Monday, 27 January 2014


The trees are alive with catkins, on Alder, Hazel and more to come soon. So, it being a reasonable day we had a visit to Gogbatch - well, that's what we call it!

The Alder trees were covered in catkins so a few went in a pot for inspection at home.
With a x10 or better lens, it is easy to see if there any small holes in the catkins - and if there are it generally means there is a caterpillar inside. Later you can see frass on the catkin - (frass = caterpillar poo).

Here is a photo showing exactly that, and if you are lucky you may also see the caterpillar come out to have a look at the rest of the world.
Alder catkin

And yes, luck was in.
Larvae from above catkin

The problem now is to try and identify the moth species of this caterpillar and of course there is a choice. The easiest choice is to wait until it turns into a moth, but there is always the chance that it will not survive. At the moment, there is still the chance as it has pupated. All I have to do now is ensure that it does not go mouldy!
And the guess at the moment is Argyresthia goedartella, but it may be brockeella.

Although I have collected several Hazel catkins, I have yet to find a larva.


2014 is here and .....

A belated HNY to anyone looking. 
Not a lot of nights when it looked worth putting the trap on, but January the 5th seemed a possibility.
However the wind was very strong and turned the trap over quite early on. Nevertheless I re-set it and in the morning there were 2 Mottled Umbers.

Have not tried again since then and with the promise of cold nights it just did not seem to be worth the effort.

So it was a pleasant surprise to find a Spring Usher on the house wall last night when the outside light was left on for an hour or two. The fact that it snowed shows what brave (or stupid?) things moths are.

Spring Usher

Photo of a Spring Usher just to liven up the blog a little, but not the one from last night! These are quite pretty moths and very variable, as can be seen by looking at the photo from last year (click on its name in the list).