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.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Hornets have a penchant for Orange Swifts

This Feathered Gothic would have been a new moth for me when I checked the trap at home after the night of 29th August, except that I'd been trapping at Cranwich Heath early that evening and caught 4 there (more on that excursion in this post I did nearer the time).

Feathered Gothic, North Elmham, 29th August

A strange thing happened this night.  I often get the odd Hornet in the moth trap and they often predate some of the moths while they're in there.  This evening I had 5 Hornets (and 2 wasps) and true to form they'd gobbled up some of the moths.  But what was a bit weird was that they appear to have very particular taste.  There were 5 dead moths in the trap, 4 showing clear signs of predation (i.e. wings removed and bodies gone).  Out of 165 moths in the trap they had killed all 5 Orange Swifts (or at least 4 of them) and ignored everything else.  What's so special about Orange Swifts?

A count of 37 Flounced Rustics was my highest ever while other macros in the trap were Green Carpet, Sharp-angled Carpet, Treble-bar, 9 Brimstone Moths, 2 Willow Beauties, Common Wave, Light Emerald, 32 Large Yellow Underwings, 7 Lesser Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Square-spotted Clay, Six-striped Rustic, 8 Square-spot Rustics, Common Wainscot, Svensson's Copper Underwing, 2 Burnished Brasses, Silver Y, Spectacle, 8 Straw Dots and Snout.

Svensson's Copper Underwing, North Elmham, 29th August

Among the micros  2 Narrow-winged Greys Eudonia angustea were the first of the autumn generation.  The others were Brown Birch Slender Parornix betulae, Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, 2 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, 3 Garden Rose Tortrices Acleris variegana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Sharp-winged Drill Dichrorampha acuminatana, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 15 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Small Purple and Gold (Mint Moth) Pyrausta aurata, 2 Pale Straw Pearls Udea lutealis and 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis.

One of the geniculea was interesting, showing more dark than usual between the two cross-lines.  I did check the insides just to make sure it wasn't anything else...

Elbow-striped Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea (male, gen det), North Elmham, 29th August

This caterpillar has evaded certain identification so far.  I found a pic of a Beaded Chestnut that was similar but there seems to be so much variation with this and other related species I'm not confident one of the other Xyleninae tribe isn't the correct ID.  Let me know if you can help!

unidentified caterpillar (probably something in the Xyleninae tribe?), North Elmham, 29th August

On the sheet next to the trap was this frog.  You don't get the impression of size in the photos but I can tell you it was huge!  Biggest frog I've ever seen!

Common Frog, North Elmham, 29th August

30th August was rather uneventful with 4 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Chequered Grass-veneer Catoptria falsella, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Maiden's Blush, 2 Green Carpets, 3 Brimstone Moths, Light Emerald, 21 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Six-striped Rustic, 5 Square-spot Rustics, Common Wainscot, 19 Flounced Rustics and 4 Straw Dots.

The clear highlight on 31st August was my second ever confirmed Yellow-triangle Slender Caloptilia alchimiella. Only ever had robustella confirmed at home before.

 Yellow-triangle Slender Caloptilia alchimiella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 31st August

Not a great deal else that day: Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, Common Grass-veneer Agriphila tristella, 9 Elbow-stripe Grass-veneers Agriphila geniculea, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, Maiden's Blush, Riband Wave, 3 Brimstone Moths, Light Emerald, 2 Flame Shoulders, 16 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Lesser Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 5 Square-spot Rustics, Common Wainscot, 6 Flounced Rustics and 4 Straw Dots.

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