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.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

A new survey site: the Cathedral Meadows

I have recently been asked by members of our parish council to help surveying the Cathedral Meadows, some parish council land running between the North Elmham Chapel ruins and the railway (the chapel was formerly known as a cathedral).  They are particularly interested in my records of moths and butterflies, though of course I will be recording everything I can.  There is a small wildflower meadow on the site which they are especially interested in, but I plan to record wildlife from the whole site, and use it as an opportunity to brush up on some of the taxa I've not paid as much attention to as I would like (though for the foreseeable future there will still be some big gaps - I can't see me having time to master ichneumons any time soon for example, or most of the flies, and I'm not sure I can reaslistically hope to make much progress with mosses and lichens at the moment either).

My first proper look round was on 20th April.  I found my first dragonflies of the year, 2 teneral Large Red Damselflies.

Large Red Damselfly, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

A number of bees were active, including Orange-tailed Mining Bee, Red-tailed Bumblebee, Common Carder Bee and Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

Orange-tailed Mining Bee Andrena haemorrhoa, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

Common Carder Bee, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

Having recently acquired the Naturalists' Handbook guide to Ants I made use of it to identify a red ant as the Common Red Ant Myrmica rubra, possibly the first time I've ever made a confident species-level identification of an ant!

Common Red Ant Myrmica rubra, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

There were Dark-edged Bee-flies along the track and I identified 3 species of beetle: 7-spot Ladybrd, Pea-leaf Weevil Sitona lineatus, and a new click beetle for me, Limonius poneli (according to Mike Hackston's excellent keys this is the same species that is often recorded as Kibunea minuta).

Pea-leaf Weevil Sitona lineatus, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

Limonius poneli, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

Bugs included 2 Stenodema laevigata and a new species for me, Scolopostethus affinis.

Stenodema laevigata, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

Scolopostethus affinis, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

My first positively-identified Stenocranus minutus were among the hoppers.

Stenocranus minutus, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

Another new species for me was Euscelis incisus.

Euscelis incisus, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

I'm not 100% certain about this one - I suspect it's a nymph of Javesella dubia - please let me know if you can confirm (or otherwise).

possible Javesella dubia?, North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

Despite being in posession of the lovely new book on spiders I had been unable to put a name to this one, and wasn't even be sure of what family it belonged to.  Keith Kerr and Richard Wilson kindly confirmed that it's in the Lyniphiidae family and Richard suggested a couple of possible genera.  Keith gave me some more pointers which with the help of a close-up view of its palp lead me to conclude that it was Bathyphantes nigrinus.

Bathyphantes nigrinus (male), North Elmham Cathedral Meadows, 20th April

The flora didn't present many surprises but of 3 species of fern growing on the chapel ruins this Maidenhair Spleenwort was technically a lifer.  I'm sure I've seen it before (probably including here) but have never looked it up and identified it before.

Maidenhair Spleenwort, North Elmham Chapel, 20th April

No moths and not many butterflies, but a productive start to surveying this site.

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