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.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Harvest Mouse in the garden!

After the excitement in the Brecks on Saturday I managed 18 moths of 8 species at home, easily the best night this year so far.  Among them were 4 new for the year here including a Lead-coloured Drab (and a Clouded Drab for comparison), Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla and Early Grey.

The Lead-coloured Drab looked quite reddish-brown at some angles and as such I nearly overlooked it as a Clouded Drab. The rounded wing apex should have given it away but it was only when I noticed its very feathered antennae that the penny dropped.

Lead-coloured Drab, North Elmham, 11th March

Clouded Drab, North Elmham, 11th March

Lead-coloured Drab (left) and Clouded Drab (right), North Elmham, 11th March

Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, North Elmham, 11th March

Early Grey, North Elmham, 11th March

The other moths were 2 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana, 4 Dotted Borders, 6 Hebrew Characters and 2 Chestnuts.

Also that night was a Pea-leaf Weevil Sitona lineatus, my first at home.

Pea-leaf Weevil Sitona lineatus, North Elmham, 11th March

On Sunday afternoon I was looking out of the kitchen window when a movement caught my eye.  It was a mouse, but not just any old mouse, it was a lovely yellowish-buff colour and it was tiny!  Fortunately my camera wasn't far away and I hastily ran off some shots before it scuppered.  The colour prompted thoughts of Harvest Mouse, a species which I never expected to bump into in my garden, but I wasn't sure if the tail was long enough.  The only mouse I've seen here before was Wood Mouse and it clearly wasn't like previous examples of that, being smaller, a different colour, and having nice clearly demarcated border between the yellowish fur on the upperside and the clean white fur beneath.  Some features fitted Yellow-necked Mouse but that's supposed to be even bigger than Wood Mouse and as far as I can tell it's too early in the year for a young one.  Harvest Mouse is supposed to have smaller ears than Wood and Yellow-necked Mice and at first I wondered if they were small enough, but after looking at some photos of all three species (and House Mouse) I decided it had to be Harvest Mouse, my first ever in the wild.  I hadn't been expecting a mammalian lifer in my garden - what a fabulous surprise!

Harvest Mouse, North Elmham, 12th March

In the evening I decided to give Beetley Common by headtorch a go.  It was disappointing for moths with just 2 Water Carpets and a Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana, but it wasn't a complete waste of time.

Rusty Oak Button Acleris ferrugana (male, gen det), Beetley Common, 12th March

Water Carpet, Beetley Common, 12th March

I checked one woodlouse that I thought might be different (from the usual Common Rough Woodlice) and indeed this time it was, Common Striped Woodlouse Philoscia muscorum.

Common Striped Woodlouse Philoscia muscorum, Beetley Common, 12th March

The only two beetles I found by searching tree trunks both proved to be Olibrus corticalis, a new species for me.  I picked one of them up with some moss and an even tinier beetle fell out of the moss.  At first I didn't think I was going to get an ID as I struggled to key it out to family even but eventually I sorted it - it was another new one for me, Cortinicara gibbosa.

Olibrus corticalis, Beetley Common, 12th March

Cortinicara gibbosa, Beetley Common, 12th March

Also my first Lacewing of the year, presumably Chrysoperla carnea but as it was female I can't elminate the highly unlikely pallida.

The trap at home produced 14 moths of 7 species, so not quite as good as Saturday night.  Among them was my first Maple Slender Caloptilia semifascia of the year.

Maple Slender Caloptilia semifascia, North Elmham, 12th March

The others were Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, March Moth, Shoulder Stripe, 4 Dotted Borders, 5 Hebrew Characters and Chestnut.

Monday's trap produced 3 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana, March Moth, Shoulder Stripe, Oak Beauty, 4 Dotted Borders, Clouded Drab and 4 Hebrew Characters.

My first Peacock butterfly of the year was at Burnham Overy yesterday morning.

Last night there wasn't so much (or else it flew off or got eaten by the birds before I got to it - I was a little after first light this morning) - March Moth, 2 Shoulder Stripes, 2 Dotted Borders and 5 Hebrew Characters.

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