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

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

Monday, 24 June 2019

Bordering on Lucky

Okay, so it's not my best work - but you know, time, patience and other things that I generally lack.

Anyways, on Saturday I was poncing around in the garden in a new flouncy light orange T-shirt from M&S preparing for a family BBQ. I'd already noted that the shirt in the sun was apparently attractive to hemiptera, as I'd knocked away a couple of plant hoppers when I noted a small roundish black thing on my left nipple that looked worthy of effort. So I managed to keep it there whilst I dashed in and grabbed the nearest glass tube ..... which had unfortunately previously housed a moth. Once secured and checked under a hand lens, there in all it's generally dull blackness was my first ever Bordered Shieldbug. How's that for luck! It got bunged in the fridge and forgotten about until this evening, when I had no time to try anything but a couple of quick indoor shots with flash. I couldn't even be arsed to grab a leaf, and used a bit of white card - although bizarrely that seems to work okay for this one.

So here it is in all it's tiny moth-scale tarnished and slightly deshevelled glory.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Another Couple Reared

I'm always pleased when I manage to rear something through that either confirms an ID I made for a caterpillar, or provides and ID for one I didn't know. I've had two this week. Yesterday a Barred Straw emerged from a caterpillar that I swept at Countesthorpe Meadows on 22/05/2019 - that one pupated pretty much immediately so I didn't get to photograph it or have a good look at it. Today a Common Emerald has emerged, one I had identified as the larva from Aylestone Meadows back on 27/04/2019. Haven't bothered to photograph either adult as I've got other more pressing things to do this evening.

One I am trying to rear is this, from some sort of willowherb in the garden (certainly not Rosebay or Great, one of the smaller hairy-stemmed varieties). It must be a Mompha sp., but no idea which so I am really hoping I get this one through.

Blotch mine, frass deposited in a clump at the bottom, larva has dark head and prothoracic plates. It's already swapped leaves twice so now a good chance of success I think.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

One for the Treble

The garden traps were, relatively, bulging this morning after a humid and overcast night. Luckily the cat woke me up at around 4:30 so I managed to go through them before the pair of Robins that have been knocking around. For the first time this year (I think) I ran both the synergetic combo and a 125W MV, with the former knocking the spots off of the latter. To be honest I don't think I'll bother running two traps much this year; the usual spot for my MV is now too sheltered with an overhanging sallow from next door. We're likely to get the garden sorted this year so I'll try and factor in a new trap spot during that.

Thought I had a garden tick with Treble Lines in the synergetic trap, but on checking I found I'd had one before in May 2009. Other highlights were an Alder Moth (a garden tick last year) and the 6th garden records and individuals for both Treble-bar and Maiden's Blush.

I'm quite possibly the only moth recorder in Leics. that is glad the conditions haven't held today. It's still warm and overcast but it's also very windy and wet. I've got an early start for work so no trap tonight.

Here's a selection of rushed shots.

Treble Lines - one of two

Alder Moth

Treble-bar (note protruding claspers helpfully confirming male of this species)

Peppered Moth

Scorched Wing

Cherry Bark Moth