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

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Quakers and Bricks

Here's a few seasonal garden noctuids from recent garden traps .....

Yellow-line Quaker


Red-line Quaker

Blair's Shoulder-knot

Friday, 29 September 2017

Gnome Seats

Here's a few snaps from Swithland Wood last weekend. I'd actually gone to have a look for Fly Agaric, the archetypal gnome seat, but no joy there sadly. Although it is a fairly common fungi I've never made any effort to see it, so I'm going to try and get a couple of hours to have another look this weekend. The whole time I was there it was like being in a hailstorm with acorns raining down from the many oaks with every slight breeze. And they bloody hurt!

Pretty sure these are slightly gone-over Amethyst Deceiver.
Yellow Stagshorn

Birch Polypore


Turkey-tail I think.

Rosy Bonnet?

No idea - this is a tiny fungus on an acorn cup.

Yellowing Curtain Crust I think.

Sunday, 24 September 2017


No, I've not given up already! I have had a couple of busy weeks at work though, and the weather has been generally crappy so not been able to do a lot to post about. I've been out today looking at/for fungi so I'll post about those sometime soon, and the garden traps have been back out a few nights recently, bringing in more autumnal moths. Like these.

Pink-barred Sallow

Beaded Chestnut

Barred Sallow

Lunar Underwing

Lunar Underwing

Frosted Orange

Burnished Brass

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Stig of the Beech

A good look over an isolated beech tree at Misterton Marsh revealed 100s of mines, including S. tityrella (which I'd already found at Ulverscroft) and a few that were different. These were again typical Stigmella gallery mines, but the egg position and early part of the mine was well away from the mid-rib and the frass pattern in the early part of the gallery was also different. One of the mines also ploughs through a vein rather than being constrained between them. These are Stigmella hemargyrella. So, starting from a complete novice I've now found both of the Stigmella species that mine beech. I should of done this years ago!

Stigmella hemargyrella

I've also added a new noctuid to the garden breeding list, although it's one I had no idea about. I found a pupa very loosely spun into a cocoon of leaves on the garden silver birch, and felt sure it was a noctuid. There was no feeding damage that I could see, so I collected up the pupa and to see what came out in due course. Only a week or so later, and this came out .....


It emerged yesterday, but wouldn't play ball for a photo. After a night in the fridge, it still wouldn't play ball. In fact it took me well over an hour to eventually get any photos, and although it still looks pretty fresh its not exactly the mint example it could of been - particularly on the cilia and right forewing. This has got to be the most uncooperative individual I've ever bothered with. Anyway, once I knew what it was I could check the texts, and clearly it hasn't been feeding on my birch but far more likely on the large sallow that overhangs it. Pupation in a cocoon of leaves is normal for this species.

Far more cooperative, and ironically looking fresher, was this from the last garden trap I ran .....

Black Rustic

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

All the leaves are brown ...

... and so are the moths. I think that's how the song went back in '65.

I've just noted that it's over a week since I posted a moth photo, so an easy opportunity for a lazy post right here right now. Here's some shades of brown from the last couple of traps (still not much yellow appearing!).

Brown-spot Pinion
Sadly fresh, rubbed and nicked at the same time. Only the 7th garden record, and first since 2011.

Setaceous Hebrew Character
Been getting a good few of these lately, and still fresh individuals arriving.

Common Wainscot
Always seem to get more of these in the autumn than earlier in year.

Dark Sword-grass
Another - lost count of how many this year now (and my MapMate not up to date).

I'm going to keep trapping through the autumn into the early winter this year - I'm still hoping to pick up one or two overdue species that I've had in years gone past.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Misterton Marsh

Nipped down to Misterton Marsh this afternoon for a potter about. It's not a site that I've visited many times, and certainly not with any regularity. A handful of moth trapping nights, a few attempts with clearwing lures and a couple of walks around is probably it.

As soon as I pulled up, I noticed that there were several teneral Common Darters on the fence trying to catch some rays between cloudy interludes.

Common Darter

I also noted a load of mines on willow that looked interesting. I collected a few leaves to check out, and once I got them home I established that every single one was tenanted .. and that the culprit was neither lepidopteran, dipteran or hymenopteran. So these are the first coleopteran mines I've knowingly seen. They are one of the Isochnus spp. weevils that can't be identified in the larval stage or by the mine, but having posted them onto a local beetle group it turms out that the VC recorder independently found the same mines on the same small group of trees a couple of years ago and sucessfully reared them through, so almost cerainly the same species.

Larval mines of Isochnus sequensi (probably)

Whilst looks for mines, I also found Alder Tongue. Lots of it.

Otherwise I swept and potted a few bits, and collected a few mines from beech, norway maple and elm for another day. Here's a few general shots from around the site, not really a marsh but there are plenty of alders, willows, rushes and loads of willowherb. And some buzzing HV cables carried over the site on a pylon run.