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

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Rutland Water Reedbed revisited - 30/08/2008

I joined Ron Follows, Adrian Russell and Derek Lee for another overnight trapping session centred on the reedbeds and again with some coverage at the North Arm Marsh. Conditions looked promising but it was slow-going at the sheet and by the time I retired to my pump-up bed in the back of car (mothing luxury now, a proper comfortable prostrate sleep rather than a miserable cramped slouch in the olg Peugeot!) it was started to turn misty. By morning a very damp heavy mist had decended. I ran 3 x 125W MV traps and the 80W actinic around the old reedbed, totalling 474 of 53sp. Not too bad considering the limited habitat covered. Overall though from the sheet, 15 x MV traps and 4 x actinic traps the catch was 1983 of 101sp. The main target, and highlight, was Twin-spotted Wainscot (14). Twin-spotted Wainscot - can be a reedbed pest but still a scarce moth in VC55 Brindled Green - nice when they are fresh Pinion-streaked Snout

From the garden trap - 29/08/2008

Another garden tick, the 53rd pyralid and all the better as it is only the second record for VC55. To be honest it took a while to identify - I'd considered the species that it turned out to be but all the photos I could find on the internet were of much darker individuals. A posted photo query to UK Moths yahoo group and local moth recorders concurred with Andy Mackay's suggestion that it was indeed Duponchelia fovealis as I had originally thought. Duponchelia fovealis, a county and garden tick Otherwise, the catch was much reduced in numbers (can't explain why, conditions as good as or better). Total catch 381 of 51sp. (125W MV 191 of 40sp., 80W actinic 190 of 35sp.) First for garden: Duponchelia fovealis 1 First for year in garden: Skin Moth (Monopis laevigella) 1 Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago) 1 Pale Mottled Willow (Paradrina clavipalpis) 1 Highest counts: Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 88 Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 56 Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa) 36 Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 28 Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) 21 Common Marbled Carpet Frosted Orange

Charnwood Lodge - 29/08/2008

After a week of heavy numbers in the garden, and with conditions looking as good as or better than previous nights, I decided to leave trap running around the open grasslands at the entrance to Charnwood Lodge. I placed traps up on the bomb rocks and along the dry stone wall, hoping that the gennie would run all night and the cattle wouldn't shit on everything. My only targets as such were late summer noctuids associated with this habitat, and species I'm unlikely to see in the garden. Arriving back in the morning I was pleased to see traps still in situ and devoid of sloppy pats, and the gennie was still running. In fact, by the time I switched it off the gennie had run 3 x 125W MV traps along with 200M of cable for 10.5 hours! The catch was pretty good in terms of range of species, but surprisingly low on numbers considering the 500+ I'd had a few times in the garden. Total catch 536 of 63sp. Main highlights were: Brown-dotted Clothes Moth (Niditinea fuscella) 1 (county tick for me) Teleiopsis diffinis 14 Galium Carpet (Epirrhoe galiata) 1 Autumnal Rustic (Eugnorisma glareosa) 9 True Lover's Knot (Lycophotia porphyrea) 1 Antler Moth (Cerapteryx graminis) 25 Hedge Rustic (Tholera cespitis) 22 Grey Chi (Antitype chi) 1 Angle-striped Sallow (Enargia paleacea) 2 Gold Spot (Plusia festucae) 11 Only expected species I missed was Feathered Gothic, and no sign of hoped-for enigmas Neglected Rustic and Golden-rod Brindle. Angle-striped Sallow - a Nationally Scarce species, one of VC55s specialities Autumnal Rustic - I think these are smart, a Charnwood speciality True Lover's Knot - a heather feeder, no idea where the name comes from Galium Carpet Grey Chi Hedge Rustic Antler Sallow - normal form, compare to the one from my garden

Best Kingfisher on the Galaxy - 29/08/2008

About 07:45 in the morning, and I'm just getting ready to leave out for work when I hear Nichola shout 'Mark - quick come and see!' from Alex's bedroom. Having no idea what the fuss was about, I ambled in to have a look and bugger me there's a Kingfisher perched on the rubberised strip running along the roof-line of our Galaxy. A superb and completely unexpected garden tick - there are no running streams or brooks within half a mile or so of our house and the Galaxy is hardly the ideal perch. I ran downstairs and grabbed the DSLR, and just managed to get a couple of very quick shots before it realised that there were no fish on the Galaxy roof and fecked off. Turned out that Nichola had just opened the curtains and the Kingfisher just dashed into view and made a very undignified landing. No idea if it had been chased there by one of the local Sparrowhawks.

