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

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Being Birched

Way back on 25/03/2005 I'd headed over to Kinchley Lane that runs between Swithland Reservoir and Buddon Wood (a reminder again for the birders, it's where that Crag Martin was in 1999). Whilst there I managed to net two Eriocraniids - neither of which looked right for Dyseriocrania subpurpurella and both of which looked interesting. Turned out I was a very lucky man indeed; one was Eriocrania cicatricella, the other was Eriocrania unimaculella and both were confirmed firsts for VC55. Both feed on birch, of which there is plenty available. I managed to net a single E. cicatricella the following year, but have failed to produce any more records of either since.

Eriocrania cicatricella - Kinchley Lane 25/03/2005

Eriocrania unimaculella - Kinchley Lane 25/03/2005

Today I headed over there again for a bit of fresh air and sunshine whilst mooching about. Almost immediately after getting out of the car, I picked up a couple of Orange Underwings with my bins - no chance of one coming close enough to be netted ot photographed. Ravens were cronking, Great Spots calling and Chiffchaffs singing, all adding to the very welcome springtime ambience.

Soon afterwards I noticed a couple of butterflies nectaring on catkins, but both were backlit so I thought I'd get a couple of shots to see how they turned out.



Just after taking these shots, I noticed a golden Eriocraniid on a dead oak twig just under my nose. That's just about the same time that I realised I'd made a schoolboy error ... camera battery died. I'm so used to it lasting for ages that I'd not checked if it needed charging after use yesterday. Arse. So I duly potted the moth, and as I did so I noticed a darker individual on the wall and potted that too. And I then failed to find any more over the next hour or so that I was there. I found a few bits on the walls, like Bristly Millipedes, Taleporia tubulosa, a couple of beetles to check and (oddly) a Saucer Bug. But with the camera dead there are no shots.

I did point my phone at the lane and the birches though, but I managed to screw that up too as the phone camera was set to some odd 'full screen' mode that meant the photos are an odd ratio. Still I quite liked them so some got cropped and some are almost 2:1. Something oddly nice about a birch woodland I reckon.

Later this afternoon, after the camera had been charged up, I grabbed a couple of quick snaps of the two Eriocraniids that I potted up. I'm certain one is just Dyseriocrania subpurpurella (there are a few oaks dotted amongst the birches) but the other is definitely a different species, slightly bigger and looks a good contender for Eriocrania semipurpurella which I've not seen before. One for the chop.

Dyseriocrania subpurpurella - 28/03/2019

Eriocrania semipurpurella? - 28/03/2019

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