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.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

2018 off the blocks

The year got off to a slow start without any moths until a Mottled Umber on 5th January.  The beetles got off the ground slightly quicker though, with a Minotaur Beetle on 4th January.

Minotaur Beetle, North Elmham, 4th January 2018

I think this spider is a Walnut Orb Weaver Nuctenea umbratica - I understand the marks on the underside of the abdomen are distinctive though I'm still not entirely clear if they're diagnostic.  However unlike the last one I had at home I could see the top side of this one a bit too, and that seems to support the ID of umbratica.

Walnut Orb Weaver Nuctenea umbratica, North Elmham, 6th January

Next up for the moths was an Early Moth on 6th - presumably recently emerged although it already looked like it had been through the wars.

Early Moth, North Elmham, 6th January

After a couple of blank nights there was Winter Moth (and another Mottled Umber) on 9th and Pale Brindled Beauty (and another Winter Moth) on 10th.

Pale Brindled Beauty, North Elmham, 10th January

I'm not sure how unusual it really is but a Common Wasp in my study the next day seemed quite unseasonal to me.

Common Wasp, North Elmham, 11th January

There was another Pale Brindled Beauty that night and an Early Moth the following night.  Then a run of blanks before another Pale Brindled Beauty on 18th.  22nd January was the first night of the year with 3 species of moth: Early Moth, Pale Brindled Beauty and my first Chestnut of the year.

The following night was even better - 4 species and 6 moths: Dotted Border new for the year along with Pale Brindled Beauty, Early Moth and 3 Chestnuts.  It wasn't just moths either - there was a Great Diving Beetle Dytiscus marginalis and my first bug of the year, Tarnished Plant Bug Lygus rugulipennis.

Dotted Border, North Elmham, 23rd January

Great Diving Beetle Dytiscus marginalis, North Elmham, 23rd January

Tarnished Plant Bug Lygus rugulipennis, North Elmham, 23rd January

It eased off again after this with Pale Brindled Beauty and Chestnut on 24th, another Chestnut on 25th and then a nil return. 

My first micro of the year on 27th, a Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana.  Also Pale Brindled Beauty, Early Moth and 3 Chestnuts.

Viburnum Button Acleris schalleriana (female, gen det), North Elmham, 27th January

A nice surprise the following night was an Oak Beauty, about a week earlier than my previous earliest.  Also Early Moth and 2 Chestnuts.

Oak Beauty, North Elmham, 24th January

There were more Early Moths on 31st January and 2nd February and 3rd February, and on the 2nd also a Hebrew Character, a real surprise as it's more than 3 weeks earlier than my previous earliest record.

Hebrew Character, North Elmham, 2nd February

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