Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Horned, Tooth-striped and another Beauty

Yesterday was a lovely day, far to nice to go to work, but I had to. A Grey Wagtail and 12 Meadow Pipit flew over the house when I left but that was it. It clouded over a little later but it was still 9C when I put the trap out so there should have been a few things in it when I checked this morning. The temperature dropped overnight to 6.2 C and that produced a trap of 78 moths of 10 species this morning consisting of

1 Yellow Horned (Achlya flavicornis)
1 Early Tooth-striped (Trichopteryx carpinata)
3 Oak Beauty (Biston strataria)
1 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea)
43 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi)
2 Small  Quaker (Orthosia cruda)
8 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta)
2 Twin-spotted Quaker (Orthosia munda)
14 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)
3 Early Grey (Xylocampa areola)

So 5 species of Orthosia moth and 3 new for the year - Pine Beauty, Early Tooth-stripe and Yellow Horned.
Early Tooth-striped
Pine Beauty
Yellow horned

This latter moth gets both it's English and latin name from the yellowish colour of the antennae, though they always look more orange to me.

Yellow or orange?
I'm easing off feeding the birds now but there are a few looking for the little that I am still putting out. This morning there were 3 Blackbirds, despite a pair actually nesting within 10 feet of the food, 1 Robin, 2 Collared Dove, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Blue Tit, 2 Dunnock and 11 Wood Pigeon. The Starlings that breed next door rarely come into the garden but I have just seen them enter the gap in the tiles with fresh nesting material for the first time this year. I'll continue feeding them in the garden until this final bag runs out probably next week. Then you watch, it'll snow and I'll have to buy another bag. In the nearby paddock, the Great-spotted Woodpecker was still drumming and a Jay flew out back into the woods.

As I had a quiet saunter down the road, I noticed quite a few Bramble leaves had the tell-tale evidence of a Leaf miner moth. This one belongs to the micromoth Stigmella aurella and is always found on Bramble.  The shape of the mine created by the larva as it feeds between the leaf  and the species of plant being mined  is a much more reliable aid to identification than the tiny adult moth itself.

Later, by the train station in Chester-le-Street  I saw two butterflies flying around. two different species, one Small Tortoiseshell and one Comma.

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