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

Thursday, 29 April 2010

28/04/2010 Mothing Part 1 of 3 - Ketton Quarry

The forecast for last night was perfect - the warm muggy conditions that had developed through the day would continue into the night with good temps and cloud cover ahead of the rain moving in today. Knowing that the weather over the weekend was likely to be shite, I decided to try and make the most of a mid-week session. I'd touted the idea of going down to Hazelborough Wood in Northants but there were no takers, so I headed over to Ketton Quarry. No particular species in mind, just a change of mothing scenery - I knew a woodland site would be more productive at this time of year, but KQ has the highest site total in VC55 and could turn something up at any time of year.

As I arrived at c20:00 it was still 18°C and all seemed good. I set up 3 x 125W MV traps and a 125W MV light over a sheet, got the gennies running at 20:50 and waited for the influx of moths to start. And waited. And waited.

I just don't get it - as perfect conditions as you could wish for, and yet by 22:00 all I had was 10 moths of 9 species at the sheet. Luckily things picked up on the species diversity, but it was still pretty slow going at the sheet and certainly not the big numbers I had hoped for. I couldn't stay too late though, and I'm sure that if I'd carried on beyond 23:40 it would have been a different story.

In the end the total catch was 171 of 37sp. including plenty of firsts for the year. However by far the highlight was a single Frosted Green that just arrived at the last trap when I started to packup. This species is by no means common in VC55 - it's only been recorded from a few sites and generally in low numbers. Given that this KQ already had a macro list of 354 species, adding another was notable.

Frosted Green

The only other unexpected species was a single Common Heath in one of the traps - not because the species is unexpected at Ketton Quarry, but because it is a day-flying species. It must have been roosting very close to the trap.

The total list was:

0006 Eriocrania subpurpurella 4
0130 Incurvaria masculella 2 [yeartick]
0667 Semioscopis steinkellneriana 1
0672 Parsnip Moth (Depressaria heraclei) 1
0695 Agonopterix alstromeriana 1
0966 Cochylis atricapitana 3 [yeartick]
0986 Syndemis musculana 1 [yeartick]
1054 Acleris cristana 1
1362 Pyrausta purpuralis 1 [yeartick]
1651 Chinese Character (Cilix glaucata) 2 [yeartick]
1660 Frosted Green (Polyploca ridens) 1 [yeartick]
1724 Red Twin-spot Carpet (Xanthorhoe spadicearia) 4 [yeartick]
1728 Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata) 1
1738 Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata) 1 [yeartick]
1746 Shoulder Stripe (Anticlea badiata) 4
1750 Water Carpet (Lampropteryx suffumata) 1
1760 Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata) 2
1790 Tissue (Triphosa dubitata) 1 [yeartick]
1852 Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata) 4
1853 Oak-tree Pug (Eupithecia dodoneata) 10
1883 Yellow-barred Brindle (Acasis viretata) 5 [yeartick]
1919 Purple Thorn (Selenia tetralunaria) 1
1936 Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria) 6 [yeartick]
1947 Engrailed (Ectropis bistortata) 1
1952 Common Heath (Ematurga atomaria) 1
2015 Lunar Marbled Brown (Drymonia ruficornis) 2
2078 Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) 3 [yeartick]
2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) 2 [yeartick]
2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) 1 [yeartick]
2139 Red Chestnut (Cerastis rubricosa) 5
2186 Powdered Quaker (Orthosia gracilis) 23
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 39
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta) 4
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker (Orthosia munda) 1
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 26
2256 Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) 3
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 2

Yellow-barred Brindle

Pyrausta purpuralis

Powdered Quaker

Least Black Arches

It was still up at 15°C when I left. The drive home produced three Foxes, a superb Barn Owl and a probable Tawny Owl dashing across the road, but no Badgers. Always amazes me how so many Badgers get mowed over on the A47 yet I've never seen one alive along there.

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