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, 20 March 2017

Thompson Water moths & inverts

On Saturday night the forecast looked interesting for moths - mild and cloudy but with the likelihood of a little light rain later on.  Dave and I headed down to Thompson Water, thinking that if the rain came to pass we would just use our headtorches, but if it remained dry the traps were in the car.  As it turned out the rain started before we'd left home, much more than the forecast had suggested, and it didn't let up when we arrived.  We decided to press on anyway, with headtorches of course, and quickly found a couple of Water Carpets, followed by 2 Hebrew Characters.  A wander through the woodland towards Thompson Common produced no less than 34 March Tubics Diurnea fagella and we eventually added 3 Engrailed and best of all, a Mottled Grey.  There were lots of Common Toads enjoying the puddles - I counted 33 but I'm sure I wouldn't have had to try very hard to reach a much higher number.

Mottled Grey, Thompson Water, 18th March

At home Early Thorn and, at long last, Common Quaker were added to the garden year list.

Early Thorn, North Elmham, 18th March

Common Quaker, North Elmham, 18th March

Other moths at home were Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Shoulder Stripe, Oak Beauty, 2 Dotted Borders, 3 Small Quakers, 3 Clouded Drabs and 4 Hebrew Characters.

On Sunday night the forecast was similar - mild and cloudy - except this time no rain was forecast.  We decided to try Thompson Water again, this time hopefully being able to put the traps out.  Ominously, and contrary to the forecast, it was raining as we headed there again and still raining when we arrived, albeit much lighter than yesterday - just a light drizzle really.  We put Dave's battery-operated trap up somewhere sheltered and then decided that the drizzle had become so light now that we would risk the others too.

We found another 7 Mottled Greys, some of which were quite worn and we pondered for a while whether they really were Mottled Greys or Early Tooth-striped.  Eventually we settled on the former but then I found one which I really wasn't convinced by - surely this one was an Early Tooth-striped?  I retained it to check and was later able to confirm that it was indeed a female Early Tooth-striped.

Early Tooth-striped, Thompson Water, 19th March

Other moths were about 20 March Tubics Diurnea fagella, 6 Winter Shades Tortricodes alternella, 4 March Moths, 4 Water Carpets, 4 Brindled Pugs, Early Thorn, 8 Oak Beauties, 4 Engraileds, Red Chestnut, 7 Common Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs, 2 Hebrew Characters and 2 Chestnuts.

Red Chestnut, Thompson Water, 19th March

Three beetles all proved to be species I hadn't identified before: Mud-dweller Ilybius ater, Nebria brevicollis and Silpha atrata.  Actually I had seen the Silpha before but without access to decent reference material I had misidentified it as a different Silpha species.

Mud-dweller Ilybius ater, Thompson Water, 19th March

Nebria brevicollis, Thompson Water, 19th March

Silpha atrata, Thompson Water, 19th March

When I retained a smaller creature I thought it might be a rove beetle, having a long flexible abdomen apparently not covered by elytra.  But under the lens it didn't look like a beetle at all, lacking any elytra but being covered in long hairs.  A really strange thing that I couldn't even identify to order at first.  Springtails (Collembola) came to mind but I dismissed that thought as at about 4mm long it was several times bigger than springtails I'd seen before, but when I looked at it under the microscope and saw its furcula (tail-like appendages folded beneath the body that are used for jumping) I realised it was a springtail after all.  Turns out it was Orchesella villosa - sometimes called Hairy Springtail but I don't think that name is always reserved for this species as opposed to others in the family.  According to the maps at NBN Gateway there aren't any records in Norfolk, but I suspect that has more to do with the lack of Collembola records in their database than it being remotely unusual.

Orchesella villosa, Thompson Water, 19th March

Other things of note included Birch Catkin Bug Kleidocerys resedae, Common Shiny Woodlouse Oniscus asellus and some White-legged Snake Millipedes Tachypodoiulus niger.

Birch Catkin Bug Kleidocerys resedae, Thompson Water, 19th March

Common Toads were not in such evidence as on Saturday but a few could still be found in the puddles.

Common Toads, Thompson Water, 19th March

At home 2 Twin-spotted Quakers were new for the garden year list.  There were also March Tubic Diurnea fagella, Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Early Thorn, 2 Common Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs, 5 Hebrew Characters, Early Grey and Chestnut.

Twin-spotted Quaker, North Elmham, 19th March

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