Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hatches and matches

No, nothing personal, but one of the leaf mines that I collected in early December from a Hawthorn bush has actually hatched out.  It is not usual for this moth to be around at this time of the year, but this one was in a pot on my desk, in the comparative warmth.

It is a Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae, one of the pretty micro-moths of about 4mm in length.
You can not determine this moth from 2 similar species from the wing pattern, but you can if you actually reared it from its leaf mine.

Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae

And now for matches - which I have failed to do so far. The story so far is that I noticed some "larval spinnings" on the Gorse bushes in Carding Mill valley. I took some home to identify, but so far have been unable to match my photos to the moth in question. More work needed, plus an improvement in the weather to go and look for more.

Unknown larva on Gorse

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Red letter day

The moth trap held a new species for us in the Strettons this morning. This Red Chestnut, a common spring moth, but like many they have been in short supply due to the weather. It apparently emerges on the first warm days of the spring, perhaps it got bored of waiting! In the trap there was also a Chestnut and a Mottled Grey.

Red Chestnut

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Turns to Grey

The mild spell of weather has come to an abrupt end today, with snow falling and temperatures plummeting. Last night presented the last favourable conditions for moth-trapping that we are likely to see for a while.

Hopes were high, but there was just one moth in the trap this morning. What a moth though! This Oak Beauty was lurking on the egg boxes, a first for the garden and a very welcome one.

Oak Beauty

That was it, a haul of just one (albeit beautiful) moth. However, as I was poaching eggs for this mornings breakfast, Jo spotted a moth lurking on the kitchen ceiling. Out came a pot and a bit of head-scratching followed before identification was secured. This Mottled Grey, a subtly marked and yet beautiful moth.

Mottled Grey

This may be it as far as moth trapping goes until next weekend, but a nice way to sign off before the hiatus.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Wet Wet Wet

Despite the weather turning much milder this week, other commitments have made it difficult to get the trap out. On Thursday night however I was at home and ready to go. Problem was the rain, which was persistent and heavy. I usually avoid trapping in the rain, if nothing else to prevent soggy eggbox syndrome. However, I know that Graham sometimes gets good catches when it is raining - perhaps moths cope with it better than humans! So out went the trap.

And I caught some moths - four in total. Not a significant catch, but probably my best of what has been a cold year so far. My haul was a Satellite, two Dotted Borders and a Tortricoides alternalla. The usual suspects then, but a worthwhile effort.

In his previous post Graham talked about the different colours of the 'planet' and the 'satellites' on his Satellite. My Satellite last night was one of the variety when the colours of the 'planet' and 'satellites' are the same. See if you can spot the difference.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Two Beauties!

And the weather man was not wrong. The temperature stayed around 6° and in the trap this morning were "two beauties". Well, in fact there were more than that, but two new moths for the site.

Viewers of the blog are reminded of the mistaken Small Brindled Beauty post of a few weeks ago. Now it can be put right as there were two SBB's in the trap (how could I have got that wrong?). The photos below show them and one of them approaches the dark form which exists. No confusion here with male and female, as the females are wingless.

Small Brindled Beauty
A tip from Colin Plant is that the antenna of SBB are yellow, those of PBB are brown and those of BB are black.

Small Brindled Beauty


But perhaps you thought these were the two Beauties of the title - well no, because there is a much prettier Beauty and that is the Oak Beauty. There were two Pale Brindled Beautys too, and a Satellite, Spring Usher, Chestnuts and Dotted Borders, for a total of 13 moths.

Here are pictures of the Oak Beauty and the Satellite. Note the different colours of the "satellites" circling the "planet" from that of a previous  post.

Oak Beauty


Friday, 1 March 2013

March is in

Wow, the last day of February was warmish with a promise of 3° overnight and so the trap went on for the first time since ....

It was nice to find a dozen moths in the trap this morning and a new species for the garden, appropriately a March Moth - although it will be recorded (by convention) as the night the trap was put on, ie 28th February. Moths in the trap were Pale Brindled Beauty, Chestnut, Satellite, Dotted Border, Tortricoides alternella and 2 March Moths.

It is interesting that the moths have been hatching out in spite of the series of cold days and nights that we have had recently

March Moth

And the forecast is for some warmer days (and nights) next week and perhaps the start of the Spring moths.