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, 25 September 2016

Smooth Newt, Haworth's Pug, my first Acrocercops and a return to Claxton Manor

The biggest surprise when I went down to check the moths on 5th August was a Smooth Newt on the sheet.  I've had a few fleeting glimpses of newts over the years but it's been a long time since I have had the opportunity to have a really good look at one.

Smooth Newt, North Elmham, 5th August

A new moth for me was Brown Oak Slender Acrocercops brongniardella.

Brown Oak Slender Acrocercops brongniardella, North Elmham, 5th August

Other micros were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, 2 Ribwort Slenders Aspilapteryx tringipennella, 4 Bird-cherry Ermines Yponomeuta evonymella, 2 Orchard/Apple/Spindle Ermines Yponomeuta padella/malinellus/cagnagella, 4 Diamond-back Moths Plutella xylostella, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, 3 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, 2 Dark Groundlings Bryotropha affinis, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, 2 Orange Crests Helcystogramma rufescens, 11 Dark Fruit-tree Tortrixes Pandemis heparana, Dover Shade Cnephasia genitalana, 2 Maple Buttons Acleris forsskaleana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Barred Marble Celypha striana, Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana, 3 Marbled Piercers Cydia splendana, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, 32 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 14 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Water Veneers Acentria ephemerella, Small Grey Eudonia mercurella, 3 Ringed China-marks Parapoynx stratiotata, 3 Beautiful China-marks Nymphula nitidulata, 3 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, Small Magpie Anania hortulata, 4 Pale Straw Pearls Udea lutealis, Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, 20 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Rosy Tabby Endotricha flammealis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella and Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla.

By far the best macro was a Haworth's Pug - only my second ever and first at home.

Haworth's Pug (male, gen det), North Elmham, 5th August

Six-striped Rustic was new for the year and the other macros were Drinker, 2 Pebble Hook-tips, Least Carpet, Small Fan-footed Wave, Single-dotted Wave, 4 Riband Waves, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, 2 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, Garden Carpet, 3 Shaded Broad-bars, 4 Common Carpets, Small Rivulet, Magpie Moth, Clouded Border, Early Thorn, Peppered Moth, Mottled Beauty, Poplar Hawkmoth, Iron Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, 7 Yellow-tails, Black Arches, 5 Rosy Footmen, 11 Dingy Footmen, 4 Scarce Footmen, Buff Footman, 7 Common Footmen, 3 Ruby Tigers, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 6 Flame Shoulders, 16 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Nutmeg, Lychnis, Poplar Grey, Dun-bar, 4 Dark Arches, Flounced Rustic, 3 Uncertains, 4 Nut-tree Tussocks, Silver Y, 11 Straw Dots, Snout and 2 Fan-foots.

Six-striped Rustic, North Elmham, 5th August

Next day I saw a Southern Hawker in the garden - the first time I've positively identified one here.

That evening I joined others for the Norfolk Moth Survey event at Claxton Manor.  We went here last year and had a very successful time but this time it was later in the season and in far from perfect weather being quite clear and cool as well as a bit breezy.  The site where I set up was particularly challenging due to the breeze and the variety of moths coming to my light was very poor.

One feature of the night was good numbers of Bactra (30+) and I couldn't help but notice the remarkable variety in types shown.  I was pretty confident some would turn out to be Mottled Marbles Bactra furfurana although others looked like typical Rush Marbles Bactra lancealana.  I retained 5, selecting examples that showed a variety of appearances but none like typical lancealana.  Afterwards Ken mentioned that he had had a similar experience where he was trapping with a range of different-looking individuals, and he too retained a couple for checking.  Ken came back with the results of his first - they were 2 Rush Marbles Bactra lancealana.  Perhaps all mine would turn out to be the much commoner lancealana after all?  Eventually I dissected mine and the first one, a male, was clearly Mottled Marble Bactra furfurana.  The other four were all females and while these looked promising for furfurana too I struggled to find really clear images of female genitalia of the various Bactra species to compare them too.  Eventually I decided to hunt out a typical-looking lancealana so I could compare them to that - fortunately the first one I found was a female and its genitalia were quite clearly different from the Claxton Manor examples.  At last I was satisfied to conclude that all 5 of the individuals I retained (and probably 10+ of the individuals seen) were Mottled Marbles Bactra furfurana.

Mottled Marbles Bactra furfurana (male top and 4 females below, gen det), Claxton Manor, 6th August

Other highlights at my sheet included Leopard Moth, Maple Prominent, Small Wainscot, Webb's Wainscot and 2 Crescents.

Leopard Moth, Claxton Manor, 6th August

Small Wainscot, Claxton Manor, 6th August

Webb's Wainscot, Claxton Manor, 6th August

Crescent, Claxton Manor, 6th August

Others included Bulrush Cosmet Limnaecia phragmitella, 2 Hook-marked Straw Moths Agapeta hamana, Smoky-barred Marble Lobesia abscisana, Bulrush Veneer Calamotropha paludella, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, Pale Water-veneer Donacaula forficella, 4 Brown China-marks Elophila nymphaeata, 15 Small China-marks Cataclysta lemnata, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Drinker, Common Carpet, Iron Prominent, 2 Dingy Footmen, Ruby Tiger, Flame Shoulder, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Six-striped Rustic, 2 Antler Moths, Southern Wainscot, Smoky Wainscot, Common Rustic, Rosy Rustic and Straw Dot.

Bulrush Veneer Calamotropha paludella, Claxton Manor, 6th August

I managed to get along to Ben's trap briefly and added Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, Garden Tiger and 2 Twin-spotted Wainscots to the tally, along with Common Wave along the track on the way.  I think it was after we'd packed up and we caught up with the others that I saw a Reed Dagger in someone's pot and two Coleophora which subsequently proved to be Orache Case-bearer Coleophora saxicolella (only my third) and Glasswort Case-bearer Coleophora salicorniae (a new moth for me).

Twin-spotted Wainscot, Claxton Manor, 6th August

So far I haven't worked out what this Ichneumon wasp was:

Ichneumon sp., Claxton Manor, 6th August

I always leave my home trap on when I go out on trips like this but it's not often I fair better at home than out in interesting habitat with a group of others.  On this occasion with a slightly disappointing night out at Claxton I ended up doing rather better at home with a couple of decent moths here.  But I'll leave that for my next post...

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