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.
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.
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
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.
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