0663 Diurnea fagella 1
1524 Emmelina monodactyla 3
1862 Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata) 1
2179 Pine Beauty (Panolis flammea) 1 [first for year]
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) 3
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica) 3
2243 Early Grey (Xylocampa areola) 1
2469 Herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix) 1 [first for year]
Herald ..... nice.
After emptying the traps and stuff, I headed back out to Ketton Quarry for another go at the reptiles. Josh came along, but Alex decided not to bother after last weeks try. We arrived at 09:00 in glorious sunshine that was bathing the main search area.
As we got out of the car, I immediately picked up Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler in full song and Budgerigar calling. Eh? WTF is a Budgie doing calling from that Horse Chestnut I thought. I grabbed the bins and eventually picked up a pale blue-grey bird that looked decidedly pissed off at the general lack of mirrors and cuttlefish. To be honest, despite the insistent calling it was damned hard to pick up in the tree - nothing like the Ring-necked Parakeets down south.
After the diversion, we set about the main business of finding snakes and lizards. No one else was around, which was good in that there was less disturbance but it's also good to have a few pairs of eyes out. As it happened, I quickly found a superb Adder outstretched in the grass. It was one of the lovely sort of grey-green coloured males.
After this quick success, things were a bit like last week with an enormous female Grass Snake briefly seen and a few small Common Lizards not hanging about.
The best bit of snake habitat at Ketton Quarry
Over in the other main compound, I was really surprised to find good numbers of Common Heath on the wing - a good couple of weeks earlier than I've seen them before. They were too active and impossible to photograph in the sun today so I netted a male for a controlled attempt.
Common Heath - not at all common in VC55
Lots of bees and hoverflies on the wing, but surprisingly few butterflies.
We then headed home to face the gardening chores. I mentioned last week that our garden usually needs extra time before mowing, long after everyone else has had a couple of goes. Nichola disagrees and insisted on mowing and gardening today. My annual first-mow ritual is not quite conventional though. Our crappy mower, in conjunction with our even more crappy lawn, has a rear roller which after the last mow of the year sticks with a wad of muddy compacted grass stuck behind it. Every year for a while now, when I prise off the roller to clear it I find a few Common Swift caterpillars. I guess either the eggs or very early instar larvae are caught up to spend the winter in my mower in the shed - quite how they survive and grow in such circumstances I have no idea.
I've stuck a few in a box outside with a fresh wad of turf with roots to try and rear through - the rest were released back onto the lawn after mowing.
Whilst on the larval front, we found a few caterpillars in the garden yesterday. One is a tortrix munching away in a spinning on buddleia shoots (probably Light Brown Apple Moth - retained to rear). I also found loads of miniscule just-hatched geometrids on our Lilac - could well be a repeat of last year's Feathered Thorn. Also two noctuid larvae munching on weeds.
Lesser Yellow Underwing?
Both retained to rear through.
As for the weeds, temporarily growing alongside the Lesser Celandine were Common Dog Violet and Dandelion - Nichola pulled them all up ......
Common Dog Violet - I think
The onlt other highlight whilst in the garden was a surprise garden tick on the bird list when a Meadow Pipit flew over calling heading towards the lane.