Description


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).

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Thompson Water mothing

Dave and I headed out to Thompson Water for some mothing again on Tuesday 8th August.  Conditions weren't perfect but we thought it worth a go.  There were a few nice moths but nothing espectially remarkable: Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, 20 Birch Marbles Apotomis betuletana, 3 Holly Tortrixes Rhopobota naevana, 4 Wainscot Veneers Chilo phragmitella, 3 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, Small Grey Eudonia mercurella, Ringed China-mark Parapoynx stratiotata, 4 Small China-marks Cataclysta lemnata, 6 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Double-striped Knot-horn Cryptoblabes bistriga, Pebble Hook-tip, 2 Clay Triple-lines, Small Fan-footed Wave, Single-dotted Wave, Small Scallop, 3 Common Carpets, 3 Small Phoenixes, 5 Small Rivulets, Triple-spotted Pug, Currant Pug, Double-striped Pug, Common Wave, Iron Prominent, 15 Black Arches, 6 Dingy Footmen, Flame Shoulder, Antler Moth, 2 Dun-bars, Spectacle, 3 Straw Dots and Snout.

Birch Marble Apotomis betuletana, Thompson Water, 8th August


Ground-moss Grey Eudonia truncicolella, Thompson Water, 8th August


Double-striped Knot-horn Cryptoblabes bistriga, Thompson Water, 8th August


Clay Triple-lines, Thompson Water, 8th August


Triple-spotted Pug, Thompson Water, 8th August



Black Arches, Thompson Water, 8th August - a large female and a small male


We've had Scarce Emerald Damselfly come to light not far away from here before but this time it was the turn of its commoner congener, Emerald Damselfly.


Emerald Damselfly, Thompson Water, 8th August


There were a few beetles and I didn't attempt to identify all of them, though I did retain a few representatives to check which turned out to be 2 Ilybius fuliginosus, Pterostichus niger and Silpha atrata.  Similarly the caddisflies included 2 Agrypnia pagetana and Molanna angustata, the latter only my second and a species I don't get at home.

Molanna angustata, Thompson Water, 8th August


I had less luck identifying leafhoppers - another Kybos sp. was again a female which don't allow full identification but the shape of the projection on the back of the seventh abdominal sternum proved it was a different species to the one I had at home the previous week - this one was either betulicola or smaragdulus.  An Edwardsiana leafhopper was also a species that requires male genitalia to identify it - and this was a female too.

Kybos betulicola or Kybos smaragdulus, Thompson Water, 8th August


Edwardsiana sp., Thompson Water, 8th August


I'm not confident about the ID of this springtail but suspect it's Pogonognathellus longicornis.

probable Pogonognathellus longicornis, Thompson Water, 8th August


At home the hoverfly Eristalis tenax was the first I've noted this year but the moths were quite poor: 2 Common Marbles Celypha lacunana, 2 Pale-streak Grass-veneers Agriphila selasella, 12 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 9 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 3 Common Plumes Emmelina monodactyla, Blood-vein, Brimstone Moth, Pale Prominent, 3 Dingy Footmen, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Character and 5 Straw Dots.


Eristalis tenax, North Elmham, 8th August


There are often Frogs around the outside of my moth trap, presumably eating the moths that land round the outside (though I've not seen one successfully catch a moth yet).  Now they're getting smarter and hopping up to the top of the moth trap... next they'll be hopping in.

Common Frog, North Elmham, 8th August

Friday, 15 September 2017

Abnormal Antler Moth and Barred Rivulet

This Antler Moth was new for the year on Friday 4th August.  There can be a bit of variation in the pattern of Antler Moths but I don't think I've ever seen one before that completely lacked the oval mark.  It was a bit worn but I don't think that can explain it - there are dark scales present in the place where you would normally expect to see a pale oval (just above the pale kidney mark that is present as normal).

