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, 30 September 2017

One moth, two caddis and two bug lifers all in a night's work

This Dark-fringed Flat-body Agonopterix nervosa was one of several highlights on Thursday 17th August, a new species of moth for me.

Dark-fringed Flat-body Agonopterix nervosa (male, gen det), North Elmham, 17th August

I suspected that this peculiar-looking moth would turn out to be a Common Carpet despite it looking very different from the normal appearance of this species, and so it was - but I have never seen one looking anything like this before - has anyone else?  The dark band across the middle is very much narrower than normal and the outer darkish band is much broader than normal filling up the space.

Common Carpet (male, gen det), North Elmham, 17th August

This Six-striped Rustic was new for the year.

Six-striped Rustic, North Elmham, 17th August

The other moths were Brown Birch Slender Parornix betulae, Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Dover Shade Cnephasia genitalana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, 2 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 17 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, 3 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, 2 Pale Straw Pearls Udea lutealis, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella, Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Orange Swift, Maiden's Blush, Single-dotted Wave, Garden Carpet, another normal Common Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Currant Pug, 2 Brimstone Moths, 3 Willow Beauties, 3 Pale Prominents, 9 Flame Shoulders, 5 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 8 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Bright-line Brown-eye, Common Wainscot, Straw Underwing, Flounced Rustic and 4 Straw Dots.

As if a new moth wasn't good enough there were also a few other insect lifers.   There were 8 caddisflies and all 8 were different species.  I've not been doing caddisflies for long but even so it already seems quite unusual to get a new species at home, so this haul was remarkable - two lifers Limnephilus hirsutus and Micropterna sequax and one new for the house Holocentropus picicornis.

Limnephilus hirsutus (female), North Elmham, 17th August

Micropterna sequax (male), North Elmham, 17th August

I'd had my first picicornis just 3 days earlier at Potter Heigham - if you read my diary entry for that excursion you may recall reading about it being the unspotted form rather than the usual spotted one - this time it was the typical form and very striking it was too.

Holocentropus picicornis (male), North Elmham, 17th August

The other 5 caddisflies were Hydropsyche pellucidula, Agrypnia pagetana, Crunoecia irrorata, Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus and Limnephilus lunatus.  Other insects included 5 species of bug including two lifers, the mirid bug Neolygus contaminatus and the water boatman Sigara dorsalis.  Now strictly speaking the Water Boatman could have been Sigara striata (there is a subtle difference in the genitalia but I couldn't resolve this one) but my understanding is that dorsalis is very common in Norfolk whereas striata is, or at least was, very much rarer.  Other bugs were 2 Forest Bugs and the leafhoppers Oncopsis subangulata and Empoasca vitis.

Neolygus contaminatus, North Elmham, 17th August

presumed Sigara dorsalis (male), North Elmham, 17th August

Oncopsis subangulata, North Elmham, 17th August

The rest of the insects I recorded were 5 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum (mayflies), 2 Chrysoperla carnea (female agg. and male carnea) (green lacewings), Rhantus suturalis (water beetle) and Aphodius rufipes (dung beetle).  Also 2 Common Frogs watching proceedings, one from the lid of the trap.

A visit to Ryburgh the next day produced a Mouse Moth and a Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana. That night at home there were far fewer insects.  Square-spot Rustic was new for the year.

Square-spot Rustic, North Elmham, 18th August

The other moths were Beech Midget Phyllonorycter maestingella, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, 5 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Single-dotted Wave, 2 Brimstone Moths, Poplar Hawk-moth, Pale Prominent, 2 Flame Shoulders, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, 3 Six-striped Rustics, 2 Common Wainscots, Burnished Brass and Snout.

There weren't many other insects either but two beetles were both new for the house: Eyed Ladybird and Cortinicara gibbosa (I wouldn't have identified the gibbosa in previous years but I think the ladybird was genuinely a good record here).

