Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Common Blue at Sidwood

There's been strong wind and quite a lot of rain in the valley recently so, taking advantage of the first fine day to dawn in the last two weeks, I had a drive to Sidwood this afternoon and added a new butterfly to my list, a Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus).

Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Small Skippers were also flying.

Ringlet (Aphanotopus hyperantus)

Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)

Sidwood - a peaceful place for a saunter

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Moth Lady

My recent after-dark activities in the garden seem to be attracting quite a lot of interest from my neighbours and village friends so it's probably just as well I've been doing nothing more unusual than trapping moths.

Several of my neighbours have popped in to see the moths I've trapped and one village friend actually came and sat with me in the garden for two hours on the only balmy, breezeless night there's been in the valley in the last two weeks. The morning after, I had a call from an acquaintance in a nearby village to tell me she had found a moth in her garden: "Do you want me to keep it for you?" she asked. Her description suggested it was a female Garden Tiger (Arctia caja) so I happily agreed. It was certainly worth the ride ...

Amongst the last catch were ten new species; of these, only one was caught in the trap. I am still trying to understand why some go into the trap while others cling to it or settle on the surrounding grass, the fence or the door of the garden shed. With care, I was able to pot and later observe these 'reluctants' although photographing most of them proved more difficult that I would have preferred.

I was pleased with this Light Emerald (Campaea mararitata) ...

... and this attractive little Foxglove Pug (Eupithecia pulchellata pulchellata) ...

The eight other new species were a micro moth, Udea olivalis, a Small Angled Shades (Euplexia lucipara), a Pale-shouldered Brocade (Lacanobia thalassina), a Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata), a Mottled Beauty (Alcis repandata), a Middle-barred Minor (Oligia fasciuncula), a Marbled Minor (Oligia strigilis), and a Clouded Silver (Lomographa temerata). I am grateful to Tom Tams, our County moth recorder, for identifying the last three of these.

At 11.45pm the following evening, while I was releasing the moths, I photographed this Silver Y (Autographa gamma) feeding on a patch of Crane's Bill in the garden ...

The following afternoon, as I was cutting the grass, this male Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) flew up from the cover of the same plant and settled on the wall of the house ...