Friday 30 June 2017

Obscure Wainscot and a few recent moths

Latest from the Beddington Farmlands light trap:

Obscure Wainscot (top) and Smoky Wainscot . Obscure Wainscot is a first for the farmlands. (Thanks Billy for id) 
 Warted Knot-horn Acrobasis repandana
 Blastodacna hellerella  on left with Caloptilia sp (if correct id a first for the farmlands) 
Pearl Grass-veneer Catoptria pinella 

Thursday 29 June 2017

Hutchinson's Bank, Threecorner Grove and Chapel Bank

A trip on the Tram from Mitcham Junction to New Addington and after a five minute walk we were in the London Wildlife Trust Reserves and some superb Chalk Grassland habitat. It was a dull cool evening so not many butterflies on the wing but still plenty to see. 

 New Addington- not generally considered to be a tourist destination but within a five minute walk- see below 
 Hutchinson's Bank 
 Looking over towards Threecorner Grove woodland and Chapel Bank is behind 
 Marbled White on Knapweed 
 Pyramidal Orchid- plenty of these at Chapel Bank with the odd Common Spotted Orchid
 Roman Snail- quite a few of these. A Chalk Grassland speciality
 Wild Mignonette
 Enchanter's Nightshade at Threecorner Grove 
 Marjoram, Hedge Bedstraw and Perforate St. John's Wort 
 Kidney Vetch growing in a conservation area where the thin soils have been removed to reveal bare chalk  
Looks like Notocelia uddmanniana but it looked very pale - maybe worn? (Thanks Marc for suggested id)

Wednesday 28 June 2017


Had a trial day today with taking a group of home school children on a nature field class (I've called the project NatureKidz (a name Dylan came up with). Things descended to chaos very quickly with everyone ending up in the river becoming nature themselves. Today's lesson was supposed to be on waterbirds of Beddington Park. I discovered I couldn't identify a Mallard! 

Here's today's NatureKidz lesson (for me) 

 Eclipse Male Mallards . Male Mallards (and other male ducks) moult into an eclipse plumage during mid-summer. The eclipse plumage is a female/juvenile-type plumage presumably providing camouflage/cryptic protection during the season when they moult their flight feathers and can't fly very well. 
 Hello Sir - male Mallard
 An adult female- note the contrasting face pattern and the dark on the upper mandible with straw colour bleeding up from the cutting edge. Females don't need to moult into eclipse as they are already cryptically plumaged. When male and female plumages are significantly different (called sexual dimorphism),  with the male being conspicuous and the female less so - its implies there are also significant role/behavioural differences i.e. in Mallards the female discretely incubate the eggs and raise the young while the males ponse about and occasionally form gangs and gang rape the females (I left that bit out of the lesson). 
 Juvenile female with  darker face pattern and largely dark bill with straw colour confined to the cutting edge of the bill . This is the one I struggled with ageing/ sexing and had to look it up. Still not certain as theoretically it could be a young male where the bill hasn't turned yellow yet but in comparison to the other young birds this one stood out so presumably a female
 Juvenile male- the yellow bill with the dark juvenile type head pattern are strong features. As the adult males go into deeper eclipse plumage I do believe they can start resembling this- will keep an eye on them.  Basically there are at least six potential plumages of park Mallards at the moment:  adult male, adult female, eclipse male, juvenile male, juvenile female, pullus (the precocial young) and also there's the aberrant plumages . 
 An oak gall that we still need to identify (I say we, by the time I found this they had found a dead Mallard and were obsessing on it -which was reported back as the highlight of the day). 
 Sunny in nature gear- the youngest group member. One of my nephews.

And meanwhile back at the Obs recently 
 Rosy Footman 
 From left to right: Smoky Wainscot, Common Wainscot and Shoulder-striped Wainscot 
 Argyresthia sp. 
 A worn Common Wave ?
A worn Flounced Rustic ?

Tuesday 27 June 2017

Latest from the Capitalist's Apocalypse

Here's the latest in the unfolding global apocalypse. As limits to economic growth are reached fundamental capitalist corporations are escalating the advance into the nature protected network in order to process additional natural capital into economic capital. In a European context it doesn't get much bigger than this (see message below from Spain's main birder Dani Lopez) in terms of the length these corporations will go to feed their addiction to growth at the expense of nature. These corporations are literally giant malignant organisms, like cancers spreading across the globe. On a local scale  to me Viridor are the manifestation of that global disease- a disease that if not eradicated will consume everything. All an individual like myself can do is to try and fight back the disease that is trying to consume me, my family and my local area.

Of course not all corporations are diseases but many are and it is these ones that need to be stopped. A corporation working closely within environmental and social value systems is the greatest force for positive progress on the planet. A primitive, rogue cancerous corporation, like Viridor, is the greatest threat to progress on the planet. 

Hundreds of working class people being burnt in their beds, many burnt to death a couple of weeks ago by the Capitalists (see more HERE from the Grenfell Action Group) and now other Capitalists burning one of Europe's great national parks- things are stepping up.  

The Apocalypse is escalating and everyone and everything is in mortal danger.  The fundamental Capitalists are the threat to humanity and the planet of our times- the modern equivalent of the imperialists, the catholics, the pillaging nomads  and other manifestations of distilled evil which pop up from time to time in history- and each time are successfully sent back to hell from where they have come. 

The Donana burns today.

A message from Spain's main birder Dani Daniel López Velasco
PLEASE, READ. Just in case you haven´t heard about it yet... The incomparable Doñana National Park is IN FLAMES. As you all know, Doñana has a biodiversity that is not only unique in Europe, but in the World, with sheer numbers of breeding and wintering birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, insects and plants. It`s home to critically endangered Iberian Lynx and Spanish Imperial Eagles, amongst many, many other things. The fire -which seems to have been INTENTIONAL!!-, has nearly reached the lynx breeding centre, and apparently only about 10 of the 30 lynx there have been captured by the staff. The rest, which accounts for a good percentage of the entire world population, might have run away, hopefully, but some might now be dead, burnt alive. Fucking disgraceful people who did this, you only deserve death. But wait, theres more. One of the major gas companies in Spain -Gas Natural- wanted to build gas tanks exactly at the place where the fire is. In 2015 they presented their project. The year before, the government approved a law which stated that land which had been burnt could be re-zoned as long as the project was of "public utilty". Guess what? Last year, our government declared the oil company project of "public utility". They only needed the land to be burnt in order to go ahead....In tears now.

Sunday 25 June 2017

Rainham etc

Holly, Jacob and I met up with Sue (and later David Lambert) at Rainham this morning. A moderate south west wind meant that insects were few are far between. Highlights included an eclipse male Garganey, a stunning pale and contrasting male Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, young Lapwings and Redshanks, a Grass Snake and Drinker moth caterpillars.

 Eclipse male Garganey
 Grass Snake 
  Drinker moth caterpillar

Back at the Obs this morning

Another pretty good night with the moth trap with a few new for years and also a tick for me. 
 Elephant Hawkmoth 
 Dusky Brocade- new for me
 Toadflax Brocade 
 Small Blood Vein 
 Hoary Footman and for comparison below, Common Footman 

Friday 23 June 2017

Micros etc

A few from the trap last night:

 Crassa unitella I presume 
 Caloptilia rutipennella if I'm not mistaken 
 Endotricha flammealis indeed
 Bird Cherry Ermine I do believe 
 Cypress Carpet (centre), Ephestia unicolorella and Dwarf Cream Wave
 Small Seraphim 
 Clouded Border
 Common Emerald 

Been working on revising the local micro moths, here's a few links on past efforts: