Tuesday 30 July 2019

Four New Moths!

I finished work on Sunday and was absolutely shattered, my intentions were nothing but food and sofa-based. But then I noticed how still it was outside, how warm it felt, with the final straw being the Country File weather forecast telling me the rest of the week was windy... I had to get a moth trap out! And boy am I glad I did...

I set a trap up at Mum and Dad's and in the morning was greeted by 285 macro moths of 51 species. So far fewer than the 'Mental Moth Night' of the week before, but the variety was impressive and included an amazing THREE new species for the garden and I!  I've been trapping here on and off for almost ten years, so as you can imagine new species don't crop off all that often - so three in one go is astonishing! 

One of them was really quite special, and actually not in the trap - I found it about 4 feet away in long grass.  Jersey Mocha is a proper 'moth mega', first UK record was in Dorset in 2003 and there's not been that many since, including only a couple in Devon as far as I'm aware...

Jersey Mocha - such a speckly moth!

Less nationally exciting, but for me equally exciting due to their amazing markings, were two stunning examples of The Mocha.  Although supposedly widely distributed in woodland habitat in the south, I've not had the pleasure of one before - what a beautiful little beast and here's both of them...

The Mocha # 1

The Mocha # 2

And the last newbie, but no means least, was a Least Carpet.  A tiny moth but again beautifully marked, and possibly another pretty good record as they're suppose to be largely restricted to the south east of the UK... 

Least Carpet with a Common Footman for size

There were a couple more immigrant species in the trap as well, with singles of Silver Y and my first Dark Sword Grass of the year...

Dark Sword Grass

Other notables from the trap included Scarce Footman, Four-spotted Footman, Cabbage Moth, Lychnis, Scorched Carpet and three Jersey Tigers.

As the title suggests there was a fourth new moth for me that day, thanks to Fran.  It was her first solo trapping attempt but thankfully she kept hold of the Broad-barred White.  Although apparently not a scarce species, I've never caught one before...

Broad-barred White; such a striking moth!

And again - another great moth!

Have a bit of bird news to post up, and some Odonata pics from the other day - but will leave all this for another day as it's time to hit the sack! Night all.

Friday 26 July 2019

More Yellow-legged Gulls and More Moths!

The biggest group of gulls on the Axe yesterday evening were distant, but I soon picked out my third juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the year...

Despite the distance clearly a classic juv YLG - the pattern of streaking on the breast and neck is really striking and typical.

I wasn't however expecting to then pick out a first-summer Yellow-legged Gull as well, probably the rarest age class here and it's only the third non-juvenile Yellow-legged Gull that I've ever seen on the Axe in the late summer months.

Just like the juvenile it was distant, in fact it was often stood next to the juvenile.  Thankfully it allowed prolonged views though...

First-summer Yellow-legged Gull (video grab so shocking quality!)

And again, with the juvenile next to it facing away looking right.  Note the similarities in shape, size and structure between the two.

With last nights overnight high temperatures I knew I had to have a moth trap out - so Fran kindly allowed one in her back garden again (which is very handy as it's only about six doors up from me!).

We were well rewarded with an excellent and varied catch of 271 macros moths of 61 species, which included a first for me - and one that looks so much better in the flesh than it does in the books...

Dusky Sallow - a striking beast

A different view - such a beautifully marked moth

Other highlights included...

Iron Prominent

Swallow Prominent

Magpie Moth

Sharp-angled Peacock

Ruby Tiger

Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet

Got another trap out tonight at Mum and Dad's so am looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Mental Moth Night and Juv Yellow-legged Gulls

Had a trap out at Mum and Dad's last night, and this morning was greeted by probably my busiest ever moth trap!  Fog had descended on Seaton, presumably in the early hours of the morning, which I thought may have killed off any moth activity - but it seemed to have had the opposite effect! What a haul...

The inside of my moth trap this morning!

Every side of every egg box looked something like this!

Inside (and outside of) my trap were an outstanding 559 macro moths of 70 species!  And bear-in-mind this was from just one Skinner-type trap, my Robinson is still out of action and a Robinson will often hold a huge number more moths than any Skinner-type (maybe 50 - 70% more moths in my experience!).  Because it was such an impressive haul, I'm going make all your day's by listing them all and their numbers;

Large Yellow Underwing - 81
Heart and Dart - 63
Uncertain/Rustic - 39
Bright-line Brown-eye - 37
Dark Arches - 36
Common/Lesser Rustic - 33
Elephant Hawkmoth - 27 (so much pink!)
Common Footman - 22
Shuttle-shaped Dart - 17
Dingy Footman - 13
Willow Beauty - 12
Clay - 11
Mottled Rustic - 10
Four-spotted Footman - 9 (an incredible count and all males!)
Peppered Moth - 7
Buff Ermine - 7
Poplar Hawkmoth - 6
Buff Arches - 6
Rosy Footman - 6
Brussels Lace - 6
Lesser Yellow Underwing - 5
Coronet - 5
Knot Grass - 5
Swallow-tailed Moth - 4
V-pug - 4
Brimstone - 4
Ruby Tiger - 4
Nut-tree Tussock - 4
Double Square-spot - 4
Early Thorn - 3
Common Carpet - 3
Riband Wave -3
Buff-tip - 3 
Scalloped Oak - 3
Crescent Dart - 3 (my highest count of the local speciality)
Flame-shoulder - 3
Dot Moth - 3
Pug sp. - 3
Minor sp. - 3 
Privet Hawkmoth - 2
Light Emerald - 2 
Small Emerald - 2
July Highflyer - 2
Small Fan-footed Wave - 2
Smoky Wainscot - 2
Marbled Green - 2
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing - 2
Silver Y - 2 (yeah immigrants at last!)
Small Fan-foot - 2 
Spectacle - 2
Jersey Tiger - 1
Single-dotted Wave - 1
Clouded Silver - 1
Common Emerald - 1
Engrailed - 1
Yellow Shell - 1
Small Rivulet - 1
Scorched Carpet - 1 (always nice!)
Garden Carpet - 1
Ruddy Carpet - 1
Snout - 1
Black Arches - 1
Leopard Moth - 1 (not caught too many of these - stunning)
Pebble Prominent - 1
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing - 1
Herald - 1
Dog's Tooth - 1 (a bit worn but don't catch these all too often)
Green Arches - 1
Grey Dagger - 1
Poplar Grey - 1

And here's some more photo evidence...

