing, 7 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Square-spot Rustics, 4 Black Rustics, Green-brindled Crescent, 19 Feathered Ranunculus, 4 Red-line Quakers, Brown-spot Pinion, 13 Beaded Chestnuts, 74 Lunar Underwings, Angle Shades and Snout.

While at Porthgwarra on 23rd I bumped in to the couple staying at the cottage where we usually stay.  They hadn't yet emptied their moth trap and kindly invited me to pop down and have a look.  They'd caught a lot more moths than I had, and also a much greater variety.  Best among them was this Olive-tree Pearl Palpita vitrealis.  Thanks Mike!

Olive-tree Pearl Palpita vitrealis, Porthgwarra, from 22nd October

A few other bits and pieces there too, including this Feathered Brindle.

Feathered Brindle, Porthgwarra, from 22nd October

Later in the day this Betony was a flower tick.  For some reason this species seems to be much scarcer in Norfolk (and elsewhere in the Fens) than pretty much everywhere else in England.

Betony, Little Henda, 23rd October

Not much overnight at the cottage that day: Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Setaceous Hebrew Character, 5 Feathered Ranunculus, 2 Red-line Quakers, Beaded Chestnut, 10 Lunar Underwings and Silver Y.

Not much the following night either, our last night in Cornwall: Autumnal Rustic, Small Square-spot, 3 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Black Rustic, 8 Feathered Ranunculus, Dark Chestnut, 2 Red-line Quakers, 5 Beaded Chestnuts and 22 Lunar Underwings.

Early on our last morning I spent a short while birding at Porthgwarra before heading home.  While there I netted a moth which turned out to be Bindweed Bent-wing Bedellia somnulentella, a species I'd only seen once before.

Bindweed Bent-wing Bedellia somnulentella, Porthgwarra, 25th October

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