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

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bright-line Brown-eye

I'm really having a very lucky year for new breeding macros in the garden. Here's another one that I just noticed resting on a wall as I went to plug in the lawn mower on Sunday. I've had it boxed up feeding well on common weeds (dock, dandelion etc) and I've finally got around to working out what it is. Undoubtedly not the first time it has bred in the garden but the first time I've noticed and identified it.

Bright-line Brown-eye

Thursday, 17 September 2015


Yesterday morning, after I'd parked my car further down the driveway than usual, I noticed that the car roof had been showered with frass overnight. Sure enough, a quick glance up to the cherry tree showed some heavy defoliation high up in the canopy. Later when I got home from work, a quick search with bins revealed a large number of larvae in several groups. I got the ladders out and lopped off a branch with some larvae to check them out and rear through. Turned out to be Buff-tip - another new breeding species for the garden list.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Catch up

Haven't been getting out too much, and when I have I've not had a chance to post anything so here's brief catch up ....

First, a couple of nice beetles, butterflies and a moth from Ketton Quarry on 23/05/2015.

Cryptocephalus bipunctatus - only the 4th VC55 record, first since 1987

Agrilus angustulus (per Graham Finch) - 11 previous records

Dingy Skipper - was lucky to find a pair in cop

Grizzled Skipper

Burnet Companion

The new car had it's debut mothing night out on Friday 05/06/2015 to a group session at Charnwood Lodge; nothing too arduous on the chassis, just some woodland rides. I was pleased to fit 6x traps, 2x gennies and 7x cable reels easily into the boot space with room to spare.

The mothing itself was a little poor, as has been the whole spring! My traps managed a total of 46sp.

Code Taxon Vernacular Total
131 Incurvaria oehlmanniella
140 Nematopogon swammerdamella
227 Monopis laevigella Skin Moth 1
485 Schreckensteinia festaliella
602 Elachista apicipunctella
636 Denisia similella
649 Esperia sulphurella
770 Carpatolechia proximella
797 Neofaculta ericetella
1174 Epiblema cynosbatella
1497 Amblyptilia acanthadactyla
1645 Falcaria lacertinaria Scalloped Hook-tip 1
1680 Cyclophora punctaria Maiden's Blush 1
1722 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet 1
1759 Ecliptopera silaceata Small Phoenix 1
1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet 4
1768 Thera obeliscata Grey Pine Carpet 2
1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet 10
1834 Eupithecia vulgata Common Pug 2
1844 Eupithecia indigata Ochreous Pug 1
1857 Eupithecia tantillaria Dwarf Pug 1
1902 Petrophora chlorosata Brown Silver-line 63
1906 Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth 2
1920 Odontopera bidentata Scalloped Hazel 4
1931 Biston betularia Peppered Moth 2
1947 Ectropis bistortata Engrailed 1
1951 Aethalura punctulata Grey Birch 12
1955 Cabera pusaria Common White Wave 2
1957 Lomographa bimaculata White-pinion Spotted 3
1981 Laothoe populi Poplar Hawk-moth 1
2006 Pheosia gnoma Lesser Swallow Prominent 2
2008 Ptilodon capucina Coxcomb Prominent 2
2014 Drymonia dodonaea Marbled Brown 14
2028 Calliteara pudibunda Pale Tussock 5
2043 Eilema sororcula Orange Footman 16
2060 Spilosoma lubricipeda White Ermine 1
2061 Spilosoma luteum Buff Ermine 1
2063 Diaphora mendica Muslin Moth 3
2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder 4
2123 Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot 7
2160 Lacanobia oleracea Bright-line Brown-eye 1
2163 Melanchra pisi Broom Moth 6
2190 Orthosia gothica Hebrew Character 1
2289 Acronicta rumicis Knot Grass 1
2302 Rusina ferruginea Brown Rustic 5
2326 Apamea crenata Clouded-bordered Brindle 1

Total species 46

Total individuals 199

Grey Birch

Scalloped Hook-tip

Whilst I'm on here, may as well post a couple of bird photos from Greece back in April.

Crested Lark


Stonechat fledglings


Monday, 18 May 2015

Another Car

Doesn't seem that long ago that I was preparing to handover my car for a new one, but it's almost four years since the Vectra went and this arrived ........