Eyed Ladybird, North Elmham, 18th August

Cortinicara gibbosa, North Elmham, 18th August

Friday, 29 September 2017

Honeysuckle Moth and more

Tuesday 15th August was a quiet nigth with just the following trapped: Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, 16 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Brimstone Moth, Pale Prominent, Dingy Footman, Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing, 2 Small Square-spots, 3 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Common Wainscot, Flounced Rustic and Straw Dot; also the beetle Bradycellus verbasci. There was also Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella and Black Sexton Beetle in the house.

Next day was much better with 47 species of moth including no less than 5 new for the year: Honeysuckle Moth Ypsolopha dentella (not quite annual here), Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis (a migrant), Tawny Speckled Pug, Narrow-winged Pug (mainly a heathland species but I've had singles at home in each of the last 3 years) and Straw Underwing.

Honeysuckle Moth Ypsolopha dentella, North Elmham, 16th August

Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis, North Elmham, 16th August

Tawny Speckled Pug, North Elmham, 16th August

Narrow-winged Pug, North Elmham, 16th August

Straw Underwing, North Elmham, 16th August

Other moths that night were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, 2 Brown House Moths Hofmannophila pseudospretella, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, 2 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Yarrow Conch Aethes smeathmanniana, 3 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, 3 Marbled Piercers Cydia splendana, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 14 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, 5 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Maiden's Blush, Single-dotted Wave, 2 Garden Carpets, Common Carpet, Green Carpet, Currant Pug, 9 Brimstone Moths, Early Thorn, 3 Willow Beauties, Common White Wave, Light Emerald, Pale Prominent, Dingy Footman, 3 Flame Shoulders, 7 Large Yellow Underwings, 6 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 2 Small Square-spots, 10 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 2 Square-spotted Clays, 2 Common Wainscots, Flounced Rustic, 2 Burnished Brasses, 3 Straw Dots and 2 Snouts.

Two of the 4 species of caddisflies were new for the year: Crunoecia irrorata and Grammotaulius nigropunctatus; the others were Hydropsyche pellucidula and 2 Limnephilus lunatus.

Crunoecia irrorata (male), North Elmham, 16th August

Grammotaulius nigropunctatus (female), North Elmham, 16th August

A Chrysoperla lucasina was only my second example of this green lacewing; there was also a female Chrysoperla carnea agg.  There were 3 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum (mayflies), a Forest Bug, the leafhopper Empoasca vitis and a new beetle for the house: Acorn Weevil Curculio glandium.

Chrysoperla lucasina, North Elmham, 16th August

Acorn Weevil Curculio glandium, North Elmham, 16th August

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Water Shrew gobbling up the moths

On the evening of Monday 14th August Dave and I headed off to Potter Heigham for some mothing.  Conditions weren't idea with a little more breeze than we would have liked but we thought it was worth a shot. There were certainly a lot of flies attracted to the light - if not quite so many moths.

My second ever Reed Smudge Orthotelia sparganella was one of the highlights but there were a number of interesting moths like Hemp-agrimony Plume Adaina microdactyla, Chevron and 2 Dotted Footmen. Unsurprisingly in the habitat there was a nice variety of Wainscots and the like including 4 Southern Wainscots, Smoky Wainscot, 5 Reed Daggers, 2 Small Wainscots, 3 Bulrush Wainscots, 2 Twin-spotted Wainscots, 4 Webb's Wainscots, 2 Small Rufous and Silky Wainscot.

Hemp-agrimony Plume Adaina microdactyla (male, gen det), Potter Heigham, 14th August

