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, 31 March 2017

A new beetle, ichneumon and sawfly but little moth excitement

I haven't done any updates for a few days, largely because there hasn't been much to say - until last night.  More of that later, but here's a catch-up first of what's turned up in the trap since last Monday.  The highlights were 2 Ruddy Flat-bodies Agonopterix subpropinquella (23rd and 26th), my third and fourth ever and new for the year and a Lead-coloured Drab (27th).

Ruddy Flat-body Agonopterix subpropinquella, North Elmham, 23rd March

Ruddy Flat-body Agonopterix subpropinquella, North Elmham, 26th March

Lead-coloured Drab, North Elmham, 27th March

Here are the details of what I trapped each night:

  • Last Monday 20th - 2 Common Quaker, 5 Hebrew Characters and a Chestnut.

  • Tuesday 21st - March Moth, 2 Dotted Borders, 2 Common Quakers, 4 Hebrew Characters and 2 Early Greys.

  • Wednesday 22nd - 2 Early Thorns, Oak Beauty, 3 Clouded Drabs, Twin-spotted Quaker, 6 Hebrew Characters and Early Grey.

  • Thursday 23rd - Ruddy Flat-body Agonopterix subpropinquella, Common Quaker, 10 Hebrew Characters and Early Grey.  Also a Varied Carpet Beetle in the house.

  • Friday 24th - Oak Beauty, Dotted Border, Small Quaker, Common Quaker, 4 Clouded Drabs, 2 Hebrew Characters and Early Grey.  Also a Badger along the B1145 not far from Worthing.

  • Saturday 25th - 6 March Moths, Brindled Pug (new for the year here), 5 Small Quakers, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab and 11 Hebrew Characters.  Also 8 Brimstone butteflies seen at 7 sites during the day and, at Alderford Common, I identified the sawfly Ametastegia glabrata for the first time and had flight-only views of my first Bee Fly of the year (presumably Dark-edged Bee Fly but I didn't confirm).

Agonopterix subpropinquella, Alderford Common, 25th March

  • Sunday 26th - Ruddy Flat-body Agonopterix subpropinquella, March Moth, Oak Beauty, 7 Small Quakers, 4 Common Quakers, Clouded Drab, 10 Hebrew Characters and 4 Early Greys.  Also a Red Fox on the local patch.

  • Monday 27th - Early Thorn, Oak Beauty, Small Quaker, Lead-coloured Drab, 3 Common Quakers, 4 Clouded Drabs, Twin-spotted Quaker and 8 Hebrew Characters.

  • Tuesday 28th - Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 2 Early Thorns, Oak Beauty, 2 Small Quakers, 2 Common Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs, Twin-spotted Quaker, 2 Hebrew Characters and Early Grey. Also the ichneumid wasp Ophion scutellaris, the first time I have identified this species.

Ophion scutellaris, North Elmham, 28th March

  • Wednesday 29th - 3 Common Flat-bodies Agonopterix heracliana, Dotted Border, 2 Small Quakers, 5 Common Quakers, 2 Clouded Drabs, 2 Twin-spotted Quakers, 3 Hebrew Characters and 3 Early Greys.  Also Common Earwig new for the year as were 3 Black Sexton Beetles.

Black Sexton Beetle, North Elmham, 29th March

Yesterday at Burnham Overy I saw my first Buff-tailed Bumblebee of the year.

 Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Burnham Overy, 30th March

In the evening I didn't have time to go far and set up moth-trapping properly (except in the garden of course) which is a shame as it was a good night.  I did have just enough time to wander round a couple of local sites with Dave looking for moths in torchlight.  It was pretty unsuccessful really - Shoulder Stripe at Creaking Gate Lake and March Tubic Diurnea fagella at Honeypot Wood, plus a few moths that we failed to catch and identify.  Lacewings were in evidence, all those that were identified being Chrysoperla carnea.

Chrysoperla carnea (male), Honeypot Wood, 30th March

The one thing that made the effort worthwhile was a new beetle species for me, Dromius quadrimaculatus.

Dromius quadrimaculatus, Bittering, 30th March

After that inauspicious start to the evening I was very pleased with the contents of my moth trap this morning... but I'll save that for another post.

Dave brought me a couple of moths that Andrew Duff had collected from Woodbastwick on 27th March.  One which he thought I'd be particularly interested in was an Agonopterix sp.  Its pattern resembled Agonopterix heracliana but could also be ciliella but the overall colour was extraordinary - strong pinkish tones especially along the sides of the forewings.  Agonopterix heracliana can show a few pink scales but I have never seen anything remotely close to this before. Anyway, I did the business and it proved to be a female Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana.  So not an unusual species but definitely an unusual appearance.

Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana (female, gen det), collected Woodbastwick by Andrew Duff, 27th March

Scarce Alder Slender Caloptilia falconipennella (female, gen det), collected Woodbastwick by Andrew Duff, 27th March

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