Saturday, 28 July 2012

Spuggies on the up again

The moth trap overnight produced 65 moths of 25 species. Most were the same species as the other night, but 7 additional ones were trapped -

Poplar Hawk-moth
Scalloped Oak
Peppered Moth
Single-dotted Wave
Common White Wave
Cabbage Moth
Burnished Brass

House Sparrows are gradually increasing in the Waldridge area after their numbers had declined dramatically over recent overs. There  was very good to count 52 at lunchtime in one of the hedges at Chester Moor.

Single-dotted Wave

Scalloped Oak

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Moths from the other night

A few pictures of moths (and a hoverfly) from the other night.

Small Rivulet

Tawny-barred Angle

Bordered White

Swallow-tailed Moth

Short-cloaked Moth

True Lover's-Knot

Hoverfly Volucella pellucens 

Meanwhile the Tawny Owls are very vocal at the moment with fledged youngsters about in the paddock. Great-spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch were also very noisy there this morning

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Heinz 57 varieties

A very humid night and the temperature didn't drop below 16.8C. The moth trap went out and at last a good catch which shows just how weather dependant this game is. 135 of 57 species plus masses of other insects particularly small caddis-flies but also carrion beetles, weevils, lacewings etc. and my first Volucella pellucens Hoverfly for the garden and surpisingly my first Harlequin Ladybird for Waldridge. I'm still trying to id mosses & lichens as well as hoverflies so there's no way I'm going to attempt caddisflies at the moment.

Talking of hoverflies, I caught a few on Sunday which I looked at through the microscrope, practicing my skills I learnt on the hoverfly course in the spring. Nothing new but good to confirm that I am identifying the local hoverflies correctly. I caught Platycheirus albimanus, Leuconza glauca, Syrphus ribesii and Eristalis arbustorum.

Back to last night's trap. The full list of 57 species caught was

Argyresthia goedartella  2
Bird-cherry Ermine (
Yponomeuta evonymella)  1
Brown House Moth (
Hofmannophila pseudospretella)  2
Bryotropha affinis  1
Clepsis consimilana  1
Light Brown Apple Moth (
Epiphyas postvittana)  1
Lozotaenia forsterana  1
Pseudargyrotoza conwagana  1
Celypha lacunana  1
Bud Moth (
Spilonota ocellana)  1
Cydia splendana  1
Garden Grass-veneer (
Chrysoteuchia culmella)  16
Pearl-band Grass Veneer (
Catoptria margaritella)  1
Scoparia ambigualis  1
Trachycera advenella  1
Dioryctria abietella  2
Riband Wave [non-banded form] (
Idaea aversata ab. remutata)  1
Shaded Broad-bar (
Scotopteryx chenopodiata)  2
Spinach (
Eulithis mellinata)  1
Spruce Carpet (
Thera britannica)  2
Small Rivulet (
Perizoma alchemillata)  1
Double-striped Pug (
Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)  1
Clouded Border (
Lomaspilis marginata)  1
Tawny-barred Angle (
Macaria liturata)  2
Swallow-tailed Moth (
Ourapteryx sambucaria)  3
Mottled Beauty (
Alcis repandata)  1
Bordered White (
Bupalus piniaria)  2
Barred Red (
Hylaea fasciaria)  1
Elephant Hawk-moth (
Deilephila elpenor)  2
Buff-tip (
Phalera bucephala)  1
Lesser Swallow Prominent (
Pheosia gnoma)  2
Common Footman (
Eilema lurideola)  1
Short-cloaked Moth (
Nola cucullatella)  3
Heart and Dart (
Agrotis exclamationis)  6
Large Yellow Underwing (
Noctua pronuba)  16
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (
Noctua janthe)  2
Least Yellow Underwing (
Noctua interjecta caliginosa)  1
True Lover's Knot (
Lycophotia porphyrea)  3
Setaceous Hebrew Character (
Xestia c-nigrum)  1
Double Square-spot (
Xestia triangulum)  2
Dotted Clay (
Xestia baja)  1
Dot Moth (
Melanchra persicariae)  1
Clay (
Mythimna ferrago)  1
Smoky Wainscot (
Mythimna impura)  2
Suspected (
Parastichtis suspecta)  1
Poplar Grey (
Acronicta megacephala)  1
Dark Dagger / Grey Dagger (
Acronicta tridens/psi)  1
Marbled Beauty (
Cryphia domestica)  6
Angle Shades (
Phlogophora meticulosa)  1
Dun-bar (
Cosmia trapezina)  1
Dark Arches (
Apamea monoglypha)  14
Light Arches (
Apamea lithoxylaea)  1
Common Rustic agg. (
Mesapamea secalis agg.)  3
Uncertain (
Hoplodrina alsines)  1
Mottled Rustic (
Caradrina morpheus)  1
Beautiful Golden Y (
Autographa pulchrina)  3
Straw Dot (
Rivula sericealis)  1