Antler Moth, North Elmham, 4th August


Other moths trapped that night were House Groundling Bryotropha domestica, Orange Crest Helcystogramma rufescens, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, 2 Maple Buttons Acleris forsskaleana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, 26 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 6 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, 3 Garden Pebbles Evergestis forficalis, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, 4 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, 2 Grey Knot-horns Acrobasis advenella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Small Fan-footed Wave, Single-dotted Wave, 6 Riband Waves, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, Yellow Shell, Phoenix, Currant Pug, Yellow-barred Brindle, Scorched Carpet, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Willow Beauty, Common Wave, 3 Dingy Footmen, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder, 3 Large Yellow Underwings, 5 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Small Square-spot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, White-point, Common Rustic, Lesser Common Rustic, Vine's Rustic, Silver Y, 2 Spectacles and 12 Straw Dots.

Scorched Carpet, North Elmham, 4th August


Silver Y, North Elmham, 4th August


Another Licoris tripustulatus (mirid bug) was the most interesting other insect; a sub-imago Pond Olive Cloeon dipterum (mayfly) being the only other thing I recorded.

The following night was very poor - just 25 moths: Common Marble Celypha lacunana, 5 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis, Single-dotted Wave, 2 Riband Waves, Willow Beauty, Pale Prominent, Dingy Footman, Buff Ermine, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Small Square-spot, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Square-spotted Clay, Common Rustic, Spectacle and 3 Straw Dots.

The best moth on 6th August was a Barred Rivulet, a species I saw here shortly after moving in in 2014 but hadn't seen anywhere since then.

Barred Rivulet, North Elmham, 6th August


Other moths were Brown Birch Slender Parornix betulae, Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, Woundwort Case-bearer Coleophora lineolea, 2 Long-horned Flat-bodies Carcina quercana, Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella, 2 Cinereous Groundlings Bryotropha terrella, 2 House Groundlings Bryotropha domestica, Dingy Dowd Blastobasis adustella, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, 10 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 6 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, Dotted Oak Knot-horn Phycita roborella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Maiden's Blush, Blood-vein, 2 Single-dotted Waves, Riband Wave, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Double-striped Pug, Coxcomb Prominent, Dingy Footman, Scarce Footman, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 2 Large Yellow Underwings, 2 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, Setaceous Hebrew Character, White-point, Lesser Common Rustic, Vine's Rustic, Silver Y and 7 Straw Dots.

Among the caddisflies Ylodes conspersus was a new species for me and Lype phaeopa was new for the year.  There was also a Hydropsyche pellucidula along with Forest Bug and the sexton beetle Nicrophorus investigator.

Ylodes conspersus (female), North Elmham, 6th August


Lype phaeopa, North Elmham, 6th August


The following evening a wander round the local gravel pits looking for birds produced insects instead, some of which didn't bite me (although most did, it seemed).  Not many moths but among 3 Straw Dots was a tortrix which at first I took to be a Dichrorampha sp.  It was only when I went to dissect it a few weeks later and reviewed my photos that I realised it was something more interesting, and sure enough the dissection went on to confirm it - my first Pea Moth Cydia nigricana.

Pea Moth Cydia nigricana (male, gen det), Bittering, 7th August


This bug also proved to be a lifer - Plagiognathus chrysanthemi.


Plagiognathus chrysanthemi, Bittering, 7th August


A few interesting moths at home that night included a nice Notch-wing Button Acleris emargana and a Webb's Wainscot.

Notch-wing Button Acleris emargana, North Elmham, 7th August


Webb's Wainscot, North Elmham, 7th August


Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea was also new for the year and 3 Pale-streak Grass-veneers Agriphila selasela were notable.

Elbow-stripe Grass-veneer Agriphila geniculea, North Elmham, 7th August


Pale-streak Grass-veneer Agriphila selasella, North Elmham, 7th August


Other moths were Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, Ash-coloured Sober Acompsia cinerella, Bulrush Cosmet Limnaecia phragmitella, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix Pandemis heparana, Heather Tortrix Argyrotaenia ljungiana, Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana, Common Marble Celypha lacunana, Rush Marble Bactra lancealana, Two-coloured Bell Eucosma obumbratana, Marbled Piercer Cydia splendana, Garden Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella, 14 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 20 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Beautiful China-mark Nymphula nitidulata, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Pale Straw Pearl Udea lutealis, 3 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Grey Knot-horn Acrobasis advenella, Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, Blood-vein, 4 Single-dotted Waves, Common Carpet, Yellow Shell, Currant Pug, Brimstone Moth, Scalloped Oak, Pale Prominent, 2 Dingy Footmen, 3 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, Rustic, Burnished Brass and 7 Straw Dots.

