Wednesday, 30 January 2013

After the cold rush ...

With the forecast for reasonably warm nights for Monday and Tuesday, it was a good idea to put the trap on. All the more so that it is the AGM of the Strettons Area Community Wildlife Group (SACWG) tomorrow night and it will be nice to take some speciments to show.

So, the idea proved to be a good one as there were 25 moths on Monday and nearly 50 last night, though over half were Spring Ushers.

As would be expected, since we have only been trapping here since August, each month should produce new moths and January has now done so, though nothing that could not be expected.

In December I caught an early Pale Brindled Beauty and in the trap were several more of them, but in addition, their smaller, darker 'cousin', a Small Brindled Beauty (also a bit early). Their larger 'uncle' the Brindled Beauty is still to come.

You can compare the Small and Pale versions by clicking on the "Labels" on the right.

Small Brindled Beauty
The first of the common spring micro-moths turned up in number this morning. This moth is called Tortricoides alternella, its name being much bigger than the moth is. It has no "English" name. A pleasant surprise was to find an Acleris hyemana and a Ypsolopha ustella also present. Both of these moths have featured before in the blog, but the latter without its photo..

Tortricoides alternella

Ypsolopha ustella
This moth can be very variable, but the small "spike" sticking up on the 'palps' (its "nose" ) is an aid to identification. This can clearly be seen if you enlarge the photo. 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Anything you can do ...

I can do as well (sometimes!) So, because the forecast was for a balmy night,  I too put my trap on, and yes, Spring was Ushered in here too!

Spring Usher
It was in the trap with 2 Mottled Umbers and an agonopterix, which I have spent a long time trying to identify and arrived at the same answer at the end as I had assumed at the beginning.
Agonopterix heracliana, a moth which can be found all year round, but, like the Spring Usher, is a first for us here.

I just could not get a better picture of the agonopterix.

Agonopterix heracliana

Sign of spring

It has finally stopped raining in the Shropshire Hills, and with blue skies and sunshine, robins in song and slowly lengthening days it feels like spring may be on its way. How very apt then that on my first trapping session of the year last night that I caught a Spring Usher. This is a new moth for us in the Strettons and one which will be on the wing for the next couple of months.

Spring Usher
As with some of the other moths of the winter, this is easily identifiable as a male as the female is flightless. It is a species that likes oak, and I like to think that the large oak tree behind the house is part of the reason it is here.