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.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Black-headed Gold

On the night of 12th May there were three new moths for the year at home: Brown House Moth Hofmannophila pseudospretella, Common Marble Celypha lacunana and 2 Yellow-faced Bells Notocelia cynosbatella. Not a great deal else: Little Dwarf Elachista canapennella, Many-plumed Moth Alucita hexadactyla, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpets, Common Pug, Scalloped Hazel, 3 Muslin Moths and Hebrew Character.

Yellow-faced Bell Notocelia cynosbatella, North Elmham 12th May

Common Marble Celypha lacunana, North Elmham 12th May

Brown House Moth Hoffmanophila pseudospretella, North Elmham 12th May

There was also a Common Earwig and this Garden Snail, my first this year.

Garden Snail, North Elmham 12th May

Next day at Ryburgh I found a female (unfeathered) Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella and what seems to be another Phyllobius maculicornis.

Feathered Bright Incurvaria masculella, Ryburgh, 13th May

Phyllobius maculicornis, Ryburgh, 13th May

That evening I went to a concert at Snape so wasn't at home.  I put the trap on anyway and checked it the following afternoon on returning home - don't know how much more I would have found if I'd checked it earlier in the morning but there were just five moths left: Peppered Moth was new for the year, and Green Carpet, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Flame Shoulder and Nutmeg.  Also the caddisfly Limnephilus auricula.  I did at least see a Common Lizard at Aldeburgh in the morning.

On Sunday afternoon I found a few moths at Ryburgh: 4 Plain Golds Micropterix calthella, Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella, 5 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and Cocksfoot Moth Glyphipterix simpliciella.  Beetles included one of the pollen beetles Meligethes sp. and Byturus ochraceus.

Byturus ochraceus, Ryburgh, 13th May

After this I moved on to Whitwell Common where butterflies were represented by Small Copper and Red Admiral.  Among the many Plain Golds Micropterix calthella (over 100) I found at least 3 Black-headed Golds Micropterix mansutella, a new species for me.  Sadly the sun was going in by the time I reached the spot where Dave had seen Red-barred Gold Micropterix tunbergella which would have been another lifer for me.

Black-headed Gold Micropterix mansutella, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Other moths were Long-streak Midget Phyllonorycter salicicolella, 3 Vetch Piercers Grapholita jungiella, Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis, 2 Green Carpets and 2 Rivulets.

Long-streak Midget Phyllonorycter salicicolella, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Vetch Piercer Grapholita jungiella, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Common Grey Scoparia ambigualis, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Rivulet, Whitwell Common, 14th May

Beetles included a Rove Beetle Tachyporus sp. (I can't figure out how to reliably identify these to species level except using a very complex key to the arrangement of the tiny hairs on the elytra which I could barely see under the microscope) and another one that was surprisingly challenging to identify to species level (though I think I got there in the end): Malthodes marginatus.

Tachyporus sp., Whitwell Common, 14th May

Mathodes marginatus, Whitwell Common, 14th May

That night Coxcomb Prominent, Least Black Arches and Treble Lines were new for the year here, with Red Twin-spot Carpet, Green Carpet, 4 Muslin Moths and Flame Shoulder.

Coxcomb Prominent, North Elmham, 14th May

Least Black Arches, North Elmham, 14th May

Treble Lines, North Elmham, 14th May

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Bluebell Conch, a new hoverfly and some beetles

I forgot to add this photo of a Muslin Moth to my last post - I don't recall seeing the pale patches on this species before though it seems that they do vary a bit in this respect.

Muslin Moth, North Elmham, 10th May

On 11th May I discovered Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella on Garlic Mustard at Ryburgh, only the second site I've seen this species.  Also Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana.

Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella, Ryburgh, 11th May

I then headed up to Thursford Wood where I hoped to find two scarce Norfolk species - Hysterophora maculosana on the Bluebells and, a bit more ambitiously as there are no modern records in Norfolk, Coleophora lutarea on the Greater Stitchwort.  The bluebells were beautiful but I couldn't find either species among them.