Superb bird on a knackered old car.

Unlike another great bird that Nichola found, at least I got to see this garden first in the flesh. I got home one day a few years ago to be presented with a snippet of video footage of a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the cherry tree - bloody good job there have been a few since!

From the garden trap - 28/08/2008

Another night of big numbers with Large Yellow fecking Underwings maintaining the nuisance factor. If ever a lepidopteran ASBO was needed .... Total catch 583 of 46sp. (125W MV 225 of 38sp., 80W actinic 358 of 34sp.) First for year in garden: Acleris sparsana 1 Sallow (Xanthia icteritia) 1 Highest counts: Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 249 [178 act, 71 MV] Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa) 44 [25 MV, 19 act] Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 43 [26 act, 17 MV] Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 37 [24 act, 13 MV] Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata) 29 [15 MV, 14 act] The Sallow - yet another nice yellowy late summer noctuid. This is the plainer yellow form flavescens

Twycross Zoo 25/08/2008 - Pt. 2

A few more mammalian snaps from Twycross Zoo. Aardwolf - an insectivorous hyena, 200000 termites a night keeps it going. Bat-eared Fox - big ears to radiate heat away aswell as to hear prey (though this is also largely insectivorous, with termites again being favoured). Meerkat - I could watch these all day, always one sentinal whilst the others seem to be either manically searching for food or kicking back relaxing. Asian Short-clawed Otter - squeeky

From the garden trap - 27/08/2008

Another bumper catch, rounded off nicely with two very unexpected garden-first micros: Caloptilia populetorum - a county tick for me aswell. Don't think there are many previous records; Andy Mackay took it as a VC55 first in 2003. Roeslerstammia erxlebella - again not many previous records other than mine in 2006 from Charnwood Lodge and Enderby Quarry. This one is a bit knackered but shows (just) the whitish band on the antennae, golden-yellow head and metallic sheen to forewing. Total catch 568 of 52sp. (125W MV 207 of 42sp., 80W actinic 361 of 35sp.) First for garden: Caloptilia populetorum 1 Roeslerstammia erxlebella 1 First for year in garden: Meal Moth (Pyralis farinalis) 1 Barred Sallow (Xanthia aurago) 1 Highest counts: Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 239 [180 act, 59 MV] Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 42 [29 act, 13 MV] Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 31 [17 MV, 14 act] Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa) 31 [18 act, 13 MV] Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata) 25 [17 act, 8 MV] Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria) 23 [13 MV, 10 act] Agriphila geniculea 21 [12 act, 9 MV] Other highlights: Old Lady (Mormo maura) 2 Gold Spot (Plusia festucae) 4 Barred Sallow - another nice yellowy one

From the garden trap - 26/08/2008

Numbers dropped off in the MV, but the actinic was still packed. Total catch 487 of 37sp. (125W MV 169 of 27sp., 80W actinic 318 of 32sp.) First for year in garden: Centre-barred Sallow (Atethmia centrago) 2 Highest counts: Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 240 [190 act, 50 MV] Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 57 [44 MV, 13 act] Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 37 [27 act, 10 MV] Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa) 25 [17 act, 8 MV] Other highlights: Gold Spot (Plusia festucae) 5 Gold Spot seems to be having a great season. Prior to 2008 I'd only recorded 6 individuals with 2 on 06/08/2006 being the highest count! Wonder what the collective noun would be for Gold Spot? Centre-barred Sallow - usually the first of a few closely related colourful late summer noctuids Ypsolopha sequella

