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.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

First big push of year-ticks

This Dark-barred Tortrix Syndemis musculana flying around the garden was new for the year on Monday 15th May.

Dark-barred Tortrix Syndemis musculana, North Elmham, 15th May

That night proved the best so far this year with another 14 species new for the year: 2 Common Oak Midgets Phyllonorycter quercifoliella, Red Birch Midget Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella, 2 Fen Flat-bodies Depressaria ultimella, London Dowd Blastobasis lacticolella, 2 Common Cosmets Mompha epilobiella, Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana, Bee Moth Aphomia sociella, Small Dusty Wave, Common Carpet, Sandy Carpet, 2 Currant Pugs, White-pinion Spotted, Poplar Hawk-moth and Heart and Dart.

Common Oak Midget Phyllonorycter quercifoliella, North Elmham, 15th May

Red Birch Midget Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella, North Elmham, 15th May

Fen Flat-body Depressaria ultimella (male, gen det), North Elmham, 15th May

Common Cosmet Mompha epilobiella, North Elmham, 15th May

Common Birch Bell Epinotia immundana, North Elmham, 15th May

Small Dusty Wave, North Elmham, 15th May

Common Carpet, North Elmham, 15th May

Sandy Carpet, North Elmham, 15th May

Currant Pug, North Elmham, 15th May

White-pinion Spotted, North Elmham, 15th May

Poplar Hawk-moth, North Elmham, 15th May

Heart and Dart, North Elmham, 15th May

There was also an Ectoedemia sp. which I've not managed to put a name to.  It was too worn to key out positively and the genitalia don't seem to match any of the feasible species with images in the Dissection Group website (but there are a lot of these without images).

Ectoedemia sp. (female), North Elmham, 15th May

Over half the species recorded were new for the year, the remainder being Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella, 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, Green Carpet, 4 Common Pugs, 4 Brimstone Moths, 2 Scalloped Hazels, Waved Umber, Least Black Arches, 3 Flame Shoulders, 2 Hebrew Characters, Clouded-bordered Brindle and Treble Lines (the last was the same distinctively-worn individual I trapped the previous night).

My first Mayfly of the year was Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum.

Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum, North Elmham, 15th May

Caddisflies included Goera pilosa, new for the year, and Glyphotaelius pellucidus, 2 Limnephilus auricula and Limnephilus sparsus.

Goera pilosa (female), North Elmham, 15th May

Limnephilus sparsus (male), North Elmham, 15th May

Other insects included 2 Green Lacewings Chrysoperla carnea agg., a Black Sexton Beetle and, new for the house, the mirid bug Harpocera thoracica.

Harpocera thoracica, North Elmham, 15th May

I have tried but failed to make any significant progress with identifying this (or another one similar, albeit with an almost-triangular areolet).  I'm beginning to think Ichneumons aren't worth the effort...

unidentified ichneumon wasp (I assume?), North Elmham, 15th May

Monday, 22 May 2017

Black-headed Gold

On the night of 12th May there were three new moths for the year at home: Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Common Marble Celypha lacunana and 2 Yellow-faced Bells Notocelia cynosbatella. Not a great deal else: Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Common Pug, Scalloped Hazel, 3 Muslin Moths and Hebrew Character.

Yellow-faced Bell Notocelia cynosbatella, North Elmham 12th May

Common Marble Celypha lacunana, North Elmham 12th May

Brown House Moth Hoffmanophila pseudospretella, North Elmham 12th May

There was also a Common Earwig and this Garden Snail, my first this year.

Garden Snail, North Elmham 12th May

Next day at Ryburgh I found a female (unfeathered) Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella and what seems to be another Phyllobius maculicornis.

Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella, Ryburgh, 13th May

Phyllobius maculicornis, Ryburgh, 13th May

That evening I went to a concert at Snape so wasn't at home.  I put the trap on anyway and checked it the following afternoon on returning home - don't know how much more I would have found if I'd checked it earlier in the morning but there were just five moths left: Peppered Moth was new for the year, and Green Carpet, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder and Nutmeg.  Also the caddisfly Limnephilus auricula.  I did at least see a Common Lizard at Aldeburgh in the morning.

On Sunday afternoon I found a few moths at Ryburgh: 4 Plain Golds Micropterix calthella, Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella, 5 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and Cocksfoot Moth Glyphipterix simpliciella.  Beetles included one of the pollen beetles Meligethes sp. and Byturus ochraceus.

Byturus ochraceus, Ryburgh, 13th May

After this I moved on to Whitwell Common where butterflies were represented by Small Copper and Red Admiral.  Among the many Plain Golds Micropterix calthella (over 100) I found at least 3 Black-headed Golds Micropterix mansutella, a new species for me.  Sadly the sun was going in by the time I reached the spot where Dave had seen Red-barred Gold Micropterix tunbergella which would have been another lifer for me.

