Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Back to Purple

There were several nice surprises in the moth trap this morning, with several new moths for the year and one new species for the garden. Probably the best moth was this Purple Thorn, resting in the grass outside the trap.

Purple Thorn

This species rests with its wings held open, an easy was to distinguish it from the similar Early Thorn. This was my second record for the garden, following one seen last summer.

Purple Thorn

The new species for the garden was the Waved Umber. In fact I had three of this species in the trap, including this one that was resting on the outside of the trap itself. This is a moth I have been on the look out for, as it was a glaring omission from the garden list. Its curious shape and habit of resting flat with wings fully spread makes this an intriguing moth.

Waved Umber

There was also my second record of Water Carpet, though quite a faded individual. Despite the name this moth is not particularly associated with wetland habitats, and can be found in woodland, grassland and scrubby areas.

Water Carpet

And finally my first Bright-line Brown-eye of the year. Also in the trap were the years first Small Phoenix and Brown Silver-line, along with a yet to be identified leaf miner.

Bright-line Brown-eye

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Here we are again

It has been some time since I last posted anything here, but that does not mean that there has not been any moths about, only that there was nothing worth writing about really.

In fact there have been lots of moths on the few nights that I have thought it worth putting the trap on, with significant numbers of orthosias (Quakers, etc.), often in the hundreds, but until this week, nothing new or interesting.

So, taking a step backwards to a post I made in November last year, which showed a cocoon and pupa found at Earls Hill, well, you guessed, it hatched out and was a Scalloped Hazel. This was about 2 weeks early for this species.

Scalloped Hazel, pupa and cocoon

So, moving to last night, which was both warm and wet, in the trap there were about 100 moths, of which two were new to me here and have not been recorded for a few years in Shrops. as far as I know.

The first was a Great Prominent, one of the larger moths with a wing-span of more than 2 inches. The normal resting position, as seen in the photo is with its wings held tight to its body. The larval food-plant, like many other moths is Oak.

Great Prominent

Another Oak feeding moth larva is that of the Blossom Underwing, which is localised and not common. I was very pleased to catch this one. Some years there is an influx from the continent along the southern coastline.

Blossom Underwing