Tuesday, 31 May 2016

An Invasion - updated

Following on from Mikes post just now, I walked across Bringsty Common as dusk was approaching this evening and the grassy areas are swarming with thousands of Plutella xylostella. I estimate in parts around 10 per square metre. I'll try and take a video tomorrow if the weather is suitable. It's astonishing.

Well, I ran the garden moth trap last night (31st) and recorded 86 in the trap. The previous night there were none. This was a conservative estimate of numbers as many were flying up with the egg boxes being moved. They must have moved in during the day yesterday I think, presumably on the  front of the storm (that completely missed us - rain wise) that moved in the from the near continent. Glad I'm not growing any brassicas this year in the vegetable plot. No other migrant signs in the moth trap at all.
Bringsty Common: Plutella xylostella

Peter Hall

Burnet Companion

I took this photo of a Burnet Companion on my patch at Norchard yesterday. I assume the green abdominal appendage is the pheremone gland. Not seen that before.
Also a large fall of Diamond-back moths here today. They appear to have come via the East and all seem very pale, as though they have travelled a long way. Flushed around ten in my garden.

Pale Tussock ovae

Pale Tussock ovae.

          The garden trap attracted a female Pale Tussock a couple of nights ago resulting in a batch of 23 eggs being laid. I have never seen the larvae, some forms of which are very attractive, others less so. I'm not sure if all the larvae from one batch of eggs will have the same form or whether they will they vary. Does anyone know?

Patrick Clement

May 30th Bringsty and Brockhampton

I made a second attempt to trap on the Brockhampton Estate last night (after the first attempt a few days ago was thwarted by a new security gate!). I went to Hyde Dingle this time which has plenty of small Wych Elms along the stream side and ran 2 Robinsons. It was pretty quiet and my usual 3 hour stint resulted in 40 macro species and 5 micro species. I was glad to take a book to read during the many quiet moments. Top of the list with 34 individuals was Orange Footman.
Brockhampton Estate: Orange Footman

 Next most numerous was Blomer's Rivulet (15)
Brockhampton Estate: Blomer's Rivulet
Otherwise little to excite.

Back in the garden with a single Robinson, there was 33 macro species and just 3 micros and I suspect the steadily increasing wind played a part here. This time of year with many moths having just emerged and are very pristine in appearance always delights and the first Small Elephant-hawk of the year was no exception. I still managed to record a single Hebrew Character, which must be the last sighting of the year I would think. Most numerous was Brown Silver-line at 11 followed by Treble Lines at just 9.
Bringsty Common: Small Elephant-hawk

Finally Harts-tongue fern fronds that  I collected on the Brockhampton Estate back in mid-May when looking for evidence of Psychoides minings, has produced the first adult today and it is verhuella.

Brockhampton Estate: Psychoides verhuella
Peter Hall

Monday, 30 May 2016

Lampronia morosa

I found an individual Lampronia morosa flying along the edge of Queen Elizabeth II park in St. Johns, near the entrance along Hawkwood Crescent this evening (SO 831 556). Unfortunately, I was walking to the shops at the time without a pot or camera in hand, so have come away without any proof. Is the species still as rare in the county as the Teme Valley website species list eludes to?

Wyre Forest micros

A couple of hours daytime netting along the pipeline ride produced a handful of micros, some of which are photographed below.
I was pleased to finally catch up with Phyllonorycter trifasciella after failing to rear adults from the mines I collected last year. I had also previously recorded a dead specimen found on my lounge windowsill a few years back but never seen a live one.
Epiblema scutulana is supposedly common but I have only recorded it once before, also in Wyre, in 2007.

Patrick Clement

Glyphipterix thrasonella
Micropterix aureatella

Phyllonorycter trifasciella
Epiblema scutulana

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Kinver Edge 29th May

After discovering Pleurota bicostella at Kingsford on the 24th May, Sam and I visited Kinver Edge this evening to check for it on the heath there, the two sites are very close together but Kingsford is Worcs while Kinver Edge is Staffs. No luck with that species, perhaps because the heather is less luxuriant at Kinver than it is at Kingsford, but I did see my first Yellow-legged Clearwing of the year. I didn't want to take it from site so no photograph.