From the garden trap - 25/08/2008

Extremely good numbers overall, even when discounting the locust-like Large Yellow Underwings. No fun when every egg box has a pile of LYUs in each recess - there are 11 in this small space. Another garden first micro was sadly not photographed before release - Caloptilia robustella is relatively common and I hadn't realised it was a garden first. Total catch a whopping 615 of 43sp. - highest ever total of individuals in garden (125W MV 238 of 34sp., 80W actinic 377 of 33sp. - highest total of individuals from a single trap in garden) First for garden: Caloptilia robustella 2 First for year in garden: Rhomboid Tortrix (Acleris rhombana) 1 Pale Eggar (Trichiura crataegi) 1 Old Lady (Mormo maura) 2 Rosy Rustic (Hydraecia micacea) 1 Highest counts: Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 350 [242 act, 108 MV] Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 45 [34 act, 11 MV] Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 42 [23 act, 19 MV] Square-spot Rustic (Xestia xanthographa) 31 [17 MV, 14 act] Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria) 17 [11 MV, 6 act] Other highlights: Dark Sword-grass (Agrotis ipsilon) 1 Gold Spot (Plusia festucae) 4 Second Dark Sword-grass this year Something oddly satisfying about having an Old Lady in your garden, even when they have obviously been around the block a bit like this one. Pale Eggar Rosy Rustic - a properly dull late summer noctuid

Twycross Zoo 25/08/2008 - Pt. 1

Another family day out, another local attraction, another chance to get some much-needed DSLR practice. I took a fair few shots so I'll upload a few at a time. Babirusa - an ancient species related to pigs in the order Suidae but in its own subfamily Babyrousinae Capybara - like a bloody great big swimming Guinea Pig Black-tailed Prairie Dog - a JCB equipped ground squirrel Red-faced Black Spider Monkey - badly sunburnt Javan Langur - can be gingery red or jet black Concolor Gibbon (or Black Gibbon) - apart from the obvious, this is a female by virtue of the yellowy fur. Males and jet black with white cheeks, all young start off black with females becoming more yellow with maturity

Monday, 25 August 2008

From the garden trap - 24/08/2008

Large Yellow Underwing numbers building up to plague proportions! Total catch 331 of 40sp. (125W MV 126 of 31sp., 80W actinic 205 of 25sp.) First for year in garden: Ypsolopha parenthesella 1 Tawny Speckled Pug (Eupithecia icterata subfulvata) 1 Highest counts: Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) 170 Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) 36 Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) 17 Other highlights: Gold Spot (Plusia festucae) 1

Great Central Railway 24/08/2008

Don't get me wrong! I have no particular interest in steam trains, train numbers, engine classes or anything else. Okay, I liked to watch Thomas the Tank Engine with the boys when they were younger. Regardless of that, a family day out on the Great Central Railway running steam trains between Leicester North (Birstall) - Rothley - Quorn - Loughborough is a great day. And despite the crowds, it was a good opportunity for some photography and providing suitable images to desaturate the colour.

Leicester City v Tranmere Rovers - 23/08/2008

I took Josh and Alex to the mighty Walkers Stadium for a taste of League One action. With City undefeated and no goals conceded after three games, I was looking forward to another win and a clean sheet.

We got to the ground early and I took a few shots using my new phone (SonyEricsson K770i with a 3.2Mpixel CyberShot camera). Filbert Fox was in good form - surely the best mascot and stadium in the Coca Cola leagues. We were seated in the family enclosure, though with the ground being devoid of posts and viewing obstructions you can pretty much sit anywhere and it's the same. Not like the good old days of standing in the Spion Kop crush at Filbert Street though.

The Spion Kop

The Alliance and Leicester Stand

Filbert Fox with the West Stand behind

City were attacking the goal at the new Spion Kop in the first half, and it looked to be plain sailing in the first half hour with a Gradel shot hitting the bar and a shot from Howard cleared off the line with no reply from Tranmere. Howard then put City one up on 33 minutes. David Martin took on the goalkeeping in this game and was untroubled throughout the first half. The second half saw City attacking the goal at our end. Matty Fryatt headed City two up on 52 minutes from a Gradel free kick - a moment I managed to capture on the phone.
Fryatt sticks one in, the ball is just over the keepers head. Honest.

Cue another bout of Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis (de-der-de-de-der-de-de-der-de-der-de-der-de-der etc). The linesman and ref then conspired to fuck up and gift Tranmere a goal from Shuker on 80 minutes (the linesman had been flagging furiously, ignored by the ref, and then put it down when Tranmere scored - what a wanker). Fryatt rounded off a solid performance with City's third in the last minute.

Pearson certainly seems to be getting the team sorted, and I remain highly confident that City will be back in the Championship next season. Shame that the crowds have dwindled (attendance only 17798 for this game) but I'm sure they'll pick up as the season progresses.