Bluebells, Thursford Wood, 11th May

I did find a few moths including 5 Large Long-horns Nematopogon swammerdamella, Green Long-horn Adela reaumurella, Oak Satin Lift Heliozela sericiella and 2 Cocksfoot Moths Glyphipterix simpliciella.  But it wasn't until I'd left the main bluebell area and was walking through a relatively bare patch of woodland that I spotted one of my targets, Bluebell Conch Hysterophora maculosana in flight, and duly netted it to confirm. Looks like this may only be the third vice-county record following two last year (the first of which I found at Bittering).

Bluebell Conch Hysterophora maculosana, Thursford Wood, 11th May

I also saw a Maiden's Blush near the rhododendrons which were looking splendid.

Maiden's Blush, Thursford Wood, 11th May

Rhododendron, Thursford Wood, 11th May

I also found this bug which I eventually resolved as Anthocoris nemorum, a species I'd not identified previously.

Anthocoris nemorum, Thursford Wood, 11th May

I saw one Large Red Damselfly here and 10 more at Brancaster where I headed next (along with 2 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana) and another at Titchwell Chalkpit.

As yet I haven't been able to put a name to this spider at home:

unidentified Spider, North Elmham, 11th May

That night was better than of late with 19 moths of 14 species, though still pretty rubbish for this time of year.  New for the year here were 2 Beech Midgets Phyllonorycter maestingella, Black-headed Conch Cochylis atricapitana, Small Magpie Anania hortulata and 2 Common Pugs. The others were 3 Little Dwarfs Elachista canapennella, 2 Brindled Flat-bodies Agonopterix arenella, Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, Garden Carpet, Green Carpet, White Ermine, Muslin Moth, Cinnabar, Flame Shoulder and Hebrew Character.  There was also the caddisfly Glyphotaelius pellucidus and a Black Sexton Beetle.

Beech Midgets Phyllonorycter maestingella (males, gen det), North Elmham, 11th May

Small Magpie Anania hortulata, North Elmham, 11th May

Common Pug, North Elmham, 11th May

Narrow-winged Grey Eudonia angustea, North Elmham, 11th May

Next day I headed up to Burnham Overy where Stoat and Natterjack were among the non-avian highlights.  Moths consisted of Plain Fanner Glyphipterix fuscoviridella, Yellow Belle and 2 Cinnabars - and quite a few Spindle Ermine Yponomeuta cagnagella larvae.

Yellow Belle, Burnham Overy, 12th May

I stopped off at Ryburgh on the way home and found 3 Common Nettle-taps Anthophila fabriciana and a Sulphur Tubic Esperia sulphurella.  There was also a Common Carder Bee and the hoverfly Platycheirus manicatus, a new one for me.

Platycheirus manicatus, Ryburgh, 12th May

I retained 3 beetles for identifying at home.  Perhaps I should have been able to manage the Cantharis decipiens in the field (where I think it was one of a number on Hawthorn flowers) but I certainly wouldn't have been able to do the other two without careful keying out under the microscope - unsurprisingly (as I haven't been doing this for long) both were new to me: the ground beetle Amara anthobia and the leaf beetle Phaedon armoraciae.

Cantharis decipiens, Ryburgh, 12th May

Amara anthobia, Ryburgh, 12th May

Phaedon armoraciae, Ryburgh, 12th May

Friday, 19 May 2017

Schreckensteiniella festaliella (or Bramble False-feather)

On Monday 8th May this Yellow-triangle Slender Caloptilia alchimiella was new for the year.  There were also 2 Little Dwarfs Elachista canapennella, Garden Carpet, Streamer, Brindled Pug, Muslin Moth, Cinnabar and Flame Shoulder, and I'd had a Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana in the house earlier. A Common Toad in the garden was also new for the year.