Chevron, Potter Heigham, 14th August

Dotted Footman, Potter Heigham, 14th August

Silky Wainscot, Potter Heigham, 14th August

Other moths were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Triple-spot Dwarf Elachista maculicerusella, Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella, Bulrush Cosmet Limnaecia phragmitella, 2 Hook-marked Straw Moths Agapeta hamana, 3 Cyclamen Tortrixes Clepsis spectrana, Flax Tortrix Cnephasia asseclana, Blotched Marble Endothenia quadrimaculana, 5 Wainscot Veneers Chilo phragmitella, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 2 Giant Water-veneers Schoenobius gigantella, 4 Marsh Greys Eudonia pallida, 3 Brown China-marks Elophila nymphaeata, 2 Ringed China-marks Parapoynx stratiotata, Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata, 2 Drinkers, Blood-vein, 2 Common Carpets, Lime-speck Pug, Double-striped Pug, Brimstone Moth, Willow Beauty, Poplar Hawk-moth, Sallow Kitten, Pale Prominent, Yellow-tail, Black Arches, 3 Garden Tigers, Ruby Tiger, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 4 Flame Shoulders, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Least Yellow Underwing, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, Six-striped Rustic, Nutmeg, Cabbage Moth, 2 Dog's Tooths, Antler Moth, 2 Dark Arches, 3 Common Rustics, Lesser Common Rustic, 2 Burnished Brasses, 6 Gold Spots and 3 Straw Dots.

Giant Water-veneer Schoenobius gigantella, Potter Heigham, 14th August

One visitor to the sheet beneath one of the MV lights was a very welcome surprise, even if it was gobbling up moths ten to the dozen.  It was this Water Shrew.  Technically a lifer for me though I've seen 2-3 run across the path in front of me that I've been 99% sure about plus one or two dead animals.  Great to see one up close like this.  It sniffed a few flies but largely ignored them in favour of the larger juicier moths.

Water Shrew, Potter Heigham, 14th August

Another lifer was the only caddisfly I retained for checking - Holocentropus picicornis.  The typical form has yellow mottling like many other caddisflies in the Polycentropidae family so I assume this is the form aurata which has unmarked yellowish-brown wings.

Holocentropus picicornis (male), Potter Heigham, 14th August

A reasonable selection of moths at home that night including a Little Cosmet Mompha raschkiella which I'd only added to my garden list in July. A Rush Marble Bactra lancealana was an interesting form - I think moths looking like this are often put down as robustana but the genitalia seem to confirm this one as lancealana.   Bactra furfurana also has a form quite similar to this - I think this genus is harder to identify than some people give it credit for - and gen detting them isn't always easy either.

Rush Marble Bactra lancealana (female, gen det), North Elmham, 14th August

Other moths were Hazel Slender Parornix devoniella, Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, Golden-brown Tubic Crassa unitella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, 6 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, Maple Button Acleris forsskaleana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, 2 Garden Rose Tortrixes Acleris variegana, 3 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 12 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Chequered Grass-veneers Catoptria falsella, 2 Small Greys Eudonia mercurella, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Small Purple and Gold (Mint Moth) Pyrausta aurata, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, 9 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella, Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Orange Swift, 2 Single-dotted Waves, 2 Riband Waves, Garden Carpet, 3 Common Carpets, 5 Brimstone Moths, Canary-shouldered Thorn, 3 Willow Beauties, Pale Prominent, Dingy Footman, 4 Flame Shoulders, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, Lesser Yellow Underwing, 6 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 2 Small Square-spots, Setaceous Hebrew Character, 2 Square-spotted Clays, Burnished Brass, 2 Spectacles, 7 Straw Dots and Pinion-streaked Snout.

Small Purple and Gold (aka Mint Moth) Pyrausta aurata, North Elmham, 14th August

Lacewings and caddisflies consisted of Chrysoperla carnea agg., Cunctochrysa albolineata, Ithytrichia lamellaris, Hydropsyche siltalai and Limnephilus lunatus. There was a Forest Bug and the beetle list was Ilybius ater, 4 Bradycellus verbasci, Nicrophorus investigator and Aphodius rufipes.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

More Frits and a Dark Fleabane Neb

Flounced Rustic was new for the year on Sunday 13th August, the first of many of this common and not terribly exciting species.

Flounced Rustic, North Elmham, 13th August

It was a fairly quiet night - the other moths were Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, 9 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Clouded Border, Willow Beauty, 3 Flame Shoulders, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, 5 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, Burnished Brass, Spectacle and Straw Dot. A Limnephilus lunatus was the only caddis.

