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.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Silver-washed Fritillaries, Bog Bush-crickets and Small Red Damsels

There wasn't much of note in the moth trap on Wednesday 9th August: Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 17 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 4 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, Blood-vein, Riband Wave, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, Double-striped Pug, Magpie Moth, Brimstone Moth, Early Thorn, Willow Beauty, 2 Dingy Footmen, Ruby Tiger, 2 Flame Shoulders, 4 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Square-spotted Clay, Ear Moth, Vine's Rustic and 10 Straw Dots. Also 4 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum and Blue-winged Olive Serratella ignita (mayflies) and Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus and Limnephilus marmoratus (caddisflies).

Next day I went up to Holt Lowes with my parents who were staying nearby.  Mum's been interested in butterflies (well, caterpillars more) since she was a girl working for the then-renowned butterfly farmer L H Newman, and I hoped to show her Silver-washed Fritillaries among other things.  Success in this department - there were at least 2 Silver-washed Fritillaries attending the buddleias in the country park car park.  They'd been on the wing for a while now so they were pretty tatty but we were pleased to see them nonetheless.

Silver-washed Fritillary, Holt CP, 10th August

There were a couple of Painted Ladies here among lots of Red Admirals and the odd Peacock - plus a Hornet.  On the Lowes Gatekeepers were the most prominent species, with plenty of Meadow Browns too, plus Speckled Wood and Common Blue.  There were moths everywhere, but only one species in the main - I reckon we must have seen at least and probably much over 200 Grey Gorse Piercers Cydia ulicetana.  A single Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella was the only other moth I noted.  Dragonflies included this Ruddy Darter.

Ruddy Darter, Holt Lowes, 10th August

We saw quite a few Orthoptera too and I photographed one or two to identify later.  Not sure if they were all the same species but the two photos I came away with proved to be Bog Bush-cricket - a new species for me with quite a local distribution in Norfolk.

Bog Bush-cricket, Holt Lowes, 10th August

That night was dire for moths at home with just 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 9 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Brimstone Moth, 2 Ruby Tigers, Common Rustic and Straw Dot.

Next morning at Burnham Overy butterflies included 5 Brown Arguses, Common Blues, Small Copper, Wall Brown and Small Heaths.  The only moths noted were 3 Shaded Broad-bars.  A rover beetle proved to be a Devil's Coach-horse Ocypus olens, technically a lifer though a species I'm sure I've seen before without fully identifying them (I think other Ocypus spp. are rather similar; I don't have a key to these but from the snippets of info I've found on the web I think the size of this beast pretty much ruled out the other similar species).

Devil's Coach-horse Ocypus olens, Burnham Overy, 11th August

That night was much better at home with a new species for the garden (perhaps surprisingly as it's quite common), Common Slender Gracillaria syringella .

Common Slender Gracillaria syringella, North Elmham, 11th August

This Dark Pine Knot-horn Dioryctria abietela was only my second here, the first being just after I moved in in 2014.

Dark Pine Knot-horn Dioryctria abietella, North Elmham, 11th August

Other moths trapped were Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, Cinereous Groundling Bryotropha terrella, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, 4 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Dark-triangle Buttons Acleris laterana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Red Piercer Lathronympha strigana, 5 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 22 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 8 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, 3 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, 3 Single-dotted Waves, Red Twin-spot Carpet, 2 Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpets, 5 Common Carpets, 6 Brimstone Moths, 5 Willow Beauties, Common Wave, Pale Prominent, 2 Ruby Tigers, Flame Shoulder, 3 Large Yellow Underwings, 3 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 5 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, White-point, Common Wainscot, Copper Underwing, Vine's Rustic, 2 Burnished Brasses, Spectacle and 12 Straw Dots.

White-point, North Elmham, 11th August

A good variety of other insects too, including a new caddisfly for the garden, Ceraclea albimacula.  Other caddisflies were Hydropsyche siltalai, 2 Hydropsyche pellucidula and Mottled Sedge Glyphotaelius pellucidus.

Ceraclea albimacula (female), North Elmham, 11th August

Other insects included Chrysoperla carnea (a green lacewing), Micromus variegatus (a brown lacewing), 4 Nicrophorus investigator and Aphodius rufipes (beetles) and 2 Forest Bugs. I don't usually do flies but this one was so distinctive I thought I'd see if I could ID it - turned out to be a Splayed Deerfly Chrysops caecutiens.

Spalyed Deerfly Chrysops caecutiens, North Elmham, 11th August

Next day I took may parents to Scarning Fen where we met up with my brother who was up for the weekend.  On arrival we met a couple of ladies who'd been botanising and they told us about a Grass of Parnassus which we later found.

Grass of Parnassus, Scarning Fen, 12th August

It didn't take us long to find our main target, Small Red Damselfly.  We found a copulating pair and a second male in the same area.

Small Red Damselfly, Scarning Fen, 12th August

In Norfolk this species is, I think, only found at this location.  I remember coming here to see them in the 90s (I'm not sure exactly when - I wasn't keeping very good records of dragonflies then) but haven't seen this species since then.

We then headed down to Hills and Holes near Hockham.  We found a variety of insects and other wildlife here including a bug which I initially thought was a froghopper.  In the end I think it has to be the leafhopper Aphrodes bicinctus, but I'm not 100% sure - please let me know what you think if you've any better idea.

probable Aphrodes bicinctus, Hills and Holes, 12th August

This bee was a new species for me, Black-thighed Epeolus Epeolus variegatus.

Black-thighed Epeolus Epeolus variegatus, Hills and Holes, 12th August

Moths recorded were Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, 2 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 3 Shaded Broad-bars, Dingy Footman and Straw Dot. Butterflies included Brimstone, 3 Common Blues and 15+ Speckled Woods. Dragonflies included Brown and Migrant Hawkers, Emperor, Ruddy and Common Darters and Common Blue Damselflies.  A green lacewing was Chrysoperla carnea agg.  There were lots of small frogs at least some of which were Common Frogs.

There was a reasonable variety of moths at home that night but nothing of any significance: Carrion Moth Monopis weaverella, Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, Pearl Veneer Agriphila straminella, 18 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, Dwarf Cream Wave, 3 Brimstone Moths, 2 Willow Beauties, Common Wave, Dingy Footman, 2 Ruby Tigers, 4 Flame Shoulders, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 4 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, White-point, 2 Common Wainscots, Copper Underwing, Burnished Brass, Spectacle and 11 Straw Dots. Other insects included 3 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum (mayflies), Chrysoperla carnea (green lacewing) and Hydropsyche pellucidula (caddisfly).

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