Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Monday, 26 June 2017


Usually I have a reasonable idea of whether I've seen a moth species in the garden recently, or whether it has been a good few years since I last saw it. I was completely wrong about the Leopard Moth in last night's trap however; in my mind it was many years since I'd seen one, and I thought I'd only had one or two in the garden before. When I checked, I was surprised to find that the last garden individual was 2011 (okay six years ago, but a good deal fewer than I was thinking) and that actually I'd recorded 10 individuals since 2001. Still, another nice one to see again in the garden.

Leopard Moth

Thursday, 22 June 2017

New Grass

I left the garden trap off on Tuesday night. The forecast was for slightly cooler conditions with the temps and risk of thundery showers increasing by Wednesday night, so I opted for a lie in and to then give it a proper go last night with both traps. The plan paid off, as at 5am this morning both traps were liberally covered with moths. And there in plain view was yet another new macro for the garden!

Grass Rivulet - 674th garden and 315th macro species

There is also another potential garden macro tick, I'm fairly confident but I'm awaiting the thoughts of others about this one - a putative Hoary Footman. This species has moved into the county in the last couple of years and has been spreading pretty rapidly.

Hoary Footman?

Scarce Footman left (straw yellow hindwing) / Hoary Footman? right (off-white hindwing)

Other highlights were the second Privet Hawk for the garden, fourth Anania perlucidalis, Sycamore, 3x Miller, several Coronets and these ....

Stathmopoda pedella - 3rd garden record
Love the daft legs-akimbo pose of this moth. Thought it was out the picture after a neighbour cut down the only large alder tree in the vicinity.

Dark Umber - less than annual
Always seem to be knackered by the time they end up in my garden traps!

And here's a couple for the sake of it.

Batrachedra praeangusta - I like these, slightly quirky

Hypsopygia glaucinalis - another name change to get used to

Common Emerald

And whilst I'm at it, here's a couple from a breif but very enjoyable session with a sheet and trap at Misterton Marsh on Monday evening with Adrian Russell and Graham Finch.


Blue-bordered Carpet

Phalonidia manniana

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Cor blimey Mary Poppins ....

... "chim chimney chim chimney chim chim cheroo, a moth in the garden is nice when it's new".

But .... what the hell was this doing in my garden moth trap!

Chimney Sweeper

A quick check on my garden habitat and the surrounding area confirm that there are no quality meadows within sight. Add to that, this is a pronounced day-flying species that rarely (ever?!) comes to light. So imagine my surprise when I saw that this morning and promptly added it to the garden list (673rd moth, 314th macro). Okay it's a bit knackered, not a nice pristine glossy black with shining white apex fringes - but all the salient features are there to see.

There was another potentially exciting species in the trap, not that I knew it when I potted it up. I thought it was a worn Momphid of some sort and almost ignored it, but decided I might as well get it detted. So when I grabbed a couple of quick shots this evening I was surprised to see that I'm actually photographing a gelechiid. I think it is Exotelia dodecella (which will be new for the garden as well) but I'm not confident enough to record it as that at the moment.

Possible Exotelia dodecella - TBC

And there was yet another odd Acleris sp. - I've now got four for gen det, two large and well marked like this one and two smaller less distinctly marked individuals.

Acleris sp.

And here's a few others from last nights trap.

Mompha ochraceella

Brown China-mark

Common Wainscot - hindwings checked as forewings well marked

Monday, 19 June 2017

Look at the elytra on that!

Click beetles are dull, brown, boring beetles ... like this one ...

Ampedus balteatus

This was a completely chance find at Bradgate Park yesterday, where we headed for some sunshine, a nice family picnic and a decent walk. I'll post some pictures from the park another day, and I'll stick with the beetles theme here. A couple from my garden moth trap, and another from the park.

Mealworm Beetle (Tenebrio molitor)

Curculio sp. (maybe C. venosus, but I need to check further)

 Wasp Beetle

And just to prove it's not just moths that wear, this is the new-to-science Bald Weevil

Sunday, 18 June 2017


I done gone got a damn fine garden tick ya'll, and it's a redneck fer sure.

Red-necked Footman, 672nd garden species, 313th macro

This is yet another species that not that long ago was a major county rarity. I remember how surprised and pleased we were to see it back in 2006. I'm not aware that it has started spreading like Orange Footman, but I do know it's been picked up in a couple of other gardens recently so I guess it is, Either way, it was the first thing I saw in my Synergetic trap and the last thing I expected to see.

The traps were busy, but the other highlights for me were the first properly variegated form of Coronet that I've had here, and a female Ghost Moth which is only the sixth for the garden. Also good to see a few other summer species turning up.


Ghost Moth

Barred Yellow

Buff Arches

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Hot - Damn!

Nice and warm last night bringing a fair bit to the garden traps, albeit nothing exceptional apart from the 2nd Box Tree Moth for the garden, me and VC55. Someone somewhere near here is going to be losing their hedge shortly!

Today has been roasting hot. I nipped out with the clearwing lures but was scuppered when the first site I visited for Red-belted had been bulldozed. No joy at the second for Currant, and I gave up then as it was just too hot to think.

The ultimate irony is that the warm nights and hot days generally mean the moth traps are getting busier, but the hot days also mean that moth photography is nigh on impossible. Nothing sits still without having been in the fridge, and everything that's been in the fridge immediately tries to warm up and does so with amazing speed and efficiency. I potted up a number of species, knowing that maybe half of them would be lost before I got a shot. So here's a small selection.

Clouded Brindle

Lime-speck Pug

Elephant Hawk-moth

There was also another visitor to the traps last night - looking a bit emaciated, and I'm hoping it's not planning on fattening up on moths .....

Common Frog