Sunday, 6 March 2011

A new but difficult micro moth

I put the trap out on friday night and yesterday morning I checked it rather later than than I intended. Before I went into the garden, I had looked on the Northeast Moths Group Forum to see what others had caught as this was the first night of the year for trapping for the Garden Moth Scheme. It appears that maybe it had been a bit milder due to the cloud, than some places, with a minimum temperature overnight of 3.7C according to the Waldridge Weather Station (ie my Christmas present in the garden.
A Coal Tit was hanging around close to the trap, but there was no sign of any remains of moths so probably he was unsuccessful and I expected to be the same. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were 9 moths of 5 species, including 3 identical micro-moths that I could not identify in the trap.
They were :-

2 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia)

1 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria)

1 Oak Beauty (Biston strataria)

2 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica)
and 3 micro moths all of which are shown below

Even after checking I could not put a name to the 3 micros, all which had an unusual dark patch on the underside. Fortunately there is always help at hand and Tim Barker quickly and correctly identified them as a dark form of the micro moth Tortricodes alternella after I said I needed help on the forum. This species was new to me though it has been recorded well over 30 times in the county. It is one of the earliest of the micro moths to appear and I did consider it but had not appreciated how dark they can get. So a new one for me, and three of them at once to boot.

Early this morning the Great spotted Woodpecker was drumming very close by, and the Tawny Owl that I first heard last night just past 19:00hrs was still calling 11 hours later.

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