Black-headed Gold Micropterix mansutella, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Other moths were Long-streak Midget Phyllonorycter salicicolella, 3 Vetch Piercers Grapholita jungiella, Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis, 2 Green Carpets and 2 Rivulets.

Long-streak Midget Phyllonorycter salicicolella, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Vetch Piercer Grapholita jungiella, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Rivulet, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Beetles included a Rove Beetle Tachyporus sp. (I can't figure out how to reliably identify these to species level except using a very complex key to the arrangement of the tiny hairs on the elytra which I could barely see under the microscope) and another one that was surprisingly challenging to identify to species level (though I think I got there in the end): Malthodes marginatus.

Tachyporus sp., Whitwell Common, 14th May

Mathodes marginatus, Whitwell Common, 14th May

That night Coxcomb Prominent, Least Black Arches and Treble Lines were new for the year here, with Red Twin-spot Carpet, Green Carpet, 4 Muslin Moths and Flame Shoulder.

Coxcomb Prominent, North Elmham, 14th May

Least Black Arches, North Elmham, 14th May

Treble Lines, North Elmham, 14th May

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Bluebell Conch, a new hoverfly and some beetles

I forgot to add this photo of a Muslin Moth to my last post - I don't recall seeing the pale patches on this species before though it seems that they do vary a bit in this respect.

Muslin Moth, North Elmham, 10th May

On 11th May I discovered Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella on Garlic Mustard at Ryburgh, only the second site I've seen this species.  Also Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana.

Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella, Ryburgh, 11th May

I then headed up to Thursford Wood where I hoped to find two scarce Norfolk species - Hysterophora maculosana on the Bluebells and, a bit more ambitiously as there are no modern records in Norfolk, Coleophora lutarea on the Greater Stitchwort.  The bluebells were beautiful but I couldn't find either species among them.

Bluebells, Thursford Wood, 11th May

I did find a few moths including 5 Large Long-horns Nematopogon swammerdamella, Green Long-horn Adela reaumurella, Oak Satin Lift Heliozela sericiella and 2 Cocksfoot Moths Glyphipterix simpliciella.  But it wasn't until I'd left the main bluebell area and was walking through a relatively bare patch of woodland that I spotted one of my targets, Bluebell Conch Hysterophora maculosana in flight, and duly netted it to confirm. Looks like this may only be the third vice-county record following two last year (the first of which I found at Bittering).

Bluebell Conch Hysterophora maculosana, Thursford Wood, 11th May

I also saw a Maiden's Blush near the rhododendrons which were looking splendid.

Maiden's Blush, Thursford Wood, 11th May

Rhododendron, Thursford Wood, 11th May

I also found this bug which I eventually resolved as Anthocoris nemorum, a species I'd not identified previously.

Anthocoris nemorum, Thursford Wood, 11th May

I saw one Large Red Damselfly here and 10 more at Brancaster where I headed next (along with 2 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana) and another at Titchwell Chalkpit.

As yet I haven't been able to put a name to this spider at home:

unidentified Spider, North Elmham, 11th May

That night was better than of late with 19 moths of 14 species, though still pretty rubbish for this time of year.  New for the year here were 2 Beech Midgets Phyllonorycter maestingella, Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, Small Magpie Anania hortulata and 2 Common Pugs. The others were 3 Little Dwarfs Elachista canapennella, 2 Brindled Flat-bodies Agonopterix arenella, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Garden Carpet, Green Carpet, White Ermine, Muslin Moth, Cinnabar, Flame Shoulder and Hebrew Character.  There was also the caddisfly Glyphotaelius pellucidus and a Black Sexton Beetle.

Beech Midgets Phyllonorycter maestingella (males, gen det), North Elmham, 11th May

Small Magpie Anania hortulata, North Elmham, 11th May

Common Pug, North Elmham, 11th May

Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, North Elmham, 11th May

Next day I headed up to Burnham Overy where Stoat and Natterjack were among the non-avian highlights.  Moths consisted of Plain Fanner Glyphipterix fuscoviridella, Yellow Belle and 2 Cinnabars - and quite a few Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella larvae.

Yellow Belle, Burnham Overy, 12th May

I stopped off at Ryburgh on the way home and found 3 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and a Sulphur Tubic Esperia sulphurella.  There was also a Common Carder Bee and the hoverfly Platycheirus manicatus, a new one for me.

Platycheirus manicatus, Ryburgh, 12th May

I retained 3 beetles for identifying at home.  Perhaps I should have been able to manage the Cantharis decipiens in the field (where I think it was one of a number on Hawthorn flowers) but I certainly wouldn't have been able to do the other two without careful keying out under the microscope - unsurprisingly (as I haven't been doing this for long) both were new to me: the ground beetle Amara anthobia and the leaf beetle Phaedon armoraciae.

Cantharis decipiens, Ryburgh, 12th May

Amara anthobia, Ryburgh, 12th May

Phaedon armoraciae, Ryburgh, 12th May