Sunday, 25 July 2021

After the Heat Wave

It's been a return to normal temperatures over the last couple of days/nights. The moth trap has quietened down and it all feels a bit more autumnal. With that in mind and preparing to switch back to focusing on birds from moths soon (a perilous choice considering this high summer has produced the year's best birds nationally/regionally i.e. Sulphur-bellied Warbler, Egyptian Vulture, Least Tern, Red-necked Stint, Red-winged Blackbird , Black-browed Albatross, Pacific Swift etc), I visited Otmoor yesterday in the hope of a bit of wader passage. 4 Garganey, 2 LRP, 4 Redshank, 1 Curlew, 9 Snipe, 100+ Lapwing, Bittern and Hobby were the highlights on what was a pretty quiet session HERE  . 

The quieter conditions has provided a chance to take a closer look at some of the UFOs from the heat wave. Hope the county recorder catches up with irecord soon to verify some of these- it's getting out of hand. 

Garganeys (and Gadwall) at Otmoor 
Tree-lichen Beauty- new for year 
This looks more like a Langmaid's Yellow Underwing  (above and below) with the restricted yellow in the hind-wing and sharp edge to black on fore-wing from underside? Awaiting the verdict. 

Red Birch Midget, Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella ?
White-triangle Slender, Caloptilia stigmatella
Daisy Bent-wing, Bucculatrix nigricomella ?
Smoky-barred Marble, Lobesia abscisana
Burdock Neb, Metzneria lapella ?
Poplar Cosmet, Batrachedra praeangusta?
 Golden Argent, Argyresthia goedartella ?
Feathered Slender, Caloptilia cucculipennella?
Orange Spotted Shoot, Rhyacionia pinicolana?
Rush Marble, Bactra lancealana ?
Plain Wave?
Orchard Ermine? 
Pale-streaked Grass Veneer, Agriphila selasella

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Moth wave goes on

 A few more best guesses of unusual looking moths from the heaving moth trap at the Old Vic.

Fen Wainscot 
Brown China Mark 
Buff-marked Neb Monochroa lucidella (thanks for id from county recorder Stephen Palmer) 
Popped into the farmlands today at the end of work, had this Yellow-legged looking juvenile gull. Would like to have seen some moulting coverts and also the inner primary window to rule out a pale Lesser Black-backed for sure but on this view looks pretty good. Went looking for Dave's Silver-washed Fritillary (a first for the farmlands seen recently) but best I had was a Purple Hairstreak and good numbers of Marbled Whites. 

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

More heat wave moths

The heat wave continues and it's still super busy in the moth trap. Too busy for the county recorder to keep up with validating the irecord data so still dodgy solo identifications from me. Here's the latest batch of unverified best guesses and highlights.

According to Twitter my Small Wainscot from last week is actually a Mere Wainscot See here . No doubt more corrections to come. 

Brown Hawker,  Beautiful Demoiselle and Marbled White in the garden today, presumably dispersing from the surrounding environments in this heat.  Also think I had a Thyme Plume in the trap but it got away before I got to photograph it.

222 species of moth so far this week.

Peach Blossom
Bordered Beauty 
Yellow tail - good numbers of these this week 
Honeysuckle Moth 
Closest a could get to this was Willow knot-horn, Sciota adelphella,  which is unlikely 
Bulrush Cosmet, Limnaecia phragmitella
Diamond-back Marble 
My best guess is Teasle Marble, Endothenia gentianaena
Endothenia sp 

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Heat Wave Moths

It's just keeps getting hotter. Up to 500 moths of over 120 species in the main trap a day at the moment at the Old Vic and more lifers. A few highlights and interesting/ difficult species below.

All identifications tentative awaiting verification. It's difficult to keep up with all this at the moment. 

Olive- had a couple of these in recent days 
I went for Apple Marble, Eudemis porphyrana
Acorn Piercer, Pammene fasciana
House Neb, Brytropha domestica 
Maple Piercer, Pammene trauniana
I went for Beautiful Knot-horn, Rhodophaea formsa on this
I went for Broad-barred Knot-horn, Acrobasis consociella 
The third of similar looking Knot-horns, I went for Dotted Oak Knot-horn, Phycita roborella on this one 
White-bodied Conch
I went for Buff Mompha on this 
Shaded Broad-bar 
Kent Black Arches- always stunning to see, had two of them from last night 
Black Arches, always even more stunning to see, been a few of these in recent nights 
Tawny-barred Angle 
Had a quick visit to Bernwood Forest yesterday evening, loads of butterflies on the rides including a single Purple Emperor, lots of Purple Hairstreaks, Silver-washed Frits (above), lots of Small and Large Skippers, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Ringlets (below), Gatekeepers, Peacock, Large and Small Whites, Six-spot Burnet moths and on the odonata front, Broad-bodied Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer,  Common Darter and Emperor.

Finished the new butterfly bed and tidied up the mini-farm (below) 

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Old Vic Bioblitz Weekend

As part of our aim to reach 1000 pan-species and 500 moth species for the garden we spent this weekend conducting a Garden Bioblitz. 

We used the following methods and gear to record:

3 moth/light traps (125W MV, Actinic and LED traps)

4 pit-fall traps

Butterfly trap

Nocturnal Migration Recorder

Visible migration and birding (Bins)

Bat Detector

Camera trap 

Sweep netting and dusking 

Checking vegetation for feeding insects 

The final scoreboard was as follows:

241 species (not including plants, previous surveys have recorded 151 species of plant which presumably most are still present so we had approx 390 species today in the garden )

Bringing the all time Old Vic totals to:

423 species of moth (not all verified yet)

926 pan-species   (not all verified yet) 

Highlights included a Black Hairstreak, Small Wainscot, Slender Brindle, Sycamore Piercer,  Metalampra italica and a belated Water Shrew. We also did a bit of work on the garden improving the habitat including planting up a butterfly bed and also did a bit on the mini-farm. Totals are up from 849 pan-species and 396 moths since early July HERE) . 

All identifications provisional and subject to verification. 

Jacob ready for the big bug hunt 
Small Wainscot (apparently a Mere Wainscot according to Twitter) 
Slender Brindle
Cream Wave
Reed Veneer 
Pale Water Veneer 
Burdock Conch Aethes rubigana
Batia lunaris - lots of these this weekend 
Italian Tubic, Metalampra italica- if I've identified this correctly it is classified in the books as very local with isolated populations in the UK and then only recorded elsewhere in Italy. 
Sycamore Piercer, Pammene aurita
Black Hairstreak- this was all over in a flash, I noticed a small dark butterfly fly into the rockery, took a couple of photos, noticed it was a hairstreak and then it flew off. On checking the pics the diagnostic post discal spots are evident.
The lovage was very productive (above and three photos below) . Here's a few striking looking insects awaiting identification. 
Probably Gasteruption jaculator. There are 5 spp. in this genera of the Gasteruptiidae (thanks to Lee Dingain) 
Ruby-tailed Wasp

Water Shrew (above) and Common Shrew (below). The water shrew was from last July but just re-surfaced after we found another shrew that the dog had killed that prompted to look through old posts on shrews here. 

The main trap 
The butterfly trap- not a single butterfly went in but did catch a load of hoverflies 
Jacob helping out with the pooter (above) and creating our Butterfly bed (below)  

Helping Grampies (above) with the mini-farm and harvesting a few seasonal bits (below) 

Previous planting up in the walled garden paid off with lots of insect activity here
The breakdown from Irecord for Saturday and Sunday (17th and 18th July but as moth recording  traditionally utilises the previous date (to cover the period when the moth trap was turned on)  the recording dates are 16th and 17th July)