Yellow-triangle Slender Caloptilia alchimiella (male, gen det), North Elmahm, 8th May

The following evening I found this Nut Leaf Blister Moth Phyllonorycter coryli on my front door.   I also found 2 Varied Carpet Beetles in the house but with a frosty night there wasn't a single moth in the moth trap the following morning - really crazy to be getting nil returns at this time of year - come on spring!

Nut Leaf Blister Moth Phyllonorycter coryli (female, gen det), North Elmahm, 9th May

On Wednesday 10th Dave and I headed down to Frost's Common to see what we could find. The highlight was a Bramble False-feather Schreckensteinia festaliella, a new species and a new family for both of us and quite a distinctive looking moth.

Bramble False-feather Schreckensteinia festaliella, Frost's Common, 10th May

Other moths were Large Long-horn Nematopogon swammerdamella, Green Long-horn Adela reaumurella, Oak Satin Lift Heliozela sericiella and 12 Horse Chestnut Leaf-miners Cameraria ohridella but it seemed quieter than expected.  Quite a few butterflies: Large White, 2 Green-veined Whites, 10 Orange-tips, 12 Brimstones, 2 Small Coppers, 4 Holly Blues, 2 Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and 3 Speckled Woods.  Dragonflies were well represented too with perhaps 120 Large Red Damselflies, Hairy Dragonfly and Four-spotted Chaser (plus Dave saw an unspecified blue damselfly).  I'd have liked to have seen the Hairy Dragonfly better - I don't see many of these and haven't had a decent look at one for decades.

I retained two beetles for checking, both proving to be Phyllobius weevils: Phyllobius maculicornis and Phyllobius pyri.

Phyllobius pyri, Frost's Common, 10th May

Phyllobius maculicornis, Frost's Common, 10th May

We then had a quick look at Thompson Water though didn't stay long as the wind was getting up.  Long enough to see over 100 Azure Damselflies that had recently emerged.  Also more Brimstones and Orange-tips.

Azure Damselflies, Thompson Water, 10th May

Dave had to head off but I stopped at Lolly Moor on the way back, expecting it to be more sheltered.  It's a good site for Grass Rivulet and I saw at least 8 (probably a fair few more) including this mating pair.

Grass Rivulets, Lolly Moor, 10th May

It's also the site where I saw my first Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella and I saw another one here this time.

Meadow Long-horn Cauchas rufimitrella, Lolly Moor, 10th May

Another species we recorded here last year was Knapweed Bell Epiblema cirsiana, though its a hard one to separate from its congener Thistle Bell Epiblema scutulana.  I saw at least a couple that I thought were Knapweed Bell Epiblema cirsiana and the male I retained for checking did indeed have a dark hindwing (the genitalia only confirm it was one or the other but the hindwing clinches it).  I collected another one from a slightly drier thistly part of the moor and it crossed my mind that it might be scutulana, and sure enough the hindwing was pale - it was a Thistle Bell Epiblema scutulana.  Good to know both species are present on site but it will make recording them harder!  The scutulana was paler overall and had slightly more white towards the tornus than the cirsiana which is typically the case (though probably not reliable except where there's a lot more).  The differences were subtle though perhaps a little more obvious in life than they seem in the photos.

Knapweed Bell Epiblema cirsiana (male, hindwing checked), Lolly Moor, 10th May

Thistle Bell Epiblema scutulana (male, hindwing checked), Lolly Moor, 10th May

Other moths here were 7 Plain Golds Micropterix calthella, Common Nettle-tap Anthophila fabriciana, Bittersweet Smudge Acrolepia autumnitella and Common Marble Celypha lacunana.

Bittersweet Smudge Acrolepia autumnitella, Lolly Moor, 10th May

There was Large Red Damselfly here too, and Orange-tip and Comma plus a few Turnip Sawflies Athalia rosae.

Comma, Lolly Moor, 10th May

Orange-tip, Lolly Moor, 10th May

Turnip Sawfly, Lolly Moor, 10th May

Only 3 moths in the trap that night - a new-for-the-year Spectacle and 2 Muslin Moths.  Also 2 Common Earwigs.

Spectacle, North Elmham, 10th May