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, 31 January 2016

Mainly Early Moths

Just a few moths over the last few nights: A Spring Usher and an Early Moth on Wednesday night, another Early Moth on Thursday, Dotted Border and Dark Chestnut on Friday and 3 Early Moths on Saturday.

I also found yet another Harlequin trying to hibernate in my study - this one now evicted. 

Harlequin Ladybird, North Elmham, 28th January

Lastly for now, this bracket fungus from the Broads last weekend seems to be Turkeytail, one of the commonest species apparently.

Turkeytail, Ormesby Little Broad, 24th January

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A burst of activity

After several nights with no moths things started hotting up on Sunday night with no less than six moths, all different.  They were Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana, Pale Brindled Beauty, Spring Usher, Early Moth, Common Quaker and Chestnut.  The Common Quaker was my earliest ever (by two weeks).

Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 24th January

Common Quaker, North Elmham, 24th January

Spring Usher, North Elmham, 24th January

Pale Brindled Beauty, North Elmham, 24th January

Early Moth, North Elmham, 24th January

Last night saw 5 moths but less variety - Dotted Border and 4 Early Moths.  The latter was an exceptional record for me - I had two together one night last year but have otherwise only ever recorded Early Moths one at a time.

Dark Chestnut before the snow

Seems I forgot to post this having drafted it a fortnight or so ago...

Since my last post I had 2 Early Moths (one each on 10th and 11th).  On 13th I drove home from work in 1.5 degrees of cold and woke up to snow falling.  I didn't expect anything in the trap but there was this Dark Chestnut.

Dark Chestnut, North Elmham, 13th January

The snow did put a stop to moth activity though and I didn't record any more moths until this week. 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

First lifer of the year - a surprise Viburnum Button

When I came in from checking the moth trap this morning a small moth flew on to the patio window and was duly potted for closer examination.  Presumably it had been attracted to the light overnight but rested outside of the trap and I'd disturbed it as I came away.  My first impression was that it was a broad-winged greyish Acleris species, presumably Ashy Button Acleris sparsana.  But that's not supposed to hibernate so shouldn't be flying at this time of year, and on second look it didn't look quite as broad-shouldered as I'd thought at first.  I went through a number of other options with nothing coming out as entirely convincing so, still expecting nothing out of the ordinary, I checked its genitalia.  They didn't match any of the suspects at all, nor any other Acleris species that has been recorded in Norfolk in winter.  A bit more searching and I found it, the genitalia were a match but the external appearance was unlike most examples of this species.  I turned to Lepiforum for a broader image search and sure enough there was one much like mine.  It was a Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana, a new species for me.

I certainly didn't expect to get a new moth this early in the year, so very happy with that! Acleris schalleriana has two generations, one in summer which seems to be responsible for all of the dated Norfolk records, and one in autumn to spring that presumably hibernates through most winters.  It seems to be fairly scarce (said to be rare but undoubtedly under-recorded) with no records in the Norfolk database yet for the whole of last year.

Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 8th January

There was one moth in the trap itself, my first Chestnut of the year.  And I didn't expect there to be any moths last night!  Always worth putting the trap out just in case...

Chestnut, North Elmham, 8th January

This Harlequin ladybird has been hibernating in my study but woke up this morning.

Harlequin, North Elmham, 9th January

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Spring is ushered in

A Spring Usher, my earliest ever, was a nice surprise this morning.  Also another Dotted Border.

Spring Usher, North Elmham, 6th January

Dotted Border, North Elmham, 6th January

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

An early moth and an Early Moth

Just one moth the night before last, a Pale Brindled Beauty, but more mild conditions last night produced 4 different moths.  Dotted Border was my earliest ever by over a month, Early Moth was also my earliest ever, though not by much and a Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana was my first in January.  Also a Winter Moth.

Rusty Oak Button Acerlis ferrugana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 5th January

Early Moth, North Elmham, 5th January

Dotted Border, North Elmham, 5th January

Sunday, 3 January 2016

It must be spring

OK, spring might be a bit optimistic, but last night was the best night for moths since mid December with 3 Pale Brindled Beauties (my earliest ever) and a Winter Moth.  Also a Great Diving Beetle and a plethora of flies.

Pale Brindled Beauty, North Elmham, 2nd January

Great Diving Beetle (I think), North Elmham, 2nd January

Friday, 1 January 2016

Last moths of the year

Single moths on each of the nights of 21st, 22nd and 23rd: a Mottled Umber on 22nd and 2 Chestnuts.  I was away for the next 4 nights and late getting the trap on on 28th, but nothing more until new year's eve.

Chestnut, North Elmham, 21st December

On the night of 31st December this Mottled Umber became the last moth of the year.

Mottled Umber, North Elmham, 21st December

Happy new year!