Heather Tortrix Argyrotaenia ljungiana, North Elmham, 7th August


Beetles consisted of Bradycellus verbasci and my first identified Pterostichus niger.  3 Pond Olives Cloeon dipterum represented the mayflies while caddisflies included Ithytrichia lamellaris and Hydropsyche siltalai.

Pterostichus niger, North Elmham, 7th August

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Six new moths for the year

Having seen a probable in flight a few days earlier it was good to confirm a day-flying Magpie Moth at Ryburgh on Thursday 3rd August.  There were 2 Banded Demoiselles and a Black-tailed Skimmer here, along with Green-veined White, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma.



Small Tortoiseshell and Comma, Ryburgh, 3rd August


That night produced 6 new moths for the garden year list: Daisy Bent-wing Bucculatrix nigricomella, Hawthorn Midget Phyllonorycter corylifoliella, Least Yellow Underwing, Square-spotted Clay, White-point and Marbled Beauty.

Hawthorn Midget Phyllonorycter corylifoliella, North Elmham, 3rd August


Square-spotted Clay, North Elmham, 3rd August


White-point, North Elmham, 3rd August


Marbled Beauty, North Elmham, 3rd August


The rest of the moths were 2 Carrion Moths Monopis weaverella, Sloe Midget Phyllonorycter spinicolella, 2 Red Birch Midgets Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella, Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, Bird-cherry Ermine Yponomeuta evonymella, Little Ermel Swammerdamia pyrella, Hedge Case-bearer Coleophora striatipennella, Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Long-horned Flat-body Carcina quercana, Common Flat-body Agonopterix heracliana, Dark Groundling Bryotropha affinis, 2 Cinereous Groundlings Bryotropha terrella, 5 Dingy Dowds Blastobasis adustella, Hook-marked Straw Moth Agapeta hamana, Dark-triangle Button Acleris laterana, 3 Marbled Piercers Cydia splendana, 17 Pearl Veneers Agriphila straminella, 2 Common Grass-veneers Agriphila tristella, Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella, Garden Pebble Evergestis forficalis, Chequered Straw Evergestis pallidata, 7 Mother of Pearls Pleuroptya ruralis, Pebble Hook-tip, Blood-vein, 2 Single-dotted Waves, 2 Riband Waves, 2 Flame Carpets, 3 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Common Carpet, Yellow Shell, 2 Magpie Moths, 2 Brimstone Moths, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Coxcomb Prominent, Brown-tail, Yellow-tail, 2 Dingy Footmen, Shuttle-shaped Dart, 6 Flame Shoulders, 4 Large Yellow Underwings, 5 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwings, 2 Setaceous Hebrew Characters, 4 Common Rustics, 2 Lesser Common Rustics (and another Common Rustic agg.), Rustic and 11 Straw Dots.

Golden Argent Argyresthia goedartella, North Elmham, 3rd August


Lacewings consisted of just Chrysoperla carnea (2 confirmed males and 3 aggregate females).  Caddisflies included Cyrnus flavidus and Hydropsyche siltalai.

Cyrnus flavidus (male), North Elmham, 3rd August


Leafhoppers included Empoasca vitis and a Kybos sp.  The last time I recorded a Kybos leafhopper I speculated that it was likely betulicola but this time armed with a bit more information I was able to narrow it down to either virgator, strigilifer or calyculus (females of these three are not identifiable to species level).

Kybos virgator, strigilifer or calcyculus (female), North Elmham, 3rd August


Beetles included my second identified Harpalus rufipes and a Nut Weevil Curculio nucum.

Harpalus rufipes, North Elmham, 3rd August


Nut Weevil Curculio nucum, North Elmham, 3rd August