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, 27 February 2017

Three new moths for the year

Wednesday night saw another Oak Beauty, a Dotted Border and my first Satellite of the year here.  Also 2 ichneumid wasps Ophion obscuratus.

Satellite, North Elmham, 22nd February

All I could muster on Thursday night was a single Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana and Friday night was no better with just a Chestnut.

I wasn't expecting much more on Saturday night but ended up with Pale Brindled Beauty, Dotted Border, my first Hebrew Character of the year and 2 Chestnuts.

 Hebrew Character, North Elmham, 25th February

On Sunday I found a Common Wasp in the house, my first this year.  Last night a Winter Shades Tortricodes alternella was also new for the year.  Also 3 Pale Brindled Beauties.

Winter Shades Tortricodes alternella, North Elmham, 26th February

Today this Varied Carpet Beetle Anthrenus verbasci in the bathroom was my first this year.

Varied Carpet Beetle Anthrenus verbasci, North Elmham, 27th February

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Oak Beauty

Monday night produced only a selection of the species I'd trapped on Sunday night: 2 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana, Dotted Border, Chestnut and 2 ichneumons Ophion obscuratus.

Yesterday I thought the warm sunshine might bring out a few interesting inverts but despite my best efforts I saw very little.  I did manage my first butterfly of the year, at last, a Small Tortoiseshell, and my first Bumblebee of the year too, a White-tailed Bumblebee.

In the evening I joined Dave for a walk round Beetley Common hoping to attract moths to our headtorches.  I don't think anything was attracted to the light but the beam did illuminate a few moths including a probable Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana (slightly ambiguous genitalia so not 100% sure), Dotted Border, Satellite and 2 Chestnuts.  The latter were a little bit unclear although I favoured Chestnut over Dark Chestnut, so I brought them home to resolve for certain and both proved to be male Chestnuts.

Chestnuts (males, gen det), Beetley Common, 21st February

Back at home an Oak Beauty adorned the moth trap, my first this year.  Apart from that I only managed to trap a single Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana.

Oak Beauty, North Elmham, 21st February

Monday, 20 February 2017

Another new beetle - Leistus spinibarbis

There are some excellent beetle identification resources available online nowadays so I now feel able to identify species that previously had been consigned to the "too difficult" category.  Last night as I checked the moth trap I noticed two ground beetles running around so potted one up for closer examination.  It proved to be my first, or at least first identified, Leistus spinibarbis.

Leistus spinibarbis, North Elmham, 19th February

Moths consisted of my first 2 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana of the year, Spring Usher, Dotted Border and Chestnut.

Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana (males, gen det), North Elmham, 19th February

Other insects included 4-5 Ophion obscuratus (an Ichneumid wasp).

Sunday, 19 February 2017

First new beetle of 2017 - Cercyon unipunctatus

Thursday night was disappointing with just Early Moth and Pale Brindled Beauty, though this Ophion obscuratus was my first inchneumonid wasp of the year.

Ophion obscuratus, North Elmham, 16th February

On Friday I spent the day in the Brecks where a number of insects were evident.  Most were unidentified flies and I was a little surprised not to see my first butterfly of the spring given the warmth and frequent sunny spells.  I saw a bee briefly but didn't manage to catch it or see it at rest.  I did manage to catch one of several small beetles flying around a copse, and eventually identified it as a new speices for me, Cercyon unipunctatus.  I haven't managed to identify the ticks it was carrying though...

Cercyon unipunctatus, Brecks, 17th February

Satirday night produced my first Tufted Button Acleris cristana for the year along with 3 Pale Brindled Beauties and a Chestnut.

Tufted Button Acleris cristana, North Elmham, 17th February

Last night there were 3 Pale Brindled Beauties and my first Dark Chestnut of the year.  The latter species flies in autumn through to late winter/early spring and I usually see quite a few - for example 6 at home in 2014/15 and 17 at home in 2015/16.  However this season I hadn't seen any and as it's already past the latest winter date I recorded them in 2015 or 2016 I thought I'd missed it for this season.

Dark Chestnut, North Elmham, 18th February

Today I had a quick wander round Beetley Common where I actually managed to identify a fungus for a change - Birch Polypore.  There were some more tiny bracket (?) fungi on a fallen branch very much like the ones I saw at Felbrigg during the week and which I still haven't managed to identify.  Also I noticed a lot of silver birches with what looked like orange rust on one side.  I'm not quite certain but I think it's something called Trentepohlia (the genus - there are several similar species) which, despite its very orange colour, are apparently types of green algae (Chlorophyta).

I also found a couple of woodlice beneath some bark.  I checked loads of woodlice using the FSC key last year and nearly all of them (in fact it might have been all of them) turned out to be Common Rough Woodlouse.  One of the two today was black and big and looked pretty much like many of the Common Rough Woodlouse I've seen before but the other was more colourful and much smaller.  I took it home to check, optimistic that it might be something new.  No, turned out to be a Common Rough Woodlouse too - presumably a young one?

Common Rough Woodlouse, Beetley Common, 19th February

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Moths beginning to get off the mark

Single Chestnuts on 5th and 6th February were the last moths for a few days as the weather turned colder.  Then on Monday night things started to warm up with Early Moth and Pale Brindled Beauty on and around the trap before I went to bed.  Sadly nothing else made it into the trap overnight, but it's a good start.

Tuesday was so mild (at least in sheltered places) and sunny I thought I might come across a butterfly or two.  Some people did, but not me.  This Brown Hare was nice...

Brown Hare, Moorgate (Blickling), 14th February

Fungi continue to baffle me and tease me in equal measures and I've not managed to put a name to this lot.  They were small - I'd say about the size of a 5p coin, and growing on a fallen branch.  Not sure what species of tree the branch came off - it was mixed woodland with several different species of both deciduous and coniferous species in the immediate vicinity.

unidentified fungi, Lion's Mouth, Felbrigg, 14th February

Tuesday night produced 3 Pale Brindled Beauties and a Chestnut along with 2 micros new for the year - Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana and Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla.

Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 14th February

Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, North Elmham, 14th February

Last night turned up 5 Pale Brindled Beauties, Spring Usher and Chestnut.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Subzero moth

Temperatures had dropped to -1 degree by early afternoon on Thursday 26th January and dropped to -3 by the morning so I really wasn't expecting any moths in the trap.  I went through it as a formality fully expecting every eggbox to be empty - and so they were until the end.  Then I turned the last one over to find a Chestnut sitting in it.  Staggering to think it was flying in such cold conditions.

Things warmed up over the next couple of nights so another Chestnut (or perhaps the same one) Friday night was less of a surpise.  Saturday night (28th) produced my latest ever Winter Moth and an Early Moth.  Another Early Moth on 30th before things improved in February.

Last Wednesday (1st Feb) was the best night so far this year with 5 species including my second ever Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana.

Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana (male, gen det), North Elmham, 1st February

Also new for the year was this Spring Usher.

Spring Usher, North Elmham, 1st February

A Mottled Umber was my latest ever - normally they've stopped flying by now.  Apart from a little damage to the tip of its left wing it was pretty fresh.

Mottled Umber, North Elmham, 1st February

There was also an Early Moth and 2 Chestnuts, and the following night there was only Early Moth and 3 Chestnuts.  A single Chestnut on Friday night.  Saturday night produced my first Dotted Border of the year and 2 Early Moths.

Dotted Border, North Elmham, 4th February

Last night there was just one Chestnut again.