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, 13 March 2017

Barred Tooth-striped

On Saturday evening Dave and I headed to the Brecks for our first proper moth-trapping session.  One moth we hoped to see, but didn't really expect to see, was Barred Tooth-striped.  They mainly occur in southern chalk downs with isolated populations in Cumbria and the Norfolk/Suffolk Brecks.  A "Nationally Scarce A" species the sites where it has been recorded in Norfolk are kept confidential, so Dave and I didn't have much clue as to where to look for it.

We set up and quickly attracted the first of 9 Yellow Horneds to the sheet.

Yellow Horned, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

They were nice, but otherwise it was pretty slow to start with.  We notched up a couple of Chestnuts and 3 Common Quakers along with 2 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana.  I went for a walk with the headtorch which failed to add any moths but I did find a Common Pill Woodlouse Armadillidium vulgare.  I've seen Pill Woodlice before, and in all likelihood they were this species, but this is the first one I've seen since owning the key so being able to positively identify it to species level.

Common Pill Woodlouse Armadillidium vulgare, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

We added Winter Shades Tortricodes alternella and more surprisingly, a Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella.  The latter is a migrant species and with the southerly airflow coming up from Africa I guess this one was fresh in - quite a few migrant moths have been recorded in the SW of England but not so many this far up and east.

Diamond-back Moth Plutella xylostella, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

Winter Shades Tortricodes alternella, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

This Twin-spotted Quaker was one of those where the twin spots are reddish not black...

Twin-spotted Quaker, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

If I've remembered the order correctly the first geometer to arrive at the sheet was one of 2 Engraileds.  The next one settled on the sheet quickly where its identity was immediately obvious, and excitement levels for the evening suddenly went up a few notches - it was a Barred Tooth-striped!  I'm not honestly quite sure why site details for this species are kept confidential - I understand there's a risk of collectors taking too many when there's a rare and beautiful species involved, but nationally this one occurs in a few areas and although we thought it was pretty impressive it's not like a Bedstraw Hawkmoth or something like that!  Still, I'm happy to go along with the established practice of not naming the site, which is why all the photos on this page don't have full location details in their captions.

Barred Tooth-striped, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

One of the next moths turned out to be the first of 5 Mottled Greys.  This is quite a thinly-distributed species in Norfolk, though seems to be a bit commoner in the Brecks.  These were not quite new for me as I'd seen one in Scotland, but new for me in Norfolk.

Mottled Greys, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

We were then joined by Keith - nice to meet him at last.  We also picked up Tufted Button Acleris cristana, Water Carpet, 2 Small Quakers and Clouded Drab.

Tufted Button Acleris cristana, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

Water Carpet, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

A couple of quite splendid ground beetles showed differening colours and at first we thought we could make out differences in the way the elytra (wing cases) were sculpted so suspected we might have two different species.  On closer examination later I believe both were in fact Violet Ground Beetles Carabis violaceus.

Violet Ground Beetles Carabis violaceus, Norfolk Brecks, 11th March

There was another much tinier beetle which I am struggling to resolve at the moment.  It appears to be one of the Flea Beetles but I need to do some more work on it before I can fully identify it. I'll report back on it if I manage an ID...

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