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.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Row Heath

On Saturday 27th May the Norfolk Moth Survey headed up to Row Heath, on the Sheringham-Cromer ridge south of West Runton.  It's a great area of woodland bordering heathland which hasn't been properly surveyed before so it was a good opportunity to see what was there.  The weather was kind too, so we were in for a good night.

For many people, myself included, the highlight was a Barred Hook-tip, a scarce macro in the county which I'd never seen before.

Barred Hook-tip, Row Heath, 27th May

A tiny dark moth with obvious eye-caps defied identification in the field but eventually it became clear to me that it was one of the Stigmella atricapitella/ruficapitella pair, the males of which can be distinguished by the length of their andriconial hair scales on their hindwings.  Once I'd realised which scales were andriconial I was able to identify this one as Black-headed Pigmy Stigmella atricapitella, another new species for me.

Black-headed Pigmy Stigmella atricapitella, Row Heath, 27th May

There are loads of species in this family and the majority are usually only recorded as leafmines - the adults are fiendishly difficult to identify (even when looking at their genitalia in most cases) and not seen very often either.  We managed to see two this night, but the second I haven't been able to put a name to.  I wondered if it might be the paler-based form of salicella (though I don't recall there being much sallow there) or possibly floslactella?

Pigmy sp. Stigmella sp., Row Heath, 27th May

Another good macro was the highlight for at least one person, and was, or rather were, only my second and third ever: 2 Little Emeralds.

Little Emeralds, Row Heath, 27th May

Though not especially rare a Honeysuckle Midget Phyllonorycter trifasciella was my first in Norfolk having only seen one in Cornwall previously.  There was also a Red Hazel Midget Phyllonorycter nicellii.

Honeywuckle Midget Phyllonorycter trifasciella, Row Heath, 27th May

Other good macros included Grey Birch, Small White Wave and Brindled White-spot - the first two of those were my second records.

Grey Birch, Row Heath, 27th May

Brindled White-spot, Row Heath, 27th May

As always on occasions like this a few moths were quite educational for various reasons.  We saw several Common Tortrixes Capua vulgana (which despite their name are far from common - only about 13 records in Norfolk).  They are supposed to be easily identified by their pale shoulders but although one had clear pale shoulders and another (a male) had less distinct pale shoulders (I suspect they'd have been clearer when it was fresh), two females showed virtually no hint of pale shoulders.

Common Tortrix Capua vulgana, Row Heath, 27th May

Common Tortrix Capua vulgana (male), Row Heath, 27th May

Common Tortrix Capua vulgana (females), Row Heath, 27th May

There were several Small Rivulets and Garry found what he thought might be a Rivulet.  To me it looked too small and some of us felt that it was in fact another Small Rivulet.  There had been a suggestion that it only had a single indentation on the white cross band which would make it Rivulet but on closer inspection It did in fact show two indentations.  These were of unequal size – various references say Small Rivulet usually shows two indentations of equal size while Rivulet usually shows only a single indentation.  In my experience they are more commonly of unequal size in Small Rivulet (and this is supported by photos on reliable websites like Lepiforum) but a similar pattern is sometimes found in Rivulet too.  It seems that most cases where Rivulet has two indentations they are more unequal in size than the majority of Small Rivulets, but with some overlap.  For me the pattern of Garry’s moth was fine for Small Rivulet but did not rule out Rivulet, so to settle it I took it home to measure and if necessary gen det.  The forewing length was 11 mm – inside the upper end of the range for Small Rivulet (9-11 mm) and outside of the bottom end of the range for Rivulet (12-15 mm) – so it seemed it was a Small Rivulet as I’d thought.  As I had the specimen I checked the genitalia just to confirm… and it turns out it was a male Rivulet after all!

Rivulet (small but not Small; male, gen det), Row Heath, 27th May

This V-Pug caught some of us out as it wasn't the usual green colour.  I had a vague recollection of having seen one like this before and indeed it is the case that old examples can wear to this colour.

V-Pug, Row Heath, 27th May

It seems that I'm not the only one who sees some of the conifer tortrix moths rarely enough that I can't remember how to distinguish them without looking them up.  We saw quite a few Spotted Shoot Moths Rhyacionia pinivorana as well as some Pine Bud Moths Pseudococcyx turionella.

