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

Wednesday, 18 October 2017


Ok, I'm in Zante on holiday but thought I'd make use of the excellent free Wi-fi over a late afternoon beer to share some straight-off-the-phone shots. Using my phone to post aswell so all a bit experimental for me.

Some sort of Praying Mantis on a window frame at breakfast this morning.

Marathonisi - also known as 'Turtle Island'.
Actually this is a pain in the arse for someone who is analy retentive about layout etc. I'll wait till I get home for more.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Dark Chestnut

Here's one that I missed earlier in the year when I wasn't bothering to run a moth trap. Although having said that, my garden records show that spring individuals are few and far between and the majority I've had are in the autumn - fresh individuals before hibernation.

Dark Chestnut

Monday, 9 October 2017

End of Season

The moth trap is still going out occasionally, and there are still a few species that could/should appear, but we are definitely heading fast towards the end of season. I always reckon that when I start seeing Juniper Carpet there is not much garden mothing left to do - and I reckon that will appear any time soon. I'll keep on going though, apart from next week when I'll be lapping up late season sun in Zante.

Here's a couple from the end of September ....

Common Marbled Carpet

Swallow-tailed Moth
This is the first second-brood individual for the garden since 2011.

And three from last night ...

Red-green Carpet

Green-brindled Crescent

November Moth agg.

All the garden individuals I've ever had detted have been November Moth, and there is nothing about this one to make me feel inclined to get it checked out. November Moth = fat lady warming up vocal chords.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

A Man Eater

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

Had another go today at looking for Fly Agaric. We've got our nephews up with us this weekend, so I only had a short slot in the early afternoon whilst the kids were all at the cinema. I headed over to Martinshaw Wood this time, but after strolling around the paths and going off-piste there was no sign of anything resembling red balls on white sticks. I did find a few bits, including these two:

Presumed Orange Peel Fungus (Aleuria aurantia)

No idea - on birch

I decided to leave Martinshaw Wood and head up towards the Charnwood area again, maybe having a quick look at Beacon Hill or somewhere similar. I took the obvious route from Groby along the road to Newtown Linford. Bugger me, as I turned the last corner before reaching the Newtown Linford junction - there bold as brass on a roadside mound were several bright red fungi. I managed to park up alongside the verge and fill me boots, and it was a lot easier than trudging around dark woodland! There were young and old specimens pretty much going through the full spectrum of maturity from spherical to flattened to upturned. I grabbed shots of a few, except the very old virtually unrecogniseable ones.

This one was on the same mound, and there were others that may have been the same but completely gone over.

Brown Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum)

And growing on one of the birches on the mound was this.

Hoof Fungus (Fomes fomentarius)

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Overdue - Pearly Underwing

With a flurry of Scarce Bordered Straws and a good few Dark Sword-grass already this autumn, I really did think we were in for a decent migrant year here in Leics. Well, if it was it certainly didn't happen for me. I guess there is still a chance, but looks like I'm going to be waiting another year for my first garden Gem, Small Mottled Willow and Convolvulous Hawk, or my second garden records of Vestal, Bordered Straw and this one - Pearly Underwing.

Pearly Underwing - 10th September 2006

Of the all the migrants I'm hoping for, this one really should be turning up more than it does. Certainly not an uncommon migrant further south.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Quakers and Bricks

Here's a few seasonal garden noctuids from recent garden traps .....

Yellow-line Quaker


Red-line Quaker

Blair's Shoulder-knot

Friday, 29 September 2017

Gnome Seats

Here's a few snaps from Swithland Wood last weekend. I'd actually gone to have a look for Fly Agaric, the archetypal gnome seat, but no joy there sadly. Although it is a fairly common fungi I've never made any effort to see it, so I'm going to try and get a couple of hours to have another look this weekend. The whole time I was there it was like being in a hailstorm with acorns raining down from the many oaks with every slight breeze. And they bloody hurt!

Pretty sure these are slightly gone-over Amethyst Deceiver.
Yellow Stagshorn

Birch Polypore


Turkey-tail I think.

Rosy Bonnet?

No idea - this is a tiny fungus on an acorn cup.

Yellowing Curtain Crust I think.

Sunday, 24 September 2017


No, I've not given up already! I have had a couple of busy weeks at work though, and the weather has been generally crappy so not been able to do a lot to post about. I've been out today looking at/for fungi so I'll post about those sometime soon, and the garden traps have been back out a few nights recently, bringing in more autumnal moths. Like these.

Pink-barred Sallow

Beaded Chestnut

Barred Sallow

Lunar Underwing

Lunar Underwing

Frosted Orange

Burnished Brass

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Stig of the Beech

A good look over an isolated beech tree at Misterton Marsh revealed 100s of mines, including S. tityrella (which I'd already found at Ulverscroft) and a few that were different. These were again typical Stigmella gallery mines, but the egg position and early part of the mine was well away from the mid-rib and the frass pattern in the early part of the gallery was also different. One of the mines also ploughs through a vein rather than being constrained between them. These are Stigmella hemargyrella. So, starting from a complete novice I've now found both of the Stigmella species that mine beech. I should of done this years ago!

Stigmella hemargyrella

I've also added a new noctuid to the garden breeding list, although it's one I had no idea about. I found a pupa very loosely spun into a cocoon of leaves on the garden silver birch, and felt sure it was a noctuid. There was no feeding damage that I could see, so I collected up the pupa and to see what came out in due course. Only a week or so later, and this came out .....


It emerged yesterday, but wouldn't play ball for a photo. After a night in the fridge, it still wouldn't play ball. In fact it took me well over an hour to eventually get any photos, and although it still looks pretty fresh its not exactly the mint example it could of been - particularly on the cilia and right forewing. This has got to be the most uncooperative individual I've ever bothered with. Anyway, once I knew what it was I could check the texts, and clearly it hasn't been feeding on my birch but far more likely on the large sallow that overhangs it. Pupation in a cocoon of leaves is normal for this species.

Far more cooperative, and ironically looking fresher, was this from the last garden trap I ran .....

Black Rustic