Saturday, 19 July 2014

How to drown a moth

The Safari made the decision to put the moth trap out late last night. The forecast wasn't too bad and we sort of hoped we'd miss almost all the rain being on the coast.
The best laid plans don't always work though and when we went out to inspect it this morning the light was still on but the ground was very wet. We turned off the lamp relieved that that the electrics hadn't tripped out and peered into the trap. Needless to say there was quite a bit of water in the bottom and many of the egg boxes were pretty soggy but there were moths and a more of them than we've had on any other night this year.
We had a few unknown escapes and were so excited about what might be hidden further in that we took forgot to take any pics of some of the belters like the Yellow Shell and the stunning Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing.
Photos were reserved for the unknowns and one or two rarely seens
Acleris forsskaleana - several of these bonny micros
Brown House Moth
Lime Speck Pug - at last a pug we can just about identify
This pug was more troublesome but we've plumbed for Currant Pug
What's worse than finding a maggot in your Apple? Finding half a maggot! If you did find a maggot in your Apple it would be the larva of one of these Codling Moths
We had no idea what these were and had to go for professional help from the Lancashire Lepidopterans
The small dark one on the left required attention, about 25% smaller than the Codling Moth
Here it is enlarged and processed a bit - turns out to be a dark form of Bud Moth, Spilonota ocellana
That one, small as it was, was a veritable giant compared to this miniscule little chap - we could barely see it even with our glasses on! Bet it wasn't 4mm full length.
Not only was it tiny-wee but could we find it in the field guide, it's so distinctive we were sure it must be new to science! Honest!! We got a name though, what for it it's a fair few letter long - Phyllonorycter geniculella, an inhabitant of Sycamores, one of which barely 25 feet from the trap location! Hardly new to science, it is described on the excellent UK Moths as common!
The Ermine moths are white with black spots, as in dead Stoats worn by 'royalty' (each black spot on their robe is a dead Stoat's tail - disgusting!) but this one is silvery grey and we're not too sure which one it is, possibly Orchard Erminie, Yponomeuta padella but they are a notoriously difficult group to identify even with dissection!
55 moths of 27 species - easily our best catch of the year.
There were a couple of caddisflies in there too.
This one is probably a Caddis but could be a moth...
Might have to trouble those clever iSpotters later.
This arvo we hit Chat Alley for a couple of hours to watch the tide up in the hope of finding more Bottlenose Dolphins. There weren't any but blubber was represented by three Grey Seals
Birds were few and far between apart from a decent flock of Common Scoters making their way north behind some 'weather'. Two Whimbrels passed southwards well out to sea followed by a single almost overhead and then two more we heard calling and called back to making them circle over us a couple of times - love it when that happens. The star of the session was  fly-by adult Mediterranean Gull at nose height, quality unexpected bird, well happy.
Where to next? Back at work tomorrow with another gang of out-of-town youngsters eager to learn about our brilliant beach - will they be able top the Burnley crew's find yesterday?
In the meantime let us know what's ridiculously well patterned despite its tiny size in your outback.

1 comment:

Feedy said...

Some nice moths.......what is it with Pugs a real minefield