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

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Reeds & Rough

A few snaps from a couple of excursions.

First up, I joined a small gathering of moth recorders at Rutland Water last week in the hope of picking up a couple of reedbed wainscots that I'm yet to see (Obscure & Webb's). Sadly no joy on that front, and the conditions were not ideal with it cooling quite quickly and rain due in the early hours, but nonetheless another great session - so good to be out by a mothing sheet again. The group split up into three areas, and I joined Adrian Russell in what seemed to be a perfect spot immediately alongside Lagoon 3 and close to Shoveler Hide. We ran a sheet and I walked a trap out along the edge of the reedbed. The constant chattering of Common Terns, Oystercatchers and Lapwings was a great backdrop as we set up.




There was plenty of activity at the sheet and over the trap, though it all seemed to die down a little as the night wore on.


Still, great to see a few species again that I don't generally get in the garden and haven't seen for a while, including Chilo phragmitella, Slender Brindle and these three:

Southern Wainscot

Brown-veined Wainscots

Eudonia pallida

But the first moth of the night was a Gelechiid on the sheet that may yet turn out to be one of the most interesting of the c73sp. once checked ....

Probably Caryocolum fraternella

More recently, last night I headed out for a couple of hours to again walk around a site near Dunton Bassett with Graham Calow and Craig Mabbett. Another peaceful and productive walk, with a fair number of leaf mines collected. The site really is unusual, with very rough scrub at the back of an industrial estate with HGV parking, leading down to managed carp fishing lakes. The site seems to be a magnet for unusual, and often escaped, flora - perhaps dragged in on the wheels of lorries etc.



I'll leave out leaf mines for the moment, though a few were new for me. Instead here's a couple of damselflies (all were a bit sluggish loafing on waterside vegetation after rain) and a spanking sawfly larva ....

White-legged Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly

Craesus septentrionalis - a good number defoliating a small Alder sapling
A new one for me

The peak period for leaf-mining and galls will be upon us before long ....

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Fire Crackers

Back in the day, after buying 'Skinner 2nd Ed', this was the second moth guide that I bought ....


Apparently 'Pyralid' is derived from the Latin pyralis (which in turn appears to be derived from the Greek pyr = fire). Pyralis was a fly fabled to have lived in fire; perhaps an allusion to moths heading towards candles / torches? Either way some of the species in this group are real crackers (though not necessarily any of those featured here).

Amongst the micros, this group has always been generally sought after - perhaps because accessible guides to other micro groups were limited at best. I used to scrutinise any new Pyralid moths against this guide as I learnt the commoner species, but I don't think I've actually opened my copy in the last ten years or so.

Whilst it is a diverse group with a number of sub-families, there were all Pyralidae back then. Not now; the group has been split into two families, Pyralidae and Crambidae. I've been happily snapping just about anything that sits still by the trap for long enough over the last few weeks, whilst looking for interesting non-leps, and realise I've ended up with a number of photos of various common 'Pyralids' - a good opportunity to actually check which family some of these are in and to overload your screen with far too many images for one blog post.

I'll start with species that are still within the Pyralidae:

Bee Moth

Gold Triangle

Endotricha flammealis

Phycita roborella

Acrobasis consociella

Acrobasis advenella

Euzophera pinguis

Homeosoma sinuella

Rhodophaea formosa

And the following are all within the Crambidae ....

Eudonia lacustrata

Eudonia mercurella

Chrysoteuchia culmella

Crambus pascuella

Agriphila straminella

Catoptria pinella

Water Veneer (female)

Small China-mark (male)

Small China-mark (female)

Ringed China-mark (male)

Ringed China-mark (female)

Pyrausta aurata

Anania perlucidalis

Udea prunalis

Mother of Pearl

It doesn't take a genius to see that there are moths within both families that have similar shapes, eg why is a Gold Triangle a Pyralid and yet Udea prunalis is a Crambid. I'm sure it makes sense genetically ....

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Twist : Torts and Ticks

I'm going to focus on various Tortricidae from the garden, and including some ticks. In no particular order. First up, a couple of non-descript looking Torts that were confirmed via gen det courtesy of Andy Mackay:

Grapholita tenebrosana - 12/07/2021 - a full blown tick for me

Grapholita funebrana - 13/07/2021, previous records in 2017 & 2018

Oddly enough, I've had neither of these to the pheromone lures that seem to have attracted them for others (SKI & MOL). Unlike the following two; whilst these were never really in doubt, they have been confirmed by gen det too:

Pammene suspectana to MOL - 29/05/2021

Grapholita lobarzewskii to SKI - 13/06/2021

And this one too:

Dichrorampha vancouverana - 01/07/2021


The following was new for the garden, though I didn't realise until after it had been dismissed with the rest of the catch so only this quick snap.

Eucosma hohenwartiana - 16/07/2021

Also new for the garden, though not a classic specimen!

Variegated Golden Tortrix - 12/07/2021


None of the following were new, though only single records for each:

Gypsonoma oppressana - 17/07/2021 (one previous record 2013)

Cydia fagiglandana - 17/07/2021 (one previous record 2020)

Acleris kochiella - 22/07/2021 (one previous record 2011)


The following will be new for the garden when confirmed - pending gen det:

Dichrorampha sp. (alpinana / flavidorsana) - 17/07/2021
D. flavidorsana would be a full tick for me

Endothenia sp. (pres. gentianeana) - 22/07/2021


And to round up the Tortrix overload, none of the following are 'special', except that they are Tortricids which are perhaps my favourite moth group.

Epinotia foenella

Cydia splendana

Epinotia nisella

Lobesia abscisana

Zeiraphera isertana

Lozotaeniodes formosana

Rhyaconia buoliana

Pammene fasciana

Celypha lacunana

Finally sticking with the Tortrix theme, the Epinotia spp. that I netted a couple of weeks ago were confirmed as Epinotia tedella and Epinotia nanana by gen det.

Tortrix is derived from the Latin tortus, meaning twist - alluding to the leaf-rolling habits of many of these species.