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, 3 June 2017

Dowdy Plume - a couple of months early!

The highlight on the night of Saturday 17th May was a Large Long-horn Nematopogon swammerdamella.  I've seen a lot of these this year (a good year, or just me getting out more than normal?) but this was my first at home.

Large Long-horn Nematopogon Swammerdamella, North Elmham, 17th May

Otherwise it was a quiet night with 2 Little Dwarfs Elachista canapennella, Red Twin-spot Carpet, Green Carpet, 2 Common Pugs, White Ermine, Muslin Moth, 4 Treble Lines and 3 Limnephilus auriculas (caddis).   The following night Clouded Border was new for the year but apart from that there were just 2 Green Carpets, White Ermine and Spectacle.

A few more moths on Monday 19th but only Silver-ground Carpet was new for the year for the garden.  Others were Hawthorn Slender Parornix anglicella, Maiden's Blush, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Green Carpet, Sandy Carpet, Mottled Pug, Muslin Moth, Cinnabar, Heart and Dart, Clouded-bordered Brindle and 2 Treble Lines.  Also the caddis Glyphotaelius pellucidus (2).

Silver-ground Carpet, North Elmham, 19th May

Next day I found what I initially assumed to be yet another Varied Carpet Beetle in the house.  This one was darker than normal though so I looked a bit more closely and found a few more differences.  It proved to be the closely-related Anthrenus fuscus, a new one for me.

Anthrenus fuscus, North Elmham, 20th May

No new moths for the year that night: Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Common Swift, Silver-ground Carpet, 2 Green Carpets, Mottled Pug, Peppered Moth, Waved Umber, Cinnabar, Heart and Dart and 3 Treble Lines.  However the caddisfly Limnephilus vittatus was new for the year.

Limnephilus vittatus, North Elmham, 20th May

Peppered Moth, North Elmham, 20th May

Next day this Early Bumblebee appeared in the garden (not very early).  It appears to be the first time I've identified this species here.

Early Bumblebee, North Elmham, 21st May

A few moths seen at Ryburgh over this period included Plain Golds Micropterix calthella, Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and Silver-ground Carpets.  This Sulphur Tubic Esperia sulphurella appeared on the hide window ledge as I was looking out.

Sulphur Tubic Esperia sulphurella, Great Ryburgh, 20th May

Beetles at Ryburgh included Dalopius marginatus.

I went up to Burnham Overy on Wednesday 21st and found a few moths of note.  Most surprising was this plume moth.  It recalled examples I'd found in precisely the same place last year which proved to be Dowdy Plume Stenoptilia zophodactylus and I retained this one to check if it was.  When taking it through the key I landed on Brown Plume Stenoptilia pterodactyla on account of the brown (rather than grey) first lobe.  In truth it was greyish brown and I wasn't convinced it was pterodactyla - though a much commoner species these normally look a warmer brown colour overall.  However zophodactylus isn't meant to fly until July, so it couldn't possibly be that, I thought.  Well it was a male and its genitalia showed very obvious projections to the apex of the tegumen which seems to be a diagnostic feature of zophodactlus.  Moreover the uncus didn't extend beyond the tegumen which it should on pterodactyla.  I couldn't find the anellus arms (presumably they came away during the prep?) but I think there's enough without them to establish this as Dowdy Plume Stenoptilia zophodactylus - leaving only the question of what it was doing flying in May?!  Is this species developing a new first generation maybe, as several other species have done in recent year?

Dowdy Plume Stenoptilia zophodactylus (male, gen det), Burnham Overy, 21st May

Less surprising was this Breckland Plume Crombrugghia distans.

Breckland Plume Crombrugghia distans, Burnham Overy, 21st May

This Long-horn looked small making me suspect Small Barred Long-horn Adela croesella over Yellow-barred Long-horn Nematopogon degeerella.  But I couldn't catch it and couldn't positively judge some of the usual features from my slightly ropey photos.  In the end I settled on Adela croesella, partly due to the apparent size and partly because of the way the yellow band curved round to hit the costa perpendicularly.  Not sure if this is a reliable feature or not but on most degeerella it seems to hit the costa angled slightly towards the apex.

Small Barred Long-horn Adela croesella, Burnham Overy, 21st May

Other moths recorded at Burnham Overy included 2 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana, 15 Plain Fanners Glyphipterix fuscoviridella, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, Desert Groundling Bryotropha desertella, 3 Downland Conches Aethes tesserana, Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, 3 Light Brown Apple Moths Epiphyas postvittana, 2 Yellow-faced Bells Notocelia cynosbatella, Meadow Grey Scoparia pyralella, 2 Green Carpets and 3 Cinnabars. Also a couple of Yellow-tail caterpillars.

Downland Conch Aethes tesserana, Burnham Overy, 21st May

Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, Burnham Overy, 21st May

Desert Groundling Bryotropha desertella, Burnham Overy, 21st May

This beetle proved to be Common Grammoptera Grammoptera ruficornis.

Common Grammoptera Grammoptera ruficornis, Burnham Overy, 21st May

That night at home the only moths were 2 Little Dwarfs Elachista canapennella, Poplar Hawkmoth, 4 White Ermines, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder and 5 Treble Lines.

Poplar Hawkmoth, North Elmham, 21st May

Other insects included Common Earwig and my first Cockchafer of the year here.

Cockchafer, North Elmham, 21st May

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