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

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Mottled Umber

Been far too busy getting through some chemoradiotherapy to do anthing to blog about. And whilst I've been absolutely fine, aside from a little fatigue, the garden has been completely waterlogged for a fair while now so garden trapping has not been possible in any case.

I have been putting on a 12W blacklight LED on the front wall of the house and it has been picking up a few bits, but nothing particularly exciting or worth bothering the camera with. Last night was a little warmer, with a bit of drizzle, but I was pleased to find this sitting on the wall this morning:

Mottled Umber

This is now the third consecutive year that I've recorded this here, after the first in Jan 2011. But I'm still waiting for the first Spring Usher to pop up here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Still Around

Not had a chance to do much lately; busy at work, back into hospital for another op (last one I hope) and then some indifferent weather. So not a lot to report, but I have managed to pull in some new for garden moths ... although only one of them looked nice!

Tree-lichen Beauty - 29/07/2019

Still a good rarity in VC55, first was recorded last year and there was one this year prior to mine in Rutland. First time I've recorded it anywhere, though I have seen one before when we trapped in Suffolk and one was taken up the road.

Also a couple of NFG micros, but neither were very attractive!

A moribund Small China-mark - 16/07/2019

A worn Eana incanana - 16/07/2019, with one even less well marked the night before

Aside from running the moth trap, I've been attracting a range of species to rotting fruit and sugar, as well as to my pathetically small garden buddleija. But mainly I've been luring Old Ladies.




A walk down the lane on Sunday brought a few expected larvae, and an unexpected orthopterid .....

Various instar Small Ranunculus on Prickly Lettuce

A load of Cinnabar on one Common Ragwort plant that they'd stripped

Never seen Roesel's Bush-cricket anywhere near here before

Aside from all that I've been setting up and getting to grips with a new family PC, almost exactly nine years since the last time I went through this. Of course that means having to accept the inevitable Windows 10, but so far all good and I've got all my software working (including MapMate, a new version of Photoshop Elements, my USB microscope, and I've got all my music and synth software working). It's not the best on the market but the best for a reasonable price; 2.9GHz hex-core 9th gen i5 chip, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 2TB HDD, more USB ports than I know what to do with. Should last the best part of another decade ..... perhaps!

Anyway. I'm back up to full physical functionality just in time for a beer n balti night at the T20 blast cricket tomorrow and the start of the Premier League at the weekend.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

A Jumbled Post

It's been oddly quiet in some ways, and certainly the garden moth traps don't feel like we're in peak season. Very brown, swathes of Dark Arches etc but not much micro excitement. Anyway, since heading out to Ketton Quarry on 29/06/2019 I've managed to sort out a few beetles from there one way or another that are new for me. I also had a short session at Croft Pastures with Adrian Russell on 03/07/2019 although it turned quite cool so not a lot going on. Otherwise I've been busy at work or knackered/lazy.

So here's a few beetles, of varying quality in both scarcity and photographic effort!

Aulonium trisulcus
By far the best of the lot; Nationally scarce and only the second VC55 record, however it's also one that I had no idea what it was and got the ID from a Facebook group.

Pseudocistela ceramboides
Only four previous VC55 records.

Ampedus cardinalis
Sadly deceased by the time I got around to having a look at it and keying through. Again fairly scarce in VC55 terms, believe only c5 records all from Donnington in 2014.

Summer Chafer
Quite common, and probably one I've seen and ignored before.

We also saw a few Glow-worms whilst mothing.

Heterocerus fenestratus
This is one that landed on the sheet at Croft Pastures.

Also at Croft, we had a merry time avoiding boisterous hunks of bovine for the first 15mins or so ....

The only moth highlight from there really was this ...

Bird's Wing

A while ago I noted my first Baccha elongata in the garden. Noticed another today, and managed to point the camera at it.

Baccha elongata

And here's a couple from the garden MV last night:


Poplar Grey

I've also had a change of wheels. The Toyota Auris has done me well for over four years, and despite it's smaller size than the previous couple of cars, it did okay taking traps out into the field on a few occasions. I liked the hybrid engine, and it never let me down in any way whatsoever.

So I went for the slightly bigger car in the range with the same engine. The hatchback boot is large and there is more room in it for passenger legs. I also went for a colour that I would normally shy away from. But ... I am seriously doubting if this will get down the rugged track at Ketton Quarry for example, as the bodywork seems lower to the ground somehow. Time will tell .....

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Moth Ticks

I've had a good 24hrs on the moths front, picking up six ticks in the process.

More efforts with clearwing lures brought two new species for me, one frustratingly brief and one ridiculously showy. Wafting around MYO at the former St Mary's Allotment site in Leicester yesterday afternoon (which is now half built over with housing) brought a couple of Red-belted Clearwings - it's just that neither lingered long enough to be netted. I also had Red-tipped and Six-belted Clearwings at Huncote Embankment yesterday. This morning at Tinwell right over in the east of Rutland, the VES lure brought three Orange-tailed Clearwings - these didn't bother flapping around the lure and just sat in the open on leaves near it!

Orange-tailed Clearwing - Tinwell, 30/06/2019

In between clearwing luring I enjoyed a great mothing night at Ketton Quarry with Adrian Russell, I'm sure the combined list in due course will be large, but there were four immediate highlights for me in my traps with two macro and two micro ticks (one of which was Elachista triatomea which has not hit the camera sensor as yet).

Elegia similella - sadly worn, but a VC55 first nontheless

Marbled Coronet


Other highlights included these:

Satyr Pug

Treble Brown Spot

Bordered Sallow

Light Brocade

Four-dotted Footman

Rosy Footman

Scarlet Tiger

Friday, 28 June 2019


Prior to the Heart and Club in my last post, I'd recorded six individuals from the garden. All were singles, with the first in 2011 - my 13th year of garden trapping. Aside from my garden records, I've only recorded this species twice whilst out and about, so until recently it was a fairly uncommon moth in VC55. Last night, in one garden trap, I had five! This is an amazing turn up, and it'll be interesting to see whether this upward trend continues.

Other news - remember that leaf-mine on willowherb from the garden? Well, out popped a fresh Mompha langiella yesterday - one that was new to VC55 fairly recently and new to my garden last year.

Anyway, today was very warm and sunny. I was at a hospital pre-op first thing, and then back in work whilst the weather just got better. Whilst it was getting a bit late for it, I headed out with a couple of pheromone lures locally early this evening. First stop was the local PYO at Whetstone Pastures. Barely 3mins of exposed TIP lure and I'd recorded five Currant Clearwings - despite the wind blowing the scent away from the currants. This was at c6pm, but encouraged I headed down to Misteron Marsh where around 25mins later I was exposing my FOR lure. This was not so easy, and after around 10mins I was just about to give up when a single Red-tipped Clearwing appeared. Excellent - the new lures work a treat!

Currant Clearwing - Whetstone Pastures 28/06/2019

Red-tipped Clearwing - Misterton Marsh 28/06/2019

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Warm and Wet

Warm, cloudy and still last night, until well past midnight when I headed off for some sleep before trying to get up at dawn in anticipation of a bulging garden trap. I beat the birds, and the moths were aplenty - but I didn't beat the incoming rain which had arrived right on cue. The trap and contents were actually quite dry, but emptying a busy trap in the half-light of dawn with steady drizzle coming down is bloody frustrating. There were a few interesting bits, but these were the pick of the crop for me ...

Marbled White Spot - only the second garden record after taking one last year

Heart and Club - this is becoming an annual species now, only as singles though