It's taken all my time to sort all the tinkers out so I'll post some pictures tomorrow

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Fruit down

What happened to the sun?, it hardly appeared today and though the temperature was 18C the wind was rather coolmand it certainly did not feel like it. The lack of sun and the wind made it rather poor for butterflies and generally it was very quiet. The woods held a Great spotted Woodpecker and juvenile parties of Chiffchaffs and Long-tailed Tit but not much else. About 100 Common Swift were again feeding over the trees with a handful of House Martin though later they moved over to Waldridge Park.

Common Swifts against a typical July sky

Common Red Soldier Beetles (Rhagonycha fulva) seemed to be everywhere, especially on the umbellifers and nettles but also on other plants including many on the masses of False Oat-grass (Arrhenatherum elatius).
Common Red Soldier Beetle

The first Upright Hedge Parsley (Torilis japonica)

Upright Hedge-parsley
was noted amongst a clump of Lady Fern in the wood.

Lady Fern

With the poor weather which obviously has had a huge impact on the insects,  this in turn has had a knock-on effect on plants needing pollinated and certainly the yield of the fruit in my garden is way down. I can also see this in the hedgerows with a limited number of fruit on things like Elder and Hawthorn.

Elder - a poor crop

Saturday, 21 July 2012

An all blue Southern

The moth trap was out overnight a long last and despite the rather cool temperatures, 24 moths of 13 species were present, but not one Geometrid. Seriously down on the numbers usually at this time of year, the full list was -
Clepsis consimilana  1

Clepsis consimilana

Peppered Moth (Biston betularia)  1

Peppered Moth

Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi)  1
Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis)  1
Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba)  5
Ingrailed Clay (Diarsia mendica)  1
Double Square-spot (Xestia triangulum)  2
Dotted Clay (Xestia baja)  2

Dotted Clay

Cabbage Moth (Mamestra brassicae)  3
Clay (Mythimna ferrago)  2
Dark Arches (Apamea monoglypha3
Common Rustic
agg. (Mesapamea secalis agg.)  1
Burnished Brass (Diachrysia chrysitis)  2

Burnished Brass

With us just getting back from holiday and heading straight for work there has been no time fore any wanderings yet and today was no different. With the lawns badly needing cut and shopping to be got the only nature observations today were in the garden. A few hoverflies and bumblebees of the usual suspects were present and at the back of the garden it has gone very wild. Whilst contemplating what I should cut back I noticed a dragonfly hanging from one of the Salvias. The only large dragonfly to have occurred in the garden in the Southern Hawker but that is a mainly green & black dragonfly. This was all blue and black without a trace of green. Panic set in as I couldn't work out what it could be, I even considered some Italian species that may have hitched a lift. Eventually I calmed down and everything fitted Southern Hawker except that the most of the blue spots on this individual should be green. Occasionally blue spotted adults do occur I have found after a bit of research and that what this was. Panic over .. I think.

The 'blue' Southern Hawker

A lone Curlew flew over calling was the only bird record of any note

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Back from Italia

I'm back from Italy, back to work and hopefully by the weekend back to some local natural history and (some sun?). In the meantime I'll post a few of my holiday snaps over the next few days  here

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A Foxglove beacon in the gloom

I took my sweep net out onto the fell today with the intention of sweeping the heather but the wind and showers made that a waste of time. Not a day for invertebrates at all with no butterflies or hoverflies around.  The only moth around was the micro Cydia ulicetana.

Cydia ulicetana

Still good numbers of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs singing but their cousins, the Sylvia Warblers were all but silent apart from a couple of Blackcap. Not much else of note except  Great-spotted Woodpecker and Willow Tit in the wood and about 80 Swift feeding over the fell.
A walk into the Fell Edge wood, thats the bit of the wooded South Burn on the fell side of Waldridge Lane, showed how much the water level rose during the storm the other day. Half the the vegetation was covered in mud, now mainly dried grey-brown, making the whole area even darker than usual and looking like the ash covering following  a volcanic eruption.

Everything was covered

But there like a beacon in all of the gloom was a single albino Foxglove.

The roses along Waldridge Lane are at their peak now with Rosa sheradii, canina and caesia  and their hybrids all putting on a good show of white through to dark pink flowers.