Patrick Clement

Haugh Wood 27th and 28th May

I had the pleasure of joining Rob Hemming on one of his butterfly transect outings covering the north section of Haugh on Friday. In between the seemingly plentiful supply of Wood White butterflies, I managed to record Drab Looper, Speckled Yellow, Cydia ulicetana, Eucosmomorpha albersana, Capua vulgana, Micropterix calthella and Glyphipterix simpliciella.

Haugh Wood: Drab Looper

Haugh Wood: Speckled Yellow

The following evening we decided to moth trap in the Southern section, with Rob opting for more open habitat and me opting for the woodland area. Thunderstorms tracked ever closer, but eventually petered out so we had a dry, humid but cool evening. Combined we had well over 60 species in the end. Of interest were Barred Umber, Mocha, Common Lutestring, Dingy Shell and Marbled White-spot. It was nice to get some micros coming to the trap as well with the commonest being Coleophora albicosta.
Haugh Wood: Pseudargyrotoza conwagana
Haugh Wood: Pebble Prominent
Haugh Wood: Dingy Shell
Haugh Wood: Marbled Brown
Peter Hall

Mullein caterpillars again.

Five small Mullein larvae.

Once again we have Mullein moth larvae on our garden Verbascum, it has happened many times over the years and yet I have never caught an adult moth in the trap, indeed, I have never seen an adult  Mullein anywhere.

Patrick Clement

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Pleurota bicostella

Neofaculta ericitella
Pleurota bicostella
I visited Kinver a couple of days ago including an area of heather at Kingsford Country Park which is in VC37. I netted several common heathland/grassland species but Pleurota bicostella were plentiful - I caught about six but I'm sure there were many more. I have just got around to checking the distribution of this species and, according to my Mapmate database it is a new record for the county?

Glyphipterix fuscoviridella
Cydia ulicetana

Dodford Barred Umber

Found on the house wall this evening, must have missed it when checking the trap on the patio this morning. Not seen one before but pretty sure it is Barred Umber. A nice and unexpected find.

Barred Umber

A few days ago I caught this micro which I think is either the dark form of Prays fraxinella or Prays ruficeps (which I favour). However a brief search on the internet only ended up confusing me. Any opinions?

Prays ruficeps ?

The year so far...

Like many people I have found trapping a little frustrating at times with  poor overnight conditions but May has had one or two good nights with 40 species each on the nights of 8th and 11th when we had  good daytime temperatures and the garden list is up to 118 species to date compared to last years 115 by end of May. So after a very poor April May has picked up,  but I have used more traps and trapped more nights to achieve that.

Last night I had 26 species over 4 traps ranging from 2 in one (rather exposed ) actinic trap and 17 species in a more sheltered MV. There were 6 new species for the year and that is typically what I have found, Not huge numbers but a steady flow of new arrivals some a few weeks later than last year, some about the same and some much earlier. Not sure what conclusions to draw except there are moths out there and as the conditions improve or they cannot wait any longer then they will emerge (hopefully). This is only my 2nd year at Dodford so this no great historical statistical analysis!

I am also lucky to have a large garden with varied habitats so I can put out 3 or 4 traps and get different results  which helps even out the peaks and troughs. Just my thoughts

Pete Smith

Dichrorampha sedatana

Dichrorampha sedatana
     There are a handful of these flying around my Tansy plants today. I have recorded 7 Dichrorampha species in the garden following the introduction, a few years ago, of Tansy, Yarrow and Ox-eye Daisy.

Patrick Clement

Elachista poae

Avon Wetlands NR at Pershore was already a known site for this species, having being recorded from both leaf mines and a confirmed adult to light on 22nd May 2015. Patrick and myself were keen to see adults ourselves so we visited the site on 3rd May this year. Patrick soon found several occupied mines on Glyceria maxima leaves. Later two larvae and two pupa all beneath spun tents of silk were also found. What were presumed to be parasitized pupae were seen. The long mines are quite characteristic starting back from the apex of the leaf and heading down towards stem just above water level. The pupa were stored in situ on sections of leaf in clear containers containing some damp tissue to prevent drying out. A 'larger' adult female emerged on the 13th, followed by a smaller male on the 14th May. Patrick also had a male emerge on the 14th. I returned my two back to the site for a successful release on 17th May. There was quite a size difference in the sexes and the female had whiter more obvious marks across the forewing. In the meantime Patrick also visited Leasowes Park, Halesowen where in similar habitat on the canal he found some mines but no pupae.
Images: The mines and habitat are Leasowes Park, the larva pupa and imago from Pershore.
Patrick Clement and Steve Whitehouse

