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, 21 December 2015

Late migrant

The unseasonally warm temperatures and southerly airflow have brought some extraordinary migrant moths to southern England over the last few days including somewhere in the region of 40-50 examples of the striking micro moth Syncopacma polychromella - a species previously only recorded about 7 times in the UK.  One of those reached Norfolk but by and large Norfolk has been too far north to take part in the latest migrant extravaganza.

After a nil return on Saturday night and just a Chestnut the night before I finally got a migrant last night.  Sadly it wasn't an exciting rarity from far south, it was a Silver Y.

Silver Y, North Elmham, 20th December

Friday, 18 December 2015

Ladybird saves the day (or night)

I was surprised to find the moth trap was devoid of moths last night, despite the mildness.  There was a single Dark Chestnut some way from the trap, but that was the only moth.

One notable record from the moth trap though: this Cream-spot Ladybird.  Not a particularly unusual species I don't think, but my first at North Elmham.

Cream-spot Ladybird, North Elmham, 17th December

Thursday, 17 December 2015

5 moth species: one late and one later

Last night's mildness brought me fewer moths than the night before, but more than double the variety - 5 species.

This December Moth was my latest ever by a week.

December Moth, North Elmham, 16th December

But this Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella was later.  It's supposed to be the fourth commonest micro in November (according to here) but my latest ever was late October.  But although it might not have been surprising in November, no adult Phyllonorycter appears to have ever been recorded in Norfolk in December - so presumably the latest in the county by a good two and a half weeks at least.

Garden Midget Phyllonorycter messaniella, North Elmham, 16th December

Also 2 Winter Moths, Mottled Umber and Chestnut.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Moths and Mouse

It's all a bit samey but there are a few moths on the wing now it's getting milder.  Mottled Umber on Thursday, another on Saturday night, Winter Moth and Mottled Umber on Sunday night and another Mottled Umber on Monday.  Then last night temperatures soared into double figures and a good total for December: 4 Winter Moths and 3 Mottled Umbers.  Tonight's even milder and without the rain the trap is better positioned... might we hit double figures...?

Here are two of the Mottled Umbers from last night, like nearly all of this month's moths, settled near the trap not inside it.

Mottled Umbers, North Elmham, 15th December

Winter Moth, North Elmham, 15th December

Apologies for cross-posting the rest of this post with my birding diary... I've seen a mouse in my garden on numerous occasions, often going in or out of the shed (where it eats my bird food) but have never managed to have a sufficiently prolonged look at it to be able to identify it.  On Saturday afternoon I kept seeing it dart out of the shed and back in, with perhaps a couple of minutes between each dash.  Far too quick to see anything on it, but perhaps I could catch it on the camera?  Even with the ISO cranked up to the highest possible setting I could barely get enough speed to catch it mid-dash, but eventually it paused for long enough on its way out of the shed for me to get some grainy shots.  Let me know if you think differently, but I reckon it's a Wood Mouse.

Wood Mouse, North Elmham, 12th December

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Multiple moths and more fungi

Sunday night was mild and produced a selection of moths, not bad for December - London Dowd Blastobasis lacticolella, Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana, 2 Winter Moths and Mottled Umber.

 Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 6th December

There was also this Great Diving Beetle Dysticus marginalis - at least I think that's what it is (correct me if I'm wrong, always!).  Interestingly I know of 3 Norfolk moth-ers who trapped Diving Beetles on Sunday night, yet they all appear to have been different species.  This was my first diving beetle of any kind for months.

Great Diving Beetle Dysticus marginalis, North Elmham, 6th December

Last night was mild too but only delivered a single Chestnut.

I went birding at Burnham Overy yesterday, and found a few more fungi.  I wondered if this small but proud Earthstar was Geastrum coronatum, overlooking the fact that Tiny Earthstar G minimum is similar.  Thanks to James for clarifying that Tiny Earthstar has the spore sac about 1 cm while G coronatum has a larger sac, about 2 cm.  This one was around 1 cm (I took a photo of it next to my boot for size check), and as I know Tiny Earthstar occurs here and James says coronatum is less frequent in dunes, probably safe call this on Tiny Earthstar.

Tiny Earthstar, Burnham Overy, 7th December

James also helped steer me in the right direction with this, which I had assumed was a fungus.  It is in fact a lichen, one of the Peltigera species.  Thanks James!

Peltigera sp. (lichen), Burnham Overy, 7th December

Friday, 4 December 2015

December butterfly

Unsurprisingly, given the date, very few moths of late.  Single Mottled Umber and Chestnut arrived on Tuesday night and another Mottled Umber on Wednesday night.

Mottled Umber, North Elmham, 1st December

Nothing last night, but I did see a Red Admiral in my lunch break today.  Only the second December butterfly in my records database.