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

Friday, 19 April 2019

Fox Covert 18/04/2019

Although it had been a great warm sunny day, and the forecast was for a dry night with mild temps, I knew that the reality would be that the big temperature swing from day to night coupled with an almost full moon would moderate any mothing catch. And given that it's mid-April, when there is often a lull between the early spring Orthosia boom and the first decent catches of the early summer, my expectations were not high. Nevertheless I was determined to get out with the gennie and traps last night, though I couldn't make my mind up where to go. To make sure I wasn't pushed for time setting up I eventually opted to stay on the west side of the city, albeit up in the Charnwood area. I decided to give Ulverscroft NR a try, staying along the Fox Covert section. I haven't trapped this area since February 2012, and I'm pretty sure no one has trapped there since.

As it happens, my thinking on when it was going to get dusky was well out and I was set-up and ready with plenty of time to spare. I was running a 125W MV over a sheet and 3 x 125W MV traps, but I wasn't planning on running late.

Whilst I waited for dusk, I had a mooch around poking fungi for beetles and looking out for any moths on the wing, but it was very quiet. Eventually it was time to light up and the new gennie ran smoothly.

Whilst I wasn't expecting much, I was hoping that I'd pick up a couple of species that I've not recorded in the county for a number of years. At least on that front I was in luck, as both turned up.

Lunar Marbled Brown - male

Lunar Marbled Brown - female

Early Tooth-striped

Otherwise the main interest was a procession of small-sized micros. I've got a handful in pots pending gen det, but at least this one was identifiable.

Bucculatrix ulmella

Amongst the shiny gold Dyseriocrania subpurpurella were a couple of different Eriocrania spp. At least I think they are different, both to subpurpurella and to each other. I think any that are generally purple, or purple with pale speckling are worth saving for gen det.

Dyseriocrania subpurpurella - despite the purple speckling it is predominantly gold, and this has the classic look of subpurpurella with a spiky crown and drooping head that looks like it's about to fall off.

Eriocrania sp. - head not so droopy, wing shape more rounded

Eriocrania sp. - smaller and wing shape more pointed

I will look forward to the verdict on these, along with a couple of Phyllonorycter spp. and a Stigmella sp. (though that may never get resolved).

I only ran until c22:30, as the sheet was only pulling in the odd moth in dribs and drabs - none of the usual bursts of activity that you'd normally expect. Total catch was 57 of 19sp. (plus 5 of 5sp. pending gen det). The catch included a few that I've not yet seen this year: V Pug, Early Thorn, Purple Thorn and Herald.

Aside from the moths, there was an interesting small beetle on the sheet which Graham Finch (our coleoptera CR) thinks is probably Xyloterus domesticus.

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