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

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Make it Mine

Whilst out yesterday, alongside the sawfly larva I found on alder were a few leaf mines. Most vacated, but I found a couple that are tenanted.

These are, I think, Phyllonorycter rajella - quite a smart one when freshly emerged and photographed nicely, so here's hoping ....

Upperside and underside of the same leaf. The right hand mine (viewed on the underside) is tenanted

But not sure whether a larva or pupa - it wiggles when gently nudged

Not sure on this one though - a blotch which is evident on the upperside and barely discernible on the underside. There is a live larva in the blotch, again here's hoping ....

I had a short-lived spurt of enthusiasm for leaf-mines in 2017. After the very hot and sunny spring and early summer, the weather has been a bit crap for nearly three weeks now. The burst of invert overload is all but over, so perhaps leaf-mining is something to generate a bit of interest over the next couple of months.

Monday, 6 July 2020

On The Hole

I managed to head out for an hour or so after work today; seems like a long while since I last did anything. Warm and sunny, but still with a strong wind that has prevailed for over a week now. I headed to Huncote Embankment with my sweep net and no particular aim. I started off by climbing up the long steep and increasingly precarious steps to get up onto the 'plateau' overlooking the massive hole that is Croft Quarry.

Looking down into the hole across an inaccessible 'wildflower meadow' which is actually dominated by yarrow, ragwort and dock.

From there I headed along the embankment, sweeping at stuff along the way, and then down the other equally precarious steps to the pond.

Turned out well, as I managed to sort out two new hemipteran species - though I reckon I've overlooked/failed to note both in the past as they're common. Neither photographed I'm afraid: the Mirid bug Leptopterna ferrugata and a hopper, Eupteryx urticae. These were amongst a number of species swept from grasses and low vegetation. Aside from bugs and hoppers though, the net was pretty empty. I did point the camera at a couple of obvious beetles though .....

Rhagonycha fulva - doing what they're always doing 

Oedemera lurida - slightly out of focus thanks to the wind

I also pointed the camera at a small flower for a change ....

Water Figwort

I've got a few leaf mines from alder to check out, but I also found a sawfly larva in a leaf-roll on the same sapling. Thanks to the helpful guys on the sawflies Facebook group it now has a name ....

Nematinus steini

Monday, 29 June 2020

Special Brew

What can I say: the weather has turned pants, LCFC are playing with 22 left feet, and apparently the City is a thriving Covid hot-bed. It's enough to make you want to get up and head to the nearest pub on Saturday .... if they open, who knows. 'A pint of lager and a dose of Covid please mate' .... a proper Special Brew. Think I'll stick to the home bar for a while yet.

Seeing as nothing happened at the weekend, here's a few from the last couple of garden trap outings - starting with a garden tick ....

Cydia fagiglandana - 112th Tortrix, 379th micro, 703rd moth for the garden

Plain Golden Y

Peppered Moth

Buff Arches

Leopard Moth - I always think these look like sheep-moth hybrids

Poplar Grey

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Grapholita janthinana

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Look at my furry balls ....

.... of fruit ....

I wonder if anyone remembers me commenting that we had a Peach sapling, flowering well but apparently not being pollenated. Well, either it was or my intentional dabbling with a paintbrush was entirely fruitful. What I completely forgot about in the intervening weeks was that lots of leaves were affected by a leaf-curl issue - a quick internet search reveals the obvious - Peach Tree Leaf-curl caused by Taphrina deformans.

Yesterday after work, I managed to head down the lane for a brief bit of peace after a week of intense heat in the factory and early-mornings empty the trap. I had intended to swish about umbelifers with my net but they'd pretty much all gone to seed. I swept through grasses ending up with masses of grass seeds and grass-loving bugs, and I also swept some Knapweed and Creeping Thistle, both of which yielded similar-looking large dark aphids. I tend to ignore aphids unless I am sure that they are on a particular host plant, and both of these were too coincidental to check out. Bugger me, there is a Large Knapweed Aphid (Uroleucon jaceae) and a Large Thistle Aphid (Uroleucon cirsii). I had a couple potted which matched, though I have not bothered trying to photograph them. I pointed the camera at a couple of bits, nothing exciting ....

Ruby Tiger on it's favoured ragwort

Closterotomus norwegicus

24-spot Ladybird

Other new news came this evening - the Longitarsus sp. I swept from Viper's Bugloss has been identified as Longitarsus exoletus.

Today has been a mix of heavy rain this morning and warm sunshine this afternoon, constantly accompanied by blustery wind. A bit frustrating that the first two weekends after going back to work properly look set to be not good for getting out. Still, at least the fish tank got cleaned out for a change. I'm hoping I might get a chance tomorrow, but my targets were odonata and a couple of  butterflies that are unlikely to enjoy dull windy weather!

A brief spell in the garden this afternoon with the camera had me chasing a couple of hoverflies around. That I managed to get any shot of this one in the wind was some feat!

Scaeva pyrastri - one of two knocking about on Spirea

Still a couple of Merodon equestris knocking about, and a Platycheirus sp. that I've not checked out yet.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Brown-tail On the List ....

.... tra - la la - la la

Ha, bet you can't stop singing that now. Anyways, bleary eyed early this morning I had enough wits about me to give this a second glance and bung it in a pot for later .....

Smallish, very fluffy thorax, no black mark at tornus .... must be a Brown-tail? ....

Checking it properly early this evening after work, and yes - it is. New for the garden list too.

The trap has been quite busy the last couple of nights, though apart from the above nothing unexpected. Heart and Club is now annual, Coronet has quickly become common, micros relatively thin on the ground though. Tonight likely to be good too, then I expect tomorrow will be more thunderous downpours. I'm hoping to get out at the weekend though, one day or the other - I have local targets in mind.

Marbled Beauty

Beautiful Hook-tip

Minor agg. - a nice looking individual I reckon

Heart and Club

Crambus perlella

Double Square-spot


Monday, 22 June 2020

Yeah, Right!

I managed to look at a couple of small beetles last night; a weevil that I'd not got around to and a flea beetle that I'd forgotten about.

The weevil was, in the end, straightforward. It always helps when you manage to sweep them from a particular plant, and this one came from Meadow Crane's-bill. Imagine my joy when Googling 'weevil on meadow crane's-bill' brought up identical black weevils with a small raised 'neck' called Meadow Crane's-bill Weevil ....

Zacladus geranii

The flea beetle was not straightforward. I actually had four in a pot that all came from sweeping Viper's Bugloss at Ketton Quarry. I was checking for Mogulones geographicus but ended up with a net absolutely heaving with lots of what appeared to be the same flea beetle. As far as I can tell they're one of the Longitarsus spp., and a bit of trawling shows up a species pair that could well be in eastern VC55 on Viper's Bugloss - L. aeneicollis and L. nasturtii, either of which would I think be new to VC55 ....

I can hear you shouting from here: 'Longitarsus - yeah, right!'. I could be way off in all respects - either not Longitarsus, or just one of the polyphageous spp. Internet images of the Longitarsus spp. seem to be all over the place which does not help. Anyway I got a couple over to Graham Finch today who is hopefully much better placed to get an ID one way or another.