Next day I took my parents round Foxley Wood where Silver-washed Fritillaries were abounding.  I put down 6+ in my notes but I've got 6 different individuals among my photos and I'm pretty sure I didn't photograph anywhere near all of them.

Silver-washed Fritillaries, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Another dozen species of butterfly included Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, Brimstone, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Peacock (at least 30), Painted Lady, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood.

Brimstone, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Peacock, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Painted Lady, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Comma, Foxley Wood, 14th August

There were some good moths too.  There was masses of Fleabane flowering here and I looked hard to find a gelechiid that flies in the day and can often be found on Fleabane flowers, but which I'd never seen.  This was successful - I ended up finding 2 Dark Fleabane Nebs Apodia bifractella.  Perhaps surprisingly since this is a fairly well-covered site there don't appear to be any previous records for the 10k square.

Dark Fleabane Neb Apodia bifractella, Foxley Wood, 14th August

A patch of Goldenrod had a Bordered Beauty feeding on it, a moth I don't see very often.  Other moths recorded were Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Shaded Broad-bar, 2 Common Carpets, Small Phoenix and 2 Straw Dots.

A Viburnum Beetle Pyrrhalta viburni was another insect feeding on the Fleabane and a new species for me.

Viburnum Beetle Pyrrhalta viburni, Foxley Wood, 14th August

My second ever Damsel Bug was a new species for me too, Marsh Damsel Bug Nabis limbatus.  The only Damsel Bug I had seen previosuly was one I trapped in  Cornwall in 2014 - and it proved to be a first for Britain (Nabis capsiformis) so it's high time I found one of the common species in this family! A green mirid bug proved to be Neolygus contaminatus.

Marsh Damsel Bug Nabis limbatus, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Dragonflies included several Migrant Hawkers, a Southern Hawker and a few Common Darters.  These Dark Bush-crickets were nice to see - not one I find very often.

Dark Bush-crickets, Foxley Wood, 14th August

As usual I had little success identifying fungi.  I think these are Orange Oak Boletes though Orange Birch Bolete seems to be very similar (and perhaps other species too?).  I didn't notice what species of tree they were under but there were certainly plenty of oaks in the area (and there are oak leaves visible around the mushrooms in some of the photos).  (PS: thanks to James for confirming they are likely Orange Oak Boletes).

probable Orange Oak Boletes, Foxley Wood, 14th August

I think this one may possibly be an older specimen of the same species.

possible Orange Oak Boletes, Foxley Wood, 14th August

I wondered if this one may have been a younger specimen of the same species but James thinks it's probably a Cep Boletus edulis.

probable Cep, Foxley Wood, 14th August

This one looks quite distinctive but I'm not sure.  I was leaning towards Blusher but there are one or two similar species that I wasn't entirely sure about. I'm pleased to say James agrees with me!

Blusher, Foxley Wood, 14th August

Pretty sure I've seen these before.  I wondered if they were Sulphur Tuft but I've a feeling there was another species that I have mistaken for Sulphur Tuft before and maybe I've done the same again?  Nope, James has confirmed - they are indeed Sulphur Tuft!  Thanks again James!

Sulphur Tufts, Foxley Wood, 14th August

I'm not sure what these are, though possibly one of the milkcaps?  Yes, again thanks to James for confirming definitely one of the milkcaps and possibly Oak Milkcap Lactarius quietus.

possible Oak Milkcap, Foxley Wood, 14th August

I couldn't identify the next ones but James has suggested Saffron Bolete Leccinum crocipodium for this one.

Saffron Bolete Leccinum crocipodium, Foxley Wood, 14th August

He has suggested Deer Shield Pluteus cervinus for this one...

Deer Shield Pluteus cervinus, Foxley Wood, 14th August

And this one is a mould, Fuligo septa - thanks again James!

Fuligo septa, Foxley Wood, 14th August