Leopard Moth - must remember to photograph moths in the spot in future as love the look of the lichen!

Male Crescent Dart

Herald, Four-spotted Footman, Privet Hawkmoth (and Heart and Dart). A nice view!

Scorched Carpet - such a well named moth

Ruddy Carpet

Dog's Tooth (and Dingy Footman and Heart and Dart)

Marbled Green - the weakest marked of the two, but the other stayed high up on a wall!

.....and just when you thought this blog post couldn't get any better, you remember seeing "Juv Yellow-legged Gulls" in the title :-)  

Yes I saw my first juvenile Yellow-legged Gull of the season last Friday, it was brief, distant and quickly flew off.  The weather was awful on Friday though, so I thought this was just going to prove my first one of the day, but I was wrong.  No more - well until tonight when this lovely big, long and pale brute stuck out like a flashing beacon north of Coronation Corner.  Again it was distant but it was crying out to be papped...

Juv Yellow-legged Gull from one angle

...and from another view point - which basically offered the same view just of the other side of the bird!

After writing all this I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to going to bed!  Night all.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Insects Galore

It's been a good week, which started in great form finding my first ever patch Purple Hairstreak!  I noticed there seems to be good numbers of the species about this year, and had my eyes on a few Oak trees on the edge of some woodland in Colyton at the end of Jobble's Lane...

For some reason these caught my eye

And on my first time of checking earlier this week, ten minutes into scanning I picked one up!  I saw it several times over the course of the next five minutes before it flew deeper into the woods - love it when a plan works out!  No pics I'm afraid as no settled views, but such a thrill to see.

I have had three mothing nights this week, starting with a trap at Mum and Dad's on Sunday night.  Early on Monday morning there were 142 macro moths of 42 species for me to look at, with the highlights being...

Scarce Footman - haven't caught many of these at all

Scarce and Common Footman

The Herald - a stunning moth

Black Arches - common but was my first this year so needed a photo!

The next night my moth trap was at Fran's house where 121 macro moths of 32 species were caught, with one clear highlight for me...

Male Drinker - such a beast!

On Tuesday night it was back up to Mum and Dad's again, 104 macro moths of 28 species were waiting for me the following morning and included one of my favourite moths...

Male Four-spotted Footman

And again with a Common Footman

Also among the catch were...

Maybe common but always beautiful - Burnished Brass

Pine Carpet - don't catch loads of these

Small Blood-vein

Phew. And that's the insects done!  No notable birds to mention so will go straight to the lunar activity of the last few days.  The moon has been pretty impressive all week as it is, and here's it rising on Monday night...

Taken during another unsuccessful Quail hunt!

But of course the highlight was the amazing partial lunar eclipse on Tuesday evening...


22:30. Look at the colour of it!!

Hopefully there will be some more feathered content in my next post...

Saturday 13 July 2019

A Red, Red Knot

Clive found this lovely summer plumaged Knot on the Estuary today. It remained distant whilst I was there but still such a pleasure to watch...

There was a Common Sandpiper just to the right of shot as well

Not been out birding much lately although I have done a bit more mothing, the highlight from this being a new species for me. Yes it's one I should have seen long ago, but I have just never caught one of these at Mum and Dad's. A cracking Bordered Beauty from Fran's garden...

Such a stunning moth and so vibrantly coloured

Staying on the insect theme - after what for me was the worst spring and early summer for butterfly numbers that I can recall, it's been great to see excellent numbers about this month.  All the usual species seem to be out in good numbers making the absolute most of this warm weather, including this Comma from Lower Bruckland Ponds...

So smart

Monday 8 July 2019

A Good Moth Night

On Friday evening it was great to have a moth trap out at Mum and Dad's. I haven't trapped here for a few years now, after a couple of years of fairly intense trapping - so I do feel like I know the site quite well. 

The weather was perfect, and although there was no evidence of any long-distant migration it was a super catch with 427 macro moths of 44 species.  Absolutely no surprise that the most numerous three species were Heart and Dart (129), Dark Arches (102) and Large Yellow Underwing (42).  Pleasingly Hawkmoths were well represented with 18 of four species...

L to R; Poplar Hawk, Elephant Hawk, Small Elephant Hawk and Privet Hawk.

Two Privet Hawks were a bit of a surprise because I've only ever caught five here before!

Privet Hawks are so HUGE!

Poplar Hawks have the fluffiest of heads!

Elephant and Small Elephant Hawks

Same as above but a different view

Out of the rest of the catch a White Satin was the pick of the bunch. On the first night I ever moth trapped in the garden (29th June 2009) I caught five of these, so at the time thought I may have stumbled upon a local population - but no - not a sniff of another until this one on Friday night...

Silky white wings and those zebra striped legs make this moth a bit of a cracker in my books!

Hoping to get my Robinson trap repaired soon, so you have been warned - moth content is set to rise on the blog if that does happen...