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Far from Pauper at Hallow

I was at Hallow on Sunday afternoon targeting day-flying moths in the rough grassland that surrounds the sewage plant. Three hours of searching rewarded me with 33 species - 29 of which were micro moths. After a bit of a delayed emergence, it was nice to find most of the 'regulars' on the wing, as well as a couple of less often encountered species. A small colony of Dichrorampha sequana was present among swarms of less easily identifiable Dichrorampha, whilst sweeping the patches of Germander Speedwell produced Cauchas fibulella, Glyphipterix fuscoviridella and Micropterix aruncella.

Before leaving, I decided to have a quick search around the old oaks at Hallow church - a single Phyllonorycter muelleriella found its way into the net as did my first Pseudargyrotoza conwagana of the year. Perhaps the most interesting find was this Pauper Pug which I disturbed from oak whilst searching for P. muelleriella. It is on its way to Patrick (via Steve) for dissection, but if confirmed I'm guessing this is yet another new site for this species, and possibly the closest to Worcester yet?

Pauper Pug

Dichrorampha sequana

Micropterix aruncella

Phyllonorycter muelleriella

Notocelia uddmanniana on Bramble

Nematopogon (probably!) schwarziellus

Pammene rhediella

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Bringsty Common 23rd May

Whilst Patrick ventured further afield than I, I spent the afternoon with 2 botanist friends recording on the Common. Whilst they assembled an impressive 196 species of plant, I managed to spot Micropterix aruncella (around Hawthorn flowers), Glyphipterix fuscoviridella in large swarms in the shorter grassy areas, Glyphipterix simpliciella on buttercup flowers, a few Crambus lathoniellus, one Cydia ulicetana, one Celypha lacunana then Grass Rivulet, Common Carpet and rather a lot of Brown Silver-line flying up from the bracken. Of the non-moth invertebrates, a Minotaur beetle was the nicest. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Micropterix aruncella

Bringsty Common: Grass Rivulet (with the net as background)

Monkwood 23rd May

Micropterix mansuetella

Coleophora lutarea

I paid a visit to Monkwood yesterday looking for Eriocrania chrysolepidella mines without success but did find several Micropterix mansuetella, M. aruncella, Coleophora lutarea x2, Phyllonorycter
 muelleriella, Drab Loopers x10, plus commoner species, so not too bad for a couple of hours.

Patrick Clement

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Tiddesley yet again!

I have just dissected the Cnephasia mentioned in my last post. It is C.communana.
This is a relatively new arrival in the county, our first record is from 2011. This is the eighth confirmed record and the first for the Wood.

Cnephasia communana


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Tiddesley again

Elachista humilis (male).
Caloptilia robustella
               Two more micros from my traps on the 19th May.

The Nep from my last post has been confirmed as Ectodemia argyropeza.    Patrick Clement

More from Tiddesley...

Adding to Patrick's account of our visit to Tiddesley:

A good night squeezed in between the low night temperatures and wet weather we have been having lately.
In my two traps I managed 40 species. Highlights were Devon Carpet, Mocha and the Bluebell moth - H.maculosana.
We also trapped an early flying cnephasia sp. which is still awaiting identification.

Devon Carpet  Lampropteryx otregiata

Hysterophora maculosana

Oliver Wadsworth.

They're here...

Certain moth species, at least to me, are indicators of the progression of the season. The first Dun-bar always tells me it's now getting close too the late summer lull, Centre-barred Sallow that Autumn is now close. Another is Heart & Dart which beckons the start of the warmer period. I had my first today in the trap in the garden, which I ran despite the wind and rain (probably because I'm just back from trapping in Wales, where they think it's good weather). 23 species including 2 micros for a change, but little to excite. Also had more of the notable b beetle Ancistronycha abdominalis (Blue Soldier-beetle) and that regular sexton beetle Nicrophorus humator. Peter Hall
Bringsty Common: Heart & Dart

Bringsty Common: Nicrophorus humator

Bringsty Common: Blue Soldier-beetle