It's done some miles, got me from A to B without missing a beat, taken the family to far flung places and carried some stuff around. It's basically been a car. I can't really fault it, and the electric everything with huge bass bins in the boot and low-pro black anodised wheels were somewhat more upmarket than the old Vectra estate. It was particularly good a blasting out drum and bass at anti-socially loud volume. But after nearly four years I am now fed up of the rattling from the slightly cheap interior build quality (although that may be linked to the aforementioned bass bins being utilised liberally).

It never really got abused as much as the old Vectra, and I slept in it a lot less, but it has been where no other Laguna sport tourer has .......

So tomorrow I drive it to work for (hopefully) the last time, and I'll be driving home in something altogether different. I needed something even more economical than a diesel and more environmentally friendly (with a lower cost taxable benefit). So, I'll be having one of these ......

A fully loaded hybrid hatchback. Doubt I'll get as much mothing gear in it, but perhaps I won't need to. Although I'm sure the seats will fold down, and I used to manage with a much smaller white car than this .....

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Larval Life

Found a couple larvae in the garden yesterday, a very gaudy one that I get annually (usually helping themsleves to the flowering cherry) and a more subtly smart one that is another new breeding record for the garden ......


Green-brindled Crescent

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Greek Weevils

Here's another batch of bits from Greece last week - this time a bunch of weevils which for the sake of presentation I've uploaded in size order from smallest to largest. No idea what any of them are ......

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Greek Bugs

I've was working away in Greece last week, staying in a coastal hotel west of Patras in a small town called Kaminia. We have a factory c5km inland from there where I spent most of the week, and as usual I didn't get much of a chance to have a look around the area. All I did manage was to poke the camera at a few inverts that were all pretty easily found over a few half-hour searches of roadside scrub and weeds. Most photos are not great, limited chances whilst trying to cope with either bright sunshine or dusky conditions, but you get the gist. I'll post a few groups, starting with this black and red themed collection of hemiptera.

Possibly Graphosoma italicum

Possibly Ornate Shieldbug (Eurydema ornatum)

Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus)

Not sure, apart from it's not a Firebug

No idea on this one either so far

Think this one is Cercopis arcuata

Terrible photo - think this one is Spilostethus equestris

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Moschatel and Random Bits

I'm off to Greece in the morning - working away for a week in Patras. I doubt there will be any time for having a look around but I'll take my camera anyway. Before I go, here's a few random shots from Devon.

 Moschatel - one of the 'faces' with a five-petal flower

Moschatel - the four-petal top flower

Woolacombe Beach - it was rammed on the main sands but quiet around the rocky pools

This rock caught my eye - a bit like looking for images in clouds, this one looks to me like a sunken fossilised mammoth. And I hadn't been drinking.

This is actually a lot smarter than it looks here - a Sea Hare, my first sea slug

Sea Slater - a large maritime woodlouse

Some funky 'script' lichens

Friday, 17 April 2015

Garden Mothing

I've had both garden traps out every night this week so far - but no great catches, all a bit slow compared to Devon last week. Highlights were these .....

Acleris cristana

Red-green Carpet

Brindled Beauty

Least Black Arches

I also found this larva near my MV trap on Wednesday evening. It looked vaguely familiar, but I just bunged it in a tub with some weeds and grass to check it out later.

Usually any moth larvae I find in the garden are either generalists that I can rear on pretty much anything, or I find them on a particular plant anyway and use that to rear. This one though was not touching anything. I checked it in Porter this evening and remembered what it is, one that I have seen before but a new breeding record for the garden - Centre-barred Sallow. It must have fallen or got blown out of the ash tree in my garden as it should be feeding on the buds at the moment. I've released it back on to the tree to fend for itself.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Return to 1980

The Housing Act 1980 brought into effect the Right to Buy scheme that was a central policy for Thatcher's government. It was the scheme that completely fucked up social housing, promoted escalating house prices through the 80s and generated a whole new 'industry' in buying to let pushing up private rental prices too.

It was so bad, that the Tories under Camoron are now pledging to extend the scheme further to housing association tenants. And they are looking to cover some of the costs of subsidising the prices for those tenants by forcing councils to sell off their most highly valued properties.

And how will this help to resolve the massive void in social housing? It won't.

I hate this party and their feed the rich, grow the wealth-gap, privatise or sell the assets, slimey bastard policies.

'Anything that Dear Mrs Thatcher did, I will certainly do my utmost to replicate.'

'Yes, I really am a mealy-mouthed clueless Etonian twat with only the wealth of my friends, colleagues and party donors in mind.'

'I would do anything to gain a few votes from the people that are too blind to see what a complete capital C on casters I really am.'