Pine Bud Moths Pseudococcyx turionella, Row Heath, 27th May

Spotted Shoot Moths Rhyacionia pinivorana, Row Heath, 27th May

Other micros included 2 Bordered Carls Coptotriche marginea, Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella, 3 Large Long-horns Nematopogon swammerdamella, Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella, Cork Moth Nemapogon cloacella, Daisy Bent-wing Bucculatrix nigricomella, Birch Bent-wing Bucculatrix demaryella, 3 New Oak Slenders Caloptilia robustella, 2 Apple Fruit Moths Argyresthia conjugella, 2 Gorse Case-bearers Coleophora albicosta, Buff Rush Case-bearer Coleophora caespititiella, Crescent Groundling Teleiodes luculella, Large Groundling Teleiopsis diffinis, 3 Heather Groundlings Neofaculta ericetella, Winter Groundling Scrobipalpa costella, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, Dark-barred Tortrix Syndemis musculana, 2 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 4 Brassy Tortrixes Eulia ministrana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Oak Marble Lobesia reliquana, 2 Rush Marbles Bactra lancealana, 2 Bridge Rollers Ancylis uncella, Red Roller Ancylis mitterbacheriana, Pine Bell Epinotia rubiginosana, Little Beech Piercer Strophedra weirana, 2 Grey Gorse Piercers Cydia ulicetana, Meadow Grey Scoparia pyralella and 4 Common Greys Scoparia ambigualis.

Daisy Bent-wing Bucculatrix nigricomella (male, gen det), Row Heath, 27th May

Apple Fruit Moth Argyresthia conjugella, Row Heath, 27th May

Bridge Roller Ancylis uncella, Row Heath, 27th May

Oak Marble Lobesia reliquana, Row Heath, 27th May

Little Beech Piercer Strophedra weirana (male, gen det), Row Heath, 27th May

Large Groundling Teleiopsis diffinis, Row Heath, 27th May

Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella, Row Heath, 27th May

Gorse Case-bearer Coleophora albicosta (male, gen det), Row Heath, 27th May

The other macros were Gold Swift, Common Swift, Scalloped Hook-tip, Pebble Hook-tip, Chinese Character, Peach Blossom, Small Blood-vein, Cream Wave, Flame Carpet, Red Twin-spot Carpet, 5 Silver-ground Carpets, 8 Common Marbled Carpets, 8 Grey Pine Carpets, 2 Green Carpets, 3 Foxglove Pugs, Lime-speck Pug, Common Pug, 2 Ochreous Pugs, Small Yellow Wave, Yellow-barred Brindle, Clouded Border, Tawny-barred Angle, Brown Silver-line, 2 Scorched Wings, 3 Brimstone Moths, Scalloped Hazel, 2 Peppered Moths, 2 Pale Oak Beauties, Common White Wave, 6 White-pinion Spotteds, Clouded Silver, Light Emerald, 2 Lime Hawk-moths, 2 Poplar Hawk-moths, Alder Kitten, Coxcomb Prominent, Maple Prominent, Marbled Brown, Lobster Moth, Great Prominent, Pale Tussock, 3 Orange Footmen, 2 White Ermines, 2 Buff Ermines, 2 Least Black Arches, Flame Shoulder, Early Grey, Alder Moth, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Treble Lines, Nut-tree Tussock, Spectacle, Straw Dot and Small Fan-foot.

Lime Hawk-moth, Row Heath, 27th May

Alder Kitten, Row Heath, 27th May

Maple Prominent, Row Heath, 27th May

There were plenty of other insects too.  Lacewings included Chrysopidia ciliata and Hemerobius lutescens.

Chrysopidia ciliata, Row Heath, 27th May

Caddisflies included this Limnephilus marmoratus.

Limnephilus marmoratus, Row Heath, 27th May

Bugs included my first Oncopsis flavicollis and a Thamnotettix dilutior, both leafhoppers.

Oncopsis flavicollis, Row Heath, 27th May

Thamnotettix dilutior, Row Heath, 27th May

Beetles included Black Clock Beetle Pterostichus madidus, my first Melanotus villosus and Phyllobius argentatus.

Black Clock Beetle Pterostichus madidus, Row Heath, 27th May

Melanotus villosus, Row Heath, 27th May

The most obvious beetle, in fact the most obvious insect of any type, was Cockchafer - there were hundreds!  You can see a liberal scattering of them on my sheet here... (PS: you don't have to be middle-aged male and either bald or bearded to go mothing).

moth-ers, Row Heath, 27th May

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