After a reasonably hot day yesterday the overnight temperature in our part of East Dorset plummeted to a chilly 6°C resulting in a pretty meagre catch this morning. 267 individual Macro Moths were taken to the tune of 56 species which may seem like a decent haul but compared to recent days is in effect a noticeable drop in numbers. Birds too seem to be in sympathy with this trend so a 'blessing in disguise' as yesterday was a real MEGA for me with much photograph editing and note writing to be undertaken today. Sunday had been set aside for a second visit of our friend Dave Foot who has shown great interest in our success this end of the county and had one or two ideas of his own to fill the day. He had requested that I leave my traps until his arrival at 07:00, by which time all 5 had been moved to a central location and placed in the shade. Dave had also brought along a couple of Insects of Interest for my perusal after which he was to show me the techniques of 'pheromoning' for selected Moth species. 2 creatures I had not clapped eyes on before included a
representative of the CLEARWING family, a group that was completely new to me
along with the bulky form of a
Saturday night/Sunday morning had been kind as far as weather conditions were concerned so expectations were great with both of us eager to get to the traps. I invited Dave to remove and ID the Insects leaving me to fill the log. First Moth out of the First Trap was another completely new to me, let alone the Property List in the shape of a
SMALL DOTTED BUFF.
The next was merely a First for the Year
followed by another 'Lifer'
then, in quick succession 2 more Year Ticks
If there is anyone out there who can equal or even better this
superb run, they are cordially invited to join me at Trap Side
any early morning of their choosing!
Otherwise a pristine example of
was thought worthy of Posting as were
EUROPEAN CORN BORER
Just to keep all the new addition Moths in the same segment as it were
later in the day, armed with my new net this
GRASS EMERALD was caught at the north end of the Farm.
All things 'flying' that morning were not of lepidopterist value
but it was a great delight to see this old
Up at the North End what only last week was a silage grass field
is now taking shape as Phase II of the Solar Panel Farm.
An enormous amount of work must have taken place here during
just a few days to get all these support stanchions driven home.
We were met at the 5-bar gate, leading onto Merritown Heath,
by this young
with what was before us looking resplendent dotted with
LARGE SKIPPER BUTTERFLY
was first on show then a treat I couldn't even have dreamt of
met our eyes. It has been 'years' since seeing my last
and here were both male and
allowing me my first photographs of each.
While they were perching on other plants, by and large they seemed to be favouring
and if you could smell the aroma you'd understand why!
SILVER-STUDDED BLUE BUTTERFLY
was my 'first of the year'
as were both Large (above) and
SMALL SKIPPER BUTTERFLIES
BORDERED WHITE MOTH
a day-time flier and
which next year will look like
of 6 different species of Clearwing were deployed
at various sites but the lack of success was traditionally English
(if we are still allowed to call ourselves that) the Weather.
With never less than 6 oktas of cloud-cover throughout it was never
sunny enough for these delicate little creatures to take to the wing.
There will be a 'Next Time'!
New Pine Cones developing.
Another Larvae yet to be identified.
GALLS on ASPEN
Back in Hugh's Wood Dave appears to have found something else.
thought to be the Caterpillar of one of the 'Blue' Butterflies?
While creeping through the grass at great speed this
carrying a huge 'sac' of eggs was very difficult to photograph.
Allowing her to creep onto the Butterfly Net had the desired effect.
Trivia:- Wolf Spiders have 8 Eyes.
Continuing the Arachnid theme, this Spider had made a 'funnel'
of this leaf, coated it with web and could just be seen inside the
Nearing the end of our most illuminating wander
Dave pointed out a cluster of
and went on to tell me that it is the food-plant of the larvae of an extremely rare Moth to Great Britain, the Water Betony. This was followed by the rhetorical question " and how would you like to find one of those"? As if he had placed them there himself, Dave looked searchingly at the plant and immediately found
c2 Caterpillars crawling the stems. The much more likely contender would be the very common Mullein, (see photo of plant of the same name above) but do they feed on Figwort? Reference to the Internet, a couple of other enquiries and a series of photographs
and then only time will tell!
It would have been great to end the day on such a high note.
To give the reader some idea of the 'rarity' of this Insect, Clancy in his Field Guide states, " a very scarce immigrant to Britain, although probably overlooked, the only two records both come from Swanage, Dorset (just down the road from here) on 12 June 1949 and 18 May 1994. Suspected examples of this species taken in Britain would need retaining and require confirmation by means of dissection and examination of the genitalia". Whooooo Betty!
As you can see the difference is immediately obvious??
On the way back we stumbled into a beautiful roadside bower of
There are more images from this most memorable day, but as yet we are still tussling over identifications
Good to see you again Dave and my thanks for sharing your knowledge.